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802 D3 vs Revel Salon 2

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#1
I owned N801 since 2004 and have been tracking / listening to various speakers to keep up with progress.
I like the sound quality of Salon 2 but was not enough to justify the change.
I have been monitoring 800D, 800D2, 802D2 , also was not enough to justify the change.

Until I heard the sound of 802 D3, the D3 new design has significantly better high frequency, the speed/transient is electrostatic like, sounds of breaking glass or cymbal ringing is life like. The midrange with dedicated improved enclosure material does improve the voice clarity over the Salon2. The woofer note is better than the old D1/D2 but comparable to Salon2 ,,,that is my observation.
 

ahofer

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#2
I owned N801 since 2004 and have been tracking / listening to various speakers to keep up with progress.
I like the sound quality of Salon 2 but was not enough to justify the change.
I have been monitoring 800D, 800D2, 802D2 , also was not enough to justify the change.

Until I heard the sound of 802 D3, the D3 new design has significantly better high frequency, the speed/transient is electrostatic like, sounds of breaking glass or cymbal ringing is life like. The midrange with dedicated improved enclosure material does improve the voice clarity over the Salon2. The woofer note is better than the old D1/D2 but comparable to Salon2 ,,,that is my observation.
Possibly because they increasingly use their house curve, which is heavy on the treble in the areas you describe. Paradigm does this too, and I find it fatiguing after 15-20 minutes (subjectively).

https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-802-d3-diamond-loudspeaker-measurements

1620058440130.png
 

napilopez

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#4
I owned N801 since 2004 and have been tracking / listening to various speakers to keep up with progress.
I like the sound quality of Salon 2 but was not enough to justify the change.
I have been monitoring 800D, 800D2, 802D2 , also was not enough to justify the change.

Until I heard the sound of 802 D3, the D3 new design has significantly better high frequency, the speed/transient is electrostatic like, sounds of breaking glass or cymbal ringing is life like. The midrange with dedicated improved enclosure material does improve the voice clarity over the Salon2. The woofer note is better than the old D1/D2 but comparable to Salon2 ,,,that is my observation.
As noted by @ahofer What you're hearing almost certainly just the fact that the 802 D3 is a brighter speaker.

There's nothing wrong if you do like the 802D3 more, to be clear. You like what you like :).

But if you say 'significantly better high frequency,' the most likely explanation is simply that there high frequency response is different. Indeed it is. Perhaps more importantly, so long as the frequency responses and directivity are so different, it really makes little sense to try to say which one is 'better' in terms of transients because you will always here the difference in frequency response and directivity more.
 
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Thread Starter #5
What I like in the 802 D3 is not the brightness but is the life like sound.
What I meant by life like, is for example on good recording on glass breaking sound or violin or voice , the sounds is like a real violin or person speaking , not from a box. My Sonos speaker sounds good for background music , but I will not mistake the voice that it comes from a box vs a person.

The 802 D3 , to my observation sounds the most realistic.
For example Norah Jones SACD sounds like she was there, not coming from a box.

I notice that DAC, pre-amp, room treatment does affect frequency response.
I also notice that every person hearing has somewhat different frequency response characteristic / sensitivity.
Both Revel Salon 2 and 802 D3 sounds good to me and I focus on their imaging and wide dispersion (no narrow hot spot),

Is the above posted frequency response plot based on dBA or dBC weighted ?
Is it measured in anechoic chamber ? just curiosu.

Thanks
 

JustJones

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#6
Is the above posted frequency response plot based on dBA or dBC weighted ?
Is it measured in anechoic chamber ? just curiosu.
Click on the link to Stereophile, it shows the measurements.

Fig.3 B&W 802 D3 Diamond, anechoic response averaged across 30° horizontal window on tweeter axis at 50", corrected for microphone response, with complex sum of midrange, woofer, and port responses plotted below 300Hz.
 

AdamG247

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#7
What I like in the 802 D3 is not the brightness but is the life like sound.
What I meant by life like, is for example on good recording on glass breaking sound or violin or voice , the sounds is like a real violin or person speaking , not from a box. My Sonos speaker sounds good for background music , but I will not mistake the voice that it comes from a box vs a person.

The 802 D3 , to my observation sounds the most realistic.
For example Norah Jones SACD sounds like she was there, not coming from a box.

I notice that DAC, pre-amp, room treatment does affect frequency response.
I also notice that every person hearing has somewhat different frequency response characteristic / sensitivity.
Both Revel Salon 2 and 802 D3 sounds good to me and I focus on their imaging and wide dispersion (no narrow hot spot),

Is the above posted frequency response plot based on dBA or dBC weighted ?
Is it measured in anechoic chamber ? just curiosu.

