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B&W Matrix 801 Series 2
21 Reviews
rating  4.62 of 5
MSRP  2950.00
Description: 6th-Order Butterworth Vented Speakers (1987-1991)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by George S. Roland a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 21, 2014

Bottom Line:   
I do not know how these massive speakers received the "bookshelf" designation here because at ca. 40 inches tall and 115 pounds each, they are hardly bookshelf speakers!
I have owned a lot of speakers in my time including horn-loaded units (Klipsch Cornwalls, Klipschorns and Altec Lansing Model 19s) panel units (Magnepan MG 1.6 QRs, Quad ESL-63s) and direct radiators (PSB Stratus Golds, Thiel CS 3.6s) to name but a few.
I just purchased a pair of B&W Matrix 801 Series 2 about a month ago, and they are, by a fairly large margin, the best loudspeakers I have ever heard.
The clarity and detail they extract from recordings is remarkable. Imaging is excellent and they can reproduce large orchestral climaxes with the full weight and authority required. Such passages do not get smeared, flattened or muddled as they do with most speakers but pour forth with goose-bump-inducing purity.
I was a little hesitant to buy them because of their "ruthlessly revealing" reputation which often signals hard, fatiguing highs to which I am very sensitive. I have not found this to be a problem. I am using Audio Research tube electronics and am very satisfied with the sound I am getting.
Winderful speakers!

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:1
Submitted by keith middlehurst a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: May 11, 2010

Bottom Line:   
i have not got. i listened at norman audio, they are good, but very expensive. not realistic at the price.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by spydey550 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2009

Bottom Line:   
In reading a few of the reviews it dawned on me that reactions to these speakers are very different in opinion. If one understands the perspective that the Bowers & Wilkins engineers were trying to convey one would know the precise characteristics they were attempting to achieve. B&W has always set as their goal to produce a sound that is very flat across the spectrum. What this means is the sound they attempted to produce is brutally honest to the very recording being played through them. I personally like playing around with the sound recording and engineering side of music. That being said, a flat precise monitor is what I would need to be sure of the recording being produced. This can be good and at times disappointing. If the recorded material is produced successfully then WOW,the sound is simply astounding! Other times the recorded info is less than perfect and it makes it self manifest in such a way as one wanting to run and hide in embarrassment! This is the perspective I have when I sit for a listening session. There are other speakers that can do a thing better here and there but overall there is not a speaker out there still, in the right environment, with the right "recipe" of amps, pre stage and transport system that can produce the utopia of sound that I experience with the 801's. I have tried countless combinations through out the years... thats what an audiophile does, I still come back to the 801's. The value is unmistakable. The key in doing them justice is in all the other equipment involved. The sound quality is only as good as its weakest link, right down to a dedicated power source and separate grounding. Let the experiments continue but for now the 801's are still the reference standard. There is a reason they are so popular all over the world and still on the class A reference lists of many audiophile organizations. They are what they are, nothing more , nothing less.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Dan Sledge a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 19, 2007

Bottom Line:   
I have found that many speakers will have strengths in one area or another but the Matrix 801 Series 2 is still the best all around speaker that I have heard to date.

Simply awesome from high through midrange to the lowest of lows! There is a reason these speakers are still world famous however they do best on high quality peripherals and especially amps with high power - I strongly suspect that the reviewers who knock these are really hearing limitations in their other epuipment that are simply being laid bare by the 801's.

The low price of the 801's is what leads people to underestimate them and is probably their greatest weakness as they often get paired up with junk amplifiers and cheap transports.

When placed properly and in an acoustically good room and a good amp the bass is the most accurate I've ever heard. In many audiophile speakers it is simply missing.

The mids and highs are also up there with the best and the detail is second to none. The Matrix 801 sounds awesome and effortless to me - totally engaging.

As usual B&W combines the finest detail while keeping all the subtlety and musical emotion. B&W build quality is excellent and these speakers are now one of the best used deals out there.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   Pre 1995

Price Paid:    $2600.00

Purchased At:   Used



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by ckazanci a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: June 30, 2007

Bottom Line:   
Maybe they were great once upon a time; but there is better stuff now. If you are looking for a deal on high-end audio; look for used Dynaudio's. These do NOT have the detail of Dynaudio Audience 80's or Contour 2.5T's. These speakers are huge and cost plenty; so shouldn't they sound as good as a pair of used Dyn's? Well, they don't. You don't even have to test it side by side, it is way apparent.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   1996




Reviews 1 - 5 (21 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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