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B&W Nautilus 801
85 Reviews
rating  4.35 of 5
MSRP  11000.00
Description: Visually stunning, the new Nautilus 801's form is governed by its function: the faithful reproduction of music, as intended by the artist, with the clarity, accuracy and dynamic scale required by discerning audiophiles and recording engineers.


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Reviews 1 - 5 (85 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:3
Submitted by Jerry a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: October 17, 2010

Bottom Line:   
I suppose it's easier for me to write a series of statements than a choesive review. Some comments on the speaker, and some advise about it.

Firstly: make sure you have enough power coming from an amp that doesn't mind running at 3ohm. The amp I initially used not only resulted in very anemic bass, but also very harsh highs (it was painful to listen at high volumes).. I spent a while trying to troubleshoot that before throwing a 750WPC amp at it. I cannot guarentee that I'm not still underpoweing in some way (the amps not really rated for 2ohm, only 500WPC at 8ohm, and the speakers are rated to 1000W), but as that's the most powerful amp available to me right now: I'll have to comment based on that.

Make sure you have room for these things. They are big. Not so much in height / width (which is big) but in depth. The manual recommends at least 2m between speaker, and at least 1/2m from walls, and that seems about right. That's a minimum of about 4m of useable wall to give these room.

I also find them a bit picky about placement. B&W's manual makes note of relatively limited off-axis response. Minor positioning changes can make some pretty large sound differences.

The cabinets are beautiful. Despite their size, the WAF is very high and every woman who has seen them has commented positively (mine are red cherrywood). They are very heavy (216lbs each). They have casters on them, but they are small and not really designed for home carpeting (I suspect they work well on office-style carpeting which is not as deep).

The upper-frequency response is still a tad bright for my taste. My discussions with others imply this might be breakup of the kevlar mid near the crossover point (the D models lowered the HF crossover to address this); but it's now subtle and likely a matter of taste (I'm spoiled by my active 4-way speakers with ribbon tweeters). The bass is filling but not as precise as some other speakers I own. Things which are intended to be very sharp LF-"cracks" become more "booms". If I hadn't heard the same songs in the same room on different gear I likely would not have noticed... though once noticed it's not really subtle. I've been told that this is related to the large woofer and that both the 800 and 802 are cleaner (even if less capable in the case of the 802). It's worth noting that the 801 doesn't seem to exist in the new line.

In short: the best looking speakers I've ever owned. Though not the best sounding, they are extremely pleasent to listen to. I'm looking forward to trying them for HT applications.

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by Yareck a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: July 3, 2006

Bottom Line:   
These speakers tell the truth about recordings (I've bought them for my mastering studio). Harsh tweeter? Definitely not true, it's extremaly clean and just simply tells all the truth. It perfectly reveals all bad equalization made to tracks during the recording or mastering. Yes, exactly, there are many poorly recorded tracks, expecially last years. I didn't even suppossed how many. But these recorded in a top studios by great engineers always sound great. Now I'm waiting for better converter, better amp and better room, but they sound great anyway.

I'm not sure, but I could guess they aren't perfect speakers for audiophile. They're actually can tell more about techniques used during recording, than give a real listening pleasure, however it's a real listening pleasure for mastering engineer.

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Used product for:   Less than 1 month

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   1998

Price Paid:    $6000.00



Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by RICKY009 a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: November 6, 2005

Bottom Line:   
GREAT SPEAKER IN EVERY WAY. NOT GOING TO WRITE MUCH EXCEPT TO SAY THAT THESE SPEAKERS NEED HIGH-POWERED AMP(S) TO DRIVE THEM. THE MORE POWER THE BETTER. YOU HAVE TO HAVE ALOT OF CURRENT TO TAKE HOLD OF THAT 15" WOOFER. FINALLY, THE ROOM HAS TO BE RELATIVELY LARGE.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2003

Price Paid:    $10000.00

Purchased At:   AUDIO CONSULTANTS



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by riosabadicci a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: September 1, 2005

Bottom Line:   
Be sure to use the right equipment to get the most out of 801s. I listened to Krell and Levison and they SUCK because they're too laid back which makes the music lack emotion. Listening should be a moving experience. The top of the line Balanced Audio Technology (BAT) with tube CD and pre-amp and solid state amp blows them away.

I listened to at least 20 "class A" rated cables and none compared to Silver Smith. However, the bass was lack-luster until I bi-wired them.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $8800.00

Purchased At:   Stereo Unlimited



Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Robert Lent a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 31, 2004

Bottom Line:   
I have to write this review to say that when I first purchased my Nautilus 801’s and brought them home I was less than excited about the bass response that I was hearing from a speaker that is known for great low end response. I tried everything to get better bass: interconnects, placement, etc. but nothing would work! I was so upset with the fact that I wasn’t getting the bass that everyone else had claimed until I change my CD player and Preamp. Who would have thought that my Krell KPS-30i and Krell KRC-HR were to blame? I would have NEVER guessed it either. I researched every preamp and CD player that was made. Then I read about a preamp from Sony Corp. – the TAE-1 which was made to compliment the SCD-1. I now have a system that makes my B&W Nautilus 801’s come to life! Unbelievable I know, but true, these two components combined with my Krell FPB-600 brought my speakers to life. It’s a wonderful speaker if matched with the right components. My only complaint now is that I wish they were engineered to be much more efficient. These kittens need tons of power. They make my Krell FPB-600 sweat during a long listening session. Outstanding.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $9500.00

Purchased At:   Audio Classics




Reviews 1 - 5 (85 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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