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Sparkling Diamond


Tall, slim and stylish yet seemingly hewn from hard stone, B&W's new 804D Diamond Series loudspeaker is the very epitome of the modern floorstander, says Noel Keywood...

With a worldwide reach and reputation, B&W's recently introduced high end 804D is a floorstanding loudspeaker I could not ignore. It is a domesticated version of the larger 800D and 802D loudspeakers, predecessors used in studios. Priced at £5,750 these new babies will be slugging it out with a host of rivals from KEF, Monitor Audio, Martin Logan and Tannoy. It's a hot place to be.
    The 804D is a fabulously well finished, slinky looking product that strongly conveys its purpose. Not only have B&W come up with a pleasing visual arrangement of curved non-resonant panels, but they've applied a rich gloss black finish and positioned a natty looking 'Nautilus' tweeter assembly on top. The quality of detailing matches that of modern design icons from the likes of BMW and Apple, planting 804Ds firmly in a current style idiom. They feel solid and well made when handled, weighing a manageable 27kgs and standing 1020mm high. Rear terminals accept bare wires, spades and 4mm plugs, and allow biwiring.
    Our review samples had been 'somewhere' and lacked the foam bungs B&W usually supply, and they also had odd screw-out whatsits on the rear, unexplained in handbook or website, that should have had stickers over them saying 'Transit Screw - Remove', we were told by B&W. Removal allows the midrange unit to float on a compliant suspension to decouple its chassis. The diamond tweeter has a removable grille.
    Spikes are supplied, plus floor pads to preserve wooden floors. The 804Ds are narrow but have no stabilising plinth, so they are not for homes with boisterous children.
    This is a classic three-way loudspeaker with large Kevlar coned midrange unit, aided by two reflex loaded bass units and a tweeter.

Comments (3)
to Laurie
3Tuesday, 23 April 2013 21:41
Hi Laurie,
I compared the 804 Diamond with the Monitor Audio PL300 and found the PL300 a bit tiring with too much treble. The 804 came across much more natural. With the 804 I then compared Superuniti with NAC-N172XS+NAP250 and the latter combination was a true winner, which I bought in the end. Initially the speaker sounded a bit harsh but this disappeared in the first weeks.

It depends also on your musical taste: the 804 Diamond is magnificant for classical and acoustic, but probably less suitable for dance.

Good luck!
B&W 803Ds speaker drivers
2Monday, 01 April 2013 14:14
Waldemar Koralewski
Hi Noel. I'm well happy with that review and your conclusions. But is there any chance you could tell bit more about the B&W 804Ds speaker drivers itself. If possible some about the HTM1 centre channel as well. I'm more interested about the values and characteristics. Since my B&W 600 s3 home cinema got flooded being in garage for a while. Over decoration change. Really sad. So I decided to keep the drivers but build my own DIY speaker system. Still based on B&W but similar to the 804D with HTM1 as centre channel . So basically I'm looking to find out what is the ohm values and the frequency range of each driver. To figure out if the diamond series crossover would work well with the spare drivers I got left. Maybe I'm not for here. But any professional help I'll be much appreciated. Thanks

I do not have that information. The best solution is to salvage the parts you have and rebuild the cabinets if they are damaged, ensuring they are the same volume as before. You will not successfully re-design the 'speaker with the information you are looking for. It is a complex business requiring considerable measurement with software such as we use, Clio from Audiomatica of Italy. NK
1Sunday, 10 March 2013 21:59
Laurie Hogan
Hi Noel,

I'm saving up for my first hi-fi system. Demo'd the Naim Superuniti with Monitor Audio PL300s and Proac D18s; thoroughly impressed. I'm also looking at demoing the B&W 803Ds. What else do you think i should be considering? I aim to make so with the power output of the SU until i can move up to a NAP 250/300 after paying of the initial sting.

Kind regards,

Hi Laurie. The Monitor Audio PL300s and B&W 803Ds both have raised treble output, our measurements show. If that's the balance you like then they are otherwise well engineered and will suit the Naim SuperUniti. You should also consider the Usher Dancer Mini-2 that has a diamond tweeter like the 803D, but of smoother response and better quality: compare the B&W804D and Usher Dancer Mini-2 frequency response curves on this site. You might also like to audition Tannoys, like the DC8/10s that are great for Rock and smoother than the B&Ws and Monitor Audios. Noel

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