Ideal amp for B&W matrix 800

Hello everyone, I am looking for a great amp for my B&W MATRIX 800 speakers (the tall ones with the angular shaped bass cabinets, not the nautilus ones!).
I have a tight budget and live in Belgium.
My cd is Accuphase 500, preamp is solid state, no tone controls magnum Mp330.
I am looking for a 3d soundstage with lots of depth and emotional music playing. I therefore think of class A amps.
Hence... older krells? Tube amps would be a bad match as the speakers each have two 12 inch woofers. They are 4Ohms, with an impedance dip to 3 ohms in 100-200 Hz region. they are 93 dB/1W sensitivity though...
I could spend about 2000 euro but would prefer around 1000-1500 so I have budget for an accuphase preamp for phono (a c-280 or so). Would appreciate your input guys!
At the moment I localised a krell KSA-100 MKii for 850 e, a Krell KSA-200 S for 1750 e, a Krell FPB for 2000 e...
Or a Pass X250 for 2400 e.... Other suggestions are very welcomen these or just the ones that I found on sale some place now... I have never heard any of these amps...
Glad to see these great speakers are still around. On my Matrix 800's, I have found the best results when using a pair of Bryston 7 bsst mono amps. These amps replaced Pass Lab x-600 monos that cost over twice as much. The brystons offer more speed and control of the bass along with incredible resolution. Not to mention a 20 year warranty.
Bikerduud,I just checked the specs on the Bryston 7B sst. It seems they only weigh 18 kg each for 900Watts at 4 Ohm...
This makes me a bit sceptical about sound imaging and depth. I do believe they will have power and control, but their specs seem more like pro amps?
I think you would prefer the Krell amps with these speakers because they like high current. I would go for the FPB series if possible.
You are correct that the Brystons don't weigh as much as some amps. But, they are among the most powerful I have ever used and this includes sound staging and imaging. My former amps, the Pass Lab x-600's, weighed much more but were not near as strong as the Brystons on these speakers. But if you want to find this out yourself, go ahead. I've enjoyed these speakers for over 12 years, and with this combo, I expect many more years of great listening. Good luck!
I would also look at the Musical Fidelity big integrated amps, NuVista, TriVista, 500 and 550. My NuVista drove my friends Wilson Sasha speakers very well so should have no trouble with the B&Ws. I was a dealer for B&W and Krell in the old days, I think the MF are a big step up from the Krells you mention. If you find you like your present pre better you can use the amp section by itself, there is an internal RCA jumper; I found the preamp section to be very good myself. The MFs are very powerful at low impedance's and have an excellent sound, there are many reviews on the net.
I owned these wonderful speakers for many years. You are on the right track getting a high current amp but if you can afford it, get an active electronic crossover (I used a Marchand) and a tube amp so you can bi-amp with the tubes on the mid/tweeters and the high current amp on the woofers (you have to disable the woofer crossovers-it's easy). It makes a huge difference. I'm sorry I ever got rid of these speakers-they're amazing!
4bucc, can u describe the exact amps you used in the active system? my former system was active (altec 512 triamped towers) and the bass was indeed very good, better then my 800's... lower and tighter...
Stanwall, wich improvements do you think the musical fidelitys have over the krells? What was the best krell in combo with the b&w's 800?
Bikerduud, could u describe your system (preamp,cd?)
Rwwrear, my preamp is not balanced, will a fpb be an improvement over the older krells, opinions seem to be different on this?
Since you asked, my Matrix 800's are driven by a system which includes a matching Bryston BP-26 preamp. My main source is a Linn LP12, heavily modified. I also have a Bryston BCD-1 disc player. My cabling is all MIT, with Oracle V2.1 biwire, which these speakers love. I also use a Shunyata power conditioner. I used to sell B&W speakers and have owned many of them over the years. Unlike the Matrix 801's, the 800's are much more efficient and require a different amp to sound it's best. The 801's definitely need a high current amp to sound their best. However, the 800's are a totally different speaker. I believe that the 800's sound their best with a higher voltage amplifier like the Brystons, than the higher-current amplifiers like the Pass. In past experiences, my speakers have been hooked up to Threshold, Levinson, and Pass electronics which all are high-current and Class A designs. If you have your heart set on Krell, I would guess the FPB series would sound excellent on these speakers.
