B&W Matrix 801, too old?

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  • 10-07-2004, 07:25 PM
    jmabe
    B&W Matrix 801, too old?
    Hello folks,

    I've recently purchased a PSB GOLDi, to match a McCormack DNA-1 and McCormack TLC-1 pre-amp. I also have a Sunfire subwoofer, but I rarely use it.

    The thing is that, although I'm close to satisfied with the PSB's, it is very far from perfect. My main complaint is the lack of clarity in the highs, and the muddiness on the bass side.

    I was considering trading my PSB GOLDis (new edition) for a pair of used B&W Matrix 801, old as hell. I always liked B&W but never have gotten the chance to acquire one.

    Do you guys think the trade might pay off? How about the amp, will it be enough to drive the power hungry 801?
  • 10-07-2004, 08:07 PM
    RGA
    Well the Stratus gold I heard several years ago(don;t know if it was the i version though) did not thrill me either for the things you describe but you want to make sure your room is and positioning are not the culprit.

    I like the Matrix 801 better than the N801 for what it's worth. Age has nothing at all to do with sound quality - you just want to make sure it's in working order.

    I know I sound like a one note wonder but I have a feeling the Matrix 801 even used might cost the same as a new Audio Note AN E loudspeaker. This company currently makes the best gear I have ever heard and they are growing in the U.S. My dealer had the N801 and the Audio Notes killed em. You will find them far easier to position and drive and the E has more bass though not quite the high decibal levels nor do they look as perty. So it would really depend what kind of money you have to outlay for the M801.

    The 801's are typically extremely and i mean Extremely picky about positioning more so than most all other boxed speakers I've tried out get it right they are very good if not they're an unmitigated disaster.

    I admit I'm biased to Audio Note but you really want to make an effort to listen if you can. And best of all the speakers are upgradable and can be run with low powered SETs.

    Try Audio Asylum and do some research in their review sections. http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.pl?...74993&review=1 & http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.pl?...45133&review=1 & http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.pl?...24418&review=1 & http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.pl?...70755&review=1

    By all means if you have your heart set on the M801 it's a fine speaker I could be more than happy with - but what the hell another option might surprise you like they did me. If not it's only a bit of time spent listening.
  • 10-07-2004, 08:33 PM
    Peter Duminy
    The Matrix 801 is a classic design. I would check the tweeters carefully though, as the braids from the voicecoil to the terminals have a history of cracking with age causing an open circuit. B&W have replaced many of these, and have fixed the issue on the N801 tweeter assembly. Other than this issue, the Matrix 801 is still a force to be reckoned with IMHO.
  • 10-08-2004, 03:21 PM
    Geoffcin
    I Can Recommend Vintage B&W speakers
    A speaker is only as good as the company behind it. My friend has a pair of B&W Matrix III's as his mains. The sound was OK, but he was driving them with a HK receiver, and I told him that he could do a lot better with a dedicated amp. When I got my Musical Fidelity amp, I sold him my old PS Audio 200c amp and the difference between it and the HK receiver was not small when we hooked it up. His speakers had an incredible amount of more authority, and overall dynamics hooked up to the behemoth of American iron that the PS Audio 200c is. The problem then arose that his left speaker would cut out on more demanding passages. It seems that the protection circuits in that speaker were a bit too sensitive. He called B&W and got instructions on how to remove the crossover and where to send it to them in England. I a little over one week he had his crossover back, with NO charge from B&W! The speakers have a new lease on life now that they have the power to make them sound like they should, and I would recommend the speakers, and company to anyone.