803 D4 and NAP 300 DR

Hey - how do people feel about the NAP 300 DR driving the 803 d4s?

I am just about to press go on buying and another dealer said the 300 would be under powered or rather I wouldn’t get the best out of them…


A friend had a 300 driving 803 d3 I think and he thought it was fine. When he moved to 802 d3 (if I remember correctly) he moved to a 500 and found it a big improvement on the 802 and thought the 300 wasn’t up to it

Which is t quite what you asked but essentially my friend thought the 300 was enough (with 552 and nd555)


The dealer is correct IMO. A 300DR will feed them adequate juice to produce music, but this is a £18k-ish speaker which thrives on, and really needs, far more powerful amps than a 300DR, especially if played enthusiastically i.e. the current demands of the speaker increase.

Thanks for this - the local dealer is trying to sell me ex dem 802s as well so this is VERY helpful.

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What might you put with them? I am thinking of changing amplification… the 803s were sweet!

I don’t doubt they are (sweet etc,), but like many larger B&W’s, they love ‘big current’ IME to perform optimally/better – and the newer B&Ws are better than the older models, which Naim amps struggled with.

I would think min 500DR, perhaps better the NC 350s – ideally, something even more powerful would be better.

Those speakers used to have a reputation of being virtually impossible to drive with anything short of an industrial power station - was it the cross-over that made things so difficult?

Not much is ever posted about those loudspeakers on this Forum. Perhaps that tells its own story, but you’d rather hope that the manufacturer would have found a way to make them work in the real world!

That’s ok - my friend thinks the 300 is def not up to the 802s and he needed the 500. I don’t know if the d4s are any different though?

This is all based on my friends views - I prefer my kudos :wink:

G - your memory is correct, in that the pics from many years back of B&W’s dem room in Worthing, showed ~1000wpc monobloc-amps powering the speakers. I think they were Moon amps, as there was/is a tie-up in distribution.

Their newer models are more ‘friendly’, but the stated amp specs for them cited by B&W are, how shall we say, a tad misleading (or based on tube outputs).

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My own speakers (three pairs of QUAD ESL57s) are at the opposite extreme in terms of sensitivity. Some thought that two NAP135s and an NAP250 would ‘fry’ the Mylar-type panels, but all good still. (I hope that I haven’t jinxed myself!)

If you’re just looking for a general recommendation, The larger 800 series are typically always demo’d with large Classe monoblocks at the local shows. Can say the combo works well & typically is one of the better sounding rooms.

I have a a 802d3 powered by a 300. I think it sounds great. Jason Kennedy reviewed the 802d3 powered by a 300dr and he said it was a match made in heaven. Of course, he said, a more powerful amp would have more slam but he loved the textured bass provided by the 802d3 and the 300dr. Naim amps seem low in watts but they have high current output.

As always it is best to hear for yourself. It was the actual demo that won me over


Hi Lamby,
Let me share my 11 years’ experience with the combination Naim and B&W:

My first set was 804D2 with NAP250 and NAC-N172XS. In our living room of 5x9 meter (plus extension to dining room), I quickly felt the need to increase speaker size.

My second set was an upgrade to B&W 802D2 and NAC-N272, with the same NAP250. This combination was great. I did not felt the 802’s were underpowered, except one incident when my daughter gave a “house” party with the pre-amp for hours at 70%, which caused a shut down of the 250 by its internal thermal protection :grinning:

My third set was an upgrade to 802D4, with the same NAC-N272 and NAP250. That was the first time I felt the NAP250 was a bit out of control, and did not bring the refinement in sound which the 802D4 could deliver.

My latest upgrade is to NAP300DR with the same 802D4 and NAC-N272. And I’m very very happy with the set. The 300DR keeps the 802D4 in tight control, it all sounds wonderful, musically, with lots of power but also a beautiful soft sound at low volumes.

So in my experience a 300DR should be perfectly capable to drive 803D4, since it drives 802D4 effortlessly. Remember: dealers have an interest to sell as much as they can. :wink:

There’s only one solution: your own ears. Ask for a demo with a couple of amps. Compare the 300DR with the 250NC, or even 2x350DR, and decide for yourself. Ask your spouse or friends to join you, because most Hifi fans have a strong “confirmation bias”: they want more expensive stuff to sound better, even if it doesn’t!

The best place to compare is your own place, because most dealer rooms have more damping than your living room. A good dealer will lend you some amps over the weekend.

Good luck!

Note: I compared NAC-N272+300DR with NSC222+250NC on a set of 802D4, and had a clear preference for the first set - see my separate post on this


Thanks for this - super duper helpful. To put my cards on the table - I have listened to my Nap 300dr, NDX2, NAC 282 + 2x hicaps on both 804 d4 and 803 d4. I currently have 805 d3s.

The 804s showed me that my system was trapped by the 805s. I was gobsmacked at the step up from the 805s. Don’t get me wrong; I have loved my set up but this was like buying new kit.

Then the dealer smiled and wheeled in the 803s. OMFG it was like entering a new world. I never knew how much potential my system had. It’s a moment I won’t forget because the joy of listening was so amplified beyond anything I had experienced before.

I am not looking for perfection, just joy. It was joyful.

Now, on reflection after my interaction this week I started to question myself. I didn’t really push the system when demonstrating it and so I am wondering if there is a point, like you said, where the 300 just looses control…

Sounds like I should go for it and if the amplification doesn’t really suit over time I can chop and change. In the short term my sense is I am going to be just fine.


As you and others have said only your own ears can decide – but I think the dealer concerned was being very honest with you (and probably not trying to sell you more!), as speakers can equally be transformed by more powerful amps, and until you’ve heard this happen, it’s one of those hidden ‘magic moments’, perhaps akin to your own explorations so far.

The last thing anyone wants to suggest is getting locked in to having to upgrade amps. As @daren_p has pointed out, B&W use much more powerful amps (Classe not Moon - my failing memory!) for very good reasons.

I always compare amps as being like bigger car engines, in that they’re often not installed because you use/need the enhanced power all the time, but because they accelerate and are much smoother (in control). Flogging a lower-powered engine isn’t the way to go.

To close – B&W’s recommendation for a matching amp is 50 thru 500 wpc at 8-ohms. In to 8ohms, I think a 300DR is somewhere around 90 wpc. Naim amps do pump more current than some, but these are informing numbers IMV.

I own a pair of B&W 803D3’s which used to be biamped with a SN2 and 250DR. I now have a McIntosh 9000 amp which outputs 300 watts per side. The partnership (and to my ears, the tonal balance) is significantly better. Your dealer is correct in my opinion.

I have an 803 d4 driven by 250dr without any issues. I’m sure they would sound better with 500dr but going from Dali Rubicon 6 to my B&W with the same amplification was still the best upgrade I have ever made. I was also told that this generation is easier to drive than D3. Still my next upgrade is going to be either 300dr, 500dr or 350s. A few people here considered passive bi-amping but I’m not sure with what result. Power wise 2x250>1x300

Don’t be too hard on yourself HappyListener, the last couple years Simaudio seems to pair their kit with the 800 series at shows as well :grin:

I’d be looking for an XPS DR before an amp upgrade once you’ve sorted the speakers :grinning:


Thanks for this - my demo seemed to go great with the 300 DR - I am going to try them with a pair of 350s but I think that may be a later move…