Waiting on 802D3 to arrive -- Will I need a sub?

It's a rainy gray Sunday afternoon here in Atlanta today. I probably have better things to do but I've spent hours reading and researching trying to ascertain if I will need a subwoofer(s) once my B&W 802D3 arrive here in another week or so.

I can't decide and so I've decided to try posting here and crowdsource an answer, ha ha!

My goal is to create a system that will allow me to listen to 2-channel music for hours on end without fatigue.  The room is my living room and is a quasi open floorplan. It is around 24 feet long by 18 feet wide.  There are 10ft ceilings with an open stairwell back behind the seating position and an opening to my dining room that adds another 400 square feet or so of floor space.

Previously I've had B&W 804D2 towers with two B&W ASWCM10 powered subs.  I've sold the towers and the subs and am waiting on 802D3 to arrive as mentioned above.  The 804D2 absolutely had to have the subs.  The bass just wasn't there without them unless I really cranked the volume up.

So as I sit here I'm wondering if I made a mistake in selling my subs already.  With the 802's will I miss them or will those guys have me covered for 2 channel listening?

If it's likely that I will still need a sub (or 2) what do you guys think would be a good match to the 802D3?

Here is the rest of my equipment in case its helpful in offering an opinion:


·     PS Audio BHK Signature Preamplifier


·     Qty. 2: PassLabs XA60.8 Monoblocks


·     PS Audio DirectStream Junior (DAC)

·     VPI Traveler 2

·     Audio Technica AT33EV Phonograph Cartridge

·     Apple TV 4K 


·     Qty. 2: PS Audio P5 Power Plant


·     Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono PreAmplifier


·     Bowers-Wilkins 802D3

The bottom octave is a bitch to reproduce, and very, VERY few speakers are up to the task. To require them to try compromises their ability to reproduce 40Hz and up cleanly (due to the distortion the woofer creates by trying to play below it's capabilities), and does the same to the power amp(s) driving them (low frequencies suck up a lot of power). Some music doesn’t suffer too badly when reproduced by a speaker extending down to only 40Hz before rapidly rolling off (many, if not most speakers, at least to live music SPL), as the lowest note of a "standard"-tuned 4-string bass (electric or acoustic)---the E string played open---is at 42Hz. Some rooms become boomy if pumped full of bass, so some people prefer to not try at all. But in a room allowing good bass reproduction, and subs well-positioned and adjusted, that bottom octave can be really fulfilling, and help make some reproduced music sound considerably more like live that if it is missing. I especially like how the acoustic of a large theater or church/cathedral becomes apparent by the bottom octave reproducing the very low frequency, very long wavelength soundwaves those spaces create. Your listening room sounds HUGE!
12 days ago you had $5K to invest/spend and now you say you just purchased $22K speakers???

Years ago when I trained at Sumiko on how to set up speakers, they had a pair of SF Stradivari (rated down to 22Hz) with a REL Studio 3 sub. They played solo violin recorded in a huge venue and all the space of that place along with the emotion of the musical selection was revealed. They then played the same piece of music with the sub disconnected, and the sound completely collapsed to where it just sounded like a nice hi fi. As REL says - It's not about the bass, it's about the space. Plus, no other subs in the industry can be fine tuned to seamlessly blend with main speakers like RELs can. If budget allows, considering your room size, get REL's 212SE, and get 2 if you can afford them. Stereo subs rock!
If anything you are going to have a challenge to tame the 60Hz resonance peak of +7dB in the bass. A sub may be the least of your problems.

@dekay --> yup. Thanks for asking. Best Buy Magnolia bought back the 804d2's I had purchased from them a couple of years back. Couple that with opening a credit line from them with 3 years no interest and a couple of other sweeteners and ... well, I pulled the trigger. So they will pick up the 804d2s when they deliver the 802d3s. To your comment specifically, I still had 5K cash set aside for the preamp which is what the other post was really about (As an update to that I've ordered the PS Audio BHK Signature Preamplifier which has yet to come in).

Thanks for everyone's posts today about the subwoofer topic. I did a lot of critical listening today with my DAC connected directly to the Pass Labs feeding my 804d2.  They sound a lot better than they did with the emotiva xpa-2 I recently sold. I would describe the sounds as more transparent and warmer. It felt less brassy to me. The low-range of the 804 sounded nice, but they definitely need a sub.  It will be interesting for me to see if the 802d3 circumvent that need.

I think the advice is solid that I need to just get the 802's setup before deciding if I will need to get new subs. I heard that advice loud and clear and that absolutely makes sense.  I'll be sure to report back!

Thanks again for the great comments and feedback. It's been truly valuable and most appreciated!