B&W 800 Diamonds - Amp recommendations


#1

Hi all,

Now that my new BHK Pre & DirectStream DAC have settled in, I have been enjoying exploring my music library in a lot more depth & variety than ever before! These recent PS Audio additions have meant that I don’t have to focus on the best recordings - but just relax and enjoy the music and the memories of albums seldom played.
For that I am grateful to PS Audio!

Now … the next stage of my upgrade plan is my amplifier. It is currently a B&O Ice based chip (modified) with linear Power Supply (1500VA). Custom built to drive 1 ohm Apogee Scintillas. Also has zero DC offset.

The chip and the technology is probably getting a bit old now (~ 8 years ago I think). I believe I can achieve the next round of improvements with a new amplifier.

I am open for suggestions - and obviously would be considering the BHK 250 Stereo, the BHK 300 or also a Mcintosh (MC462 or MC611). I am open for other suggestions as well that may suit the B&W 800 Diamonds.
These speakers definitely suit an amp that can have some grunt since they do dip to 3 ohms at certain frequencies.

Opinions?
Is the Stereo 250 BHK up to the task? or is the 300 BHK a better fit?

Cheers


#2

When I drove my old Apogee’s, I used a Krell KSA 250. This was a match made in Heaven . With Panels you can never have too much power. I’d go with the BHK 300’s, if your budget allows for them. I have a pair now and I love the fact that I’m not limited by my amps when I do my next speaker upgrade.


#3

I use 2 Plinius SA 103s in a vertical biamp configuration.
My speakers are b&w 800d2s. Wonderful combination.


#4

Classe Monoblock 600s. Made to match with the B&Ws.


#5

Yeah! I agree - can never have too much power.
The Krell were famous for driving apogees! The KSA250 was a favourite amongst Apogee forum members.
I know the 300 BHK would be a better fit - but I will have to see if I can get an audition before I put that sort of money out. 2nd Hand options are scarce. Now … where’s my dealer number? Maybe I should have him on speed dial! :wink:


#6

I ended up with the KSA 250 based on a dealer audition. The sound was magical with a Jeff Rowland Preamp. If it’s any consolation, I had limited time with BHK300’s I did however spend some time with a BHK 250 and it was so good that I assumed rightly, that two would be better :blush:. PS Audio can give you a 30 day trial period to decide.


#7

Hi Phillippe, yeah the Plinius are great - although I have never heard them. Nice choice of speakers! :wink:
I’ll dig around the net for some details on these.


#8

The Classe Monoblocks are pretty rare down here in Oz unfortunately. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for 2nd hand gear but will explore the classes in a bit more depth.
Thanks


#9

Hi Kevin,
I love the b&ws, despite what Paul said yesterday in his daily post. Never a good thing to talk badly about your competitors, in my book.
Wonderful amps indeed, and highly recommended (also Stereophile class A).
But in my system, there was no synergy with the bhk preamp. However, I upgraded from the Plinius M8 to the Tautoro, and I am extremely happy with it.
Philippe


#10

Hi Phillippe,

I read through the dialogue of the postings from Paul’s daily post.

It seems there are a few B&W fans out there as well! :wink:

The main thing is to enjoy the music … and the journey to get there.

The Plinius gear has always taken my fancy for over the last 10 years or so.

I bet They sound great! They were highly recommend by so many members of the old Apogee forum.

Strange that you feel the BHK didn’t provide any Synergy. I came from a using my Bel Canto DAC with volume to inserting the BHK pre -and - a lot of difference!

Its often that you don’t release what your missing till something or someone shows you!

Cheers

Kevin


#11

I totally agree: a preamp improves things in my system as well.
The bhk is clearly a great preamp, from the great reviews it garnered.
But in my system, it did not work well with the Plinius amps, and I have no idea why.
I tried another preamp from Accustic Arts, and it was not great either.
The Plinius Tautoro preamp is a great match, as expected.

Philippe


#12

Unfortunately I’m not in the US - Australia doesn’t seem to have that home trail period offer.
:frowning:


#13

Kevin
I have DSJ>BHKpre>BHK250 running BMW 803 D3. The sound is amazing and I am happy with the 250. If you have 802’ s or higher then I think more power will be better so the BHK 300’s would be ideal. Mcintosh is also a good match for older BMW series which were on the bright side.


#14

Hi calderin,
It seem like the 300BHKs will be a better match for my current 800Diamonds. I’ve never thought of them as on the bright side though. It comes down to where you’ve come from though I suppose. You wouldn’t be the only one on this forum that has all PS Audio equipment chain.! I might end up joining the all PSA club!
The Mcintosh - also VERY tempting! The MC611s - I have my eye on a pair at the moment. Hmmmm.
Now where’s my lottery ticket! Tough choices to make without auditioning. All reviews seem very favourable for both! Life’s tough !
:wink:


#15

I have MC611s running my 802D3. Paired well together, with ample power to spare. With 800s, perhaps the bigger Mac monoblocks 1.25kw?


#16

Hi buuthanh,
Glad to know that the macs suit your 802s. It does seem that they are often paired together. Must e a reason! Unfortunately my budget won’t extend for the 1.25kw macs. I’m looking at 2nd hand if possible so it my just e bit of a waiting game to see what comes up.
Cheers


#17

You might want to consider the Chord SPM1200
Amazing amplifier and works well with B&W (see below, for example)
Better value than the GHK 300 and more powerful. Chord do bigger amps, but this is the most popular and more than suffiicent.
You could probably get a demo with the 800 D3 in Sydney and they may have a BHK 250 to compare.


I thought B&W closed down Classe in 2017


#18

Thanks for this option. It sounds like it was a good event put on by B&W and Chord.
In fact, there are many options - each quite capable in their own right. I don’t think I could go wrong with any of the amps on my shortlist. Trying to determine the best of the best is hard (but fun)!


#19

I am aware that there is a very active audio scene in Oz. I crossed paths with Greg Osborn once, a real character. I assume you should be looking for an amp with proper manufacturer and dealer support, another very good option would be the Plinius Kiokio. Built like tanks. Bryston 4B3 is another good option.
https://addictedtoaudio.com.au/collections/vendors?q=bryston


#20

Also look at the Audia Flight FLS 4