B&W Nautilus 802


(not photo of actual unit)

Make / Model: B&W Nautilus N802
Year: 2003
Purchased: B&W, 2003

I used these as my main mastering monitors at MortarWorks Mastering.

Impressions

B&W Nautilus N802

These were really good speakers. The kind that make you question all other audio sources. I powered mine with a Bryston 3B-ST, and tried a 4B for a little while as well. No noticeable difference between the two in terms of effecting the sound, thought the 4B went louder.

But, they did have some issues.

1. The B&W sound. They sound like B&W, which is to say, there is an odd ‘gloss’ over the midrange, that colours the speaker to the house sound of B&W. While this is a beautiful sound, it can get in the way of audio engineering.

2. Forgiving. While they are pretty accurate speakers, they are a bit forgiving, so working with them as I did, as Mastering monitores, sometimes things would be overlooked, or ‘prettied up’, that may have needed to be addressed.

3. Bass extension. It’s not very low (38hz IIRC?). Overall, they didn’t seem to go as deep as they should have (by size), and ultimately, the way they did deal with the low end, was slightly flubby.

Strengths

1. Imaging. Their imagining across the soundstage was very accurate. Strong center image of mono sources. And listening to them, in general, painted a very deep picture of the audio. Great for listening, kind of useless for engineering.

2. Quicknesss. Aside from the bass flubbyness, they were pretty quick speakers in response, and got out of the way pretty well. Though not as transparent as others I have used, they did a very good job of showing you the transients.

Support

The support I received was phenominal. I blew one of the drivers out and was overnighted a replacement driver immediately.

Build Quality

In replaceing the driver, I saw the inside of the speaker cabinet, and it was obvious that these speakers were built amazingly well, very high quality wood work. Definetely worth the price on build quality. Though the speakers may look a little fragile with their odd midrange driver configuration, they are definetely solid builds.

Summary

Overall, they are very decent speakers. From an audiophile perspective, they are amazing. From an engineering perspective, things become much more personal and subjective. For me, I tend to work better on more analytical speakers. But regardless, they are a joy to listen to.

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