B&W Matrix 800 loudspeaker Setup

Sidebar 2: Setup

The B&W speakers were initially bi-wired with Straight Wire Maestro speaker cables, as well as similar jumpers between woofer modules. There were also short Maestro cables between midrange and tweeter binding posts, which I replaced a few days later with the supplied solid jumpers. I also tried the Monster Powerline woofer jumpers, but found the Straight Wire configuration throughout to be superior. Electronics initially consisted of Esoteric and Krell digital drives, Theta Pro Generation II (balanced) D/A convertor, Mark Levinson No.26 preamp, and Krell KSA-250 power amplifier (I was in the middle of writing my January review of the KSA-250 when the 800s arrived). I tried both the supplied B&W bass-alignment filter and mono units from the Anodyne Group in North Carolina, and immediately preferred the Anodyne (a pair of mono MaughanBox filters from ListenUp Audio in Denver subsequently arrived, and were extensively auditioned). Three days before press deadline, I received a pair of prototype mono bass-alignment filters from Krell Industries.

Other components used during the course of the reviewing process (six months, and approximately 600 hours of listening) were: Rotel RCD-855 CD player, Krell KBL preamplifier, Mark Levinson Nos.23 and No.23.5 power amplifiers, and Krell KMA-300 power amplifiers.

Interconnects included Magnan VI (balanced), Madrigal HPC (balanced and single-ended), Straight Wire Maestro (balanced), Kimber KCAG (balanced and single-ended), Krell Cogelco (balanced), AudioQuest Diamond (balanced), and Purist Audio Design Maximus (fluid-filled, balanced). Speaker cables included AudioQuest Clear Hyperlitz, AudioQuest Sterling Hyperlitz, Krell Path, and Kimber 4AG and 8AG. I am presently using a combination of AudioQuest Clear (bass) and Sterling Hyperlitz (mid/high) speaker cables in quad-wired configuration, although Straight Wire has just sent enough Maestro to allow me to try it with their product. Although I am principally using Magnan VI balanced interconnect, Straight Wire Maestro, the new AudioQuest Diamond, and the very unusual Purist Audio Design Maximus interconnects are being phased into the system in stages.

I should also mention that I was hoping to receive a Jadis Defy 100Wpc stereo tube amplifier before the deadline for this review, but this did not materialize. This is unfortunate, because I've heard the Matrix 800 with Jadis equipment elsewhere, and found the results to be outstanding.—Lewis Lipnick

B&W Group North America
54 North Concord Street
North Reading, MA 01864-2699
(978) 664-2870