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800D Employs Superior Crossovers

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  • 800D Employs Superior Crossovers

    Well folks the debate about the crossovers used in the D models of B&W’s newest 800 Series speakers rages on with renewed life. Thanks to the photo Race Car Driver dug up in another thread showing the crossover network in the base of the 802D plinth proves different crossover components are used across the D line.

    About six months ago a thread discussing the aesthetics of the 801D went on a completely new direction. It digressed into a discussion of the Series internals and lost its original intent. Rather than continue with the off topic nature of that thread I decided to start a new one that is specific to the new series crossovers. For those interested in reading the previous dialog that led up to this post can look here.

    It was first believed that the 800D’s crossover network was unique to the other D models. The choice of Mundorf capacitors used in the line primarily established this difference. It was unquestionable the M-Cap and M-Cap Supremes were used in various capacities and values across the entire range and it was believed the application of the M-Cap Supreme Silver/Gold was exclusively relegated to the 800D. Later, it was accepted that all the D models share the same selection of high quality capacitors and only differed in value.

    The reality though is that the crossovers used across the series are different. The evidence is clear in the photo of the 802D’s underbelly shown below as compared to the photo in the 800 Series brochure where the base of the 800D is exposed on page 16. The crossover in the 800D is assembled on three PCB boards one for each range of low, mid and high frequencies. It is too difficult to tell from the photo showing the 802D but it appears as though it is using two PCB boards, one dedicated to the low frequencies and the other the mid and high frequencies.

    The LF boards seen in both speakers are using identical (save for maybe their values) M-Cap capacitors (shown white on the right of the 802D pic), inductors and configuration. The HF board in the 800D has an M-Cap Supreme (possibly Silver/Gold) but it is unclear what the 802D is using. However, what isn’t unclear is the M-Cap (shown in white on the left of the 802D pic) used as part of the third-order MF crossover. The use of a third M-Cap used in the 802D (unlike the 800D which only uses two) is visible evidence that the 800D is using better capacitors for the mid-band frequencies. Weather the 802D is using an M-Cap Supreme Silver/Gold in any of its internal makeup is impossible to tell from the photo but the use of an M-Cap in lieu of an M-Cap Supreme of any kind suggests that the 802D may not be using the Silver/Gold variety as was originally thought but which is used in the 800D (and is clearly visible in the brochure).

    What does it matter that the 802D is using different caps than the 800D? It matters a lot. Much of what defines the character of a speaker is based on the crossover network. In the case of the 800D it results in a more spacious and airy presentation of the mid-band presence zone. Details in the musical fabric are further delineated with a greater sense of three dimensional realism and immediacy. I was willing to pin these audible differences squarely on the shoulders of the difference in capacitor values even if it seemed counter intuitive. But the truth is the audio beauty of the 800D is more than just value deep.

    Unless someone is adventurous or curious enough to know specifically what’s hidden deep inside the chambers of the 802D crossover network and provide close up photo’s to the contrary, it cannot be disputed that the 800D is in fact made up of superior component goods.
    Attached Files
    "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."

  • #2
    if there is so much debate over this why doesnt someone just pull out one of the drivers and take a look inside? that would be the easiest way to figure out the differences between the two.


    • #3
      Agreed, but no one that has access to an 802D has been (understandably) forth coming. It is unnecessary with the 800D simply because the photos in the brochure visually spell it all out (well almost all except the details surrounding the HF are difficult to make out).
      "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."


      • #4
        What i have read and been advised backs up your theory,much more expensive caps,and quite a lot bigger.Mind you,for five grand UK difference,so they should be!


        • #5
          why is it an issue what caps they use so long it sounds good.....Just because a speaker use top flight components doesn't always mean they sound fab...... We here in the UK have to endure the higher price paid for B&W and this upsets me...... The Prestige here cost £35,000.00 where as they only cost $40,000.00 in the states....Bloody sick..... Sorry for letting off steam.... :M


          • #6
            I understand,i want to buy 802d,and having been a loyal customer over the years,bit pissed off i would be better off if i was stateside...! Rip-off Britian is alive and well!!!!


            • #7
              Originally posted by class a
              why is it an issue what caps they use so long it sounds good.....Just because a speaker use top flight components doesn't always mean they sound fab......
              Because it's within the same line (from the same manufacturer) and the better quality components are placed in speakers with less regards to cost (no cost-cutting measure, to an extent of course).

              If BW has an ideal design, the 800D is probably closer to the ideal than the 802D is.. and that's why the parts used reflects this, and so does the increase in cost. As with everything in life, you have to choose if it's worth it to you.

              And the 802D are superior sounding in their own right, regardless of the caps they use.
              Analog: VPI Scoutmaster w/ Steel Delrin clamp + Dynavector 20XH cart
              Digital: SB3 + PS Audio Digital Link III DAC
              System: Cary Audio SLP-98P Tube Preamplifier w/ Sylvanias -> Plinius SA102 Class A amplifier -> Martin Logan SUMMITS/Strata Minis -> 8O (me)


              • #8
                The point Joey makes as seen from the side of the manufacture's position is reasonable. As far as consumers go, we usually want to know what another $$$ is going to buy us, $8K in the case of the 800D, but it is not always obvious what that is.

                Some people maybe satisfied with leaving the determination at the audition room floor. There are others, however, (myself included) that are less inclined to accept the results simply at face value. Generally they (we) want to know what it is or why it is audible differences exist and can be heard. I find it difficult to accept any rational on the basis of "it is what it is" reasoning or some variation thereof. While this wasn't strictly the case here, the original explanations passed on weren't exactly concrete and appeared somewhat evasive.

                Personally, I appreciate it when a technical and/or scientific explanation (given my engineering background), can be made but I know that some people may careless.

                I agree with Joey that the 802D stands well on it's own but it is far from being an 800D with twin 8" drivers. The mid-band differences between the 802D and the 800D are clearly audible to me and I was willing to accept the somewhat vague justification I was given even though it didn't sit well with me. Now that I have seen the truth, I am much more satisfied with the results. My guess is others would be too.
                "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."


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