Great opportunity to own B&W 803 Diamond tweeter speakers ( FIRST VERSION called 803D) in CHERRY A truly, FANTASTIC Pair of FLOOR STANDING DIAMOND Speakers.These are already priced right and feature the Diamond Tweeter and are
Serial # 1515 & 1516.
First Generation Diamond Speakers ready to be enjoyed by you ?
Supper Clean pair : from an Authorized B&W Dealer.
Comes with New Factory Boxes and packing.
Originally $5,000 each now the B&W 803 Diamond 3's are $8,500 each = $17,000 pr.
PLEASE NO LOW OFFERS CONSIDERED !
Pick up in Los Angeles Preferred.
Please note: WE OFFER the Highest trade in's on virtually all AUDIO Trade
in's and were paying TOP DOLLAR for all B&W Speakers in trade or in CASH. Also available separately B&W HTM-1 Nautilus Center in Rosenut (call for details and listed separately).
From SoundStage Magazine:
The 803 Diamond’s most prominent design feature -- and the one most
visitors to my listening room commented on first -- is the Nautilus
Tapering Tube (NTT) that sits atop its cabinet. This oblong enclosure
houses the latest iteration of B&W’s 1" diamond tweeter, features
that are common to all the speakers in the line. The new tweeter employs
a quad-magnet-powered voice-coil and a new surround material, among
other improvements on the 800D models. The NTT driver-loading method is
designed to dissipate the tweeter’s backwave -- the soundwaves generated
by the rearward motion of the tweeter diaphragm, which can negatively
affect the direct response of the driver if not somehow suppressed or
absorbed. The NTT is filled with damping material and acts as a black
hole for sound. Those highs simply are not reflected back out the front
to your ears.
other obvious design feature that stands out is the 6" yellow Kevlar
midrange driver, in this case a special version developed by B&W
called a Fixed Suspension Transducer (FST). This unit is unique in the
world of speaker drive-units in not having a conventional surround (the
ring of rubber or foam that links cone to basket and lets the driver
cone travel back and forth). In fact, B&W calls the FST
"surroundless," because it terminates in the same material of which the
cone proper is made: Kevlar. There is a foam ring, however; it
sits directly under the termination point of the cone to the basket and
absorbs resonances transmitted by the cone -- a task normally
accomplished by a drive-unit’s surround. One problem this method solves
that B&W thinks is critical are the acoustic cancellations caused by
the surround. They state that the cancellation issue "involves the cone
moving more than it should in one direction, while the surround moves
in the opposite direction. Whether this results in a dip, peak or no
change in the amplitude response depends on the relative area velocity
of the cone and surround, but more often than not it is a dip, often
referred to as the surround dip. These standing-wave patterns can be
modified if attention is paid to the mechanical impedance of both the
surround and the voice coil. If these can be matched to the mean
mechanical impedance of the outer rim and neck of the cone respectively,
bending wave reflections can be reduced in magnitude, with a consequent
reduction in the level of delayed energy coloration." B&W says that
since cone excursions are small in the frequency band in which this
driver operates, this termination method yields better sound than would a
The 90-pound weight of the 803 Diamond gives some clue that there’s
more in the box than might be indicated by its not-huge dimensions of
45.8"H x 12"W x 18"D. Inside is the Matrix -- a network of horizontal
and vertical braces of MDF that has been a hallmark of B&W’s top
speakers for about 20 years, and that strongly damps the cabinet while
keeping its walls from flexing.
I was also captivated by the bass section of this three-way
loudspeaker. Instead of the 802 Diamond’s twin 8" woofers, the 803
Diamond has three dual-magnet 7" Rohacell drivers. That doesn’t seem
like much of a liability to me -- in fact, you can argue that having
three motor systems instead of two might even result in better power
handling, due to the greater thermal dissipation available from three
voice-coils instead of two. B&W states on their website that the 803
Diamond gives up very little in the bass range to the 802.
I prefer the look of the 803 to any other model in the Diamond range,
although the 805’s near-perfect proportions come close. The painted
Piano Gloss Black finish on my samples was glossy and smooth, and
rivaled some of the best finishes I’ve seen, if falling short by the
narrowest margin due to a slight waviness in the MDF enclosure. The
black paint was virtually free of swirls, however. Rosenut and
Cherrywood real-wood veneers are also available.
The front venting of the 803 Diamond is handled by a Flowport, whose
dimpled surface resembles that of a golf ball. The dimples address the
smooth flow of air leaving the enclosure. The Flowport is said to
prevent the dreaded port chuffing at high volume levels.
