B&W Nautilus 801 Floorstanding Speakers

B&W Nautilus 801 Floorstanding Speakers 

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.

USER REVIEWS

Showing 1-10 of 85  
[Oct 17, 2010]
Jerry
AudioPhile

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
3
[Jul 03, 2006]
Yareck
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

Nice and detailed midrange, crystal highs and powerful bass. They're revealing every small detail of recorded sound. Great looking besides...

Weakness:

Heavy !!

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Nov 06, 2005]
RICKY009
AudioPhile

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.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
[Sep 01, 2005]
riosabadicci
AudioPhile

Strength:

Close your eyes and you'll swear it's live - except with better imaging. Crank them as loud as you want with no fatigue.

Weakness:

None.

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.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[May 31, 2004]
Robert Lent
AudioPhile

Strength:

Build Quality. Excellent replacement warranty. Oustanding bass response! Excellent engineering design.

Weakness:

NONE

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.

Similar Products Used:

Wilson Audio WITT-2

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Dec 08, 2003]
cardiomaniac
AudioPhile

Strength:

Everthing

Weakness:

None

I listened to these Stunning speakers two years ago and I was imediately aware that B$W got everything right. I'm a music lover and have heard many sytems and had many long nights with my own proac response Two's. If A person listens to many styles of music with each recording having it's own characteristic because of location, equipment and tecniques used. This along with listening to live music on a weekly bassis there should be no problem to see that the 801's are incredibly accurate,uncolored, and dynamic speaker that transports you to the recording location... NO. Forget about extensive listening experience, One should be able to see how great they are with little experience. I'm trying to understand what people want in hi end audio: I had an evening demonstration of the Waveform mach 17(I think they were named) after experiencing the 801's and the owner was trying to tell me how the mach 17's had a flatter response, hence the 801's dont compare at more than twice the price. The 17's did some things really well especially loudness but the bass had an obvious footprint that was apparent on all recordings and they completely missed the open soundstage quality along with resolution that transports you.. So dont be overlly concerned with specs since our ears together with our experiences can determine what is more correct, which turns into an emotional experience... I would/will? take the 801's over a car since a car just takes you to where you need to go and if you tuely love music the 801's with good electonics is life itself. ps: I'm mad at B&W because my experience with the 801's two years ago is still part of me... I guess that's true love -Mark levinson electronics was used-

Similar Products Used:

Wilson/watt/puppy x1grand slam Proac 3.8 Various at audio shows

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[May 17, 2003]
DrIoannis
AudioPhile

Strength:

WHOWWWW

Weakness:

Too big for my room

I had auditioned them in a store.The sound wonderful.They need $$$$$ in ampification and source.

Similar Products Used:

KEF 207 Reference

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
[Aug 18, 2002]
Stereobuff
Audio Enthusiast

Strength:

smoothness, soundstage, and clarity

Weakness:

visually, my wife says they look like they are from outer space

Simply the most detailed speaker I have heard. Great clarity,unbelievable soundstage and very accurate. I had a pair of infinity kappa 8 speakers prior to these. They actually had better bass, more punch. These speakers have a much more natural bass, they seem to go much lower. The three drivers seem to work in perfect unison. No discoloration between the highs, midrange, and bass. That's just the way these speakers were designed. The 801's will accurately reproduce each cd, some recordings sound poor due more to the quality or lack of lack of at the time the recording was made. A great recording will sound incredible provided you have the right equipment. These speakers require power. With the right equipment these might be the best speaker money can buy. I have a krell fpb 300c amp. Krell krc3 preamp. Theta digital pro basic 2 d/a converter and transport.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
[Mar 23, 2002]
Bob Rojewski
AudioPhile

Strength:

90-10K reproduction

Weakness:

A little too brilliant but not bad at all.

Obviously Kevin does not have his Piled High and Deep degree from MIT, come on Kevin who are you trying to fool. I''m only a EE with a MS in Computer Science, you have an ear that would be pleased from early 80''s Technic''s equipment. James weren''t you nominated for an academy award for clueless or are just are what everyone has when it comes to opinions. Anyway the 801''s are one of the best speakers that you can buy in their price range. My pair resides in anacoustically controlled 20x28 family room. The 801''s have an unparalled soundstage, realistic bass that is not overly emphasized like some other more expensive speakers, incredibly realistic mid freqs, and a somewhat brilliant high end which in my opinion is the B&W coloration additive. Driven with Audio Reasearch Vt200 Krell 250SA Source Wadia 850. Cables don''t get me started refer to Dunlavy''s writeup on cables and audiophiles.

Similar Products Used:

Wilson Watt Puppies, Genesis 500''s.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
[Feb 14, 2002]
Dave
AudioPhile

Strength:

A fully developed transducer with musicality and accuracy.

Weakness:

Associated gear must be of the highest caliber!!

I replaced my Watt/Puppy 6''s with these speakers...need I say more...they allow the music to touch my soul in a way I thought wasn''t possible! FYI..I use a new Krell 400cx amp with an ARC Ref2mkII PREAMP, Levinson 37 transport and 360s DAC lashed up with all Transparent Reference cabling and power cords. My previous review on these speakers was in error...the speakers were new...the amplification was suspect and the speaker placement was less than appropriate!!

Similar Products Used:

Dunlavy SC-5, puppy 6''s

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 85  

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