B & W 801 model type and amplifiers

There is an original pair of 801 speakers for sale locally at 1100. I am going to take a look at them. Having moved to SET tubes some time ago I don't have much in the way of large solid state amps about; only one Bryston 2B with 60 watts.

What would be the minimum type of solid state, or tube amplifier to drive these beasts? Would a Threshold SA3 or Krell KSA50 (both pure class A with very good power supplies but only rated at 50 wattts) work with these speakers?

I would want to acquire a used solid state amp as they are such bargains. Levinson 27.5 is another amp I've used and like but the price is moving up to the 2 large region for that amp.
I ran the 801 Matrix series 2 for many a happy year. I ran mine with the Threshold s300 series 2 s/state amp.This was rated at 150 w/per channel. Great combo.Just right,not bright or edgy. Great bass slam and mids with crisp clean highs. I would strongly recommend good quality s/state amp. To get enough power through tubes you may have to spend more money ,in my opinion. I would have loved to try the Threshold SA-1 monos but never had the chance but must have been one hell of a match considering how well the S300 sounded to me...Good Luck...
I had a pair of 801 series 3's for over a decade.

These speakers require "high current" amplifiers in order to "come alive" - no SET will be a good match -

Take note: not all high wattage amps are _high current_

I tried the big hafler, a 200 watt or so B&K, and the _magic_ wasn't there till I tried a counterpoint SA 20, which was lower wattage rating but high current on the rails.

They are notoriously power hungry speakers _big grin_

Presumably the Thresholdamp that Thorman was using was high current also.

Prodigous amounts of SS power are called for here. You will definitely not be going down the SET path _grin_


Ken L
I have 2 pairs of 801s. I power 1 pair with a pair of ML-2 and the other pair with a pair of ML-20.5. I am very happy with these combos.
I ran my 801 s2's with a Plinius SA 100MkII with modest output of 100W/8ohms and found them satisfactory in my room with my associated Equip. It wasn't until I recently traded up to the SA 250 that the speakers were transformed like no other amp Iv'e owned sounded with the 801's.Very magical sound and best control of the bottom end I have ever heard from them. You really need an amp with hi power and hi-current capability to get the best from them, especially if single amping them...Good luck in your search :)
I own a pair of 801 Matrix S3. When I was auditioning them back in 1997 the dealer hooke them up to a ML 332 (200 watts/ch). They sound really good. Them he replaced the amplifier with a ML 333 (300 watts/ch)/ The change in the sound was notroius. The spekars was full and the amplifier was able to control the speaker much better.

Right now I am running them with a pair of Sonic Frontiers Power 2 monoblocks (220 watts/ch tubes). They sound incredible. I am planning to go back to Solid State. I am a true believer of power specially current. To me the best amplifiers current wise are Threshold specially the S and SA e series. You should go minimum withthe S550e or SA4e but if you really want to make them sing a pair of SA10e or SA12e would be a dream system.