I powered my 802N with a Classe 200 for a while but I always felt there was a little something missing in the bass. I ended up getting a Classe401 and found that little something that was missing in the bass. Interestingly enough, I had a conversation recently with a dealer I know who sells both Classe and Levinson. I really love my Lev.380S preamp and wondered if I should try to sell my Classe and get a Lev. 336. He thought that would not be a good idea. Lots of lost money for no clear gain. I suggest you listen to the 802Ns for a few months with your 335....you will be happy. Then when you are ready, look for a more powerfull amp ( at least 400W ) and try it. I have a big living room for mine, and I suspect that has something to do with the extra power making my bass deeper.
After hearing these speakers with Krell 200c and 250Mc amps in a very large room, I think you have plenty of power to get familiar with the N802. If after a couple of months you are happy in general with the Lev sound but longing for additional power it might make sense to demo a second 335 in a verticle biamp scenario.
I am driving my 802s with Sonic Frontier Power 3s which is rated 220watt/ch. I find this power to be more than adequate. Don't forget that 802s are very efficient speakers (8 ohms). I have heard them being driven by a Lab 47 amp which I think is rated something like 7 watts, and I was blown away by the 802s' dynamic and its full bass performance. I don't know what type of music you listen to, but I have never turned my CAT preamp pass 9 o'clock on the volume knob (starts at 6 o'clock). These are my 2nd pair of 802s, I think they are really great speakers for their value and sound quality. Email me if you any question with these speakers. Good luck.
I have my N802's in a 14x15 room with an 8-11 ft. vaulted ceiling that is open at top extending into another 10x25 ft room. I was using a Classe CA300 which had more than adequate power, probably a little too much as the soundstage was humongous, very open and dynamic. I also used an older Classe DR8 which at some 100W had more than enough power but not the same ease or bass extension of the larger amp. My desire was for a more intimate soundstage and harmonic balance that I hear through my Cary system. I didn't know how much power I would actually need from a tubed amp and settled on a power rating of about 100W. I purchased a VAC PA 100/100 used and find that it will play as loud as the big Classe except I sacrifice extension at both the very top and bottom in exchange for a lush midrange and fuller bass that I believe only tube can accomplish. So my final opinion would be that 100W solid state or 50W tubed would be sufficient depending on the size of your room and how loud do you want it. By the way the peak level that read on my Ratshack meter at the listening seat 10 ft away has been 107 db with the big amp and 103 with the VAC. This to me is very loud. Normal listening I usually peak at low to mid nineties with the average spl's in the eighties.
Give your levison gear a try. It might be enough of what you are needing, in terms of power. I originally had mine set up with a pair of Aragon Palladiums, which are rated @125 watts into 8 ohms. After hearing a friends 801s with a pair of Bryston 7bs, I ended up making the switch. The power difference was immediately felt,and my overall listening enjoyment improved. Just a footnote. The 802s sounded great with the palladiums, They just kick ass with the 7bs.
335 is more than enough. This is what I've been running.
I have 802Ns in a large room (18x33 w/vaulted ceiling. I have tried McCormak 225, Plinius 100 Mk.III, Joule Elec. 150 watt vamp, Rowland 10, Clayton S-40, and currently have Clayton M-100 monos and a MacIntosh MC352. The 802s can take a huge amount of power and sound better and better--they are fabulous speakers. I like the MC352 best of the lot because of the synergy: the tonal balance is just superb. But of course there is the rest of the system contributing. I am sure you will like the sound of your speakers with the Levinson. I am also sure you will desire to extract even more performance from the bottom. The only real compromise in the speaker is the extreme bass. That limitation doesn't get in the way from a music lovers point of view though. And only occasionaly from an audiophile point of view. Overall I think the talk about needing more power than you already have is over the top. Your speakers are going to sound great.
Some excellent commentary, about excellent speakers and amps.
I'm running N802s with the B&K 250wpc monoblocks. These amps are designed with higher transient power to reach down for the transient lower note requirements: and they are fine in doing so. At my listening levels, which are modest most of the time, the B&Ks are a great value. When I move into larger environs though, I'll opt for either the Bryston 7b-st or bi-amp with the new Bryston 6b-st (250wpc) on the LF and a 3b-st (125-150wpc) for the mids and highs.
