Opinions on old B&W's

I have posted earlier about looking for speakers in the $2,500.00 price range (used) and have come acros a pair of B&W 802's (pre-naut./matrix) for $500.00. I'm wondering how these older B&W's (and older speakers in general) stack up against the newer products out there today.
I've been considering:
B&W N804
Vandersteen 2Ce sigs, 3A Sigs
Silverline Sonatina II, Sonata
Von Schwiekert VR-4, VR-4 gen II
Meadowlark Heron (plain)
Legacy Classic
Hales Rev.3
Revel F-30
Snell C/V
I had a pair of B&W Matrix 3's Series 2 for about 10years. I liked them a great deal, but regreted not spending the extra money for the 802's which has a better midramge driver and tweeter. The series 3 of this model line was supposedly the best. $500 seems pretty low for a used pair of 802, make sure they at least a 7 on the GON's rating system and also work!!! As far as the models you have listed, I am not that familiar with them( but have read much about each one) accept Vandersteens which I have never liked Many of those models represent advances in speaker technology and each has their strong points. Nevertheless, if you carefully system match the B&W's 802, I think you will get close in performance to the best speakers on that list. Receivers, integrated amps and mid-fi separates will be inadequate to bring a speaker like the 802 up to its threshold of performance. So reevaluate your electronics and cabling, unless you already have hi-end pieces. If you have to upgrade amp and pre, you can probably find some nice values on the GON for $2000-2200. And, if you are getting the speaker for $500 which would be a steal, then you have not wasted your investment in new electronics. Good luck, Jimbo
$500 is a good deal for the Pre-matrix 802. On eBay they were fetching $700 to $800 depending on condition.
I guess your question begs a question...are you bargain hunting or are you looking to buy your last pair of speakers for a while? The pair of B&W 802's for $500 is a fairly good deal if cabinets and drivers are in good shape. Will the seller let you try them out for a week? If not, can you listen to them at his place with your electronics/cables? Do they have the original cartons in case you want to sell them on Audiogon and have to ship them?
If these are to be your last speaker purchase for quite a while, keep looking. You can find better for a little bit more. There's a pair of brand new NHT ST4's on Audiogon for $750 that I think would kill the old pre matrix B&W 802's.
I owned a pair of 802 series 80 for 10 years. I always loved those speakers! I miss them and wish I had never got rid of them. For $500 I think you would be silly not to buy. Just make sure your amp is a good match. I used tubes (Sonic Frontiers) and Solid state (B& K) and got good results. I think newer speakers are more revealing but not more musical. Good luck.
I have a pair of 802 Matrix Series 2 speakers and have enjoyed them for 15 years. They are bi amped and mono blocked with Threshold SA1's. They do need a sub and sound as good as anything new I have heard today.
I have a pair of B&W Matrix 803 series 2, and I just love them, even compared to newer stuff, and I've listened to alot. They have air, a beautiful midrange, very musical, not nearly as analytical or harsh as many newer speakers. Would say older B&Ws are a good bargain.
have a pair of 801 series 80.. ( after a pair of vandersteen 2ci which are awesome can't see how someone would think they are ' dark' or 'never liked them'...)  listened to the 801's a bunch and kept upgrading until somewhat satisfied... had to re-cone both 12 inch woofers before i was fully satisfied with a big smile.. all caps replaced with solen.. removed ALL of the apc: ALL OF IT!  removed the 1000uf cap, upgraded all speaker wire & removed all the crap plugs, used silver coated copper and silver soder, replaced post with cardas.  they are 'good' now, but maybe looking into a pair of snell c/v soon....   always in search of...

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A good while back I got to directly compare the original Nautilus 803 to Joseph Audio RM25, Soliloquy 6.2, and a ProAc pair I can’t recall. What I do recall very clearly is that there wasn’t a single area I preferred the 803s to any of the other speakers, and the 803s were considerably more expensive if memory serves. The other speakers had clear advantages in imaging, soundstaging, midrange palpability, disappearing as a sound source, and sounding more coherent. I can’t imagine the 802s from two generations prior would fare better.

I’d stay away from brands out of business since blowing a driver could be a big problem. Anything used from JA or ProAc in the $2500 price range (or even considerably less) would get my vote, and if you’re lucky enough to find a pair of original Sonatas near that price I’d jump on them.  Heck, you could even get the Silverline Prelude Plus for 2 grand new or even less used that I'd bet dollars to doughnuts would run rings around old 802s.  FWIW and best of luck.