This evening I visited Audio One in Concord, Ontario for their showcase of the Bowers & Wilkins top of the line speaker, the 800 D3 model.
I've always admired the looks of the B&W 800 series speakers and was curious to experience how they sound.
The latest variant of the flagship speaker features a number of technological novelties in its design, such as the Aerofoil cones in the woofers, Continuum cones in the mid range drivers, new turbine head for the diamond tweeters, new cabinets and aluminum base.
The speakers in this setup were driven by Classé's brand new Delta Pre preamplifier and Delta Stereo power amp. These are brand new units that will be going into production in the fall.
The source was a MacBook Pro running Amarra software to play selection from an iTunes library. Power conditioning and cabling was by Audioquest.
Here are the tracks that were played:
"Thanks to You" by Boz Scaggs from The Essential Boz Scaggs
"Lose Yourself to Dance" by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell Willians from Random Access Memories
"The Night The Pugilist Learned How To Dance" by Sting from The Last Ship
"The Could Be Wrong" by Lianne La Havas from Is Your Love Big Enough?
"Like a Star" by Corinne Bailey Ray from Corinne Bailey Ray
"One Way" by Rose Cousins from We Have Made a Spark
"America" by Bill Charlap from Somewhere: The Songs Of Leonard Berstein
"Gone To Texas" by Mike Zito & the Wheel from Gone To Texas
"Blue Jeans Blues" by ZZ Top from Chrome, Smoke & BBQ: The ZZ Top Box
"Get Yourself Another Fool" by Sam Cooke from Night Beat
"What You're Doing" by The Beatles from The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2 [Longbox]
"August Winds" by Sting from The Last Ship
And the last track, which I actually enjoyed quite a bit, was "Seeya" by Deadmau5 ft. Colleen D'Agostino from while [1<2]
So how did it all sound? In all the musical pieces that were played, the vocals, both male and female, were very forward sounding. But all the instruments seem to be overshadowed by the vocals, pushed in the background. Yet the voices sounded boxy, closed off.
The bass, though, was tight and punchy. I have a feeling that this sound was caused by the new Classé electronics. Needless to say, I was not impressed. Too bad, cause these speakers deserve better.