B&W Nautilus 805 Bookshelf Speakers

4.54/5 (159 Reviews) MSRP : $2000.00


Product Description

High End Bookshelf Speaker - 6.5" Woofer and 1" Tweeter


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Reviews 1 - 5 (159 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Ziggy1978 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 6, 2017

Bottom Line:   
This review is for the B&W 805S, the upgraded model made in 2005 after the famous 805 Nautilus. I use them with a solid state audio system, all Audio Analogue.
CD Player: Audio Analogue Maestro 24-192 Rev.2
Preamplifier: Audio Analogue Maestro Preamplifier (tweaked with Sonicap capacitors)
Power Amp: Audio Analogue Maestro Monoblock (200 watt/8 ohm)
Cables: All Straight Wire Crescendo I
Stands: Solid Steel SL6 and B&W FS-N805 (original stands)
First of all, an advice about the stands....B&W sold for these speakers a pair of very nice stands, made by aluminium and cast iron;the problem with these stands, even if the central column is filled with silver sand and lead shot, is that they muddy lowest frequencies and make the voices somewhat grainy and harsh, with gritty sibilance. I tried every possible tweak with them: blu-tack or spikes or sorbothane between the speaker and the top plate, brass cones for the base, add Dynamat,etc... but just putting the speakers on a rigid and lightweight stands like the Solid Steel the sound improve, especially in the critical range of the voices and the lowest bass. Now the sound is less thick and the soundstage shrink a bit, but the timbre is much more smooth and linear, no doubt about that. So my advice is.....forget the original-expensive-just beauty oem stands and take something like Sound Anchor.
For the sound of the speakers: they love amplifiers with smooth high frequencies and plenty of power in the bottom....the kevlar cones can eat a lot of watts without distortion, really.
The kevlar mid-bass recreate smooth and articulate medium-low frequency, with very good sense of the rhythm in the regions of acoustic bass and rock drum; the lowest bass (under 50 hz) obviously is not on the agenda here, it is a bit overdamped (see reflex measurement on Stereophile or italian Audio Review n.267), but, for the speaker's size, is very good, always clean and fast. The medium frequencies are the best part, honest, detailed but naturally smooth. The tweeter is improved respect to the 805 Nautilus, the aluminium resonance is now at 30 Khz, the sound is sweeter and more detailed, but the diamond dome is on another league IMHO.
Some other advice: 1 - in the manual b&w advice to connect the jumper terminals to the lowest connectors for better sound in the case someone is using the speakers in monowiring configuration, but I noted in two different systems that when reversing the jumpers to the highest connectors, the voices are more coherent. 2 - often, but not always, I noted that these speakers prefer copper cables to the silver ones.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2006



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

Date Reviewed: December 5, 2016

Bottom Line:   
Amazing speakers. Waited and saved for so long to get a second hand pair for approx USD 1000 and blown away by the details and clarity this speakers provide.
I had 602 s3 and this was my favourite speaker but due to damage I had to upgrade to 685's. Since then I felt that I need a sub as something was missing. Having the 805n next to 685 s1 has confirmed that older 805 is a class of it's own. Silky trebles, accurate mids and deep controlled bass in such a small bookshelves. Don't get me wrong , 6 series is excellent value but 8 is in it's own class. After the upgrade I disconnected the subwoofer.Really don't need it. 805's respond to 34-36 Hz , I've tested using the tone generator.
I listened to them 1st in big room on emotiva amp and now playing in medium room on CA 740A. Maybe I'll upgrade amp next time. For now it plays great and 2x100 rms seems to be sufficient power for them. If you still can find a good pair ,IMHO do not hesitate to buy.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:3
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Ben Griffin a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 19, 2015

