Upgrade from B&W 702 s2 to 803 d3.. is to worth 8 grand?

Rupert123

Novice Member
Hi,

I might be having a serious case of upgraditis and need help!

I have a 5.1 surround system which incorporates B&W 702S2 floorstanding front floorstanders , a B&W HTM71S2 centre and 707 rear speakers along with a relT9i subwoofer. Powered by an Arcam AVR 850.

I listen to a lot of jazz in terms of music and also use the system for my home cinema. I have been tempted to upgrade my floor standing speakers to a pair of used 803 d3S but it’s going to cost me 8 grand.

Is it really worth the upgrading given the cost and do you think I will hear a massive difference in SQ?! I usually listen to streamed music through a Niam uniti atom fed into the Arcam. I am happy with the sound quality at the moment but am equally curious about how big a difference it would make if I bite the bullet and go for the upgrade!!

Would be grateful for your thoughts and suggestions.

Cheers.

Rupert
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I don't think you can really ask that question as it only really matters to you. The problem you are facing is that your are buying on the secondary market and that doesn't give you the chance to audition them at home (unless you know otherwise).

You haven't given any details of your room and this is going to be a factor even though you are using Dirac. Some members do not like Dirac for stereo music even though it does a good job for home cinema. Would the 803s sound better or worse for Dirac. As good an amp as the 850 is, is it good enough for the 803s.

The 702s are cracking speakers but the 803s will take you to another level I'm sure. I've only listened to them once a good few years ago being driven by a Rega Osiris amp in AudioT. Wonderful sound and that was in the main shop area.

You can only treat upgradiatus privately, it's not available on the NHS.
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Thanks gibbsy. I have thought about everything you said and I don’t know the answer to whether my avr 850 will be enough to drive the speakers or not. I have been bypassing Dirac for music using the ‘direct stereo’ mode and it’s far better than Dirac enabled stereo. I have a medium sized room and hoping that the 803 will future proof my need for speaker upgrades for a long time. Have to find the answer to your question about my amp being good enough or not first of course! Any ideas as to how to get an answer to that question?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
AVR850 will be enough to drive them to certain level, but seeing some measurements for the D3 range 800 speakers they are quite taxing for any amp and i would guess that most owners will opt for power amplification with them to hear them at their best! 50-500w 8ohm is B&Ws recommendation and example @Conrad has said few times they love power as he has experience of the older 800 speakers. But you can surely start with your flagship Arcam and when funds allow you might want to talk with hifi shop to get home trial for power amplification for powering your front three. You should be able to test one at home so no need to buy pig in a bag.

Keep in mind that for movies center channel is more active channel putting what 60-70% of movies soundtrack and you may want to consider swapping that HTM 71S2 to HTM2 D3 center channel at some point if movies are important.

But are movies as important then seeing your subwoofer choice which leans more for music use than the most impactfull home theatre experience.
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Thanks for your suggestions. I hope my atom uniti might act as a bit of a preamp and feed into the Arcam. Yes, I am more into music so perhaps a future upgrade of my amp might be needed to let the 803 bring out its full potential. I am quite happy with the htm71s2 at the mo but take your point that it will be the next step in the upgrade pathway.

thanks Gasp.
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Got the 803 d3s and the Arcam avr 850 seems to be able to drive the speakers along with my home theatre surround speakers fairly well. My centre speaker is the 700 series htm71s2 and that seems fine while playing movies. My subwoofer rel t9i however seems to have disappeared in the music. I can’t hear the rel much at all anymore except when I play movies. Can’t understand why.. perhaps I have to reset the settings?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Got the 803 d3s and the Arcam avr 850 seems to be able to drive the speakers along with my home theatre surround speakers fairly well. My centre speaker is the 700 series htm71s2 and that seems fine while playing movies. My subwoofer rel t9i however seems to have disappeared in the music. I can’t hear the rel much at all anymore except when I play movies. Can’t understand why.. perhaps I have to reset the settings?
You should certainly run Dirac again. In a 5.1 you will still have to configure the speakers as being small with a crossover of 80hz and use LFE only and not LFE+Main.
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Thanks gibbsy.
The latest update is that my amp developed a fault after a spark or two within 10 days of getting the 803d3...off it went for repairs and the engineers came back reporting that the SMPS power supply is damaged, burned and 4 big capacitors are leaking. They think the leaking capacitors have caused the power supply to burn. I am wondering if the capacitors leaked due to the additional demand on them from the 803d3s? The repair will cost £400!

