B&W 805S review

Whether you listen to Prokofiev, the Prodigy or Prince, the 805Ss will serve you spectacularly well Tested at £1600.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

These Award-winning B&Ws are excellent-sounding speakers, with the impressive build quality to match


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    Great all-rounders with crisp timing and a superb level of insight

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    lovely build and finish


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    There are rivals that dig deeper in the bass

Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert team reviews products in dedicated test rooms, to help you make the best choice for your budget. Find out more about how we test.

We've always liked the B&W 805, but it was only with the debut of the up-rated ‘S' version that they became something special. So special, in fact, they won our Award in 2006 in this price category.

Build is excellent – these speakers are solidly made with great attention to detail. They feel rock-solid thanks to an extensively braced cabinet, yet look incredibly elegant. A word of warning: that top-mounted tweeter pod looks a tempting place to pick these speakers up from. Don't – it'll break off.

There's the usual B&W technology orgy here. The metal-dome tweeter is mounted at the front of a tapered tube to soak up any rearward radiation, producing cleaner highs, while the mid/bass driver uses a Kevlar cone for its resonance and dispersion properties.

Other highlights include a dimpled port for improved air flow and a simplified crossover, which potentially has benefits across the board for sound quality, if implemented properly.

Setting the standard
B&W's engineers have done a great job. These standmounts are fabulous. They set the standard at this price level when it comes to clarity, timing and dynamics. Listen to a complex recording, such as Orff's Carmina Burana, and the B&Ws paint an utterly convincing sonic picture, with pin-sharp stereo imaging and breathtaking articulation.

Sure, most floorstanders at this price level will produce deeper, more authoritative bass, but in every other area these B&Ws shine.

Whether you listen to Prokofiev, the Prodigy or Prince, the 805Ss will serve you spectacularly well. That's the major reason these speakers remain the benchmark by which others are judged.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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