Bottom Line:   
After a long wait I was finally able to afford a pair of these highly rated speakers, needless to say as many things in life the wait was not justified, to say I was disappointed is an understatement as much as I wanted to like them I just don't I've tried several set ups Bi-Amped and Single Amped on stands on shelves and all over the room We find ourselves listening to a 30 year old pair of Dynaco's A25s that we paid less than $200 for, instead of a pair of $2000 B&W NO WOW factor and the very thing B&W is famous for voices is not that great either if you can't find a better set of speakers for a lot less money you ain't listened to many speakers. Save your money $1000 speakers can & will blow them away but if you really want a pair I'll sell mine in a heart beat

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2005



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Gary McAleer a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 22, 2010

Bottom Line:   
The B&W 805 speakers are my studio-mix speakers of choice. Using a Studiomaster P7 24ch. board, Crest V1100 amp and MIT cables the B&W's provide the perfect tonal characteristics for virtually every sound system my mixes are played on. (This is no compliment to me but to the speakers' trustworthiness.) The presence of the instruments sounds like your just a few feet away, unlike most speakers where the presence of the instruments sounds like they're forty feet away. —And some times they even sound like they're back stage : ^ ) But the best compliment I can give to the B&W 805's is that every style of music: from classical (piano and symphonic alike) and jazz (standard and fusion alike) to rock and motown: all sound balanced, musical, even caressing with very minimal listening fatigue. Even the famed Dynaudio speakers don't caress the acoustic nerve the way the 805's do. I've been in million dollar studios where the most expensive speakers were used for the mix. And while it sounds great in the studio, once you hear the performance on consumer grade equipment it becomes a crap shoot whether the EQ will balance out. More often than not it doesn't. Again, the B&W 805's virtually fit anywhere on any system. I could compliment these speakers all day, but I appreciate the proverb, "Shut up before you think you're half way done."

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2000



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by sune a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: September 16, 2009

Bottom Line:   
Hi Fellow sound nerds,

This speaker has been a love/hate relationship for me. I can only conclude that what people say about feeding this thing with the right frontend, seems to be very very true. I have found that every change in my system has had a profound effect on the result produced.

I used to have to b&w 601 and provoking a different result by changing a component in the front end was clearly possible, but it was nowhere near what the situation as with the n805's. So after going through 4 different power amps, 2 preamps and changing out signal cables I have landed upon a result that is vastly(!) different from what I started with (Yes every cables, power and pre amp swich all brought substantial change). I'm not so sure you need an expensive frontend, actually I'm quite sure that the wrong expensive frontend could be quite horrible. I heard it sounding quite nice with a German Grundig integrated :-) However hifi amps from Copland and Quad were not the ticket for me.

I will advice you to be able to try this speaker in the configuration it's going to play in before committing, If you can't do that you should be prepared that you might need to do a lot of experimentation and changing out of equipment till you get great results. Mine have gone from being over analytical, lean, cold, tinny, harsh, uneven bass and fatiguing (I almost wanted to cry when I got home and my non audiphile dog and girlfreind both ran and hid when the system played) to being balanced, slightly warm, much more, even, tight and full bass and without any harsh/iterating treble. But it's been a long road. Actually it now has the ability to certainly dissect the music, but is very musical and quite forgiving of lesser records. Amy Winehouse "Back to Black" still sounds awful - so there are limits :-) But old dodgy jazz recordings, some of the lesser Ella and Sinatra, 70’s soul records, Elvis Golden records and something like Radioheads "In Rainbows" all sound great. And of course audiophile recordings shine.

My system is like follows (I'm sure that it could use some more love in the source, cable and preamp departments at a later point):
Source: Cambridge Dacmagic / Pro-Ject Debut III
Preamp: Parasound p/hp 850
Poweramp: Sugden Signature 41p
Speakers: B&W Nautilus 805 on original sand filled stands
Interconnects: Mogami 2549 seudo-balanced homemade
Speaker Cable: Tara Labs Helix 8 bi-wire cable (This might need a change soon)

By the way I was a professional performing and recording musician and music composer/producer in my former life and thus have tons of reference from playing and recording music ranging from acoustic jazz, rock, pop, folk and electonic music.

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Used product for:   3 Months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2002




Reviews 1 - 5 (159 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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