The 803 Diamond’s claimed frequency responses are 35Hz-28kHz, ±3dB,
and 28Hz-33kHz, -6dB. The sensitivity is listed as 90dB/W/m, the nominal
impedance 8 ohms. The rated power capacity is 500W with unclipped
program material. Two pairs of custom binding posts are included for
biamping or biwiring, and they’re some of the best I’ve used: easy to
tighten, extremely sturdy, and while they’re unknurled, I could easily
get a firm grip on them to ensure a tight, secure cable connection.
Jumpers are supplied for single-wiring.
I set up the 803 Diamonds in my Music Vault listening room and tried
to find the best locations for them. As with all speakers I audition in
this room, this involved a lot of trial and error: listening, moving,
measuring the frequency response, listening some more. The 803s ended up
slightly toed-in and 11’ 8" apart (measured from tweeter to tweeter),
4’ 3" from the front wall (from the cabinets’ rear panels), with 5’ 7"
between each speaker’s outer side panel and the corresponding sidewall.
The supplied grilles attach with magnets, a nice touch seen in more and
more speakers these days, but I left them off for the duration of the
A loudspeaker’s overall sound is largely a function of its tonal
balance -- a conclusion I came to a while back, after many years of
reviewing speakers. Conducting in-room measurements has taught me much,
but nothing set so solidly in stone as the fact that an accurate
statement of a speaker’s frequency response (FR) will tell you quite a
bit about how loudspeakers will sound when you’re seated in a chair
planted in front of them. The 803 Diamond had a distinctive sonic
character in my room that seems to me to be a deliberate effort by
B&W to follow a house sound through an expertly tailored FR. Such a
design choice -- a speaker’s voicing, if you like -- can be a matter of
taste, and in this instance I liked the results, and imagine you will,
When you see that diamond tweeter perched atop the 803, you might at
first assume that the speaker’s highs will sonically stick out from the
whole, and perhaps create a tipped-up, bright tonal balance. Like other
audiophile myths -- e.g., that silver cables always sound thin --
having a diamond tweeter physically separated from the rest of the
drive-units can be visually disconcerting, even if the sonic results are
quite different. In the case of the 803 Diamond, what I heard on first
listen was a high range that was just the opposite of what you might
expect -- it was expertly integrated into a very smooth overall
sound, and didn’t stick out in any way. Forget spotlit highs or bright
sound -- the 803 was the antithesis of all that. I won’t say that the
highs were actually subdued -- there were still goodly amounts of
detail, sparkle, and life -- but the upper frequencies were neatly
tucked into the overall sound and never called attention to themselves.
Listening to Carla Lother sing "Let’s Grow Old," from her 100 Lovers
(24/96 AIFF, Chesky/HDtracks), accompanied by acoustic guitar, gave
clear evidence of this. There was detail aplenty in the strings, but
this detail never sounded like a hyped-up addition to the recording. The
sound of Lother’s voice, on down to the percussion, was continuous and
smooth and, again, well integrated into the whole without flaw. Most
important, the generous highs in this hi-rez track never grated or made
me want to turn down the volume.
The above description gives you a hint of the rest of the picture.
Yes, the 803 Diamond had a full, slightly rich tonal balance. The
midrange was clean and clear -- I heard nothing that obscured the middle
frequencies -- and because of this I heard very deep into vocal
recordings. But there was enough body in male voices, for instance, to
make the 803 a captivating listen with music of many types. This full
tonal balance added a touch of presence and, in some cases, drama. I
enjoyed recordings such as Livingston Taylor’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s
"Isn’t She Lovely," from Ink (24/96 AIFF, Chesky/HDtracks),
because of how the 803 clearly revealed the nuance and expression in
Taylor’s singing. His whistling at the start was every bit as detailed
and clean as the beryllium tweeter I heard in PBN Audio’s Montana Sammy loudspeaker ($29,500/pair, reviewed on Ultra Audio in October of 2010), though the 803’s highs were a bit lower in level in absolute terms (and certainly lower in level than the KEF Reference 205/2, which Randall Smith reviewed for SoundStage! Hi-Fi
in September 2010). The lower midrange was a touch more forward than
the slightly recessed mids of the PBN. This gave greater presence to
Taylor’s voice, making him sound very in-the-room close to my listening
position. I could hear the detail and texture in his singing, and a hint
of warmth that translated into extra-beautiful tone color.
