The B&W 800 D3 is the flagship of the 800 Series Diamond range, the Bowers and Wilkins greatest creation, fueled with half a century worth of engineering and craftsmanship. This top of the line high-end floor-standing speaker requires the very best amplifiers in the world to power them so that they can sound their absolute best. In order to truly find the most compatible amps that can unleash the B&W 800 D3 fullest potential, we must first learn more about these magnificent speakers.
We must find out and understand what are their strengths and merits, the sonic characteristics they possess, and how the B&W 800 D3 truly sounds. With these understandings and data, we will then be able to start listing out the finest amplifiers which you can choose to match with your coveted Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 speakers.
Sonic Characteristics and Strengths of B&W 800 D3
The Diamond Dome tweeter sitting right at the top of the B&W 800 D3, is probably the most iconic visual feature and audiophiles will immediately know they are looking at a premium quality speaker made by the renowned Bowers & Wilkins. The overall speaker cabinet design just screams high-end and high-quality, a definite head-turner in any listening room. Such a celebrated speaker will definitely outshine any amplifier except the most luxurious of them all. Below the 1 inch (25mm) Diamond dome high-frequency tweeter, you will see an equally impressive 6 inch (150mm) Continuum cone FST midrange driver and followed by two awe-inspiring 10 inch (250mm) Aerofoil cone bass units. The Flowport is located below the speaker cabinet, down-firing onto the top of the speaker base and not towards the floor surface.
We would recommend a minimum distance of 0.5 meters away from the side and rear walls. If you have a lot of room space, you may want to trial and error the distance until you find the right distance to achieve the best sound quality. The castors will help a lot in moving the B&W 800 D3 speakers. The frequency response is truly awesome, it is from 15Hz-28kHz, a full-range speaker. The nominal impedance is 8 Ohms (minimum 3.0 Ohms) and the speaker sensitivity is 90dB. The recommended amplifier power is 50-1000 Watts. The quality of the power you are driving to your B&W 800 D3 is more important than the quantity though.
The sonic performance of the B&W 800 D3 is on a whole other level, is this what immersion truly is, or is there more. Soon afterward, these questions are meaningless as we are totally engaged with the symphony of beautiful music and sound been unraveled within our listening room, ever-alluring our minds to just focus on the tunes been played. The soundstage is vast and the stereo imaging dare I say flawless. Lifelike performances are been played out on the stage and the realism will just leave you breathless.
The vocals are all-natural and can be ethereal at times, the subtle sound of the singers’ breathing is crystal clear. The clarity is simply astonishing, every nuance of the music details is audible and clear. The atmosphere of the live performance is convincingly been replicated inside the listening room, where you feel the energy from both the audience and the performers. The scale of the sound is immense, it fills the room effortlessly and the low-frequency reproduction is just powerful.
The clarity of the bass reproduction right down to the subterranean level is astounding, it is so rich with details and prominent, not to mention, the impeccable timing and low-frequency control are class-leading. The low frequency seamlessly blends in with the mids and highs, reproducing a three-dimensional sound quality that is real and basically convinces you the instruments are been played right in front of you. The sonic purity of the diamond tweeter and the Continuum cone FST midrange drive is really incredible.
Bowers & Wilkins 800 D3 is probably one of the top reference speakers ever made and their sonic prowess is really hard to beat. The capability to make the music come to life and with such realism will easily make most audiophiles fall in love with them. We have now gathered all the necessary details and it is time to list out the best amplifiers that the B&W 800 D3 truly deserves.