maybe the amp isn’t holding up...
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Thanks gibbsy.
The latest update is that my amp developed a fault after a spark or two within 10 days of getting the 803d3...off it went for repairs and the engineers came back reporting that the SMPS power supply is damaged, burned and 4 big capacitors are leaking. They think the leaking capacitors have caused the power supply to burn. I am wondering if the capacitors leaked due to the additional demand on them from the 803d3s? The repair will cost £400!

maybe the amp isn’t holding up...
Power supply caps usually leak or bulge due to age and heat, when that happens the capacitor value goes very low (as much as by 70%) this then allow high ripple current to pass into the rest of the power supply and eventually destroys other components. It is unlikely that it was caused by using the 803d3's. Any competent local engineer could probably repair that sub plate for less than £80 if the damage has not gone too far. The £400 quote is quite ridiculous and suggest they are just going to swap out the amp/psu plate.
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
I am a bit concerned after reading your post Kapkirk ... They might be taking me for a ride

I am pasting below what the engineers have said after diagnostics...


Engineers Note:

The Arcam AVR850 is completely off, not even standby mode is active.

We replaced all fuses but there is an internal problem.

We completed our diagnostics, and it looks like the SMPS power supply is damaged, burned and the additional problem which has, are those 4 BIG capacitors are leaking all around.

We can repair the main power supply then in order to complete the repair will have to replace all this 4 Capacitors as they were the main cause of burning the SMPS power supply.

Picture attached.
1626622257172.jpeg





The repair will take a minimum 7 to 10 working days, as parts will be needed to be ordered.
If all sounds good, please only reply to this email with your acceptance.
Feel free to ring us with any questions you have.
0121 554 4584
Kindest Regards
Get it Fixed Engineering Team



I have asked for a detailed breakdown of costs this morning....
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks gibbsy.
The latest update is that my amp developed a fault after a spark or two within 10 days of getting the 803d3...off it went for repairs and the engineers came back reporting that the SMPS power supply is damaged, burned and 4 big capacitors are leaking. They think the leaking capacitors have caused the power supply to burn. I am wondering if the capacitors leaked due to the additional demand on them from the 803d3s? The repair will cost £400!

maybe the amp isn’t holding up...
Not sure if terribly bad luck or what was going on with the Arcam, i have heard they aren`t the most reliable but this is... Sad! Have you talked directly with Arcam what could cause this? You can conctact them with the serial number of your machine via email.

Some general questions.. You haven`t set the impedance switch to 4ohm or used Eco mode? Has the receiver ran hot and do you have had good amount of ventilation around it so not in too tight place?
 
Last edited:

Kapkirk

Active Member
First of all I must apologise Rupert, I did not read your post correctly, I assumed you were talking about Your Rel Subwoofer.

However, I feel I must comment on what the engineers have said in their report as I find the way in which they describe the fault to be odd and rather amateurish.

The picture of the PCB with the 4 large caps is NOT the switch mode power supply, that looks like the main power amplifier output section + Heatsink. Secondly it is not possible to assume that those large capacitors are the offending items as they need to be removed and tested with an ESR meter, thirdly the off-white stuff at the base of those caps is not electrolyte leakage, it is a special type of adhesive put in place when the unit was manufactured, In fact to the eye those caps look fine and probably WILL be if the unit is under 7 years old.

