MAF 2024: Bowers & Wilkins, Classé Audio, DR Acoustics

MAF 2024: Bowers & Wilkins, Classé Audio, DR Acoustics


Bowers & Wilkins 800 speaker series has a long history, and the D4 is the latest line in that series. According to the company’s own description, its flagship 801 D4 is the most advanced 801 it has ever produced, and its “Signature Series” version ($55,000/pr)—the one demoed at the Audiofest—is an optimized version of it. Driving the 801s was a pair of Classé Delta MONO 300W (first 35W in class-A) monoblocks ($10,999 each) and a Classé Delta PRE preamp/DAC/streamer ($9,999).

Listening to a Qobuz-sourced FLAC stream of “Loneliest Monk” by Victor Wooten, my first thought was: ‘Now this is high-end sound!’ It was three dimensional. And it was apparent that the sound was covering pretty much the full frequency spectrum, from the deepest lows to the highest highs, and doing so in a way that sounded effortless. During an instrumental passage in the middle of the song, a jazz combo plays with an old radio effect which intentionally had an extremely limited frequency range. At one point, the whole system sounded like a vintage radio, before switching back to a glorious full-range presentation. As it did so, the difference startled me.

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