New integrated amp for B&W 804D D3

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bert Oz, Nov 9, 2019.

  1. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Hi,

    Posted a bit but never started a new thread so here goes...…….

    I recently bought a pair of B&W 804D D3 speakers which are currently being powered by a Rega Elex-R integrated amplifier (72.5 W 8 ohms / 113W 4 ohms). They sound very good but I'm now thinking of a new amplifier, possibly the Yamaha A-S3000 (100 W 8 ohms/150W 4 ohms). Will this (and the extra power) make a difference?

    I do intend to audition this and some others (possibly Rega Aethos, Moon Neo 340i, Marantz PM KI Ruby) but would be interested in opinions/experience/alternatives.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Auditioning is key here, but do make sure to aim for 150 W/Ch at 8 Ohms with your speakers. The 800 series is designed to be driven with lots of power and control. I have owned 803D2s and at the time I couldn't make them sing with a Primare pre and power combo at 120 W.
     
    Bert Oz likes this.
  3. wwaldmanfan

    wwaldmanfan child of the '60's

    Location:
    NJ, USA
    I have a much older, but similar size pair or B&W's so take this with a grain of salt. Shopping for a new amp, I demo'ed a 100wpc Rogue, a 200wpc Rotel, a 150wpc NAD, and my old, venerable 100wpc Yamaha. I bought the NAD, thought it sounded the most musical. That said, I think Yamaha amps are great, and have my old one powering a second system.
    Buy the most powerful amp you can afford. Those speakers need a lot of juice.
     
    Bert Oz likes this.
  4. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    heard them driven by a 200 watt / channel mcintosh integrated and would suggest something similar if budget allows. as others have said they need power. a paasound hint 6 would be a lower cost consideration and i'm sure the system would sound excellent.
    to answer your question yes, power can make miracles happen- better power, authority, dynamics and clarity even at lower volumes. at higher volumes the fun really begins.....
    right now your system is like a ferrari with a prius engine.
     
    Bert Oz likes this.
  5. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Thank you, consensus so far on the need for more power. Seems like the Yamaha A-S3000 with 100W may not do the job. McIntosh looks out of my price range but the Parasound retails here for £3,300 so will add that to the list to audition.
     
  6. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    The Yamaha A-S3000 would be plenty powerful enough to drive those speakers.
     
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  7. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    Firstly, there are a lot of threads here on matching amplification to B&W 800-series speakers. As a long-time 802 user I agree with the comments above regarding the need for stiff, solid-state amplification. Ignore B&W's published specs., the 800-series are 4 ohm speakers, and their efficiency (dB/W/m) is 3 dB lower than specified as a result.

    You can find measurements of the 804D3 here:

    Bowers & Wilkins 804 D3 Floorstanding Speakers Reviewed

    The important part is:

    "The impedance of the 804 D3 is low, with almost all of the band between 85 and 800 Hz running between 2.5 and four ohms. The speaker is rather optimistically rated at eight ohms impedance, but I don't recommend using it with any amplifier that lacks a published four-ohm output spec. Sensitivity is decent at 86.4 dB (measured at one meter with a 2.83-volt signal, averaged from 300 Hz to 3 kHz), which means the 804 D3 can hit about 100 dB with 30 watts. A good solid-state amp rated at 100 watts or more should be able to get maximum performance from the 804 D3."

    [Note: a 2.83 V signal corresponds to 2 W in a 4 ohm speaker!]

    With regard to recommendations, in the US the common names to consider are Pass, Classe, Krell, Ayre, etc. There are many happy McIntosh/B&W 800-series users on the forum. The 800-series can be partnered with very expensive amplification.

    As you are based in the UK, recommendations are harder, since most British amplifier companies do make amps which can double their output power into halving impedances. Musical Fidelity could be one possibility, but I've seen lots of reports of issues with their products, so caveat emptor. There are some European brands that make suitable amps like Gryphon, Electrocompaniet, etc., but I doubt that they will be any cheaper than the American amps.

    Does your Rega amp have a pre-amp out connection? If so, in a recent thread here on this very topic, Stereophile reviewer, and forum member, Kal Rubinson suggested using the Benchmark AHB2 power amplifier. This is ultra low-noise, and, if needed and when funds allowed, can be operated in bridge mode (so you need to add another power amp.) for even more power.