Having said this, the 250 from the B&Ks are more than enough to shake the walls. My guess is that the 150wpc and below range might be too thin to really drive the dynamics: below a certain listening level, the human ear is less resonsive to Bass.
I hope everyone continues to enjoy these great speakers.
ROCKY: You got my attention with the N-802's. In my oppinion, you will own the ultimate best speaker that is made in that price range. Perfect sound in the audio&video world, which is extremely hard to do. O.K. I will get of your speaker's or I will be on that subject all day- you will soooooooo enjoy them. Now going on with your amp situation. Your heart, & soul, or brains, & brawm of your system. Your amp & pre-amp processor. You are forgetting that your 802's are extremely efficient. So the levinson335 amp that you have will just make those 802's sing [your soul & brawn] Now what we need is your pre-amp processor [your heart, & brains] of your system to make your system sing. I envey you, with this system, it will just kick ass. To answer your question... yes your levinson 335 is plenty. I just got a little excited and took some time to show it.
I currently have the 801N and 804N but have had several B&W 800 line of speakers. All sounded better with more Power (with in reason). However the biggest Gain I have found is to BI-AMP. Your 802N should do real well with around 200 to 250 X 2 EA speaker BI-AMPED. I am currently BI-AMPING MY 801N with 350 X 2 EA speaker. I simply use 1 AMP for each speaker. To me BI-AMPING the B&W 800 line really makes all things better. You seperate the crossovers, let the mid range open up and extend the bass. I find more detail more depth and a larger sound stage. You could use more power to control the Bass driver and less for the mid and tweeter. But amp gain matching and other promlems has caused me to just use a single 2 channel amp for each speaker.
Good Luck Bob
I really thought 200 watts was enough power. But, a bigger amplifier just give so much more of a relaxed and dynamic performance. It sort of like having a V12 engine. Because you have one does not mean you are going to drive fast but when you get ready to change lanes it so much easier. I am using a California Audio Labs MCA 2500 which is 500 watts times 5 . Everyone asks me why do you need so much power. I really purchased the amp because my surround processor could turn it on. But now the sound is so much better. I don't listen at loud volumes. I mainly listen to jazz. But the amplifier pushed my system a gaint step forward. It offers better performance than I ever expected at the price. It replaced an Aragon 8008 and 8002 which I was very happy with. So, I think the extra power may serve you well. I have never heard anyone buy an amplifier and complain that it had too much power.
Oh, I should add that the Cal audio Labs is on par with the Levison amps that I have heard for sound quality.
thanks to all....looks like i will keep my ML 335 for the time being....i'll listen and then maybetry more power with a demo..then decide
rest of sysyem: B&W 802N
ML 335 amp
ML 380S preamp
ML 360S processor
ML 37 transport
Kimber Kable throughout:
2 pairs Monocle XL to biwire with
Rocky, if I had everything you have and I was still fishing, I think I would want to try the Levinson 33 mono amps and the 32 Reference preamp and....... oh, what's the use. I'll never be able to stop.
You have a fine system....enjoy it!
Running my N802s, I recently upgraded a Pass X350 stereo amp to X600 Monos. Unbelievable Difference!!! Especially in the base and transparency.
You've got to ask yourself, however, is it a better sounding amp or is it the added power. Probably some of both, but I suspect more because of the better sounding mono amps.
Focus on amp sonic qualities, as much as power. You've got a great system now and plenty of power, but may want to experiment with changing the sound if not satisfied. If you upgrade with ML gear you may want to try the 33H as an upgrade (less power but better sonics). I don't think a ML336 is going to sound much different than the 335, since they are basically constructed the same way. Going to monos can probably help as much as anything.
Finally, contrary to ratings and many of the above postings, the B&W 800s can demand difficult loads at various times with different source material even though they are rated at 8 ohms. This is where the added power comes in handy.
Good luck & happy listening.