B&W Matrix 803 Series 2 Floorstanding Speakers

B&W Matrix 803 Series 2 Floorstanding Speakers 

DESCRIPTION

(2) 6.5" Woofers, 6.5" Mid-Range and 1" Tweeter (1994-1998)

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 29  
[Nov 29, 2018]
Magvus


Strength:

Amazingly sounding speakers. I've had them for 20 years now. I was amazed at how clear and distortion-free the mid-range was when the mid-range driver travel was equal to the travel of the two bass drivers. In 1999 I've emailed this question to B&W and got a personalized response from them explaining that, first, these are not 3-way speakers, instead they are 2.5-way speakers where the mid-range driver handles the bass together with the bass drivers (hence, the very good bass response), but at the same time it is of a special long-throw design that together with the Kevlar cone allows it to reproduce crystal clear mid-range frequencies even at the extreme points of its travel. The speakers are not very sensitive, 87-88db/W/m or whereabouts, so they require a really good powerful amp. You can still buy them used for $2-3,000 and they are simply unbeatable at this price range.

Weakness:

No weaknesses detected whatsoever.

OVERALL
RATING
5
[Sep 27, 2017]
Tyreman
Audio Enthusiast

These Matrix 803 Series II speakers though last production year was 1998 are still very good sounding.They are the bigger brother of the Matrix 804 another very capable speaker. Good for all types of music and very revealing.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Mar 04, 2013]
Robert W. Harrison
Audio Enthusiast

I have many pairs of speakers including Klipsch, Polk, Bose, and several other brands. I have been into music listening for over 30 years and have found that the B&W 803 Series 2 speakers are among the best I have ever heard. Put with the right receiver or separates, they are some of the best for the money. They listed for $3,000 thirty years ago, but still today, have some of the best sound I have ever heard. The more power you drive them with the better. I use them primarily for music listening but have hooked them up on occasion in my home theater configuration and they do a great job of reproduction. They sound just as good today as the day I first auditioned them. I will keep them forever. Great speakers and pretty to look at also.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Apr 26, 2012]
Hugo
AudioPhile

Speakers are controlled and well balanced, good bass, good treble, and very good media.
Very nice stereo image. You can listen all kind of music.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 09, 2011]
TomH
Audio Enthusiast

I compared these to the Martin Logan Ascent i speakers and found them very competitive, but a bit different in their sound. The B&W 803 creates a very precise sound stage with a tight image, substantial inner detail, and a very balanced response. The Martin Logan Ascent i's produce a very deep soundstage, with a concert hall sense of space and air around the instruments but a more amorphous sound stage. These are both excellent speakers and still near state of the art.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 15, 2011]
j dan vignau
Audio Enthusiast

After 20 years of listening to and tweaking Acoustat Spectra 11s as well as 30 years of B&W DM14/1400/12/1200/17s, I finally sold the Acoustats when I found a deal on these speakers.

There is no doubt that the Matrix technology works well. This is very apparent when comparing the DM14 etc. speakers which do resonate like most speakers. The 803 series 2 is a larger cabinet than the series 1 and adds a woofer for a much bigger sound. My listening room is very large, so most rock and blues requires subs which sit under the 803s. For folk and jazz, I rarely use the subs except on LPs and old CDs without much bass content. The concurrent 801 Matrix Series 3 is much less well defined and natural sounding.

The speakers are very open and terribly clean, to the point that bad recordings sound truly horrible. To make up for this, I have a second preamp and amp driving the subs with or without a crossover (DPDT switch). A little added upper sub sounds does wonders for a thin recording. A dedicated active sub would work about as well, but it needs to be rolled off around 50-60 cycle or less to match the mains on good recordings.

The speakers are as accurate as any I have heard and present a nicely detailed punch for the upper bass. They do not really need subs for a small room, but the speakers can overwhelm even my 500 square foot room.

