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Thread: How does B&W Nautilus compare to the best of today?

  1. #11
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! flez007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HedgeHog View Post
    Necro thread bump.

    My local dealer had a demo of this yesterday so I attended. Being not as exposed to high end as most of the forum members, I thought this was a good chance to compare my setup with a top line speaker.

    The demo ran from a MacBook playing iTunes via (looks like AQ USB cable) to the Classe CP-800. It is then connected via (what seemed like low end Transparent cables - they were beige not the black TechFlex ones) to the Nautilus active crossovers and split to 3 x Classe CA-D200 driving the tweet/mid-tweet/mid and a Classe CA-2300 driving the woofers. The Bowers and Wilkins Nautilus was painted grey (Grigio Granito) to commemorate B&W collaboration with Maserati and the event was to celebrate the speaker's 20th (or was it 30th) year since its inception.

    Attachment 13883Attachment 13884

    Ok...to be blunt, I was not impressed. It sounded like what one would consider hifi 10-15 years ago. Maybe because I'm a neophyte, maybe because these are very direction and my seating position was terrible, maybe because the new digital amps aren't very good, or maybe it's the ALAC rips on iTunes (or a combo of them). The aluminum tweeter was kinda bright and while a lot of the highs was very good defining clarity of instruments, there seem to be no weight in it. Like there is no mass nor volume to the instruments. He played a cello piece and it sounded like stings/fingerboard/neck and that's it...like no body on the cello. A piece I'm quite familiar with - Oscar Peterson's We Get Requests: Days of Wine and Roses - was played and the keys just did not sound acoustic. It's hard for me to describe but it seems like the string attack was a bit late then it gets too harsh then there seems like no natural decay.

    Anyway, he cycled through a whole bunch of music and it was all over the place for me. Like I said, it sounds good but not impressive; especially for a CAD$70K speaker.

    Afterwards, I went to the other rooms and the 802D Diamonds was playing connected to a Mac amp (can't recall which model) and it sounded way better. Fuller and better depth. Also chanced by their D'Agostino display (DCS Scarlatti and Totem Element) and it sounded smooth and full.

    I hate events like these because I come out of them more confused and depressed (since my gear are of the same brands).

    My two cents (USD$0.018).

    Cheers,
    -H
    I am not surprised on your comments HedgeHog, usually demos are not the best place to build up solid conclusions on any piece of audio gear, added to the fact that expectation could be way up with such a high sales tag attached.

    I have had Classe amps some years back and were "good sounding" equipment, nothing expectacular IMO (these were entry level amps so take my comment with a grain of salt).

    My two pesos (USD$0.24)
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  2. #12
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] microstrip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flez007 View Post
    I am not surprised on your comments HedgeHog, usually demos are not the best place to build up solid conclusions on any piece of audio gear, added to the fact that expectation could be way up with such a high sales tag attached.

    I have had Classe amps some years back and were "good sounding" equipment, nothing expectacular IMO (these were entry level amps so take my comment with a grain of salt).

    My two pesos (USD$0.24)
    This is what I wrote at WBF two years ago about the Nautilus :

    I also love the Nautilus. I heard them first time in Switzerland - more precisely in Montreux , the place of the Jazz Festival - in a very large room in an old hotel with high ceilings. They were driven by four pairs of Krell amplifiers with a Krell custom crossover and the sound was life like. They played Haendel Music for the Royal Fireworks / Trevor Pinock and I could believe I was king George II assisting to the performance. The impact and speed of the percussion and horns was thrilling, as the sound was also effortless and 3D. Unhappily the second time I listened to the Nautilus, in a poor room with all Classe electronics was a complete disaster. It is why I do not rely on sound demonstrations in shows.

    Still regret that long ago I was once offered a pair at a ridiculous low price and I had to say no ...
    Under construction around a pair of Wilson XLF's, DCS Vivaldi 2.0 stack and Audio Research REF40 ...

  3. #13
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    I heard these set up at a local dealer last year with Classe' amps. I wasn't impressed either. I believe JA was running the room there. From this demo, you can do much better at even 1/4th the price
    Bruce A. Brown
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  4. #14
    Senior Member HedgeHog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flez007 View Post
    I am not surprised on your comments HedgeHog, usually demos are not the best place to build up solid conclusions on any piece of audio gear, added to the fact that expectation could be way up with such a high sales tag attached.

    I have had Classe amps some years back and were "good sounding" equipment, nothing expectacular IMO (these were entry level amps so take my comment with a grain of salt).

    My two pesos (USD$0.24)
    Well, I really didn't have any expectations (heightened or otherwise) going in. I was curious what a top line speaker designed eons ago would sound like today. And perhaps compare it to my set of current same branded ones.

    As mentioned, I also have the same brand of amps and like the sound (although, now I want those D'Agostinos ). It was just a meh demo but I was surprised how the other room with the 802D2 sounded so much better. I also purchase my amps here after listening to a demo (a fairly short one too) and was impressed by them (also on 802D2). Nonetheless, I was surprised they didn't bother using CA-M300/M600. Wonder if synergy would have been better no mixing the new D200 with the 2300 amps. Or using better cables.

    Shame also that this dealer is no longer carrying Wilson Audio...would have loved to compare the Nautilus to the Alexia.

    FWIW, I prefer my setup (albeit in a bad acoustic room) to this Nautilus setup. And from my recollection, the McIntosh/802D2 setup sounded quite similar to my setup too.

    Cheers.

    -H

  5. #15
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! Ronm1's Avatar
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    One of my audio buds had 5 in walnut.
    Hopefully the diamond tweeter is an
    improvement. Regardless of their pedigree, they are not for me. Not a fav. Demo room or not.
    A Bug!! Naa...that's a feature!!
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  6. #16
    [WBF Founding Member] Moderator RBFC's Avatar
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    The diamond tweeter was a huge improvement to the B&W high-range speakers, and the lack if one would probably make the Nautilus a no-go for me because of the old tweeter.

    Lee
    Lee Aldridge

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  7. #17
    Addicted to Best! DaveyF's Avatar
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    Personally, the lack of the diamond tweeter wouldn't stop me from buying them; instead the option of getting the Giya G1's at similar pricing would sway me over to the newer and possibly better speaker. Although, I would love to do a side by side listen to the Nautilus and the Giya's. I heard the G1's recently ( and was VERY VERY impressed), have not heard the Nautilus for many years now.
    Last edited by DaveyF; 02-09-2014 at 07:19 PM.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by RBFC View Post
    The diamond tweeter was a huge improvement to the B&W high-range speakers, and the lack if one would probably make the Nautilus a no-go for me because of the old tweeter.

    Lee
    Yeah someone I know on a forum in the UK has the snails and also latest 802d for surround.
    Nautilus setup properly is stunning, unfortunately it also requires some serious amps and had a fair amount of Classe CAM400s monos.
    The one weakness he felt was the tweeter compared to the modern 802d.
    But with space and setup properly they are stunning, amusing to also have 802d as surrounds when needed.

    Cheers
    Orb
    Last edited by Orb; 02-10-2014 at 05:05 AM.

  9. #19
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    Exclamation

    The $60K B&W Nautilus are the best sounding speakers I have ever heard when you put them with the right gear!

    I heard them with a Jeff Rowland Aeris DAC and four Jeff Rowland 625 S2 power amps and those $60K B&W Nautilus speakers really sounded more like Real Music being played in the room!

    With this gear these speakers sounded better than Vivid Audio Giya or.. any other type of speakers too!!

    If I ever hit the Lottery I will have this system in my house and never look back!

  10. #20
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    They don't have much bottom end for the asking price.
    Earth: The Insane Asylum of the Universe-nowhere else could things be more screwed up.

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