More likely to be the offending items are the 2-3 smaller caps RIGHT BESIDE the small silver heatsinks that actually ARE on the smps board, the power supply board is ACTUALLY opposite the main toroidal transformer, I have marked them with red arrows. The larger Black capacitor in the bottom left of the pic (standing on end) is the psu hold up cap and can also be the cause of a dead unit (as they describe it) The repair cost they have quoted even if the fault lies with the 4 larger caps (which I don't believe will be faulty) AND the psu repair is quite ridiculous.
If this unit were presented to me for repair I would immediately swap out the items I have marked with red arrows including the NTC thermistor (you mentioned a spark) and test the 4 large caps as a matter of course .
If that cured the fault, the repair charge would be no more than £150 plus courier costs. Unfortunately I no longer do private repairs so I cannot help you, only advise you. I really find it annoying that companies like Arcam can charge this amount for simple repairs. It is such a shame that most of the smaller electronic repair shops have disappeared over the years.


A850 PCB.jpg
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
kapkirk, your knowledge and experience is amazing and very informative. I haven’t approached the manufacturing company Arcam. I’m getting it repaired by ‘get it fixed’, based at Birmingham.

I thought going to a local company rather than the manufacturing company would be a better bet as I am keen to support small businesses and local repair shops as much as possible especially after a pandemic has driven many of them out of business. I guess there is a flip side to this which is that unless businesses are honest in their assessment, the customer is fleeced.

wish I had approached you instead, if you were still in business! I have asked for a breakdown of costs and they said they’ll provide that on the invoice. What more can I do at this stage because I do need to have this repaired and I have agreed to the estimate....
 

Kapkirk

Active Member
Unfortunately the general public are at the mercy of some of those rip off merchants, especially when we purchase high quality items which are just too expensive to throw away. Not all of them are out to rip people off but the general practise unfortunately, is to inflate the costs of repairs in many cases. Many local repair shops simply went out of business because the price of electronic items and white goods has dropped markedly over the last 20 years due to far cheaper manufacturing (The throw away culture)

Re: the Birmingham outfit you have asked to quote you, first check out reviews for them on line to see if they have a decent reputation, and decide how much you reasonably really want to pay for repairs and make it very clear to them right at the outset that is ALL all you can reasonably afford.

If you tell them for example that you are only willing to fork out £220 to repair your Arcam AVR before buying a brand new unit instead, they might well consider -if they try to charge a lot more than that amount you may well reject their quote and either go elsewhere or not have the repair done at all therefore losing them a profit for that repair. If you don't give them a figure they will assume that because the Arcam unit is quite an expensive item and (that you're not short of a few bob for owning such a nice unit) that you'll pay ANYTHING to get it working.

Big companies like Arcam dont care one bit about what they quote for repairs or even if you don't go ahead with the repair because they make a high percentage of their profit from selling new units. But smaller local repair shops do care as it's their bread and butter plus they would like repeat custom and for you to recommend them to your family and friends, so they need to be fairly reasonable about how much they charge (unless they are the fly by night type)
If they come back to you with a large figure (over £250) don't immediately accept it (unless money is no object to you) Explain to them that you need a few days to consider it and go from there, they may well reduce the quote there and then for fear you will not go ahead with the repair and they will have only made a small amount of money for the diagnosis.

I can tell you the current costs for those 4 large high quality capacitors in your picture (should they all be bad) is about £32.00 plus vat, the smaller components on the power supply board would be less than £10.00 plus vat unless they have to replace the complete power supply board, and with Arcam seemingly charging whatever the hell they want it's anybody's guess.
The cost of diagnosis can vary but I would assume a competent engineer would be able to diagnose that fault within 2 hours @ £75 per hour.
so: 32+10+ Labour @150 = £192.00 plus vat which would be reasonable if not complete psu from Arcam.
Please Note: Those figures are what I would call reasonable and may not be what you are quoted as all engineers charge differently.

Hope some of that is useful to you Rupert.
 

Conrad

Moderator
Also, what music were you listening to, the 800 series can drop down to (under?) 3 ohms at lower frequencies. You need a decent power supply to drive them well.

I believe the D series' are an easier drive than the older Nautilus that I have, but I'm not sure I'd expect great results from 800 series floorstanders being driven by an AVR.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Also, what music were you listening to, the 800 series can drop down to (under?) 3 ohms at lower frequencies. You need a decent power supply to drive them well.

I believe the D series' are an easier drive than the older Nautilus that I have, but I'm not sure I'd expect great results from 800 series floorstanders being driven by an AVR.

