Considered McIntosh? Have listened extensively to 800D's powered by MC501 monoblocks...a truly great combination.
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Yes, the MC501s on 802D was absolutely stunning (with MCD201 cdp and C46 pre). I also heard the M400s in all Classe sysetm on the same speakers - but a totally different room - and the sound was comparable but the MC501s had a very "human" quality that makes music sound perfectly natural. Hard to describe but beautiful to hear. I would go for the 501s and with their 720W into 8 ohms, you won't need more power.
mad14, I was considering the very same question with my BW802d. I went with the Pass and here is why (btw, this is just my experience and opinion):
I already have the Classe Cp-700 preamp which is great sounding, smooth and refined. I was concerned with using the CAM's because I did not want to make the sound too overly polite. From my listening experiences, I found the CAMs when paired with the BW and CP-700 to be too smooth for my tastes. I wanted a little more leading edge to the notes and a more punchy bass.
From what I understand of your music preferences, I would not go with the CAMs, depending on what you already have for a pre and cdp.
Dave, like you I really wanted to go with monoblocks so I originally decided on the x600.5. But then I changed my mind and got the xa160 instead. BUT I do not listen to really high volumes. For you, I would get the 600 though the 350.5 will be plenty. I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.
i've got pass aleph one with b&w 804, and i've heard classe too, but for me classe is too smooth , i think you will be deseapointed after few weeks, because they played always the same thing , you can heard different music, and time after time it's always the same bass or treeble , but if you like tube amplifier with deep bass and thrue voice , buy pass lab
sorry fo my poor english
let me know what choice you will get
I have CAM-400 on 800Ds with CDP-202 and CP-700. I am switching the CP-700 out for an Audio research reference 3 because it is a little too polite. But I cannot say enough about the CAM-400 and the 800D combo. The Bass is very accurate and powerful, and the treble is as refined as I have ever heard. They must be putting out around 800 watts (3-4ohms while playing?) because they will drive the 800D to near the limits in the bass range.
I love B&W nautilus line and see the 800d's come up at a great price now and again, but I am so surprised nobody mentioned trying Krell here. I used to buy and sell all kinds of used amps and processors just to try,a nd the Krells always put out such incredible bass control, and lovely upper extension even on their 250 wpc home theater line amps, that I would be shocked if the new Krell class A amps that just came out couldn't drive those things all day with 300 WPC and to the point where you couldn't imagine needing more power. They are 90 db efficiency, and I tested so many brands.
The IBias Krell duo channel @ 300 wpc into 8ohms I am sure would rock those speakers all night long and sweet. I would love to hear that before trying others. I hate Classe, love pass but not as much as Krell, and McIntosh does work well with B&W, but I hadn't heard the beyond the 801 which was $120000 retail and had only the single huge woofer personally.
We listened just yesterady to many amps on the B&W800D's which are a pig of a load (combined impedance and - phase angle), and the amp that won was the one that could double it's wattage for each halving of impedeance from 8 to 4 to 2ohms.
And the only one game enough to advertise this out of all the amps that you listed that do this right down to 2ohms, is the Classe Omega Omicron Monos.
I have used B&W 800 series speakers for over 10 years. Starting with the original N800 to the latest 800 Diamond. The speakers had been driven by high power tube amps like Sonic Frontiers Power 3 and Audio Research Reference 250 and solid state amps like Mark Levinson 436 and Pass Labs Xs150.
I think I know the sonic signature of B&W 800D. The treble extends to the top but the presentation is light and no bang. The bass goes deep and tonal but not tight enough for some people. The midrange is the weakest part. The borderless driver lacks dynamics and resolution when compared with more resolving speakers like Wilson Audio.
B&W has to be driven by high power solid state amp with fast and bright sound to compensate the speaker deficiency. Class A Pass Labs is not a good match because it has more a tube sound than many tube amps. Top model Classe should match it well.