amp for B &W 801

bought new 801s. Was told I need a high power ss amp to run them well. True? Wanted to get tube monblocks instead. should I do tube or ss? What brands/models work best with my speaker?
I currently own 801's and have heard many different pairs in systems with a wide variety of electronics. My last two amps were the Pass ALEPH 5(60w/ch) and Krell KSA-300S(300w/ch). The 801's sound completely different with each one; warm, tubey, but a little loose in the bass with the lower power amp while the big amp is a bit more sterile in the highs but rock-solid, tight bass that has deeper extension. Tube amps will all have trouble controlling a 12" woofer as well as good, high-current solid state amp. Look at damping factor specs to see the difference. The best comprimise for tube sound with the good transistor bass is the Pass ALEPH series or Threshold SA/e series (circa 1992-94). You could also biamp with a combination of tubes on the top and solid-state on the bottom, but it is very difficult to get a perfect gain-match between different designs. Also, you would spend a lot of money on an experiment! My personal preference would be a really smooth, very high current solid-state amp with at least 200watts/ch, like the two mentioned before or Mark Levinson. 801's really come alive with higher power if you listen to music with powerful peaks. They will also reveal the differences between mid-fi quality amps and the true high end. If you don't want to spend the money for new high-end, search for good deals on used high-end. Don't settle for newer, lower quality amps for the same money . Good luck & enjoy.
These are great classic speakers but they always did seem a bit harsh and analytical with many solid state amps. As a compramise you might also try a digital amp like the Spectron Musician, which has qualities of a hybrid amp at 250 watts/ch.
I have 801s powered by Krell KAS 2s. They have been a great combination. I agee that with 801s you need a good damping factor which will stear you toward a solid state amp.
B&Ws have wild impedance curve - W - probably very few tube amps that can do it justice - look for SS amps that weight as much as they do!
First amp to give it an auditon is Aragon 2/8008 or 2/8008BB run bi-amp?!? If not good enough for your 801 and the rest of your system try something more exp like krell KAS then Levinson'll come to rescue. Rute.
While I have not heard it, some people on this site say the Wolcott Presence Monblocks can handle a speaker load like the 801. When I get around to auditioning amps for my 802N the Wolcott is on the list as a tube candidate. - Cheers, Dan.
Thanks for the input. I have heard good things about Wolcott but not sure they will work. Krell keeps coming up. My local Krell dealer was dumping on the Pass labs amps. But of course he doesn't sell them. Ideally I will search the ads and look for the amps you all recommend. John
i currently have 801 matrix 2's powered by bat vk-1000's. the sound and power is ultra smooth, liquid and powerful... balanced and never sloppy. i have the vk 40 pre and vkdg cd player also. i might look into biamping in the future with new 801n's.
B7W 801 series 3 r money sucking pigs because they need expensive gear to sound great as they r capable of. Go levinson if u have 801 series 2 or 3. if yours a nautalis krell or levison at least 200 watts unless you r going to use 20.6 mono blocks. They like expensive speaker cable also!!!!!!
Bryston 7Bs works good. Am going to experiment with just the 7B for low and uses Canary 301 for high. The Canary uses a quad of 300Bs and according to a few who had tried it, they stuck with it.
Make sure you audition the Wolcotts before purchasing. A great Amp but is a terrible match with Dunlavy 5's which have two 12 inch woofers. I am using Aloi's with inductive power which is awesome ss. Should be great with the 801's. I agree with bi-amping most speakers
I currently use a Threshold SA4E with my 801s with very good results. But would not look over the likes of Sim Audio W-5.
Wait until the new 350 wpc Marsh is out and try it out. You'll have 30 day factory direct. Also suggest you try the Bryston 7BSTs. Both huge bang for the buck. Try them before you spoend big bucks for Levoinson or Krell. If you want to spend get Jeff Rowlands !
I am currently running my N801s with the Pass Labs Aleph 2s. These mono solid state amps sound absolutely fantastic! I am currently in the process of upgrading my pre-amp to the Pass Labs X1 and I am looking for new speaker cable and interconnects. I am completely satisfied with the Aleph 2's (100 watts) ability to drive these speakers to volumes louder than I can stand while maintaining a stunning quality of sound. The problem with finding synergistic components like the Aleph 2s and the B&W N801s is that it causes you to start changing out other components to take full benefit of the combination.
Please see my site below. People says that this combination works surprisingly good with 801. 801 definetely needs high watts and high damping factor.
As you have read in many responses you'll have trouble getting the 801 to "wake up" with a tube amp. They are a wild load on the amp. For that reason you need an amp that can handle the large impedence shifts. Amps that fit this bill are typically classified as "high current" amps. Visually they are BIG and HEAVY. So guess what, Levinson, get the idea. I have 801 Matrix Threes and the Levinson 332. Sounds fantastic. The big Levinson drives them very well. In critical comparisons of the Levinson and Krell you should find that the Levinson is a little more relaxed, refined and smoother with a wider deeper and more recessed soundstage than the Krell. The Krell will be more dynamic, forward and analytical. They are both good choices it just depends on what you want to hear. You will need top quality speaker cables with the 801s, so keep that in mind. Cables by Transparent or MIT are popular with this combination. The most important thing is to use your ears. If the dealers you are working with won't let you borrow the amps over a weekend it's time to walk.