There are lots of great options here. I just looked up the B&W 803D and it says nominal impedance of 8 ohms, min 3 ohms, and 90 db efficiency. Conventionally I've seen B&W's as better driven by solid-state (rather than tube) amps, so I will limit my options to solid-state, although a bigger tube amp might be just fine, too.
Just to name one, an amp that I feel is great for the price that could drive the B&W's well would be the Marsh A400. You should be able to find one used for around $1000.
Try a NAD C275 BEE. It's rated at 150 watts but can do much higher peaks for very brief periods; it drove my Magnepan 3.6's with no problems. It's smooth and even balanced with a sweet top and midrange and plenty of grunt for the bass. A good used C275 can be had for around $800.
Is it as good as my $8,000 Cary 500 monoblocks? No, but it is darn close.
I have very little experience other than reading these boards, but I always read great things about McCormack. Don't know how they would mate with the b&w's though
A Bryston 4B-ST or for $500 extra, a pair of Bryston 7B monos. I think the 7BST monos from Bryston will make these babies sing.
I was amazed at the sound of Odyssey Khartago Extreme SE on my fiends Dali MS4, amp was filling in for Thor tube mono blocks. And the Odyssey is even under your budget new.
Consider the Harman Kardon HK990.
Thanks for the responses! I'll take a look at as many of these as possible.
I second the NAD 275BEE that someone above suggested. Good choice. I would also recommend the Vincent SP331 (150 wpc) and Parasound 2250 (250 wpc). All brand new and under or at your budget. They would all get the job done with your 803s. Good luck on your amp journey.
Belles 150A Hot Rod. Steal at the price new; grand larceny if you find a used one. Sweet, tuneful and suddiciently powerful.
Conrad Johnson MF2500A. Beautiful sounding amp with 240 wpc I believe. Last I knew, around $1500 used.
Or: instead of a 4B-ST, a McCormack DNA 1, (Deluxe Edition if you find one). Might sell for $800-ish. Personally I'd go for that over a 4B-ST.
If your budget allows for a Bryston SST series amp, the word I've always gotten is that they're a real improvement over the ST's.
Second for Harman Kardon HK990.
Classe for 1500???? let me know when i can get one...
anthem statement p2... i run a p5 for my ht with 804S at all five channels... the amp is a tank.
Used that is.... not new for 1500
Seconding Jl35 on Odyssey. (Though I didn't know "fiends" were into audio.;) Various models can be had for your pricepoint or considerably less. Klaus is a good guy who offers great service on used pieces. He's often able to upgrade/update older pieces: eg, you might find a used Stratos here or on AC for less than 1k, and the seller could send it to Klaus for upgrades and then on to you, and you'd come out with an updated, factory serviced, piece at your pricepoint. This was the arrangement when I sold my Stratos Dual Mono, which I used happily for 6 years. If the B&Ws like a bit of of juice (as I seem to remember they do), Odyessey a top option.
I second the ODYSSEY option. My KISMET mono amps have been great for the price, and the C4 signatures like them. The STRATOS line is a real good value, and should fall in your price range. I too looked for good amps at a reasonable price, and took the ODYSSEY route.
Yes John, those MS4's somehow got from my living room, to that fiend's basement! (though maybe I remember carrying them down the stairs...)
The Emotiva XPA-2 has the power to drive them.
Thanks again folks. I'm getting excited about my upcoming purchase. Based on this page I'm leaning towards the Emotiva, Parasound, NAD, or Odyssey.
Parasound is probably your best option. Have owned NAD, B&K, Creek and auditioned Emotiva (although not against Parasound).
Consider a Proceed HPA-2. The Proceed might be a little older then some of the amps mentioned but none are better then the Proceed.
Make sure whatever amp you pick will drive the three ohms (actually 3.5 on the older 804s).
Most of those amps are rated for 4 ohm minimum loads. Best to find one that can drive a two ohm load.
I use the Parasound JC1 on my 803Ds, but I know that is out of your budget range. Not sure how low of an impedance the Brystons can drive...