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  1. #1
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    I heard the B&W 800d's today

    I learned that "D" stands for Diamond and the D series has some type of diamond tweeter. The 800d's were driven by a Classe' 200 wpc amp with an Audio Research preamp and CD player.

    Needless to say the system sounded good. It did have some short comings though. The midbass seemed to be congested or tubby with complex pieces. This could be attributed to the room or a tube preamp as much as a flaw in the speaker. The 800d's played very low. When playing the bass solo intro on a Gordian Knot CD and fixtures in the room began to vibrate. The highs were quite prominent. I didn't get a sense this would be fatiguing over time but I only listened for around 30 minutes. The 800d seemed to have a nice midrange and sound stage. I have to admit this speaker is the best sounding B&W I've heard but for $20k I believe there are better at that price. I think the Dynaudio Confidence series would offer better performance for less money.
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  2. #2
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    I purchased a set of 800D's in July as an upgrade to 801's I had owned for six years. The one fact that is inescapable about B&W speakers is that they ruthlessly reveal the shortcomings of all upstream components. I am driving mine with a dCS front end and Halcro monoblock amps in a room that is liberally treated with ASC tubetraps. None of the shortcomings you noticed are present in my system. They are the best value for the dollar that exists in high end speakers but..... you have to feed them with the best signal you can afford.

  3. #3
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    I did not hear the 800Ds, but I have heard the 802Ds and 803Ds powered by top of the line McIntosh electronics...

    I agree that there are better values than the B&W D series (at least based on my impressions). In my case, I was not impressed with any particular attribute of the speakers. That is not to say they sounded "bad" at all... but for the kind of money B&W wants for them I expect a lot, and was let down. In my case, I found the soundstage above average, but bested by many other speakers I have heard for less... Midrange and mid-bass were both unimpressive (and those may have been my least favorite attributes), while the low-end and highs were nice (moreso on the 802Ds with respect to the low-end), but not amazing. All in all, good speakers to be sure, but way overpriced IMO for what you get for your money, compared to other store speaker brands and models like Von Schweikert (the DB99 mk. II), Dali (Helicon800) and McIntosh (XRT-28).

    I should point out that I have never cared for the Nautilus series B&W "sound," so my bias needs to be noted when reading my comments above... But I keep waiting for B&W to come up with a speaker that will wow me, and so far I just keep coming up short. :-(

    Everyone has different tastes though, so I am sure many will love them.

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  4. #4
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    Cincy, I would love to hear your system.

    When I was looking for speakers I auditioned the Nautilus series and was not impressed. As Drseid said, the sound wasn't necessarily bad, it just didn't do anything for, me. The D series is an improvement to my ears. The 800's did have a large sound stage and drum rolls were impressive, they had weight and feel of real drums. I don't know about best value for $20k but I can believe the potential was there to sound better than I heard just that one time.
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular thepogue's Avatar
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    My two cents...

    I've got about 20 hours listening to the 800D mostly with a 5K Clear Audio TT, Linn CD, Mark Levinson Pre..bla bla bla...


    What I hear is a good sounding system that I'm sure could sound great with the right room tweaking. I also hear speakers that can be bested for less...sometimes much less IMHO...

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincy2
    I purchased a set of 800D's in July as an upgrade to 801's I had owned for six years. The one fact that is inescapable about B&W speakers is that they ruthlessly reveal the shortcomings of all upstream components. I am driving mine with a dCS front end and Halcro monoblock amps in a room that is liberally treated with ASC tubetraps. None of the shortcomings you noticed are present in my system. They are the best value for the dollar that exists in high end speakers but..... you have to feed them with the best signal you can afford.

    Cincy, I hate to say this (okay, I lie), but this is a highly escapable fact. First of all, B&Ws aren't terribly revealing speakers. Kevlar's break up modes and lack of rigidity masks a lot of detail. The whole "ruthlessly revealing" fable is based on the fact that the breakup modes make it seem like the amps are straining or the other components are distorting or are harsh, but it is, in fact, the drivers. Kevlar is a VERY problematic midrange material, especially in its FST configuration. And it has cost many, many people thousands of dollars trying to compensate for it, with mixed results.

