Plinius is DEFINITELY a good choice. Have heard it extensively (in my dad's system) with B&W 803's. Taut bass, tubey mids. Very, very detailed. Audition first, but you won't be disappointed.
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I just switched to a Classe CAP-150 with my Hales Rev 3s. I am very impressed. I recently spent a couple of hours with N804s and some Classe amps and was also very pleased with the results. The CAP seems to have gobs of current and has plenty of the smoothness that the Ns will demand. The pre outs allow you to add a second amp (CA-100, 150, 200 etc) for biamping. Used, the units are in the $1k region, but the phono boards are rare and out of production. I looked long and hard at lots of integrated options, and the Classe had the right blend of what I was looking for. The $ you save can go into some real nice interconnects or speaker cables.
Based solely on a number of articles that I've read over the past 6 months, there seems to be a goodly number of excellent integrated amps on the market right now. Some of the ones that have received very good reviews include: Bryston B-60 (Canadian); Lavardin (French); Brinkmann (German); Sim Audio I-5 (Canadian); and Creek 5350SE (British). If you have some major bucks to spend, then you should also take a look at Mark Levinson's new integrated.
Well......why does it have to be an integrated? These are really good speakers; you can go pretty crazy with associated components with these & not out-class the speakers. But I would say, avoid the Krell KAV's, check out the Plinius & Classe's for integrated's. These speakers sound great with tubes, but you need more power than most tube integrateds have. Good luck!
While I've never owned this speaker I can't imagine that there are too many integrateds out there that could really offer the juice you might need (depending on room size...) to make these guys sing! A high powered Plinius or Classe might do the trick. Maybe a big Mac?
There was a thread about 2-3 months ago from a guy in France purchasing or auditioning a very large and powerfull integrated - maybe its the Lavardin mentioned above??? It was a beast and might be worth looking into...
This integrated is really super and will drive your 802 with ease with its 250 WPC (delivering more than 275) and its 40 amperes of peak current. Some people say this amp is better than the Mark Levinson's. It retails for $4500 new I think. Check out this link:
I'm getting a lot of comments about how these speakers need juice. The listening room is relatively small (approx 12x15)and I was running old 150w Luxman separates with reasonable success. Figured it was time to bring the components up to par with the speakers. Integrateds looked interesting for their convenience but I may end up with separates if I can't get lots of good compatible power for the 802s without paying $$$ for something like a levinson 383 or Rowland. Here's my quick "short list" - feel free to add:
older Krell KSA or Levinson
The Matrix 802 S2 need current drive for dual woofers, voltage drive for the fabulous mid, so the amp/integrated has to have muscle. But, these speakers are also quite efficient and can be driven well with 30watts or so. But, as the speakers are "monitor" class, they will not forgive the entire audio chain. For, e.g. if your source component/s are not upto the mark, The B&W will show it. The same stands for preamp, power or integrated. The common complaint is that it sounds harsh and bright. This speaker is far from that. This speaker needs huge care. I own the Matrix 801 series 2 and Matrix 802 series 2 and mostly use the 802 in a room of size 13 x 14 ft (smaller than yours). After searching for the so called "correct" amp for these speakers for the last 7 years, yes, Krells, Levinsons, Rowlands, Audio Research, Chord, CJ, I've found the PassLabs "Aleph" range of amplifier to best suit this speaker. But, caution - there are 2 types of Aleph amps. One with only 2-stage amplification and the other with 3-stage amplification. I can strongly recommend the Aleph 5 (60 watts per channel) stereo pwr amp for your requirement although I use the Aleph 1.2 rated at 200watts monoblocks. The reason why I feel the 60 watter is a good match is because the 200 watts monos heat up like hell and incase you are in a hot climatic region, its going to get very difficult to listen to music. You can find Aleph 5 in Audiogon under $2k, more towards 1.5k and this in my opinion is a superb match to the 802s. Interconnects I use are ofcourse Cardas "golden reference" with the same as powercords. Should you require any help, pls do not hesitate to get in touch.
I second Arup's suggestion for the Aleph. On the other hand, there are other excellent suggestions in your short-list.
In another vein, pls let me state the obvious: the machines suggested DO sound different from one another (regardless of their capacity to drive the 802s) -- so DO give your musical tastes top priority!
Example: IMO, the Aleph has an "all-rounder" sound -- but that's my set of ears...
Thanks! FYI - they are Series3 802Ms. Musical taste is almost 100% classical, majority of it is digital. The rest of the system is certainly not up to par with the speakers thus the desire to begin moving up the components as budget allows. Again, the system was an older set of Luxman 150w SS separates with a Philips (900 series?) player. At the time, the Philips was highly rated as a budget player with an excellent transport and thus could be easily upgraded later with an outboard DAC (or so I was led to believe). The speakers were biwired with Audioquest cables (would have to doublecheck which model) and AQ interconnects. Thanks again for everyone's help. I'm excited to have stumbled across this forum.
I have these speakers and have used them with the Bryston 4b/Bp 20 for years. Then I upgraded to the audio Research VT100 MKII with LS 25 MKII preamp. This is the amp for these speakers. Powerful tuneful bass, liquid mids and natural highs. This combo is expensive though. Every audio salesperson and audiophile I talked to before I bought the amp told me it wouldn't work not enough current for the 802s. This all turned out to be very wrong. You have to try out the amp before you commit to it. Thats what I did and now I have one of the best sounding systems that exists.