B&W (Bowers & Wilkins) Matrix 800 Series 1 loudspeakers
Serial #: 076
Finish: English Walnut veneer
Condition: Excellent condition, tested before listing
Serious inquiries only please.
Local pickup in Ellensburg WA. Shipping crates not available.
Recommend lift gate or moving van for transport. Dimensions: 75.375" H by 19.25" W by 23.25" D. Weight: 240 lbs.
Stereophile Class A Rated Speakers. A true classic, described by audiophiles as "the best speakers I've ever heard", "some of the best speakers B&W ever made", and "they would probably be $40K if introduced now". Sonically so good they rarely come up for sale (owners would need to find something better to replace them). Renowned for exceptional dynamic capabilities and superb sound-stage reproduction (see link to full Audiophile review further below):
"Musically, it has no peers. The B&W 800 is the ultimate musicians' reference transducer, retrieving every nuance of the recorded performance. In fact, I'm putting my money where my music is, and buying the review pair. So if you want the best, and are searching for that elusive dream of the absolute, there is nothing, short of the real thing, that will bring you closer to live music."
Single owner, from the estate of a passionate audiophile and serious collector where this had minimal use as the individual had multiple audio setups. Purchased from the Pacific Northwest's premiere dealer (Definitive Audio). Maintained in a smoke-free and pet-free climate controlled environment. Paypal or Bank wire are the preferred methods of payment. Paypal will add 3%.
Stereophile Review: https://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/691bw800/index.htm
The overall sonic impact of the Matrix 800 is a study in perfection. Products such as the Wilson Audio WAMM and the Infinity IRS V will definitely put more sound into a larger space. But I do not believe that any other speaker, regardless of cost or size, offers the same magical mixture of ultimate clarity, dynamic impact, and musical integrity supplied by the 800. On the top end of the dynamic scale, the Matrix 800 is totally effortless, with never a sense of strain or sonic compression. Of course, some of the other heavy hitters in the speaker world will transmit the same volume of sound, but not with the 800s' speed and control. The leading edge of attack (in other words, what happens immediately before and after a musical transient) is so necessary to the overall sonic impression. A bass tuba transient will move much more air than a bassoon; a double-bass attack will have more sonic weight than a violin. And when a full orchestra is involved, the speaker must be able to reproduce each separate instrumental transient accurately, en masse, or the entire sonic picture will be compressed and dull. This is where the 800's amazing dynamic speed and ease are apparent. Every instrumental and vocal attack is clear, precise, and transparent, with the proper weight and focus, just as in live performance.
The 800 is equally impressive on the other end of the dynamic scale. Even during the loudest climaxes in vocal and orchestral music, this speaker retrieves the finest dynamic nuances, allowing every musical line to be clearly heard. All of the softest "sub-dynamic" attacks heretofore lost in playback are now clearly reproduced, allowing the listener to hear into, rather than at, the performance. So while this speaker will pin you against the back of your chair with a 100dB+ wavefront, it will simultaneously retain the low-level resolution formerly associated with the finest electrostatic designs. It can speak very softly, but carries a big stick.
If you value accurate soundstaging, this is your ideal speaker. Many others give impressive displays of depth, width, and even height. But nothing, so far, equals the natural sense of ambience and musical reconstruction within the soundstage. I use the term musical, since many similar products rely on frequency aberrations to supply dimensionality. The 800 does not, and in fact does something else that I believe is a first: accurate rendition of size within the soundstage. As an example, the Mercury Living Presence reissue CD of British and American Band Classics (Frederick Fennell/Eastman Wind Ensemble, Mercury 432 009-2) features a group of approximately 44 musicians, seated in tight block formation, in five rows. All in all, a very compact ensemble. With every other speaker, it has always come off sounding like a big wind band, spread out on the stage. But the Matrix 800 portrays it accurately: a small group playing on a very large stage. Conversely, the Vienna Philharmonic spreads from wall to wall, and 50' behind the speakers in the CBS recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony 3 (Lorin Maazel, CBS M2K 42403). The horn section is solidly placed well behind the speakers, and above stage level (the VPO, like most other European orchestras, plays on tiered risers), with the strings appearing far forward, at ground level.
Harmonically, the 800 is dead on. Not only are the harmonic structures of individual instruments and voices amazingly well reproduced, but the pitch of each is also clearly delineated. One might not think that this is important, but pitch clarity allows the listener to pick out individual musical components within complex passages (such as one voice in a choir of a hundred), and hear, for better or worse, each performer's intonation. This is one of the things that I have always been aware of in live performance, but up until now had not been able to retrieve from recorded source material.
Every musician who has heard these speakers has come away in awe. The harmonic accuracy, overall clarity, and realistic rendition of the musical impact is without peer. Andrew Litton, after hearing a playback of his Tchaikovsky Symphonies 1 and 2 with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Virgin Classics VC 7 91119-2) proclaimed this to be the first time that he had ever heard a performance as it sounded in the hall, in proper perspective, with all of the impact intact. Interestingly enough, one is not aware of the spectacular bass response, the open and clear midrange, or the smooth high end. Nor does one single out the incredibly lifelike soundstage, extending far beyond the speaker and room boundaries. Why? Because listening to this speaker makes you forget you're hearing sounds through a mechanical device. When you hear music through the Matrix 800, you're not hearing hi-fi--you are at the performance. Above all else, this speaker brings the human essence behind the performers to life. And that is what musical reproduction is all about.
There are none.
The B&W Matrix 800 redefines the art of loudspeaker design. To this end, it goes far beyond anything else currently available, regardless of price or size. While I can't imagine anyone not being impressed with the sheer dynamic capabilities and enormous soundstage of this speaker, it is far too demanding of time and ancillary electronics for the casual listener. Musically, it has no peers. The B&W 800 is the ultimate musicians' reference transducer, retrieving every nuance of the recorded performance. In fact, I'm putting my money where my music is, and buying the review pair. So if you want the best, and are searching for that elusive dream of the absolute, there is nothing, short of the real thing, that will bring you closer to live music.
Three-way, reflex-loaded loudspeaker with line-level bass equalizer. Drive-units: two 12" polymer-cone bass, two 5" Kevlar-cone midrange, one 1.25" ferrofluid-cooled, metal-dome tweeter. Frequency response: 23Hz-20kHz, ±2dB free-field. Impedance: 4 ohms nominal (3 ohms minimum). Sensitivity: 93dB for 2.83V at 1m. Recommended power: 150W-800W.