Newbie Question – Considering B&W

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  • britrover
    Junior Member
    • Sep 2005
    • 14

    Newbie Question – Considering B&W

    I am looking at getting some new HT speakers and have B&W on list among other brands. Considering I have no familiarity with B&W, I did have a couple of questions to run by current owners:

    • What is the main difference between B&W 803 series, B&W 703 series, B&W CDM 9/7NT and B&W CM series? From what I am able to check on B&W’s website, it appears the 703 and CDN NT have been discontinued, but the 703 appears to be very similar to the 803. Just looking to get some more information around which one of these would be ideal for Music + HT, as I will search for a good pre-owned set prior to making the plunge on getting brand new speakers.

    • Are these power hungry speakers? I currently have McIntosh amplifiers and want to better understand if these speakers need a powerful amplifier like McIntosh, or I could go down the path of getting B&K, Rotel or some other brand.

    • I understand this is a B&W forum, but wanted to gauge if any opinions around Vienna Acoustics speakers compared to the B&W lineup I have outlined. Anyone who has owned Vienna Acoustice or familiar with them please share your opinion.

  • BlazeMaster
    Senior Member
    • May 2004
    • 644

    a. The differences between the different models, other than the obvious price factor, is that you get a better design of speaker itself with less compromise. The 800s speakers are where most of B&W R&D goes into, and the lower end series gets its "trickle down" design according to price vs cost. B&W designed each series for a designated budget and purpose. Pretty sure you'll find one that fits the bill and meets your sonic expectations. The 700s are discontinued and there's rumors that there will be a new 700s series to replace the current 700s, and there will be a newer version of the 800s as well. If you're looking to get a pre-owned set, you can always check on audiogon, or visit your authorized dealers, sometimes they offer customer trade-ins which are usually significantly cheaper than a brand new set.

    b. They are not particularly power hungry, but they're not super efficient either. The higher you go on the B&W series, the more quality amplification you need. Most people that have 800s speakers typically match them Classe, McIntosh etc. If you're mainly using them for movies, personally I think B&K and Rotel will be good match for B&W.

    c. I'm not familiar with Vienna Acoustics, so can't comment on that for you, but there are indeed tons of other high end speaker manufactures that are good.

    Sorry if I missed anything, but you'll get plenty of help from other B&W lovers here as well.


    • htsteve
      Super Senior Member
      • Sep 2004
      • 1216


      I agree with BlazeMaster on the description of the various B&W lines. The 800 series is the best line and has the best engineering, drivers and cabinets, etc.

      I also have McIntosh amps. Which one(s) do you have? They will drive B&W's very well, including the 800 series. Very smooth combination. You can drive B&W's with Rotel and similar. But you have Mac's already, so I believe you are pretty set in that area.

      My experience with the upper end of B&W is that the more current you throw at them, the better. And Mac's have lots of current.

      I also do not have any experience with Vienna Acoustics.

      Hope this helps.
      Last edited by htsteve; 17 November 2009, 17:56 Tuesday.


      • britrover
        Junior Member
        • Sep 2005
        • 14

        Thanks htsteve,

        I have the MC7200 and MC7106 combination for my HT.


        • Alaric
          Ultra Senior Member
          • Jan 2006
          • 4143

          Mac amps produce hefty current loads , should be more than sufficient to drive almost any speaker. You may not always like the Mac sound , but those puppies will produce prodigious sound from just about any commercially available speaker.

          Marantz PM7200-RIP
          Marantz PM-KI Pearl
          Schiit Modi 3
          Marantz CD5005
          Paradigm Studio 60 v.3


          • gross30
            Senior Member
            • Jun 2005
            • 282

            britrover, you will not be sad if you match your current Mac's and some beautiful B&W's. Don't keep thinking about it, just jump in and have some fun....lolol


            • aquaanox
              • Feb 2007
              • 82

              some of the b&w are very efficient, 804s is rated at 90db/CM-9 is 89db for example - not particularly power hungry.. i have personally used low wpc but very high quality tube amps with great results. Mac's are great, though not everyone likes the Mac sound. If i had the money, i would invest in a uber Mac tube amp.


              • bigburner
                Super Senior Member
                • May 2005
                • 2649

                The 703 and the CDM9NT sound identical to me. Just a different shape.



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