    When someone says a speaker is "ruthlessly revealing", that means that the speaks are either harsh or bright. It's just the way it is. Measure any "ruthlessly revealing" speakers properly and you will turn up warts in the upper midrange that cause the problem, which is almost always improperly blamed on ancillary components which are several orders of magnitude lower in distortion. How does a ~1% distortion component "reveal" the distortion in a .01% distortion component, anyway?

  7. #7
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    John,

    "Ruthlessly revealing" is a suspect characteristic, revealing yes, ruthless certainly not. However adverse loads, not necessarily low impedance loads rather severe phase angle, large impedance deviations cause certain amplifiers to behave suboptimally, and this indeed may be the case here. Your critique of the FST is simply not well founded, Lynn's paper and one Revel graph just won't do. As I have mentioned over and over again, if your critique was indeed correct, why is this apparent signature behaviour not present in the 700 series, the B&W 705 is neither harsh nor bright, yet it has an acoustic crossover at about 3.7kHz, and as RGA never cease to remind us the bass rolls off very early, so the midrange and treble are very much exposed to scrutiny.

    On the issue of the distortion, it is about spectrum of the distortion rather than the THD, it is a pity that THD still dominates audio specs,(because it much easier to measure, though practically useless). The distortion spectrum forms part of the signature of any audio component especially loudspeakers, their distortion spectrum still differentiates them since distortion is generally much higher than other components, apart from SET amps, across the board.
    Last edited by theaudiohobby; 09-26-2005 at 11:18 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by theaudiohobby
    John,

    "Ruthlessly revealing" is a suspect characteristic, revealing yes, ruthless certainly not.
    Well, as you know, I would disagree with you hear. When someone says a speaker is "revealing", that usually means it has some upper midrange/treble issues (all speaker do, just some worse than others) that will be described by others variably as "bright", "fatiguing", "harsh" or maybe even "too detailed". When it is bumped up to "ruthlessly revealing", then the problem is fairly severe.

    However adverse loads, not necessarily low impedance loads rather severe phase angle, large impedance deviations cause certain amplifiers to behave suboptimally, and this indeed may be the case here.
    Possible, but not likely. Unless the speaker is being driven by a Sony receiver or something, it's not likely to be a problem. Most of the time, these 90dB+ speakers are being driven by uber amps that offer no alibis.

    Your critique of the FST is simply not well founded, Lynn's paper and one Revel graph just won't do. As I have mentioned over and over again, if your critique was indeed correct, why is this apparent signature behaviour not present in the 700 series, the B&W 705 is neither harsh nor bright, yet it has an acoustic crossover at about 3.7kHz, and as RGA never cease to remind us the bass rolls off very early, so the midrange and treble are very much exposed to scrutiny.
    Interesting. I have many people who tell me just how bright they are. Especially one person who LOVES brightness and he chose the 703 speakers because of that. He thinks the new D series is too warm and fuzzy. Since, as you know, most people equate brightness or harshness with detail, the new warmer D series may alienate a few B&W faithful. It is possible to have a warm tonal balance and have a lot of distortion in the midrange - this just makes the speaker sound lacking in detail. This is what is going on with the 803D which I can only decribe as very much lacking in detail and, while pleasant, it is the furthest thing I've heard from "revealing" by B&W since the Matrix 3. But if you look at the latest HT mag, they show an obvious rollof starting at 1kHz and going right through the treble. The problem is, that simply points out how lacking in detail the midrange actually is. This is usually hidden by the brighter sound that people think is detail.

    On the issue of the distortion, it is about spectrum of the distortion rather than the THD, it is a pity that THD still dominates audio specs,(because it much easier to measure, though practically useless). The distortion spectrum forms part of the signature of any audio component especially loudspeakers, their distortion spectrum still differentiates them since distortion is generally much higher than other components, apart from SET amps, across the board.
    You are correct. THD is simply a snapshot and gives a very low result. It's spectral decay, transient issues, IM distortion that we generally hear in the midrange.