The soundstage is not quite as big as the Acoustats, but that is the way big panel Electrostatics are. What is much better than the Acoustats is the quickness of the midrange and treble, especially since electrostatics don't extend very high in the frequency range. There is a reason that Martin Logan added tweeters to their 'stats. Check my review of the Acoustat Spectra 11/1100s for sub mods.

The crossover allows some bass info to go through the midrange drivers, slightly muffling the voices in this range. The combo of bass filter and biamping solves this issue completely. You can even see the lack of movement the mids have compared using a single amp.

One last point, 12 inch subs don't work as well as10s with these speakers, at least on my system which uses amps described in reviews as having "gargantian bass " (from Audio Emporium Hall of Fame).

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 24, 2005]
René
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Well build and sexy looking.

Weakness:

None.

The B&W matrix 803 Series 2 are excellent speakers ! I have them now for a couple of months but I am sure I will keep them for many years. The high, mid and low are all in balance~and very nice. Voices sound real. Some people complaint about the fact that the bass is not deep enough, indeed the bass is not the deepest you can find, but is very fast, tight and precise. That is in my opion more important than only have a very deep bass. Overall it a 5-star speaker for me! I recommend it to you, you will not regret.

Similar Products Used:

Elac 213-4PI

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Jul 26, 2003]
Ashok_1969
AudioPhile

Strength:

Excellent sound staging, Incredible clarity (mid & high) and good tight bass. They are exquisitely finished in black and blends well with the furniture in my living room.

Weakness:

None

It was in June 1993, after auditioning speakers from JBL, KEF, BOSE, Celestion and many more for about 4 days in warm & sultry Singapore, I found my holy grail in a pair of B & W matrix 803 II's. At first listen they were truly enchanting. The clarity and sound stage was just simply unbelievable. It is 10 years since, they sound just the same in my living room, honest & true with the music that is fed to them. Sometimes they are too honest and hence recording flaws in CD's easily show up!!(you will be shocked to find out how many flawed CD's there are, with these pair of sleek & sexy black beauties). Since my living room was not built to be an audio / video room the acoustics had to be treated. For this purpose I recently purchased a Behringer Pro DSP 8024 Digital EQ / RTA. I use it between my Musical Fidelity PRE Amp 8 & Musical Fidelity MA 65 Power Amps (2 Mono Blocks 110 RMS each) and the sound leaves me breathless at times. To complement these masterpieces of speakers I am using the Monster Inter Link Reference, Interlink 400 MkII & M 950i inter connects. I have bi wired my speaker with Monster M 1.4's. I have hooked up a Denon DCD 2560 (Limited Edition) CD Player, TEAC Esoteric V 9000 Tape Deck & a Dual CS 455 Turn Table to complete my system. Overall I think the B & W 803 II's are probably the best sounding speakers in their price range (USD 2000 to USD 4500) and no other speaker it its class comes even close to it. I have heard the Nautilus 803's as well but did'nt find any difference in sound quality though Nautilus 803's are twice as expensive and look exotic. I will never give up my 803's for any other speaker and probably they will be around till I die.

Similar Products Used:

NONE

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 31, 1997]
Brun Zaoral
an Audio Enthusiast

I am very happy with these babies. I'm actually listening to music again and hearing things I never heard before. The 803's are also the Left and Right Front channels of my surround sound set-up. With a frequency range of 28Hk-22kHz and power handling up to 250W, they reproduce sound, in my opinion, the way it was intended to be heard.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
[Apr 17, 1998]
Lok
an Audio Enthusiast

Switching over from the venerable KEF Reference 105/3, I was at once dazzled by the new bass depth and dismayed at the loss of mid-range warmth and intimacy!
In exchange, the 803Mk II offers airy highs, tight deep bass and a boxless sound that ruthlessly tells all about the music it is called upon to convey. On the whole, a very likeable, authoritative model suitable for any kind of music. For small rooms, here's a tip: plug up the bass ports for less agressive bass levels while still obtaining deeper bass -- great!

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 29  

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