B&W 800 D3 with Nap250dr

An ex demo 800 D3 can now be bought for a more resonable amount of money (circa £12k) which is the price range of a new kudos 606. Would nap 250dr be able to drive them? I’ve heard a lot of people saying they’re very power hungry but I usually listen at lower volumes. Has anyone owned both and could comment? Also how about biamping (2x250) and how would that be connected through a hicap dr?

I had a 802d3 with a 250 (a 300 replaced the 250 a bit later). It is a bit smaller than the 800d3 and B&W described it as room friendly! The 802d3 was great with a 250 which did surprise me though not my dealer who is very familiar with B&W. Of course if you can have a listen to the 800d3 in the dealer’s room with your 250, I’d he hasn’t one, you can decide.

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Thanks RWC.

There are no dealers close to where I live so demoing is difficult and I’m trying to shortlist my options but if 250dr isn’t enough I might just look elsewhere.

I am never quite sure of the numbering of B&W but a friend has IIRC 802d3 which replaced 803d2 (erm, I think!) and the 802s he thought needed a 500 rather than his then-300 which was fine with the 803. So from his perspective a 250 would not have been enough

Thanks Tim. I think the d number signifies the generation with d4 being the latest one and the 80x is the size (the lower the number the bigger the speaker). So 800 D3 would be the biggest one from the previous generation.

I’ve heard before they are quite power hungry but would my 250 be enough given I hardly ever turn it to or beyond 9 o’clock and would 2x250 make the situation any better?

I can vaguely recognise that description - but I fall apart a bit when it comes to a specific model.

Only your ears can tell whether it would be ok. From my friend’s perspective, I would be astonished if he thought that he would be ok with a 250dr on an 800. He found the 802 “needed” a 500 and that a 300 was not enough - though he was happy with a 300 on the 803s that he had before.

He is consistently annoyed with me that I don’t like B&W speakers :grimacing: but he loves them which is the only thing that counts


Thanks Tim. Any views on 2x250? I know not strictly recommended by Naim but again ex demo/second hand are resonably priced and plenty supply.

And I forgot to ask whether you like B&W speakers in the first place? Some Naim owners love them, others don’t. Just a matter of taste and not right or wrong

Never tried so don’t really know. Should be better than 1x250 but I would probably want to start with a 300 rather than 2x250


Jason Kennedy, the hifi critic, thought the 802d3 with the Nap 300 was a marriage made in heaven. Of course he said a bigger amp would have more slam (for some a 500 wouldn’t have sufficient slam!) but he loved the textured quality of the bass with the 300. He tested the 802 d3 with a number of amps which were all theoretically more powerful but Naim amps have excellent current which is more important, in my view than watts.

I have the 300 with 802d3 and I just love it. The relatively high sensitivity of 90 dbl helps.

I asked Simon who owns Infidelity and he felt it the 800d3 was too large for most UK rooms whereas the 802d3 sounded great even in his small demo room.

I was particularly concerned at what the 802d3 was like at low listening levels and I felt it was excellent with the 250 and even better later with the 300.

So perhaps to modulate my previous response it may be worth looking at an ex demo 802d3 unless the original op has a large listening room.

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I have B&W in my car and love them, never hear them in a home stereo but there’s no dealers in where I live so just trying to shortlist the speakers I want to hear.

The room is about 3.5m x 7m. The thing is there’s not a lot of difference in the price between the two looking at refurbished / second hand.

My room is 6m by 4.3m and my speakers are placed on the long wall. B&W speakers do seem to command a relatively high second hand price but they sell more high end speakers than any other company so there should be plenty of choice for second hand purchases. Although most ex demo speakers will have gone many dealers will get 802/803 d3’s in part exchange for the new d4.
I needed the dealer to install them as at 94.5 kg each and with my listening room on the first floor it needed two strong men to manoeuvre them!

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94.5 kg each? :flushed:

Yes and the 800d3 is 96kg each. So the 802d3 isn’t much lighter but the two woofers are 8" compared to 10" on the 800 which is why the 802 is generally more suitable to medium sized rooms.
Although my room is carpeted I found using a thick rug helped to give a more mellow sound (some find the diamond tweeter too sharp in a bare room).


But you’ve seen somewhere at the price you quoted? Given the cost - £2k may be cheap for the speaker but is still an awful lot of money - then travelling to audition makes sense, even to another country. A 250 +PS is a bit heavy to carry if you’re flying, but not impossible, and a doddle by car. Advantage of car is you could take your existing speakers to give you a baseline understanding of how different the room sounds.

Six years ago to audition replacement speakers I drove over 800 miles plus two ferry journeys averaging 3 hours each, and a hotel stay, to visit 3 places and audition 5 speakers, taking with me my own large and heavy speakers plus amp and source. It was a fruitful trip. One of the speakers was 802d2 (at £12k then ex demo) - however they didn’t sound as good to me as the speakers I eventually bought. (I have always ‘fancied’ the 800, but never heard - ditto the true Nautilus.)

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Most dealers I’m looking at have or should have a 250dr available for demo so I wouldn’t have to take mine. I would still need to fly over and spend a night in a hotel which is inconvenient but definitely worth doing given the outlay.

There seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions about the 250dr. Some say it’s a capable of driving most speakers and some say it’s only good for easier load and hence my question. I’m a bit confused because apparently similarly priced (282/250/HC) integrated from Mcintosh is supposed to drive almost anything.

Regarding driving anything, there is drive and drive! A Fiat 500 or a Ferrari can drive on virtually all roads at most legal speeds… But then there is off-road, where neither is likely to do well, and you’d likely need a 4x4, good ground clearance and tough suspension, and big engine…

The 250 will drive the 800: it is simply a question of how well, and that not only depends on the amp and speaker characteristics, but also on your ears - what sounds good or at least OK to you - and may also depend on the type of music you play. Does the combination play well enough for you to enjoy and feel satisfied with it, even though almost certainly not getting the maximum of the speakers’ potential? What are your future plans? If one day upgrading the amp is on the cards, then quite simply the question is do you really, really like the sound character of those speakers and what they bring to music replay, and can you happily live with the 250 driving them for as long as it takes to reach an upgrade?

Personally, based on my own experience, I’m a great believer in getting the speakers right, and as long as the amp is capable enough (e.g. controlling adequately so bass doesn’t wallow around), then enjoyment is greater than not having the speakers that suit you. Even better of course if one day budget allows amp can always be improved later to get more out of the speakers.

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Thanks :pray: all very helpful. A year ago all I had was uniti star so I’m sure amp upgrade will happen sooner or later. I think I’d rather get my end game speakers as my next upgrade and be done with it even if the current amp won’t get 100% out of them. Is listening at lower volume a big factor here?

When I had my 250 I normally listened at around 8 on the volume knob of the 282. 9 was generally way to loud and my wife would have to shout to get my attention! With the 300 and the 252 those levels are about the same although the quality is better. Like most large speakers the impedance of the 802 drops to about 3 ohms around ? 80 Hz and if you were playing music loudly around this level you might notice. I don’t think I have noticed any such problems.

So if you are listening at low levels I don’t think you would have a problem. If you love the sound go ahead with your gut feeling. I compared the 252, 300, supercap and 804d3 with the 282, 250, hicap and the 802d3 and the latter was much better (the cost was virtually identical) to my and my wife’s ears and I think to the dealer as well.

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