    Benchmark AHB2 Power Amplifier
     
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  8. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Thanks lonelysea, I was really hoping that would be the case as this amp looks fantastic and the reviews for the most part (except for one over-rated British mag) are glowing. Looking at your profile I note you actually own this amp and have some high-end speakers with 4 ohm nominal impedance connected. This lends some considerable weight to your opinion so thanks for chipping in.

    Quite a few respondents are mentioning a ballpark of 150-200W and upwards, all useful info as I'm getting a good range of amps/power amps to try out in addition to the Yamaha.

    Love this forum, you're all so helpful sharing your views and expertise.
     
  9. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Thanks Black Elk, appreciate the input, reference to the review and suggestions of amplifiers to consider. You've prompted me to start looking at your recommendations. Many of them can be obtained here. The Pass, Ayre and Krell look a bit out of my price range (which is around £4,000) as does the Macintosh MA5300 but the Classé Sigma 2200i Integrated Amplifier at £4K looks interesting as does the Music Fidelity M6500i and the Electrocompaniet ECI 6 integrated amplifier (lovely looking kit). My audition list is filling out nicely.

    My Rega amp does have a pre-amp out and the Benchmark is £3,300. That would be a different direction to take that that I hadn't even considered.
     
  10. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
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  11. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    Location:
    South West, UK.
    Superb amp with lots of power and smooth sound that is needed with Bowers and Wilkins. It's now £1 under £4K but managed to grab one from an online dealer in the summer who hadn't altered the price.
     
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  12. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Since you have preamp outs buy a power amp. And buy a power amp second hand. Power amps have no moving parts and if it is from a respectable company will last 30-40 years so buying a 5-10 year old power amp will save you a boatload of money. Given what is shown in the measurements - I would make sure whatever amp you buy clearly states a 2 ohm value.

    An example would be a $3500 - $4,000 second hand Accuphase P4200 which puts out 512 watts @ 1 ohm.

    P4200 power amplifier

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Accuphase with B&W
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It's actually a very popular match in Asia as Accuphase is hand built in Japan and the slightly older school sound and warmth I would imagine would mate better with B&W than most modern SS amps. It's worth a try.
     
  13. Daedalus

    Daedalus I haven't heard it all.....

    I have the A-S3000 amp but I use it mainly with my Lascalas which are highly efficient but I have seen a review on the web putting this amp together with the B& W speaker with claimed glorious results. I can attest to the amps clean headroom in my set up.
     
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  14. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    Thanks for the info Richard and the pictures, they look fantastic. Had a quick Google, Accuphase seems to be quite rare in the UK second hand market.
     
  15. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    I would audition the new Rega Aethos, £3k before any discount. I heard it with the new P10 and some B&Ws a few weeks back.
     
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  16. Daedalus

    Daedalus I haven't heard it all.....

    Accuphase products are superlative. I got to listen to some during my last trip to Tokyo. They are quite expensive but are worth it in terms of value for money( if you have the money).
     
  17. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    To the OP: check out this review, if you haven’t already seen it.
     
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  18. Bert Oz

    Bert Oz Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    London
    lonelysea, I owe you a fine beverage sir. I hadn't seen that review, it certainly inspires confidence in the ability of the Yamaha to drive the new B&W 800 series. I think I'll be quite busy auditioning the A-S3000, and a few other suggestions from helpful posters, in the next few months.
     
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  19. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    RE: Accuphase

    I hate to be a dissenter, but my experience with large Accuphase monoblocks driving low impedance speakers (in this case Sony SS-M9ED) is not good. In comparison to Pass X-600s, they made the speakers sound anemic, and lacked the control of the Pass amplifiers.

    If I was going to consider any Japanese power amps to drive B&W 800-series speakers, I would be looking for a pair of Marantz Reference Series MA-9S2 monoblocks, or, if I had deep pockets, a pair of Luxman B-1000F monoblocks.

    marantz ma9s2

    Luxman B-1000F monoblock power amplifier

    I have no idea on used price for the Marantz amps (they are no longer made).
     

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