    I'm sorry that we can't agree on this whole kevlar thing, but B&W *admits* the problem in their 800D design brief. That they are "forced" to run the driver well into its breakup mode area, but they feel they have mitigated it. Well, everyone always says that. But ask any normal designer what the ideal driver is and they'll say one that is infinitely stiff with no resonance. By nature, the FST is not stiff. Worse, it has high tensile strength. Even reviewers confuse this and state how stiff the Kevlar cones are. That is incorrect. They are stiffer than denim, but not as stiff as most most plastic or paper cones and certainly not metal. The FST drivers are forced to bend in order to create the sound. Therefore, they naturally create resonances in the cone which they try to dampen, but can't really. It is definitely audible. Depending on how the speaker is voiced, it will those resonances will muddy the sound and hide detail or will add harshness and cause fatigue. Here is what B&W says on this subject:

    Both the tweeter and bass drive unit diaphragms of the 800D are designed following the ‘stiff is good’ principle. However, good reproduction in the midrange has a particular requirement that precludes this approach if a single drive unit is to be used to cover the whole range.
    Here's the funny thing. There's no reason they can't use dual midrange drivers as other companies do. Even the real Nautilus speaker is a 4-way. By the time you hit $5K or so you can build essentially the best 3-way you can build (unless you want to make the cabinet ultra fancy) and you need to move to a 4-way to improve distortion, dispersion, accuracy, etc. The 800 series are 3-ways simply because that is their tradition. Even if they feel that a speaker shouldn't have a crossover above 350Hz, using a 6" midbass from ~75Hz-350Hz and a 4.5" driver above would have done a far better job, improving midbass quality by taking it from the bass drivers and allowing for a more pistonic, wider dispersion midrange without all the coloration.

    With stiff diaphragms, the dispersion progressively narrows as the frequency increases and the wavelength becomes similar to or smaller than the diameter of the diaphragm. At 4kHz, the wavelength is 86mm (3.4 in) and so with any drive unit of a size large enough to give high output levels with low distortion at the bass-to-midrange crossover frequency, beaming is likely to be a problem. Off centre listeners are going to hear a sound with a significantly different balance from that on axis, and image precision will suffer. Having established that we do want to achieve high sound levels and do not want to use more than one drive unit, the best option is to use a drive unit with a more flexible cone material.
    Here is where they box themselves into having only one solution and therefore "must" use Kevlar. It is simply a rationalization of Kevlar. "We had to do it". No, you didn't. There are other better options, but you can bet that the establishment at B&W told the engineering department "do anything you want but it a) has to be a 3-way and b) has to use Kevlar". And so they have to try to engineer their way out of the box that they've been put into.

    That does mean that the cone is virtually certain to be operating in its break-up region for much of its usable range, but the usual deleterious effect of this (delayed resonances colouring the sound) is ameliorated greatly if the correct material is chosen."
    That one pretty much speaks for itself. I can't add much there.

  9. #9
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    So unfair

    You Titans are gathered around picking apart a pair of $20K speakers. $20k is more than my whole system. H.ll, it's more than both of my systems and the 3rd one I have planned all put together. Dudes, do you ever throw any of this stuff away? And if you do, is there a waiting list? Do I have to take a number?

    Sorry, couldn't resist.
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    GM, don't worry, it's not what you think (I think). It's not that most of us are "cup is half empty" types, but more saying that "Gee, sometimes an expensive speaker is just expensive". You can get *very* high end performance, IMO, equal or better than many expensive products for far less money if you're careful. Marketing has really taken over high-end over the past 10-15 years, primarily because of magazines like Stereophile which push the idea that you can't spend too much money and no product is overpriced. Horse hockey. Most of this stuff is overpriced, limited production stuff. Most $20K speakers have no more money in the drivers than a $5K speaker. Just because a speaker costs 2-4 times as much doesn't make it better, especially these days where the component parts are relatively affordable. There are prestige brands, value oriented brands, mass market brands and performance oriented brands. Prestige brands sell more than performance, kind of like Rolls Royce, but it will cost you. Value oriented brands often have many compromises, but are very affordable. Mass market brands are big box movers that sell their brand name to the public at large - Bose, Klipsch, Polk, etc. Performance oriented brands are generally more expensive than the value brands, less expensive than the prestige brands, but eschew glamour and style to pursue high-end sound at a reasonable price by avoiding compromise and engaging in sensible, pragmatic design. Unfortunately, performance oriented brands are few and far between. It's cool to own stuff like Krell and B&W, but you can do better sound for less, but maybe all your friends won't swoon when they see your system, only when they listen

