Jamo S801 vs S803 which is better?

Jamo S801 vs S803 which is better?

What a real heated rivalry this Jamo S801 and S803 is going to be today. This is even more intense than when Bret “Hitman” Hart fought his brother-in-law, The British Bulldog at SummerSlam 92! 90s. WWF wrestling references aside, the Jamo S801 speakers and the Jamo S803 speakers are two awesome bookshelf speakers and today we are putting them head to head to see which one is the best and if the 803 are a worthy upgrade to the 801. These are some of the more affordable, but still pretty high-quality bookshelf speakers on the market these days and there is a very good reason as to why these are as popular as they are.


The Price

We are going to start this Jamo S801 and S803 comparison off by looking at the price of these speakers. This is rather interesting as both the S801 and the S803 come in different colors and the color of the speakers you get actually can have a pretty big difference on the price you pay! While I have only had the black versions to try out, we will be looking at the price for all the available colors.


Jamo S801:

Jamo S 801 Bookshelf Speaker Black - Pair

There are three different versions of the Jamo S801 speakers. The ones that I have to test out are the black version and they are currently listed on Amazon for a very reasonable, $119. There is also a walnut colored set and these are priced at an even more wallet friendly $99 and then we have a more modern looking white colored set and as I write this Amazon are currently out of stock of these. I mean, if you do not care about the color, you may as well save 20 bucks and get the walnut color. On Amazon, these tend to go for the $110 to $130 range, but there are some cheaper, used ones on there if you decide to go that route. There are some amazing deals on the Jamo S801 speakers out there so be sure to shop around.


Jamo S803:

Jamo S 803 Black - Pair

Like the S801, the Jamo S803 speakers are also available in three different colors and the price differences on Amazon for these are really all over the price and it is kind of crazy, to be honest with you. The black version of the Jamo S803 speakers which are the ones that I got the chance to check out are currently listed at $135. The walnut colored version are listed at $149 and then we have the white version which are on Amazon for a rather eye-watering $288! In no way would I say that the white version of these speakers are worth that! As far as the price of these speakers on eBay goes, you are looking at anywhere between $120 to $160 as of me writing this article. Like the S801, the Jamo S803 speakers are available at some great prices to be sure to do your homework.


The Verdict: I know that it is hard to look past the $99 asking price of the walnut Jamo S801 speakers which really is a great price. However, for me, I do think that I would probably pay that extra bit of money to get the Jamo S803 speakers as I feel that they are giving you more value for your money.


The Design

At first glance, there does not appear to be a huge difference in the design of these, but the design is one of the most interesting categories that we have in this Jamo S801 and S803 we have going on today. There are some key differences here and to me, that makes one of these a pretty dominant winner!


Jamo S801: For the Jamo S801 speakers, Jamo has gone for a really interesting and kind of retro design. While I had the black version to check out, watch this Jamo S 801 Unboxing and First Impressions if you want to see the walnut version. Let’s start with the dimensions which are, 11.22” x 6.14” x 6.42” so these are nice and compact and great if you want some smaller speakers to blend into the background as your rear speakers. Or, if you want to have some speakers next to your stereo, but are short on space, these would be ideal. No matter the color, these have the same overall design, they are a rectangular shaped speaker that sits on a small base. The base is different depending on the main color of the speaker, the black version I had for example has a walnut-colored base. These have a very retro, 1970s era looking speaker grille which is great if you want speakers that have an old school look to them.

Now, without the grille, I feel that the Jamo S801 speakers have way more personality. The top driver of each speaker is done in the same color as the base. So, the black speaker that has the walnut base has a walnut surrounding for the smaller driver. It is a pretty neat effect and it would probably result in me displaying these with the grille off. On the back of the Jamo S801, you have your ports for hooking these things up, but there is also a port on here, making these speakers rear firing which may mean that you have to be a bit more creative with where you decide to place this in your home.


Jamo S803: While the Jamo S803 speakers are the same kind of style as their little brother, there are some very key differences here that ultimately I feel make these a better designed set of speakers. As I said before, these are available in black (the version I have), walnut, and white. These speakers are a bit larger as they come in at 9 x 6 x 13 inches so they do take up a bit more space than the S801 speakers. They have the same kind of style where the base at the bottom of the speakers are a different color from the main body. Once you take that grille off, the base is the same color as the top driver, it is a pretty neat design and one that would result in me displaying these without the grille. I do actually like the retro look that the grille has, but I just think these look way cooler without it.