B&W 800 D3 Specifications
- Speaker Type: 3-way down-firing bass port (Flowport)
- Drive Units: 1 inch (25mm) Diamond dome high-frequency tweeter, 6 inch (150mm) Continuum cone FST midrange driver, and two 10 inch (250mm) Aerofoil cone bass units
- Frequency Response (±3dB from reference axis): 15Hz-28kHz
- Frequency Range: 13Hz-35kHz
- Recommended amplifier power: 50-1000 Watts
- Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms (min. 3.0 Ohms)
- Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 90dB
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 1212mm x 413mm x 611mm (not including feet) | 47.7″ x 16.3″ x 24.1″
- Weight: 96kg (212lbs)
Best Amplifiers to match with B&W 800 D3
One of the best preamplifier and power amp combinations will be from the renowned Classe, as they have great synergy with the B&W 800 D3 speakers. For the preamplifier, you would want to go with Classe CP-800 a high-end stereo preamp. The Classe CP-800 is an incredibly high-performance preamp, with exceptionally clean and neutral sound quality. It is extremely detailed and focuses on the most faithful music presentation that is as close to what the artists have intended with immaculate dynamics. Coupled with the powerful Classe CA-M600 monoblocks, you got a preamp/power amp combo that is fully capable to drive your B&W 800 D3 speakers to sound their absolute best. It is a must to have a listen and should seriously consider them.
McIntosh has been providing audiophiles with exceptional high-end sound quality, their preamp and power amplifier combo are one of the best choices to match with your B&W 800 D3. The vacuum tube preamplifier McIntosh C2700 is an absolute solid performer combining its vacuum tube topology and advanced DA2 Digital Audio Module technology, delivering an exceptionally high-quality music presentation. Partnering with McIntosh MC611, a 600 Watt Quad Balanced Monoblock, you now have a system that can easily drive your B&W 800 D3 speakers. Enjoying your favorite music with beautiful sound quality and realism.
If you seek more power for your McIntosh preamp & power amp setup, perhaps you would like to take a look at the McIntosh MC1.25KW. It is an extremely powerful Quad Balanced Monoblock, a 1-Channel solid-state amplifier that can output 1200 Watts per channel into 2, 4, or 8 Ohms. The McIntosh MC1.25KW definitely has no problem driving your B&W 800 D3 floor-standing speakers. This multi-award-winning power amplifier also has ultra-low total harmonic distortion, providing you with clean, refined, and dynamic sound quality. Have a side-by-side comparison with McIntosh MC611 and see if you can hear the difference.
Rotel preamplifier and power amp combo will be another amazing choice, we will be looking at their Michi flagship series. First, the preamp section will be Rotel Michi P5, it is one of the best high-end preamplifiers of recent times and garnered many accolades over a short time period. The matching power amplifier will be Rotel Michi M8, which is a very powerful Monoblock amplifier, with 1,080 Watts into 8 Ohms and 1,800 Watts into 4 Ohms! With this Rotel preamp & power amp setup, it can provide sonic purity and stable power to unlock your B&W 800 D3 speakers’ fullest potential. It was said that the Rotel Michi amplifiers were powering the Bowers and Wilkins 800 D3 at the recent Bristol Hi-Fi Show. You should definitely have an audition with the Rotel Michi flagship range and hear them out.
Pass Labs makes one of the best power amplifiers in the world, they are definitely worth your while to check them out. For their Class AB power amplifiers, you might want to take a look at Pass Labs X600.8 which is a Monoblock that can deliver 600 watts into 8 ohms. If you want even higher sonic purity and quality, then you should definitely take a look at Pass Labs Class A power amplifiers, such as XS150 and XS300. Both Monoblock Pure Class A power amplifiers have garnered rave reviews and awards from reputable sources. Pass Labs amplifiers are legendary and are worthy amps to be partnered with your illustrious B&W 800 D3 speakers.
You might also be interested in the Classe Delta Mono power amplifier, as the first 35 Watts are pure Class A and can go up to 1000 Watts / 2Ohms. The Classe Delta Pre is a preamplifier that is also worth checking, you should audition them together with the Delta Mono and your B&W 800 D3 speakers to see if you like what you hear. There are other brands that you might want to have a look at as well, such as Naim, Plinius, Hegel, Parasound, etc. McIntosh is worth the time and effort to further explore their offerings as they are reputable for making high-performance tube amplifiers especially if you are into McIntosh house sound.
To Sum It Up
The first preamp/power amp combo to audition will definitely be Classe CP-800 and Classe CA-M600 combo, you should really find the opportunity to hear them out along with your B&W 800 D3 speakers. The remaining amplifiers from the list are also deserving of your attention and consideration. You can also use this list as a reference to explore other brands/amplifiers. Just take your time and enjoy the process, audition each of the potential amplifiers before making any decision.