My 800d's work well with a pair of 1.2kw Mcintosh with a Mc c100 preamp.
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I have only heard the 802diamond/802D. I have heard them over the years with Mcintosh, Musical Fidelity, Classe', Audio Research, W4S.
I am going to go agents the grain of all the $10,000+ amps people are going to recommend for these speakers. I am sure they are all great but unless you room is perfect the differences are not as great as one might think. I guess my point is that amp choice (from one good amp to another) is far less critical than speaker placement, room reverb, etc.
Every B&W I have ever used/heard needed a high power amp with good damping factor to make the bass drivers jump and stay in control. I would give Wyred 4 Sound's SX-1000 Mono-blocks a try. I know some will shake their heads but really if you are shopping in a cost no object price class the $2400 (per pair) asking price will be nothing and worth a try. The only thing you may give up compared to the cost no object amps is soundstage and the last bit of treble extension/sweetness. But to me the drive in the bass is well worth the trade off. I have yet to hear and amp that punched as hard in the bass as the big W4S, it is not big round bass but quick and clean. But to each their own if you listen to a lot of strings a sweeter amp might be more your ticket.
I am assuming you like your bass as you bought the 800ds in the first place.
My recommendation would be a pre-power combo from Accuphase, e.g. A-45 or A-65 power amps with either the C-2410 or the C-2810 preamplifier.
About two months ago one of the local dealers organized a B&W-Accuphase show. In one of the rooms they compared the 800 and 802 diamond speakers using the same Accuphase electronics, i.e. A-45 power amp, C-2810 pre, DP-700 cd player and the PS-1210 power supply. During the show I spent about an hour in this room (with maybe 10-20 other visitors), then the next day (after the show was over) I spent 3-4 hours in this room (just me with 20 of my best/favorite CDs and the rig mentioned above).
I was not much impressed by the 802s (maybe they were not placed right in that room), but the 800s sounded fantastic. It was probably the best system I have ever heard and I had the pleasure to spent some time with top of the line systems (some of the most expensive being a full Goldmund system costing around 300K euros and an all Gryphon system similarly priced).
Finally, I should also made a comment about the power requirements of these B&W speakers. I keep hearing that the B&W 800 series need lots of power to sound right but the A-45 Accuphase power amp (45 class A watts into 8 ohms) had total commandment over the woofers and made the 800s diamonds cried like babies. At some point during the show the Accuphase dealer played an uncompressed drum solo (track 11 from the "The Dali CD"). The room which was very large (6 by 10 meters or so with high ceilings of probably 3.5 meters) was filled with approximately 20 people and the Accuphase-B&W rig had absolutely no problem to shake our audiophile sit-upons. I play drums for more than 15 years and I know how a drum kit should sound. What the B&W-Accuphase delivered did not sounded like an acoustic drum kit, it was much more powerful and sounded exactly like an amplified acoustic drum kit on a stadium (it was indeed a life recording). Boy was I happy I was in one of the last raws. Unfortunately, this did not help much - they screw my ears anyway.
Hello , I 'm using an ARC REF 3 preamp , with 2x BAT VK1000 poweramp to drive the B&W 800 , as the BAT is a double amp , I use one amp for the lower , and the other for the mid / high . Ofcourse each amp has his own loudspeakercable .For me its a marrige in heaven , have heard the 800 often with Classe amps , but never was impressed.Front end ARC CD7 (improved, mod ) same as REF 3 , TT Sphinx PJ 6, ET airbearing arm , Te Kaitora cartridge and ARC PH5 ( mod ) pre pre .
My speakers work beautifully with a VTL 2.5 preamp and bi-amping with two Rotel 1090's. Each 1090 puts out 375wpc into 8 ohms, and more into 4 ohms. Bi-amping was recommended to me by both the B and W folks at their Reading, MA headquarters, as well as through communications with the Stereophile staff. They're right!
way back in 2004, my 1st introduction to both Classe' and B&W was with the Omega series/Natilus series rounded out on Transparent top-of-the-line cabling. A stunning performance and presentation to this day. Easily, one of the best auditions for one whom has a large to very large listening space.
Keep me posted & Happy Listening!
Bring this forward to modern times, as a former 800 D2 diamond owner, any advice on the D3 line (802 or the recently released 800)? Rumour has it that the new D3 line "one ups" the outgoing D2 line - I.E. the new 803D3 compares to the 802D2, and the new 802D3 would compare to the 800D2. I guess that puts the new 800D3 in its own class? Anyway - any difference in the suggested amps from what was previously written for D2?
This specifically will be for a pair of 802D3, which I think is the best value between 800,802,803 in the new D3 line - although with their sizes and price points I think they're all winners.
The Krell Solo 575 monoblocks ran my 801D better than any other amplifier I've heard. They had great speed, detail, a nice large/deep soundstage, and punchy (but tuneful also) bass. Loads of power too. They outperformed my massive EV900e monos, which was already no slouch. Paired with a CAST-capable preamp kicks things up to super amp/preamp territory. :-)