Luxman L-509x for B&W 803 D3


I recently acquired a pair of Bowers & Wilkins 803 D3 speakers. My integrated Amp is currently Luxman L-509x rated 120 WPC at 8 Ohms and 220 WPC at 4 Ohms. Class A/B, but Class A biased for the first few Watts.

Is my integrated amp good enough for my 803 D3, or do they need more power? I have read / heard the 800 series B&W need gobbles of power to shine.

Thanks!
1168af6a c1fd 461c 8901 ec2c5667c386thyname
Surely meant gobs of power.  I limited experience with either.  Once upon a time 125 WPC was zalot of power.  The current delivery is what I think you're concerned with .  I would give it a shot. If the amp is no good with your amp then move up. Or ask B+W.
Thyname the Luxman should drive the 803D3 fine, it really comes down to how loud you play and the room size.

We had the 20 Watt Luxman 550 and it drove many speakers really well in a smallish room at a distance of 8 feet from the speakers.

The non Class A luxman are not quite as sweet sounding as the lower powered Class A amplifiers which have a warmer fuller midrange.

So it will all come down to the source and cabling.

Give it a try and see what you think.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
As the above post says, your L-509X should be fine.
Thanks guys! It sounds pretty good with my Luxman L-509x, but in the absence of other amps to try, I did not know if would sound even better with something else, more powerful, and closer to maximum spec range (up to 500 WPC)
The Luxman will be fine. However the 803 D's can be quite finicky in their setup. Make sure you can get a home demo before purchasing.
Make sure you can get a home demo before purchasing.

To be clear, I already have them. I had the Luxman from before, and just got the 803 D3. I as simply asking if I need to replace Luxman with something more powerful now with the new speakers
You do not need to replace the 509x since it is rather good. However, as someone who has recently did a head-to-head comparison with the Luxman m900u amp and the 509x integrated. I can say that to my ears the m900u is leagues ahead of the 509x, contrary to what I had read here on other threads..

The Luxman 509x is supposed to be the amalgamation of the c700u preamp and the m700u amp. The 900 series is at a much high level.

I did this comparison with the TAD ME1 speakers which I believe like some current. I should note that I heard improvements in sound even at the low to mid levels I was playing the system.
I'm looking at the impedance chart. The 509 is no slouch, at all, but the 803 D3 maintains an impedance around 3Ohms for a wide range of the bass to mids. 


https://www.stereophile.com/content/bowers-wilkins-802-d3-diamond-loudspeaker-measurements

Your own ears should be your best guides, but it is my experience that this is a case where amps with more current capability (i.e. lower impedance) do significantly better.


The 900u has literally 2x the number of output transistors compared to the 509. The increased number of output transistors is one of the key components of the Luxman stepping. That is, more = better.


I wouldn't automatically jump on the 900u, but I absolutely would try it. 

Best,
E
Thanks @erik_squires  this is very helpful!

The Luxman 900u you mention is a logical upgrade, but that would require me to also buy a preamp, which means a lot of money. I can use my DAC (MSB Discrete) to drive an amp directly (with no preamp), as I don't have analog stuff, but when I had separates in the past, I always preferred the preamp in the chain after the DAC.
@thyname What erik_squires described on a technical basis was what the dealer also told me was the reason the m900u sounded so much better.

I am set on buying the m900u and I am trending towards not getting the Luxman c900u that almost all m900u owners use. I am going to first test out a Benchmark LA4 preamp ($2500) with the m900u (30 day home trial).

Another option I was considering with a m900u was using the Simaudio 390 ($5300). It is a streamer, dac, and preamp. It is supposed to sound great.

I may even end up buying the 509X if I need to save some cash. I do not require a lot of power for this system. I bet you would be happy with the 509X if you did not visit A’Gon too often. You know having guys like me saying something else is so much better.
Thanks @yyzsantabarbara  good advice. I do realize that I need to stop looking at stuff. You are right
@thyname  You are looking to @yyzsantabarbara  for advice on "I need to stop looking at stuff" ???  😊

@david_ten  When I am a voice of reason then that is not too comforting.

