Krell and B&W is a classic match...
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Krell amps work fine with B&Ws but you need a very good preamp, my preference would be a tube preamp. I use the Pass X-250 power amp and I have a BAT VK-30SE and a Pass X-1 preamp to drive B&W matrix 803s. I know that the 803s were not be best speaker B&W made, the 801s & 2s sounded better but it was all I could afford at the time. So far with every change in my system, front end and cables, the speakers have gotten much better, now I am looking for speaker stands. Your speakers will also sound great but I do not know what the rest of your system includes.
The Sim is a great amp also, I also demoed it a few months back along with the Linar Audio amp (from Victor Sima's new company). The Pass was more refined sounding with greater slam and deatils were about equal. They are both good amps. There are a lot of Pass amps for sale used and Pass is a wonderful company to work with. I had issues sending amps to Canada in the past because of the added customs charges. Also the Pass is built like a tank, a real tank. After moving 12 amps in and out of my system, I new the Pass would be playing music for a long time. It was also dead quiet.
If you need a great deal on a Pass amp, let me know and I will get you in touch with some good dealers or jsut want to ask me some more questins, then email me directly.
I went Pass X-5 with my N803s (and HTM2 and surrounds). While I didn't compare too many combinations I have to say I'm happy. My selection process was to look for the most subtle combination 'cause I think, like wine tasting, if you do comparisons you can end up with the most noticeable sound rather than the best. I'd be ever happier with the X250/N802 combination but my better half suggested she'd end up having conversations with the N802s. She's like that sometimes.
It's interesting to me that you are thinking about moving off the W-5. It's one of the amps I've been thinking about purchasing. An amp you might want to consider is the Chord 1200E. Apparently, heat isn't an issue for you so you might want to consider Plinius. Also worth considering is the new Curl designed, Crump voiced Parasound mono's. I do believe the new Krell models are worth a listen. Every time I've ever heard the N802 / Krell combo the quality of the listening room made a fair audition very difficult. I didn't care for the N802 matched with McIntosh or Levinson.
After living with the W-5 what do you think you are missing?
b59burst, that's interesting because in my system the W-5 emphasized the lowest octave a bit more than the second and third. I think you should try a couple other amps in your system just to put this to rest. I've not listened to the Pass X-250, but I have been told that it is a bit warmer and less extended up top than the W-5. The X-250 may have more warmth but I would be shocked if it has more control than the W-5. Let us know what you think if you get to audition it for yourself.
59burst, I just read the thread over and like I said I comapred the W-5 to the Pass X-250 and I own the X-250 now. You are not going to get any more bass out of the Pass than the Sim. What stands do you have on the speakers, speaker cables, speakerplacement, ICs, power cords etc. You need to first make sure that the placement is correct for your room, I think if you go to the Cardas web site they have ome info on this or do a thread search for speaker placement, next you gotta make sure your speakers are firmly planted to the ground. I have a friend who has the matirx 804s. As an experiment we made a 2" thick MDF base, screwed the base into the bottom of the speakers usiing the speaker threads for the spikes, and then we placed bags on sand on the front and back of the base and a bad of sand on the speaker. Now they really have some bass, butt ugly, but way better bass. Before you do the amp thing, which I did with 12 amps a few months back, look at improving your system with tweaks, the amps willnot make that big a difference in the same price rnage.
BTW, I have a 60s burst myself!