The B&W "Upgrade" Downgrade

To Doug Schneider,

I just read your review on the Focal Chorus 836 Ws. I had a pair of Paradigm S8 v.1s and the Adele Live at Royal Albert Hall Blu-ray sounded great played through them. I recently "upgraded" to B&W 804 Diamonds and popped in Live from Royal Albert Hall -- no bueno. I thought something was broken it was so horrible. Needless to say, the 804 Diamonds are on eBay.

The 836 Ws are something I am going to listen to and take the Adele Blu-ray with me when I do!

Thanks for the reviews.


This reply might annoy some B&W fans out there, but I have to say I am not surprised with what you experienced. I was a fan of the brand in the '80s and '90s and even owned several models: Matrix 1, Matrix 802 Series 2, and Matrix 3 Series 2. Back then, I felt B&W was on the cutting-edge of loudspeaker design. In the last number of years, I can’t help but think that the company has lost its way in that appearance seems to trump sound quality quite regularly -- so many times I’ve seen their speakers at shows and admired the looks, but was disappointed with the sound. As a result, it comes as no surprise that your supposed upgrade from Paradigm to B&W turned out to be a downgrade.

Perhaps B&W will send me a speaker to review that will change my mind about them, but until then I encourage you to look to other brands, such as Focal, since they are continually pushing the envelope in many ways. You might want to revisit Paradigm, too. . . . Doug Schneider