Thanks
Welcome Aboard @MasterApex.
 

DonH56

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#8
Excellent example of how preferences vary. I thought the 800D3 and 802D3 followed the typical B&W "house curve" and were too bright in the upper treble. To me it made cymbals, strings, upper vocals etc. harsher and more strident thus less realistic. The Salon2 sounded smoother and I thought the midrange region was better integrated; the transition in sound going up and down the frequency range was more seamless with the Salon2 than the B&W's. That said, I did not really test blind, so purely subjective impressions with the speakers side by side. The dealer did the switching but I found it rather easy to pick out which speaker was playing.
 

preload

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#10
Ok so far so good. We now have the obligatory "b&w's highs sound piercing to me" comments. Next we should get a post or two about the "errors" in the B&w off axis response and the Harman target curve being correct.
 

blueone

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#11
What I like in the 802 D3 is not the brightness but is the life like sound.
What I meant by life like, is for example on good recording on glass breaking sound or violin or voice , the sounds is like a real violin or person speaking , not from a box. My Sonos speaker sounds good for background music , but I will not mistake the voice that it comes from a box vs a person.

The 802 D3 , to my observation sounds the most realistic.
For example Norah Jones SACD sounds like she was there, not coming from a box.

I notice that DAC, pre-amp, room treatment does affect frequency response.
I also notice that every person hearing has somewhat different frequency response characteristic / sensitivity.
Both Revel Salon 2 and 802 D3 sounds good to me and I focus on their imaging and wide dispersion (no narrow hot spot),

Is the above posted frequency response plot based on dBA or dBC weighted ?
Is it measured in anechoic chamber ? just curiosu.

Thanks
I haven't had the chance to hear the 802D3, but I have heard the 802D2 and 802D1 several times. I agree, when the B&W 80xD series is good, it can be seductive. But here's the thing. That "realism" you're noticing, for me, varied widely by recording, and was especially euphonic for female voices which are closely mic'd. I heard this exact effect you're describing with the 802D2, but only on certain recordings. In my experience, this is a classic sign of a significant coloration in a speaker's sound, when some recordings make you fall in love with it, and others not so much. When a dealer says that you must hear a speaker with xxx recording, you should be on the lookout for a speaker with an uneven frequency response, and the owner or the dealer has figured out what sounds good and what doesn't. That's also why I always bring my own source material to an audition.
 

DonH56

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#12
Ok so far so good. We now have the obligatory "b&w's highs sound piercing to me" comments. Next we should get a post or two about the "errors" in the B&w off axis response and the Harman target curve being correct.
I've been listening to B&Ws since the late 1970's and they've always had a similar sound to me. I did not and would not say "piercing"; to me, that sounds extreme. I did not even go to "shrill", just "strident", with certain material. "Bright" is a good description to me. And I did not listen off-axis, the room was well-treated, and never even considered the Harman curve (did not even know about it until the past few years). I did think the soundstage shifted through the midrange a bit listening to something like a female voice or sax playing but would not swear to that, not enough time comparing the two. Loads of people like the B&W sound, and many like Revel, to each his own. B&W was on my short list and I expected to go with them or an ESL (completely different) but ended up with Revel. Preference is just that...
 

Lsc

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#13
The 802D3 does sound amazing and so does the Salon2. If speakers at these levels sound “bad” or “intolerable”, it’s because people tend to get hyper sensitive at these levels. Play music through either speakers double blind, I can’t see anyone saying “please turn them off” :).

It’s personal preference so just buy the one you like better.

I’m at a level below (F228Be) where I get a lot of what these speakers offer but don’t get that “hi-end” weighty bass and probably lose a little bit of dynamics - but anyone that comes to my house is usually floored at how good my speakers sound.

I’ve always liked B&W, they cost a little more though.
 
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richard12511

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#14
What I like in the 802 D3 is not the brightness but is the life like sound.
What I meant by life like, is for example on good recording on glass breaking sound or violin or voice , the sounds is like a real violin or person speaking , not from a box.
I don't see these things (bright vs life like sound) as mutually exclusive. I think it's likely that you do actually prefer a brighter speaker, and that a brighter speaker is what sounds more life like to you. Especially with stuff like grass breaking, I can agree that brighter speakers present sounds like that with a special magic that more neutral(or warmer) speakers don't.

