"The B&W Sound"

Does the "B&W sound" that may critics complain about have more to do with design or materials (perhaps both)? (i.e.: does a metal dome tweeter always impart a bright signature, or does it depend more on the crossover design?) I don't hate my 703's, but I'm certainly not satisfied either. I have been considering speakers that utilize a soft dome tweeter. What are the signatures (i.e.: weaknesses) of a soft dome design (if any)? Most importantly, what speakers will: 1.) Play at least as loud as the 703's (yes, I'm a product of the 70's -louder is better); 2.) Offer superior highs (smother, but still detailed); 3.) Rival or better the 703's bass response; 4.) Cost less!! ($2,000 - $3,000 range)??? I would like to hear from previous B&W users - preferably those who have replaced their 703's with speakers that offer a less fatiguing (i.e.: bright/harsh) sound.


I'm actually an N804 owner. I auditioned some Thiel 2.4's that sounded awfully good and some ML Aeon's that I liked but not as much as the Thiels. I was able to do this in my own listening room. The thiels have a metal dome, so I don't know if you'd be happy with that or not, but they are certainly worth a listen if you can audition them in your room.

On the silk dome tweeter, I've also auditioned Wilson Benesch Arc and Vienna Acoustics. I thought they were both very good on the highs. The bass on VA wasn't to my liking, but it was a nicely balanced speaker. The Arc was really nice all around. It was just a bit small for my room. IMO, the silk dome does piano and male voices a bit better. But that just what I was hearing. You could try the new VA Mozart, or do give a listen to the WB Arc if your room is smallish. In any event, you should try to try to audition them in your listening room. Hope this helps.
I have heard many people complain about B+W as well.I have both the martix 801s series 3 and nautilus 802s.The 801s are awesome.I initially hated the 802s but then I played around with the frontend etc.Now the nautilus are the best speakers I have ever heard.Another audiophile who recently heard my setup also stated the "it is by far the most natural and easy to listen to system I have ever heard."
I use a bryston bp26 and moon eclipse cd player on one circuit and my bryston 4b sst one another.Also don't use esoteric wires.Esoteric wires made it sound terrible.I just use elcheapo stuff.The one going to the amp is 30 feet and the one going from the cd to preamp is a 3 foot balanced.This same setup works just as well for the 801s.
I initially made the mistake of running them( the electronics) off the same circuit .They sounded quite grainy.I would not have believe it could make that much difference if I hadn't heard it for myself but it does.
This setup does not sound bright or fatiguing as before but very natural.Hope this helps other owners out there.