I have read people driving the new B&W D3 speakers with lesser receivers to party levels without issues on US forum. That AVR850 is still Arcams flagship model (Class G amp) so i would be intrested what type of volume levels he has used. This receiver is quite powerfull if comparing to others. In German review it benched 7channels continuosly 4ohm load 134w so it should have decent power supply.


AVR850:

2 channels driven, 20Hz - 20kHz, <0.02% THD - 120W (8ohm)/ 200W (4ohm)
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Unfortunately the general public are at the mercy of some of those rip off merchants, especially when we purchase high quality items which are just too expensive to throw away. Not all of them are out to rip people off but the general practise unfortunately, is to inflate the costs of repairs in many cases. Many local repair shops simply went out of business because the price of electronic items and white goods has dropped markedly over the last 20 years due to far cheaper manufacturing (The throw away culture)

Re: the Birmingham outfit you have asked to quote you, first check out reviews for them on line to see if they have a decent reputation, and decide how much you reasonably really want to pay for repairs and make it very clear to them right at the outset that is ALL all you can reasonably afford.

If you tell them for example that you are only willing to fork out £220 to repair your Arcam AVR before buying a brand new unit instead, they might well consider -if they try to charge a lot more than that amount you may well reject their quote and either go elsewhere or not have the repair done at all therefore losing them a profit for that repair. If you don't give them a figure they will assume that because the Arcam unit is quite an expensive item and (that you're not short of a few bob for owning such a nice unit) that you'll pay ANYTHING to get it working.

Big companies like Arcam dont care one bit about what they quote for repairs or even if you don't go ahead with the repair because they make a high percentage of their profit from selling new units. But smaller local repair shops do care as it's their bread and butter plus they would like repeat custom and for you to recommend them to your family and friends, so they need to be fairly reasonable about how much they charge (unless they are the fly by night type)
If they come back to you with a large figure (over £250) don't immediately accept it (unless money is no object to you) Explain to them that you need a few days to consider it and go from there, they may well reduce the quote there and then for fear you will not go ahead with the repair and they will have only made a small amount of money for the diagnosis.

I can tell you the current costs for those 4 large high quality capacitors in your picture (should they all be bad) is about £32.00 plus vat, the smaller components on the power supply board would be less than £10.00 plus vat unless they have to replace the complete power supply board, and with Arcam seemingly charging whatever the hell they want it's anybody's guess.
The cost of diagnosis can vary but I would assume a competent engineer would be able to diagnose that fault within 2 hours @ £75 per hour.
so: 32+10+ Labour @150 = £192.00 plus vat which would be reasonable if not complete psu from Arcam.
Please Note: Those figures are what I would call reasonable and may not be what you are quoted as all engineers charge differently.

Hope some of that is useful to you Rupert.
Thank you Gasp. You are a good man. Not many left in the fold
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Also, what music were you listening to, the 800 series can drop down to (under?) 3 ohms at lower frequencies. You need a decent power supply to drive them well.

I believe the D series' are an easier drive than the older Nautilus that I have, but I'm not sure I'd expect great results from 800 series floorstanders being driven by an AVR.
I usually listen to Jazz, pop and rock
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Much as I applaud your ‘shop local’ mantra for this repair I would contact your Retailer or Arcam direct and would not hand the unit to someone who does not have experience with the Arcam AVR.

Joe
 

rccarguy2

Well-known Member
Double check these aren't the b&w speakers that have very exaggerated top end something like +10db on the treble
 

Rupert123

Novice Member
Much as I applaud your ‘shop local’ mantra for this repair I would contact your Retailer or Arcam direct and would not hand the unit to someone who does not have experience with the Arcam AVR.

Joe
Thanks Joe, I did check with them and they confirmed that they have experience of repairing Arcam amps before I went with them. They have a high rating on trusted pilot as well.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Movies Podcast: Star Trek in 4K. Is the new boxset worth it?
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

T+A announces high end 200 Series audio components
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Trinnov Altitude update adds new features
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Panasonic TVs welcome Disney+
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audio Research announces I/50 integrated valve amp
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Loewe confirms return to luxury TV market
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom