Moving on from B&W805D3, but where to?

Not sure where to head next in my search for a better sound in my set up.

The 805D3 has started to feel less than satisfying, in that, only when I’m giving it some decent volume (75-80db approx) does it start to feel engaging.
I do listen very often at this level, but there’s something about the B&Ws that’s not working for my tastes/ears.

That said, I have been around the houses over the last few years with speakers, in most recent chronological order: Tannoy Legacy Eaton, KEF LS50, ProAc D2R, PMC (can’t remember exact model but they were way too big for my then room), and B&W805S.

My current amp is an SN3, sources in use at the moment are LP12, a Marantz SACD player, and Bluesound Vault2i into Arcam irDAC.

I’m looking for something fuller, warmer, at all volume levels, floorstander or bookshelf. My profile may still list a KEFKC62 sub, but that’s gone elsewhere to another house & system.

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Hey Charles, I can vouch for the new Guru 12, but they don’t have UK dealer and I ordered direct from the company owner in Sweden.

I used to own the original 805’s so I know what you mean that unless cranked up they can be a bit uninvolving.

I moved from them to my first pair of Gurus, the Qm10, and by a strange quirk of fate one of them just died today in one of my other system but I’ve had them for something like 13 years at a guess.

I now have the new Guru 12’s and they have the same characteristics of being involving at any volume and just get out of the way and let the music flow, they time beautifully.

In more available speakers in Uk I was seriously impressed with the Neat Petite classic when I heard it at my dealer, The Blue Nile sounded amazing, great projection and tight bass, that was on a SN3.

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Hi Adam,

Thanks for the info’.

I’ve not come across the Gurus, will take a look as part of my search.

Any future purchase would mostly be covered by selling on the 805D3s, so that’s my budget s/h or new. Former most likely.

The 805’s cost way more than either the Guru 12’s or the Petites.

I’m also most likely to get a pair of Kef R3 Metas to replace the deceased in the cabin.

There are lots of speakers worth hearing and your amp will drive most of them.

If you want more involvement at lower volume without sacrificing the ability to get the door tapping or head banging, I’d suggest Neat Iota Alphas or Xplorers.

I have 804D3s in one system and Xplorers in the other, both on Isoacoustic Gaias. Both are excellent - the B&Ws go deeper but need a 250 (or even my current 300DR) to really get them showing what they can do, and even then the Neats probably still win for low volume involvement unless floor or ceiling issues are a particular problem.

Most important, whatever any of us say here, which speakers work best to your ears in your room at your preferred volume and with your system really is a case of listen first and decide second.

Good luck!


Thanks Nick,

Yep, agreed on needing to hear them with my own ears and hopefully demo-ed in my own room.

I’m liaising with my dealer friend, as we speak, to see what’s on offer. He’s a second hand/new old stock/ ex-dem specialist so there’s usually a plethora of choices. Perhaps too many.

Regarding the volume, I rarely listen at what I think of as low vol, but only mentioned it in relation to the 805 D3 as they, like other B&W I’ve had, seem best heard loudly.

Then again, most speakers should do really, but yes I take the point that certain designs work particularly well at low to mid volume, too.

The Supernait needs a signal earth grounding

Hopefully the lp12 phono stage is providing that ?

I would not sell the bowers until this is sorted out

I had the 805s and moved on to Dynaudio but occasionally miss the 805s

Also are you using naim speaker cable is it properly soldered ?

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Harbeth :sunglasses:


I too have the SN3. Consider Spendor. I have the A4 and like them. You might consider the D series or classic.


I had Kudos S20A when I had my SN3. Worked very well. Now moved on to other things but it was, IIRC, a good organic sound at all volume levels. Kudos are easy to position as well if space is tight.

Obviously there are many speakers that the SN3 will drive effortlessly and you will hear about many of them here. Hope you find something to your liking soon.


You could test Totem speakers too. The Forests are great floorstanders. You might also want to try the Signatures One (bookshelf).

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+1 to A4s being kind of a sweet spot for many Naim systems AND rooms.

Harbeth c7es-3xd.Read the review on part-time audiophile,the Harbeth paired with the SN3

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@Beer i had the small Harbeth and the larger M30 models in our LR with previous non Naim systems. They did not perform well. They needed to be well away from the wall behind them and the side walls. This did not leave enough space between the speakers in our room. Totally they were great, but everything was between the speakers with one image folding over the other. Instruments were not properly separated. I gave up.

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Neat XLS Ultimatum maybe.

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What does your dealer have available? Regardless of what’s said here, what your dealer/s have in your budget, that’ll be your shortlist.

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Except in some countries, UK certainly, there are multiple dealers not a ridiculous travel time away, so a lot more scope than just one particular dealer if what they have isn’t exactly right. (Some dealers have a lot more choice than others, and different brands that they have signed up to stock.)

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I’ve found that many (most?) speakers tend to sound rather uninvolving until they are pushed past a certain volume level and they then suddenly let loose and become a lot more fun. Turn the volume back down and the sound collapses back into the boxes and becomes distant again and fails to engage.

Speakers are such a personal thing that it’s very hard to make meaningful suggestions. I would gravitate towards high efficiency speakers as these in general seem to do better at lower levels. I would certainly avoid anything from Harbeth or things along the lines of classic BBC monitors as although they have some superb qualities I really don’t think they will give you what you want.

My own Klipsch Forte III’s don’t really change in sound quality with volume level - they just get louder or quieter. They remain highly engaging even at whisper quiet levels. They are horn-loaded, which is significant here.

So you could investigate the Klipsch heritage line, which are all horn loaded, or some of the horn-loaded offerings from JBL, depending on budget. They are marmite speakers though, and given that you own B&W’s I think you will probably hate them! They are about as far removed from what B&W’s do as one can get!

Having said that, if you are looking for a new direction to go in you should at least try to hear them and see what you think. If you haven’t heard anything like this before then they could well be a revelation. Also try the Fujitsu Eclipse range. These are single driver designs, so no crossover network, and they are superb at very low levels.

At the end of the day, listen to as many things as you can, maybe be prepared to travel to hear a wider range. And do try at home before finally parting with your cash.

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I think this is true as a generalisation. And again, in general, speakers with large drivers tend to be the ones that do best at really low listening levels. One of the best speakers I head for really quiet music was the JBL L100 Classic. A really big speaker, but turned down low was mesmerising and involving. The more modern designs with small long throw drivers feel like they need some oomph to come alive - is my perception anyway.


I have the same feeling, but I’m not sure if it’s the large driver (and thus cabinet), or the high sensitivity. As the two generally go hand-in-hand I’m not sure which one to attribute it to.