I know two people very happy with 802's and musical fidelity. Both happen to be using the KW500 integrated. One has a pair of Nautilus, and the other has a pair of Diamond. Either way, that would be one line I would consider if I were you. The other option to look into is Jeff Rowland, but that would be quite a bit more expensive, I'm afraid.
The best sound i have heard from N802s was with McIntosh amplification. They are often used together. The Mc402 was absolutely killer and would be close to what you are looking for. It has tons of detail but isn't analytical. Arthur
The original Nautilus line was voiced with Krell FPB amplification.
AUDIO RESEARCH REF 1 or 2 or 3 and VT-200 with 802N
TRUE HI-END SOUND!!!
There is no better amplification for B&W Naut that Kraft/symphonic line. This is coming from some one who worked for a B&W dealer. This is a german line of equipment that is awsome!
You might want to check out Chord equipment.
Jeff Rowland 201 or 501 mono amps should be considered. They distinctly improved the musicality to my B&W 804s (201) and my father-in-laws B&W803 (501). Both our systems are sourced by Wadia 301 CD players.
I run my N802'2 with a Mcintosh 352, and it is fabulous. So musical. Prior to the mc, I was using a Conrad Johnson MF2500, which was ok, but give them some juice and the really come alive.
Classe Amps IMO do not sound analytical , so something sounds strange here. What Classe Amp is it ? B&W.s require lots of juice, many people like bi wire, what CDP are you running, what cables are you using etc.
I always thought Classe sounded laid back if anything, what about some of the Parasound amps?
I agree Rowland and Musical Fidlity sound great with B&W, Classe, BAT, Levinson were not so great.
I know others that disagree about the Classe but to me it was not refined like the MF and Rowland but more of a bold sound.
I am quiet happy with Musical Fidelity and my N803. That said having listened to the Classe' and N802 with an Esoteric DV50 cabeling was all Synergistyc Research. I found the system to be very involving, not clynical at all. There are many things in system synergy the amp being just one of them. A tube pre-amp may be in order or something as simple as a cable change.
Remember to take the system as a whole.
get a pair of classe m400 monos the new delta series 400wpc smooth clean top to bottom, detail,resolution, without the "hifi sound" runs Class A for 1/3 of rated power 130watts which you probably will always be listening in in Class A operation
Cary Audio CAD500MB. 500W SS mono's that absolutely make the N802's sing....
I would go with the Chord SPM1200E .. ..both Abbey road and George Lucas cant be that wrong, mixing 802n with chord . But its a bit expensive though
The best I have heard with the 802N series is VTL MB-450's. But I have heard them with Classe Mono's and sounded great also. A lot can be done with a tube or SS preamp. Try bel Canto amps monoblocked with a quality tube PRE. You may be happy with the combo. Careful use of cables is important. Stick with Copper and little Silver to keep the "edge" down or too neutral.
I have recently listened to B&W 803 and Krell. And believe me, it was disaster. The worst system I had heard for a quite some time.
I have actually had a set of 5 of the new B&W "D" model sperakers in my home recently to demo with my full Chord Electronics A/V System and they sounded fanatastic together on everything I could throw at them! I have a Chord DSP 8000 processor, 2 Chord SPM 6000 mono-amp on the front L&R's and 2 Chord SPM 1200c's driving the center and rear surrounds with Chord top-of-the-line cables on everything. I would highly recommend the B&W and Chord combo as i think you will really like it! FYI, in the end I bought a full compliment of Mbl speakers instead of the B&W's for personal preference only.
I run my 802's with 2 Pass Aleph 5 60 watt amps and they sound fantastic. However my room is not that big so you'll probably want amps with more balls. Check out Bryston or Ayre.
I paired a set of 804's with the new Krell integrated amp, the KAV-400xi, 200 wpc. Sounded great, even w/ a crappy Sony carousel CDP. Less than 2500 bucks, much cheaper than most of these other fine recommedations.
I'm the owner of a pair of B&W N803. Until last year, I had the Musical Fidelity A3 as amplifier. The sound of MF was very good, detailed and with a good soundstage. But this type of loudspeakers (I think also the N802, only with a bit less bass) needs a lot of current to exploit all the dynamic. Then, I switched to the Symphonic Line Kraftwerk, advised from my dealer. The difference is enormous: the sound is more stable, dynamic, and balanced. Bass are very good. But this amplifier has two problems:
- It is very sensitive to interferences coming from power cables.
- It takes about one hour to reach the maximum of performances.
In any case, these loudspeakers are very sensitive to the position in the room. Before evaluating the different amplifications, take in care that they need space behind and on the sides: at least 0.5m. The angles are important too for the soundstage.
B&W's 800 Series Speakers driven by Krell is a match made in heaven. Listen for yourself. Classe and Musical Fidelity are distant seconds. The new Krell Evolution series is in a league of its own as is their Master Reference Series. I'm useing a new SACD Standard/KAV Amp. into a pair of N803s in a large room and the sound is jaw-dropping good. The people on this board that knock Krell have obviously never listened to it (probably because they could never afford it), let alone paired with the new B&W 800 Series Speakers. There can by no doubt that Krell sets the standard to which all other hi-fi manufacturers are judged by. Buying a Krell is like buying an S-Class Mercedes or a Rolex, it's a no-brainer purchase that you will never regret - if you could afford the best of the best!