Now the major difference on the front of these speakers is that the port is on the front, making these front firing speakers and this does actually make a fair bit of difference in regards to the sound, and in my opinion, it also gives you more flexibility in regards to where you are going to display these things in your home as you do not have to worry about walls or the back of a cabinet messing with the sound. On the back of the speakers, we also see another major difference and that is there are two ports! There are separate ports for main and height.


The Verdict: I really do like the design of the Jamo S801 speakers, they look cool and the rather compact nature of their design is sure to appeal to many people. However, I think that they took what they did with that design and made it better with the Jamo S803 speakers. I think that these are just a bit better made and the front firing port is better than having a rear firing one. There is nothing really wrong with a rear firing port, but if I had to choose, I am 99 percent sure I would go for a front firing one.


The Sound

Does the different design make a difference to the sound? You will probably not be all that surprised with the way the sound category in our Jamo S801 and S803 is going to go! Still, I will say that both of these sound good in their own way, but one just sounds better than the other!


Jamo S801: For their size, the Jamo S801 speakers pack way more punch than you may expect. I was pleasantly surprised when we watched Ready Player One and the scene in the club. These complimented my surround sound setup very well so I can confidently say that these work great as rear speakers. Even though they are on the small side, they do have a decent amount of power to them. I ended up picking up the 4K version of Sonic the Hedgehog 2 which is a super fun movie by the way. Anyway, rather than try this out as the rear speakers, I had them as the main speakers and they were decent enough. I think that for speakers in the 100 to 120 bucks range they are not bad at all. They were clear enough, had a decent amount of power to them and in all I was impressed. Now, I do not think you would want these are your main speakers in a larger room or a home theater, but smaller to mid-sized rooms will be more than fine with these.

Of course, we cannot talk about speakers without talking about what they are like as far as listening to music goes. You can never go wrong with a bit of Prince and I actually own the album Purple Rain multiple times including this very sexy (just like the man himself) Purple Rain – Exclusive Limited Edition Purple Colored Vinyl which I do not think I will ever play as I am terrified of scratching that purple vinyl! Anyway, you get a really balanced and clear sound out of these speakers. I do think that they are at their best right around the mid-range. I would not blast music too loud with these, but if you want to listen to music at a more “respectable level” as my wife says, you cannot go wrong with these. I did try these out with some rock in the form of Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue and it was ok, not the best I have ever heard the album, but certainly passable.


Jamo S803: I suggest that you have a look at this Z Review – Jamo S803 [SOUND DEMO] which is one of the most fun sound tests I have ever seen for any set of speakers! Just like I have done with most bookshelf style speakers, I connected these to my current setup to see how they work as rear speakers and I was actually way more impressed than I thought I would be, the wife and I watched the classic, Saving Private Ryan and it was so loud, my wife made me turn it down. These well and truly kept up with the rest of the speakers and really did add that extra bit of kick to the rear sound that I love when I am watching movies. As far as using these as your main speakers to get some good quality stereo sound, that is certainly doable with the Jamo S803 speakers. I watched a few movies with these and one that stood out was Labyrinth it sounded phenomenal! From the music to the clarity of people talking, the sound was incredibly well balanced, even at louder volumes. I noticed a pretty significance in the quality of the sound with these over the Jamo S801 speakers.

While these were great for movies, it was really when listening to music that I noticed just how much better these speakers were. A prime example of this is Turn Up The Radio – The Anthology by Autograph. Truth be told outside of Turn Up The Radio, I am not a massive fan, but that song kicks so much ass and has one of the best intros of all time. It sounded great through these speakers and I am even talking about when I had that volume dial on my receiver cranked as far up as the wife would let me. What is very impressive is that the sound is balanced and there is no distortion of any kind, the front firing nature of these speakers as well as their larger side produces a sound that the 801 just cannot compete with.


The Verdict: The sound quality of the Jamo S801 speakers is fine, it is actually more than fine if you can get these in the $80-100 range. However, in a direct comparison with the Jamo S803 speakers, they just cannot go past the first round! I have to say that this is a clear and pretty easy win for the S803!


Which Is The Best Speaker?

Thanks very much for joining me on this Jamo S801 and S803 journey that I have gone on today. Full disclosure here, before I got both of these speakers to try out I was already pretty sure that the Jamo S803 speakers were going to win. However, I will say that I was impressed by what the Jamo S801 speakers were offering, especially if you can get them for under 100 bucks. Yet, there is no way that the Jamo S803 speakers are not winning this contest today! The price difference between these speakers is not much at all and I would say even if you did have to pay around 30 bucks more for the S803 speakers that it is well worth doing so.

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