However, in my defense I do not have a good system yet, my KEF LS50 + Peachtree Nova 150 is a bedroom system. I am here weaving, bobbing, and talking the audio jive so I can buy a good system and be done with. I think I have 600 posts this year alone and 200 posts in the past 19 years (I had a different account name way back). Guilty as charged.
In jest, brother. We can all do better on the "stop looking" front. : )
You don’t need to buy a preamp. The Luxman 509x can act as a preamp too. Check your manual for the setup.
You don’t need to buy a preamp. The Luxman 509x can act as a preamp too. Check your manual for the setup.

You misunderstood. I was talking about if I were to purchase the m900 Amp. 
@thyname He was inferring that if you bought a m900u you can use the preamp section of the 509x standalone. You connect the 509x's XLR preamp output into the external m900u amp. There is a switch on the 509x that you likely need to flip.
I understand. But if I get the amp, I would prefer to sell the integrated to raise the cash
Disregarding their price, which of two amps below would be best match for 803 D3?

Pass Labs X350.8

McIntosh MC462
@thyname

What is your preamp and front end source component(s)?

McIntosh, Classe, Naim separates (500 series models) usually pair well with B&W (especially the 800 series D3). I think Pass would be fine too although I’ve never heard them paired with Pass amps.

The McIntosh MC462 will be a good contender for your B&W 803 D3, or the MC601 monoblock amps (discontinued) or the Classe CAM-300 or CAM-600 monoblock amps (both discontinued) will be great match for your 803 D3.
Some people pair their B&W 800 series D3 with some Mark Levinson with pretty good results too.

The Naim NAP 500 DR power amp + Naim 555 PS DR external psu, Naim NAC 552 linestage preamp + Naim 555 PS DR external psu, Naim ND 555 digital streamer/DAC + Naim 555 PS DR external psu will sound spectacular together with your B&W 803 D3 but these Naim 500 series separates are very expensive though and I don’t know how much you are willing to pay for all electronics. The McIntosh & Classe options are much more affordable than these Naim 500 series separates. These Naim 500 separate components have to be paired with Naim’s 555 PS DR external power supply units one for each component as each component does not come with its onboard power supply. If you go with Naim component(s) you will have to go Naim all the way from a digital streamer/DAC, preamp & power amp and use their DIN connections to connect between Naim components in order to achieve best sonic results as it would make big difference sonically.

I’ve heard these Naim 500 series separates paired with the B&W 800 D3 before and they sounded wonderful together, better than the McIntosh and Classe pairings. All Naim amplifiers (with the exception of its Statement NAP S1 monoblock amps) are conservatively rated, and although the Naim NAP 500 DR power amp is only rated 140 wpc @ 8 ohms but it is a highly robust refined stable current delivery. The quality of current delivery that matters most. This amp is capable of driving just about any difficult speaker loads. This NAP 500 DR amp is a true dual mono designs placed in the same chassis but are encased in completely separate chambers and both channels are completely isolated and independent from each other.

But I think your Luxman integrated is good enough for your 803 D3. Or you can also move up the ladder within Luxman and look for their separates or somethin.


@caphill I don’t have a Preamp as my Luxman L-509x is an Integrated Amp. A Preamp in this case is not needed.

My DAC is MSB Discrete. Using Innuos ZENith MK3 as a server and USB streamer.

Thanks for chiming in
@thyname 

Oh...that's right. I forgot that you are currently using an integrated amp. 

How's your MSB Discrete DAC? I'm also an owner of MSB DAC. I'm currently using an MSB Select ll DAC with its flagship Femto 33 clock and two separate mono powerbases (two mono separate power supply units, one feeds power to its digital side of thing and the other feeds power to its analog audio stages). 
I also have the MSB Select transport with its external power supply unit.

To put this another way, I don't know of a better integrated than the one you already have, but if you were able to audition side by side, I'd consider the Ayre integrated as a potential option.
Hi @caphill  I like my MSB Discrete very much. Obviously it's their entry level DAC, but that's all I could afford. I have the dual Discrete power supplies (not the powerbases).
I have owned alot of gear over the years and something has always remained the same.  Whether you use 1 or 100 watts, a more powerful amp has always sounded more natural and effortless to me.

I have owned the 509 and I prefer my e480 to it.  It will do just fine for now... once you hook up something like the m900 you'll immediately hear what you are missing.  At that point you will decide if what you are hearing is worth the $$$ .
Just a quick courtesy update (OP here): I ended with a T+A PA 3000 HV Integrated amp. I am very happy with the outcome. Thanks!