B&W 803 D4 Loudspeaker Lab Report

Lab Report

Bowers & Wilkins' 803 D4 not only looks like a scaled version of the flagship 801 D4 [HFN Nov '21] but its performance bears parallels. The impedance trend is not dissimilar, though neither speaker offers a 'nominal 8ohm'. The 803 D4 hits a minimum of 2.7ohm/115Hz (sub-6ohm from 62Hz-1.3kHz) and a tough EPDR of 1.0ohm/82Hz, but while the down-firing port 'dip' at 26Hz is again similar, the 47ohm LF peak is half that of the 801 D4 and at a higher 15Hz (vs. 92ohm/12Hz). The smaller 180mm Aerofoil woofers have a reduced 47Hz-360Hz bandwidth (re. –6dB) but the diffraction-corrected LF extension remains a creditable 35Hz versus 19Hz for the voluminous 801 D4 (all –6dB re. 200Hz).

It's tempting to hope this relatively tough loading may feed into higher sensitivity, but the 803 D4's 87dB/2.83V/1m is short of the rated 90dB, not least because of a response dip at 1kHz. Averaged over 500Hz-8kHz, sensitivity improves to 88.5dB, just 1dB below the 801 D4 and with a similarly undulating, upwards-tilted presence/treble response trend [Graph 1, below]. Response errors are ±3.1dB and ±3.3dB (200Hz-20kHz), respectively, while the 'Diamond dome' tweeter's ultrasonic output is extended up to resonances at 28kHz, 45kHz and 69kHz [pink shaded area, Graph 1]. The magnetically-attached grilles offer precious little disruption [blue trace, Graph 1] with a maximum loss of just 0.7dB between 2-6kHz that should present minimal subjective impact (other brands, take note). Pair matching was excellent too, with a mere 0.9dB deviation from 200Hz-20kHz. Distortion is also fabulously low, especially through the slightly subdued mid frequencies at ~0.1% (re. 90dB SPL at 1m). PM


Response inc. nearfield summed driver/port [green], freefield corrected to 1m at 2.83V [yellow], ultrasonic [pink]. Left, black; right, red; w. grille, blue

B&W 803 D4_Waterfall_R_35dB

There's a mild mistermination at 1.4kHz (along with a peak in response) but presence/treble is 'clean'

Sensitivity (SPL/1m/2.83V – 1kHz/Mean/IEC) 87.1dB / 88.5dB / 88.2dB
Impedance modulus: minimum & maximum (20Hz–20kHz) 2.70ohm @ 115Hz, 31ohm @ 44Hz
Impedance phase: minimum & maximum (20Hz–20kHz) –74° @ 54Hz, +44° @ 1.4kHz
Pair matching/Resp. error (200Hz–20kHz) 0.9dB/ ±3.1dB/±3.3dB
LF/HF extension (–6dB ref 200Hz/10kHz) 35Hz / 32.1kHz/53.5kHz
THD 100Hz/1kHz/10kHz (for 90dB SPL/1m) 0.5% / 0.08% / 0.45%
Dimensions (HWD) / Weight (each) 1165x357x511mm / 62kg
Price £18,000

B&W Group Ltd
West Sussex
Supplied by: B&W Group Ltd
0800 232 1513