The bass range was almost everything I’d hoped for. The 803
was abundant in most of the bass qualities I look for: great punch,
check; excellent articulation, yes; good weight down low, yessiree. But
the 803 couldn’t play quite low enough to be a world beater. Were my
expectations too high? Maybe, but when I listened to my go-to track for
bass depth and power, "Norbu," from Bruno Coulais’s soundtrack for Himalaya
(CD, Virgin 8 48478 2), the 803s didn’t quite fully energize my room.
They came so close, though. I could clearly hear and feel the whack of
mallet on drum skin -- a nimble display of finesse and articulation on
the 803’s part. I could feel the walls of my listening room start
to flex, and hear and feel the decay of the big drum as it rolled right
on behind me. But the last 5% -- that elusive bit of low-end power that
would have made the 803 Diamond a genuine giant killer -- was missing.
Is this a fatal flaw? Hardly. Get a subwoofer, perhaps from B&W, or
from Paradigm or JL Audio, and you’re all set. The bass that the 803s
did produce was hard to fault in terms of quality, that’s for sure.
The soundstaging was as wide as from any pair of speakers in recent
memory. The slightly upfront nature of the 803’s lower midrange did mean
that there wasn’t the soundstage depth I’ve heard with some
other speakers that have a more distant midband (a recessed midrange can
create more apparent depth, even if it’s artificial). The result of the
presence in the midrange was that the 803s could sound very intimate,
giving me great insight into the singing in many different genres of
music. Jazz vocals recorded in small venues were simply breathtaking,
for instance. I think folks will be satisfied with the imaging and
soundstaging capabilities of the 803 Diamonds; there was accurate focus,
and I could easily map the soundstage in my mind. The 803s didn’t sound
ethereal or crazy-spacious, but they certainly let me know how
recordings were miked and exactly where instruments were placed.
Last, the 803 Diamond seemed to reach a heightened level of
liveliness when propelled by slightly more power than I use with most
speakers. They sounded fine at low levels, mind you, but they sounded
most alive -- the elusive "jump factor" that audiophiles speak of --
when my Boulder amplifier was asked to feed them more watts. The
takeaway: To hear all that the 803 Diamond can do, make sure you have a
powerful amplifier of at least a couple hundred watts.
The 803 could also play plenty loud. Perhaps this quality was born of
the ubiquity of B&W speakers in recording studios across the world,
where output capability without damage really matters. I didn’t try to
actually destroy the 803s, but I did give them a pretty good beating. They never flinched.
Bowers & Wilkins has crafted a fine loudspeaker in the 803
Diamond. It leans slightly toward the warm side of the audioband -- it never
approached cool or lean -- a characteristic that will make it sound
good to most listeners. It never grated or fatigued, and the integration
of B&W's hallmark diamond tweeter was deftly accomplished. Its bass
was satisfying in terms of quality and, in terms of quantity, ever so
close to forget-the-subwoofer territory. It will give you most
everything you need in the lows, but I’m a big-speaker guy, so perhaps
my wants in this area are more extreme than most. Still, I know of many
speakers costing over $10k, and some well over, that won’t do low bass like the 803.
When you plunk down your ten grand for a pair of 803 Diamonds, you
get something more than really good sound. You get to own a B&W -- a
speaker with a lineage as impressive as any brand’s. This is a wholly
finished product that will not disappoint in any part of the ownership
experience, and I can’t say that of everything in the high end. If
you’re looking at speakers for over $10,000 and they aren’t
better than the 803 Diamond, then they just aren’t competitive high-end
speakers. Listen to it and do the comparisons -- the wide availability
of the brand ensures that you’ll have reasonable access. I’m quite sure
that the 803 Diamonds will find homes in many fine music systems across
the world, and rightly so.
. . . Jeff Fritz
- Amplifier -- Boulder Amplifiers 2060
- Preamplifier -- Boulder Amplifiers 1010
- Source -- Apple MacBook laptop running Amarra 2.1, Weiss DAC202 digital-to-analog converter
- Speaker cables -- Analysis Plus Big Silver Oval
- Interconnects -- Analysis Plus Silver Oval-In
Bowers & Wilkins 803 Diamond Loudspeakers
Was Price: $10,000 USD per pair.
Now D-3's are $17,000 per pair.
Warranty: Five years parts and labor.
B&W Group North America
54 Concord Street
North Reading, MA 01864
Phone: (978) 664-2870
Fax: (978) 664-4109
E-mail: [email protected]
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