The B&W 805 D4 Review
The B&W 805 series has been around for some time the D4 being the fourth version of this very popular standpoint speaker.
At £7000 it’s not exactly a budget speaker. It’s a stand mount despite being the baby in the 800 series range. It has all the technology and engineering advancements of its larger siblings. This fourth-generation range has a number of improvements over earlier versions, particularly the cabinet construction. It employs for the first time a ‘reverse wrap’ which means the front and side panels are formed by a single piece of birch ply. This build gives better stiffness and resonance control.
An aluminum spine also helps in this regard and it also houses the crossover network. No MDF in this high-end loudspeaker.
That’s not all, the new cabinets have interlocked lattice bracing and for this model, it is upgraded to plywood. This is reinforced by aluminum in a number of places including the front baffle. The top plate is covered in a lovely Connelly leather inset.
The drive units consist of a 25mm Diamond tweeter encased in an aluminum pod and a 165mm mid/bass unit. B and W also make a matching stand for the speaker which is £1250 however they can be used on other stands.
The overall look of the speaker is perhaps a little futuristic for some people but there is no denying the superb fit and finish. The D 805 also comes in a number of finishes: black gloss, white and satin resent, and walnut.
B&W (or Bowers and Wilkins) started over 50 years ago with one man, John Bowers, and his DNA still runs through the company. They are still based in Worthing West Sussex.
Amendable Technical Aspects
At 88db and with a nominal 8ohm load these are not the easiest speakers to drive. Most people buying a speaker at this price point should be using a fairly decent amplifier. Nevertheless, I would recommend a high-power solid-state amp rather than a Valve amp or Class A design. They dip to 4.5 ohms so you want an amplifier that can double its power into a 4ohm load which shouldn’t be an issue for most good quality amplifiers.
I found that the speakers work better a bit out from the rear wall, at least a meter, and slightly angled towards the listener. I would recommend at least 6 feet between the speakers however 8 feet is probably ideal. As they are a front-ported speaker they can be used closer to the rear wall if required but I feel that this diminishes their ability to create a three-dimensional soundstage.
Impressive Sound Quality
As you would expect from a speaker at this price point, it’s pretty impressive. Good detail with excellent stereo imagery. They are not too fussy about setup and positioning but like every good speaker, care and time should be taken. Fortunately, many dealers will undertake this for you. Sound staging is good, so is the three-dimensionality, and for a stand mount speaker they have a decent bass extension.
There are many larger floor standers at this price or less which will give you more bass however that is to undermine all the other things these speakers do so well.
If I have any criticism it would be that they can be bright with the wrong amplifier and/or cables. Metal dome tweeters are exceptionally detailed however that can lead to a slightly fatiguing sound. You’ll find this issue with digital sources rather than vinyl. Therefore care must be taken with partnering with these speakers, again something a good dealer will be able to advise on.
Overall however there are many more positives than negatives.
The B&W 805 D4 is an excellent stand mount loudspeaker even at its high price point, the build quality and sound quality justify that.
There are however many other excellent stand-mounted and floor-standing speakers in this price range such as Fine Audio F8.1, The Audiovector R3 Arette, Diapason Adamante, and Martens Duke just to name a few. As with all loudspeakers, you need to make up your own mind.
My only real concern is that they can be bright and you need the right amplification to drive them. Other than that they are excellent loudspeakers.