Martin Logan Vantage "b" vs. B&W Nautilus 803 [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-07-2007, 05:07 AM
Good Morning!

I am shopping with my husband and trying to put together a media room, and we're looking at speakers. Our knowledge level on this is very minimal, and by the little bit of research I've been doing on the net, I can see that there's tons of variables.

Would anyone be so kind as to give their opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of these speakers and if you could also address the different variables to look at with each.

Thank you so much for your time in helping us with this selection.

07-07-2007, 05:37 AM
Hi there,
welcome to AR :)

A media room eh? they're both very good speakers, and both are, indeed, different.
How big is your media room going to be? And what are you planning to drive the speakers with? A martinlogan needs enough power, and preferably clean power, the 803 needs some power too, and it could use an amp with some big current capacity...

Have you listened to them already? Always trust your ears, not nessecarily the dealer's.
if you can, also try magnepan, focal, von shweikert, monitor audio, triangle, dali, dynaudio and others. Are you planning to go stereo or surround? Either ways, check out rotel, parasound, adcom, classe, primare, bryston, accuphase or mcintosh. they're all good products (some being better than others)...

for other product advices: how big is your estimated budget?

Happy hunting,

07-07-2007, 06:25 AM
Budget: On Speakers/Floor - $5,000 is what we were thinking just b/c those seemed to be that price unless we were going to a bigger entertaining room.

this room is a "Great Room" upstairs. It's closed off and doesn't have a non-existent wall that that connects to the downstairs/cathedral ceiling. Don't know the exact dimensions on the room, but it's a good size - will get back with you that.

Have listened to both speakers, and really liked the sound on the Martin Logan, but did not get to listen to the B&W with a Sub-woofer.

I'm wondering if the Martin Logan's are limited on listening range or lacking in certain range areas: base, trebel, mid range... things of that sort.

We have not listened to the others yet. Have gone to some pretty dedicated stores for speakers: Tweeters, Home Theater.

On the amps/power - we're willing to get whatever is suggested to make it optimal - starting from scratch.

Surround sound is what we're going for.

Hope this has given you a little to work with.

07-07-2007, 06:40 AM
the martin logans won't nessecarily need a sub...

if you're going surround, you should start slowly, because I don't think you can get the ML's/B&W's and a matching center and rears for 5k.

so your best bet is to start with 2 speakers, and get a surround receiver, or seperates.
then later on buy the rest of the speakers, if you can, you could already get the front speakers & the center channel, and buy some cheaper rear speakers for now.

remember you still need a surround receiver, those can be pretty expensive too you know...

07-07-2007, 08:37 AM
no, no... I was just talking about the two receivers budget being 5K. We've already been pricing all the other pieces and pieces and pieces.:)))))))

So you don't think I could go wrong with either one?

07-07-2007, 09:08 AM
both will perform good, however, a martin logan does like to have some room for itself, but if you have those, you will be amazed.

for a receiver: for 5 k you should definately check out parasound, their HT stuff is very good, but you could best go the seperates route here, so you'll buy a multichannel poweramp and a multichannel pre. like these:

the power amp
or maybe even this one:

the pre (controller)

or look at other brands too, rotel makes good products too,
or a receiver from them

maybe even a Mcintosh, although I'm not sure they make products in that pricerange :)

and I'm sure others will jump on this thread too :)

Keep them spinning,

07-07-2007, 09:59 AM
Would anyone be so kind as to give their opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of these speakers and if you could also address the different variables to look at with each.
Either speaker would be a fine choice. Both companies are well established and have proven themselves over years of development. As you might gather from my moniker, I favor electrostatic speakers for their stunning purity of sound. On the other hand, Bower and Wilkins produces very natural sounding monitor speakers. Their dynamic drivers offer wider dispersion than the MLs. They would likely be less critical in terms of room placement. While the MLs are not full range electrostats (where the bass is likewise delivered by the bipolar panels), their bipolar nature does mean they are pickier in terms of ideal room placement. Bipolar simply means they radiate the same sound to the rear as well. Consequently, the room becomes part of the enclosure and attention to such is essential for the best sound. Most bipolars need at least a couple of feet between them and the wall behind. More is often better. So, to recap:

B&W pros: less sensitive to room placement, wider dispersion (wider ideal listening area)
ML pros: better signal purity, greater sense of depth (provided they are allowed to breathe)

Good luck on your quest.


07-10-2007, 09:37 AM
The first thing that came to mind on your two speakers choices are room placement. As others have noted, ML's require room to breath. Think at least 3' from the back wall, which is well out into the room.

Another consideration might be ML's 4 ohm nominal impedence. While two speakers at 4 ohms isn't a big deal for most decent amps, 5 ML's at 4 ohms in a surround set-up pretty much precludes you from getting a receiver. You'd better think separates (i.e. Preamp/Processor and multichannel amp) for a ML based surround rig. Of course, at the level of speakers you're considering, whatever you decide on really deserves separates anyway.

ML and B&W are two very good, very respected manufacturers. You can't really go wrong with either. The good news is they sound very different, so making a decision shouldn't be that difficult. Just go with what sounds best to you. :)