  11. #11
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ashman
    GM, don't worry, it's not what you think (I think). It's not that most of us are "cup is half empty" types, but more saying that "Gee, sometimes an expensive speaker is just expensive". You can get *very* high end performance, IMO, equal or better than many expensive products for far less money if you're careful. Marketing has really taken over high-end over the past 10-15 years, primarily because of magazines like Stereophile which push the idea that you can't spend too much money and no product is overpriced. Horse hockey. Most of this stuff is overpriced, limited production stuff. Most $20K speakers have no more money in the drivers than a $5K speaker. Just because a speaker costs 2-4 times as much doesn't make it better, especially these days where the component parts are relatively affordable. There are prestige brands, value oriented brands, mass market brands and performance oriented brands. Prestige brands sell more than performance, kind of like Rolls Royce, but it will cost you. Value oriented brands often have many compromises, but are very affordable. Mass market brands are big box movers that sell their brand name to the public at large - Bose, Klipsch, Polk, etc. Performance oriented brands are generally more expensive than the value brands, less expensive than the prestige brands, but eschew glamour and style to pursue high-end sound at a reasonable price by avoiding compromise and engaging in sensible, pragmatic design. Unfortunately, performance oriented brands are few and far between. It's cool to own stuff like Krell and B&W, but you can do better sound for less, but maybe all your friends won't swoon when they see your system, only when they listen
    Hi John,

    Thanks for the nice reply. I was really only kidding so I didn't deserve such a civilized and informative answer.
    My system(s) are very good for me. Everyone who comes over (including some with very deep pockets) enjoy how it sounds.
    I'm just such a goofball.

    Thanks again.

    P.S.

    What number do I have on that waiting list?
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael

    What number do I have on that waiting list?
    193. Now serving 7.

  13. #13
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ashman
    193. Now serving 7.
    Cool, thanks!

    7 huh? And I see you have 7 posts. I'll be looking forward to number 193.
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  14. #14
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    John,
    I won't get into the Kevlar debate as I've heard both sides of this a hundred times over and have come to one irrefutable conclusion: neither side is going to change their mind . However, I will agree wholeheartedly that there is definitely a point of rapidly diminishing returns. To me, that point hits right around $5K with speakers, lower with the front end. After this, any advantages become minimal. This is not to say there are not improvements to be had, only that they are not equivalent to the amount of dollars invested.

    The simple fact is that once you reach the $20K plateau, people are buying far more than sheer performance. Ego takes a prominent role in the decision making process. Intangibles such as brand loyalty, wow factor, and aesthetics have as much an influence as FR charts, impedence curves, and sound quality. Why do people buy $225k Ferrari F430's when a $65K Corvette Z06 will handily outperform it? Same scenario, different product.

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    Interesting Dialogue

    Lots of good information in these posts. I am an owner of the speakers in question. In my room with my front end and amp they are fantastic! I admit to B&W loyalty. This is my fourth pair moving gradually up the price curve. There may be better buys out there but for me, these are the ultimate speaker. A large part of the price pays for the workmanship which no one has mentioned. The materials and craftmanship in this model make them a work of art in addition to being a very respectable transducer. The beauty of this hobby is that we all have our opinons and spend accordingly. There is no wrong answer if you are happy with your choices.
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    TS,
    You're right, of course. My main thing is that I get a little worked up when I see people blaming the sound of the speaker on the electronics or hearing the "only if driven by the finest components". That just isn't real. All speakers have flaws and few are very difficult to drive. And all it does is get people to spend insane amounts on ancillaries when a different speaker with more modest electronics will often sound better, though maybe with different flaws. I also see a lot of "well, you're speaker doesn't sound like my favorite speaker, therefore, yours are inferior". Well, maybe they don't sound like that *on purpose* High-end is a funny industry.

