B&W 802 : Nautilus v Diamond / & Focal 1027be

Hi all ,

I’ve tried to find answers on this form but am struggling to uncover any.

Are any users here privvy to the audible differences between B&W 802 versions ?

I am in the challenging scenario where I do not live close to high end dealers or private sellers, and need to drive for hours, to hear anything.

A few days ago (supported by cheap, crappy gear, one at a private home), I heard two speakers:


- Focal 1027be;

- B&W Nautilus 802.


I really needed to "guess", behind the crappy gear driving these speakers to hear what they could sound like/be capable of. My gear is tangibly superior see below.

If pressed, I would have said the Nautilus was better than the Focals more natural and life like but the 802 Nautilus was also at a dealer and cost $5000 (😶) more than the Focal 1027be. Money isn’t so much of the problem I just want to get the best speakers.


Left field :

I have found a pair of 802 Diamonds, (not the original "D", actual 802 Diamonds) with unfortunately slightly damaged (scratches) on the black casing surrounding the tweeter, no audible effect but, unsightly nonetheless. The price? About the same (if not a bit cheaper actually) than the Nautilus 802.


The Diamond 802 is a longer drive away and it is TBC whether I am able to demo it or not but it is at a dealer so have options with warranty etc which is comforting. (Rather buying Focal from private seller).


Notwithstanding the cosmetic damage on an 802 Diamond, is it likely to sound worse, better, or different to a Nautilus 802 and for = money which would you buy ? I’m not too OCD so don’t care about the scratches. I just want the best sounding speaker.


I confess I’m looking for a more lean, clean, and neutral sound. I’ve come from old Sonus Faber Grand Piano (originals) and my gear is already on the warm and sweet side (Meridian 800 cd source and Meridian 861v8 AV pre) into the (thankfully) more neutral Anthem P2 (350w) amp.


The Focals sounded lovely and clean to me, which I like, but again the gear supporting them was so bad it was hard to get a true sense - but again, about $5000 less for the Focal 1027be vs. either 802 version.


Can anyone give me some help/direction as to which would be the best to buy? Money is less of problem - I would just rather get the right speaker.


Thanks 😊




My one big tip is that B&W tend to sound a little better listening on the midrange than on the tweeter axis.   A little lower than most listeners expect.