Any idea what the second price of the brystons would be? would a 4Bsst be good enough as well? remember the budget restrictions :)
As I said it was some time ago so I would have been using the KSA 100s on 801s. I would go with the FPB among those listed. I simply like the mid and highs better on the MF and the bass is comparable to the Krell to me. The top Krells are better but VERY expensive. The MFs have been in Stereophiles Class A among integrated amps and at this level I don't find much difference between them and separates. The MFs came in two units and weigh 110 Lb so they are not lacking in power. When I took mine over to my friends with the Wilson's he thought that they sounded better than the Sashas he had heard at dealers driven by some very expensive amps. He bought Lamm separates in the end to get a better sound than the MF.
Given your choices
My vote goes to all-Accuphase system. Your DP-500 should do well with P-450 power amp. It can be slightly above your budget though. Alternatively Pass X250 is certainly worth considering. My current system is Accuphase pre, power & CDP with B&W 802D.
Ok so, Bryston and Musical Fidelity are on my check list now :)
Accuphase would be great but very expensive indeed...
Any other B&W 800 owners like to share their experiences?
Or other suggestions...? Nobody as mentioned levinson so far? Not a good match?
If you want an amplifier that will drive anything connected to it with tremendous power and utterly transparent sound, give me a call in the US at (423) 842-1085. I am on Eastern Daylight Time which I believe is 6 hours behind your Central European Time. I am not a dealer, just a music lover and audiophile.
One of my audio systems I am vertically biamping with a pair of Krell KSA-250 amps. Extremely great match.
Moltze, does your Ksa-250 produce a hiss or hum? I read in a review that the amplifier did hum.
How is the sound with only one Ksa-250?
My Krell KSA250 amps were recently serviced by Krell in the last year. The amps never hummmmed or hissssed but I did notice one amp was much hotter than the other. So I had sent both amps to Krell to check. It was time to replace caps and since the amps were sent back to me everything is perfect.

Sound with only one KSA250 on my B&W 800 speakers was good but not quite delivering the soundstage and presentation. Now that I biamp superb improvements with soundstage and better definition. Also recently upgraded power cables on the Krell amps which put them into 5th gear and worth the imvestment. Hope this helps you out. I am chilling listening to some Bach with my awesome reference stereo system.
Capacitors seem to be a big problem for both krell and levinson? Is it ok to buy a second hand amp of these brands,that has not been serviced in the recent 10-15 years anyway? I assume replacing these big capacitors costs a lot...
and sending them back to Krell are Levinson is not an option for me as I live way over here in Belgium...
Still no remarks on how levinson amps would play with these speakers... Anyone?
Am using the Matrix 800 with Symphonic Line Kraft amps. Yeah! they're expensive BUT they offer the finesse to the last word! On my earlier Matrix 801 and 802, they too were excellent. A lovely match to the B&Ws IMHO.
So... after missing out an ebay auction for musical fidelity nuvista and an auction for a Krell KSA-100, I got a good price on a Krell FPB200!
Installed yesterday...
After warm up the 3D soundstaging and details are all there, thats the good news! Less good news is that harmonically voices could use a bit more body, and highs could be sweeter. This was the case with an old Kustom PA amp I used, (more voltage amp then current amp), although I am wondering if the preamp is responsible for the highs... I have had the same highs on my active system I used before...
Any suggestions? stick with the new amp, and try another pre or just keep looking for another amp...
I just asked about the ideal preamp for this amp in another thread, so we can stick in this thread to the amp suggestions...
(For the record, I must say that these speakers sound far better now that I am sitting further away... distance increased from 5 meters to about 8,5 meters, already with the old amp)
Looking forward to your responses guys! : )
My system was: Bat VK-51SE preamp, Pass crossover, McIntosh MC2000 for the mid/tweeter, Krell FPB 700cx for the bass and, of course, the B&W Matrix 800's. I have since changed almost everything to Pipedream 18 speakers, Tact 2.2XP preamp (with crossover), VTL S-400 amp for mid/tweeter, Krell FPB 700cx for bass. We never seem satisfied but it's fun.
Impressive system 4bucc. I am guessing your budget is just slightly bigger then mine :)
At the moment the Krel FPB 200 seems a less ideal match for my matrix 800's. Allthough the imaging is more precise then with the old Kustom Bias XII amp I use, I prefer the latter because it just sounds sweeter and more natural...
Isn't that crazy?
I wish I could unite both amps strengths...
It would be great to try out some stuff before having to buy it. I will launch another thread and try to find people in belgium who would be willing to compare stuff on my or their system... Meanwhile, advise on any good combinations for these speakers are welcome!
Thx to all for the advise so far! If only I could try or hear the suggestions someplace (bryston, mf nuvista,...)