    GM, sorry, I'm the newbie here, but too many forums, too little time. I'll be *really* annoying by post 193

  17. #17
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Ashman
    TS,

    GM, sorry, I'm the newbie here, but too many forums, too little time. I'll be *really* annoying by post 193
    No problem. You can be as annoying as you want at number 193, as long as I still hold that ticket number. I'll take whatever crumbs you have available at that time.
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  18. #18
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Cincy2

    Cincy2,

    Nice pics!

    Everyone has to pick what they want based on what means the most to them. No one can deny how good these look.

    I must admit, I am looking at speakers to replace the ones in our bedroom, and getting them to match the furniture counts as well as how they sound. Why not have both, right?
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  19. #19
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    Cincy,
    That's a beautiful set-up. Very clean, although I'll bet that trapezoid back wall created some interesting problems, eh? I'm surprised at how much you've treated the room. From the tube traps to the corner traps to the room lenses, the room looks practically inert. Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a little reflection add to the sense of depth and space?

    Very nice, indeed. Love the Halcro's .

    Quote Originally Posted by john
    High-end is a funny industry.
    Now there's an understatement.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Florian's Avatar
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    Good looking system. Enjoy!

    -Flo
    Lots of music but not enough time for it all

  21. #21
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    Wink

    John, I take issue with what you said about "revealing" speakers being harsh or too bright. I know from another thread that we sometimes have different meanings in our minds of adjectives used to describe audio sound but I don't think many would agree with yours. I proudly describe my Dyn's as being revealing and they are not harsh or too bright UNLESS that is the signature, or fault of the electronics. A speaker's job is too be honest and if your equipment sounds like crap therefore your speakers should show you that.

    I don't usually disagree with Topper but I've heard gear that have had extravagant price tags and if I had the money I would purchase because they flat knocked my socks off. Price don't always equal performance but there isn't a plateau for performance either. I also firmly believe if you don't have a decent source you are wasting your money on the the rest of the system. If those of you who feel the speakers is where the money should go and that makes your system, why aren't you still listening to cassettes? I mean your system should be reasonably matched, not lopsided to either front or back end, but you should put more emphasis on the source.

    Actually, Cincy's system components are matched pretty well. I don't know what those Halcro amps cost but I'm sure it's much more than $20k and they could probably rock most any speaker on the market effortlessly. I didn't come away with the impression the B&W were worth $20k but I'm not doubting his system sounds great. Maybe the 800D needs that calibur of electronics to make them sound right. Then again, he did admit being a B&W fan which I am not. But I can respect his choice because I'm sure he didn't buy the only pair and if we all liked the same thing there wouldn't be a billion companies out there chasing the same dollar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    John, I take issue with what you said about "revealing" speakers being harsh or too bright. I know from another thread that we sometimes have different meanings in our minds of adjectives used to describe audio sound but I don't think many would agree with yours. I proudly describe my Dyn's as being revealing and they are not harsh or too bright UNLESS that is the signature, or fault of the electronics. A speaker's job is too be honest and if your equipment sounds like crap therefore your speakers should show you that.
    Well, look, I've been in this industry a long time and I can tell you that many people who say "oh, my speaker is just extremely revealing" then upgrade and say "oh, yeah, the old speakers were a bit harsh, but the NEW versions......." I had a guy tell me just the other day how harsh the B&W Nautilus tweeter was compared to the Diamond tweeter and I said "you know, just a few years ago, you stood right over there and told me that the N tweeter was the finest tweeter you'd ever heard" and he said "I did not!" And I said "Oh, yes, you did, I remember it like it was yesterday, but now that it's discontinued, it's crap?" This year's "revealing" is next year's "bright". That's why I understand this subject so well. Now, the Dynaudios? I don't know. The one's I've heard 10 years ago were clearly a tad on the warm side. However, I've heard from many people that the new ones *are* bright. I've not heard one comment to the contrary, the good ones are, as you say, "revealing". But that's okay. As Cincy says, it's all personal taste. One person's bright is another person's dull. No speaker is perfect. All have distortion elements. Some of those add "sizzle" to the sound. Others fatigue. The same element that makes one person excited might put another off. However, I have a rule. If half the people say "revealing" and the other half say "bright", it's bright. I've rarely heard a speaker that is described as "warm" also be described as revealing. Those that are, are often 1st order designs that get brighter and harsher as the volume goes up. Anyway, I could go on a LONG involved rampage on this subject, but we'll just have to agree to disagree.