One other possibility is that presence region dip that B&W seems to strive for. There's another member here @preload who owns the 802D3 and Genelec 8351b(textbook neutral speaker), and he prefers the B&W. For him, it seems to be related to that presence dip, as he EQs that in to the 8351s and prefers what it does there. After reading his post, I tried it myself(I also own the 8351s). I actually thought I liked it at first, but after a few days, something was missing, and turning it off instantly made it clear that I preferred the more neutral presence region. It was different enough though where I could see how someone with different preference could enjoy it.

As others have already mentioned, I think this is a good example of how individual preferences are still important. Harman science tells us what "most" will prefer, but "most" is very different from "all" :). I see nothing wrong with preferring a more sparkly response(B&W, Paradigm) or a warmer response(Sonus Faber, Wharfedale, Harbeth). In fact, I'm glad there are manufacturers out there targeting those responses. Would be boring if every company was designing for the exact same target.
 

richard12511

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#15
Ok so far so good. We now have the obligatory "b&w's highs sound piercing to me" comments. Next we should get a post or two about the "errors" in the B&w off axis response and the Harman target curve being correct.
I think there is little doubt that the Harman neutral target is correct, so long as we realize it's limitations. It's just the curve that most listeners will prefer under blind conditions. It's not a curve that every individual will like without exception, and it doesn't claim to be.

I think it's useful for situations where someone who doesn't know exactly what they like and comes to forums looking for advice. In those situations, it's useful to point them to speakers that they are most likely to prefer based on objective data. Very experienced listeners who know they prefer an elevated treble response, are different, imo. For those, I think it makes sense to recommend them speakers that more closely resemble the curve they know they prefer.
 

dfuller

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#16
If you like the sound of B&W's house curve, more power to you. Home audio is at the end really all preference- you're not aiming for something that can be used as a studio monitor (though, I do know of a few mastering guys who use B&Ws).

Ok so far so good. We now have the obligatory "b&w's highs sound piercing to me" comments. Next we should get a post or two about the "errors" in the B&w off axis response and the Harman target curve being correct.
There is a massive Harman bias in this forum, that's for sure. But that said, I can't say I've ever heard any Harman family speaker that I've particularly liked.
 

symphara

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#17
I heard the 803 and the F208 and while the 208 seemed to me like the more "correct" speaker, I thought it was also unexciting. I'd rather have a speaker with poorer measurements but some wow factor, provided the wow factor hits the stuff I listen to.
 
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Thread Starter #18
Brightness to me in about EQ , balance among the frequencies , more gain in high = bright.
Revel has the knobs in the back to add or decrease "brightness".

I want to to explain my term and definition of "Life like".
It is the ability to "reproduce" the sounds from the recording mix of life soundstage.
So, if the SACD/file is recording life soundstage then the better speaker can reproduce the sound as if you were listening to life performance.

I bring my own SACD or file like Jazz of pawnshop , Limestone Blue which is an excellent life jazz recording.

I am so grateful to be living in the time where advanced materials and computer modeling are being used for continuous improvement.

I am in favor of B&W approach to make the cabinet inert so the cabinet does not emit sounds which can middy the clarity. life like sounds and the best material to produce the right bands of frequencies.


 

LightninBoy

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#19
I'm glad you like the B&Ws. Not sure why you feel the need to post B&W marketing materials though. It does them no favors. Example,
the first sentence from that first video: "The aim at B&W has always been to design transducers that accurately reproduce the signal".

Well, by that standard the 802 D3 is a fail.
 

MarcT

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#20
I've heard the 800D3 and other D3 models at a couple of audio shows, and I did have trouble staying in the room(hotel room) with them. The reason is that there alway seems to be sort of a "zing" to the tweeter at the upper limits of my hearing, which is around 9500 Hz. I'm not sure how to describe it, but just a super high "ringing-ness" to the sound.

Now, I had a theory about that phenomenon, which is this: I suspect that most people who are going to own and listen to music via the B&W 800D3 series speakers are going to place them in very large listening spaces. When you see pictures online of people's setups with 800 series B&Ws, they are usually in massive, open floor plans. And the listening position may be 15-20 feet from the speakers. This is the exact opposite of a small hotel room with an 8 foot ceiling. In such a small space, it seems to me that any brightness of the tweeter is going to be very noticeable, while when playing in a huge space, maybe not so much. Could it be that B&W is intentionally voicing them this way because they know that most owners are going to use them in huge spaces in which the highs will be somewhat "lost" in the sheer volume of the room?
 
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