Bowers & Wilkins 802 D3 Diamond Series Floorstanding Speaker Overview
The term legendary is often thrown around carelessly in audio. But when speaking about speakers, Bowers & Wilkins’ 800 series, from the first 801 in 1979 to today’s floorstanding 800, 802, 803 and 804, carries a heritage as legendary (and, frankly, as British) as the Knights of the Round Table. The penultimate 802 D3, fully redesigned from the ground up, maintains that lineage of excellence from the crystalline highs of its Diamond tweeters, through the satiny smoothness of the new Continuum midrange, to the lowest rumbling registers of the Aerofoil bass cones. Each range is contained in its own enclosure, and all are finished in elegant cabinetry of gloss black, rosenut or satin white. The 802 D3, one of the most highly reviewed and recommended speaker systems ever made, has to be seen – and auditioned – to be truly appreciated.
- Curved Matrix wood-ply cabinet laminated and metal-braced for rigidity
- Aluminum base has built-in casters and spikes
- Electronics in cabinet rear with full-length heat sinks
- Three-way vented port system
- 1-inch Diamond tweeter mounted in separate solid aluminum turbine head
- 6-inch midrange Continuum cone mounted in its own turbine
- Dual 8-inch Aerofoil bass cones in Matrix wood-and-metal cabinet
- Dimensions: 47.72" x 15.35" x 22.95"
- Weight: 208 lbs.
- Warranty: 5 years parts and labor - World Wide Stereo is an authorized dealer for every brand we sell
- World Wide Stereo 60-day guarantee and expert product support
Bottoms up: First, the bass
B&W’s 802, like the rest of the 800 series, gets its distinctive R2D2 look from its segmented, separated and curvy enclosures for each frequency range. The main bass cabinet, rounded in front to minimize resonances and distortion, is assembled in a Matrix wood-ply and reinforced with metal for rock-solid rigidity for fast, extended bass with no extraneous vibrations. Running up the back of the cabinet is a floor-to-top heat sink, housing the electronics and adding still more stiffness to the package.
Woofer material, tailored to suit
The dual woofers, as are all the drivers in the 800 series, are made in house, of materials specifically engineered by Bowers & Wilkins for that purpose. In the case of the bass cones, that material is called Aerofoil, and it’s designed for maximum stiffness and minimum mass – that is, to move more air, more quickly than standard woofers, without the intra-cone flexing that can lead to doubling and distortion. So you hear the notes of the bass lines, not just the thumps.
Next, the base: Wheels and spikes
The main cabinet rests on – or, more accurately, floats above – a solid aluminum base that is ported to allow the lowest notes to escape around the room. And considering the considerable weight of these speakers, B&W was thoughtful enough rest everything on casters to allow you to find the optimal placement in your listening room – plus spikes (or feet) that can then be lowered to anchort the speaker right where you want it.
Then, the head … or, the midrange
For years, B&W pioneered the use of Kevlar for the all-important midrange frequencies, for its near-weightless strength. But some eight years ago the company started designing a new material, called Continuum, that debuts in the current line. Continuum controls the mid-cone breakup that can distort the sound. The new driver also is designed with variable thickness for still less breakup, better piston-like movement and ultimate midrange clarity. The 6-inch cone is mounted in its own turbine aluminum enclosure to minimize resonances, and nestles atop the main cabinet.
That distinctive diamond “eye”
Centered atop the midrange is the trademark B&W Diamond tweeter – the lightest, most rigid composite available in a tweeter today. So how do you turn diamond into speaker? B&W uses a chemical vapor deposition process to coat the dome with a thin jeweled layer, again for speed and stiffness, to reduce distortion and maximizing crystal clarity. And the Diamond tweeter too is enclosed in its own, tapered aluminum turbine to maximize dispersion and help throw the most realistic soundstage.
Hearing is believing
Bottom line, you can document the engineering feats of the B&W 802 D3 all day, and you can try to describe the sound forever without success. Suffice it to say that 800 series speakers reside in some of the finest pro studios worldwide, including Skywalker Ranch and Abbey Road. We at World Wide invite – actually, urge – you to come in and listen. They may or may not be beyond your means, but the 802 D3s certainly will help you define the possibilities of sonic perfection. And remember, that same superiority is shared up and down the entire B&W line.
WWS: What we say
“There’s not a better, more transparent speaker that I’ve ever heard. They’re tremendous. When they’re placed correctly in a room, it’s hard to argue, they’re one of the best speakers out there.” – Adam Domurad, World Wide Stereo product specialist
- Diamond tweeter
- Anti-resonance plug
- Continuum cone FST
- Turbine head
- Aerofoil cone bass units
- Optimised Matrix
- Solid body tweeter
- Tweeter on top
- 3-way vented-box system
- 1x @ 25mm (1") diamond dome high-frequency
- 1x @ 150mm (6") Continuum cone FST midrange
- 2x @ 200mm (8") Aerofoil cone bass units
- 14Hz to 35kHz
- 17Hz to 28kHz (+/-3dB from reference axis)
- 90dB (On axis at 2.83Vrms)
- 2nd and 3rd harmonics (90dB, 1m on axis)
- <1% 80Hz – 20kHz
- <0.3% 100Hz – 20kHz
Nominal Impedance (min)
- 8 ohms (minimum 3.0 ohms)
Recommended Amplifier Power
- 50W – 500W into 8 ohms on unclipped programme
Recommended Cable Impedance
- 0.1 ohms
- 47.72" x 15.35" x 22.95"
- 208 lbs.
What's in the Box
What's in the Box:
- 802 D3 Diamond Series Floorstanding Speaker
- 2 pairs of link wires
- 2 midrange end caps
- 1 hex key
- 1 metal bar