    I don't usually disagree with Topper but I've heard gear that have had extravagant price tags and if I had the money I would purchase because they flat knocked my socks off. Price don't always equal performance but there isn't a plateau for performance either. I also firmly believe if you don't have a decent source you are wasting your money on the the rest of the system. If those of you who feel the speakers is where the money should go and that makes your system, why aren't you still listening to cassettes? I mean your system should be reasonably matched, not lopsided to either front or back end, but you should put more emphasis on the source.
    I totally disagree with this. Given any price point, I can reliably produce better sound by "backloading" the system vs another store that "frontloads" it. I have two main competitors who demo frontloaded $50K+ systems and I regularly steal their sales with my backloaded $7K system. I once set up a system that used zip cord for wires, a Fisher CD player, a Carver preamp, cheapy "included" patch cables and killed a brand new $25K system with it by attaching better speakers and stole the sale. If there were a competition for best sound, I'd always take a backloaded system.

    But I can respect his choice because I'm sure he didn't buy the only pair and if we all liked the same thing there wouldn't be a billion companies out there chasing the same dollar.
    As can I. It's obviously a nice setup and he's happy and if 801Ds can sound great, I'll bet those do. I was needlessly hard on him and for that I apologize. My only thing is that all speakers are flawed compared to electronics. And so we have to live with those flaws (just like living with a good woman - they still have flaws). I believe that it is a good mental and emotional thing (as well as money saving) to recognize this and be able to say "yeah, they might be a tad ______ for some, but I like that" or whatever. I have a good customer that loves his B&Ws exactly because they're bright to him and he likes that. I can tell you what's "wrong" with every speaker I sell. I sometimes joke that there's no such thing as a "great sounding" speaker, only "less bad sounding" ones. Not a good sales pitch though

  23. #23
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    John, all I can say is that you must be a good salesman because no matter how you back end your system it won't reproduce what isn't there in the first place. Your system would be totally limited by the Fisher cd player and no matter how you might try to convince me or some one there's no way that Fisher will give the information or performance of a Krell, Arcam or similar quality cd player. I was in a repair shop several years ago and the tech used a cheap pair of Kenwood speakers on the bench, he through an old McIntosh tube amp on them and I was amazed at how good those old speakers sounded. I can't remember the source. That was one of the first examples that stuck in my mind even though the amp wasn't the source it still made more of a difference than putting a high end pair of speakers on his test receiver. I guess we will agree to disagree because I am absolutely convinced that front end loading will yield higher quality sound overall.

    As far as new series that come out, I tend to, wait and see, if it's actually offering anything better than the older series. Typically on higher end gear the change is warranted where mass merchants have to keep the faces changing to excite new business from foolish consumers like the one you described.
    Mark Levinson #512
    Pass Labs XP-10 & X250
    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
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    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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    PS Audio Quintet

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    John, all I can say is that you must be a good salesman because no matter how you back end your system it won't reproduce what isn't there in the first place. Your system would be totally limited by the Fisher cd player and no matter how you might try to convince me or some one there's no way that Fisher will give the information or performance of a Krell, Arcam or similar quality cd player.
    Well, let's put it this way, the difference was so amazing that even my competitor's employee finally just threw his hands up and left. In this case, yes, there was $20K worth of Krell CD/Pre/Amp and exotic cable vs old, beat up, crappy electronics, that I would argue suck, driving a better speaker and the better speaker won. Pick your "dream" system at any price point and I'll gladly come over and spank it with a backloaded system. Which has nothing to do with my capabilities or anything, just the reality that speakers/room/setup is more than 90% of the battle. Yes, in this case, a CRAP Fisher CD player beat out a Krell CD player that cost 20 times as much.

    I guess we will agree to disagree because I am absolutely convinced that front end loading will yield higher quality sound overall.
    Yes, but I can actually prove I'm right

  25. #25
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    Cincy2, may I ask how you like the Transparent Reference XL speaker cables and Interconnects with the 800Ds? Have you tried any other combinations of cables with them?

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