B&W 804D3 "match" with Nova…

I think I just want to be confirmed:
The B&W 804D3 are both too good and maybe also too “hungry” (power wise) to be paired with a Nova, correct? A quick search showed me 2 hits on the forum about this (though 1 person was happy for 4 years with the combo, before upgrading amps…).
(Unless as a beginning of a longer replacement path towards separates, which I currently don’t intend to take.)

(Just saw a pair of them being “on offer” (though not dramatically) and want to forget about that, most likely. After swapping Atom to Nova, I’m currently pretty pleased with the Nova + B&W 683 S2; got enough power and punch, so to say. Obviously no “need” to update; it’s more like “maybe in a few (or many) years, I could ponder if I wanted to try other speakers, maybe also other vendors”. Room is anyway not ideal for “high levels of HiFi”. Best reason would be to support dealer and economy. :wink: )

Had a super uniti paired with 804 d2’s. The amp would often trip the heat sensor

This is what one review said, the Nova is a fine amp (I have used better and lesser Naim amps) I can’t see it being a good match rather a mis-match . I have a Nova and I don’t feel you wouldn’t be getting the best out of it (in my humble opinion) by matching it with these speakers

I have the 702s2 with the Star which works well.

In theory it should work, as B&W suggests an amplifier with 50-220Wpc at 8Ohm. Minimum impedance is specified as 3Ohm.

The Nova’s output into 4Ohm is officially 155Wpc (160 in practice according to Stereophile).

I have B&W 705s2 paired with Nova. Great match & plenty of power.
Added a B&W DB4s sub…just because I fancied one for my movie watching🍿
All great matching! IMO.

In general, B&Ws have a reputation for needing a lot of grip and control from the power amp to sound their best. This is basically hifi-speak for the impedance issue noted above. Thankfully, Naim amps - even the ones with (on paper) lower power ratings- have bags of both qualities.

As such, I was about to agree with your caution, but since you’re already happily running 683S2s (which are similarly power hungry), I’m not so sure.

I bought my 804Ss years ago when my amp setup wasn’t quite good enough for them. Every amplification upgrade I’ve done since (including a recent service) has just made them sound better and better. So, if you can easily afford the D3s and you go for it, you might only ever have to upgrade your amplification rather than your speakers!


Thanks for feedback and help with gathering facts, experience, and impressions.
So no clear and obvious absolute yes or no.

So I guess: first think about the “need” vs. the (still not insignificant amount of) money; then potentially about a demo, if I would declare this feasible.

Welcome to the forum!


Well, one could be lucky some day… :wink:

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I run a Supernait 2 into B&W 804s and the sound is rich and powerful. Granted these are not the D3 loudspeakers, but similar in nature. Couldn’t find 4ohm specs listed even for the more powerful Naim separates… though the 80w provided by the SN2 has always seemed sufficient to me.

Just remembered a conversation I had with the dealer who sold me my s/h 804Ss… it went along the lines of ‘what sort of Naim amp do I need to drive them well?’ to which he said ‘NAC202, minimum’. My comment about the 682S2s, above, still stands, but might be worth a moment of caution.

He was (is) a Naim and B&W dealer so could be expected to know what he was talking about.


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Seems I’m gonna give them a try and listen to them tomorrow. Shop thinks, they should be a good match and nice upgrade. (Though still not a cheap one; IMHO.)
I guess, either they will blow me away (which might get a bit expensive) or they don’t. But then I know.

It might be worth comparing the Nova / 804 with NDX2/Supernait 3 and your existing speakers. I suspect the latter would be far preferable. The best speaker in the world can’t make up for what’s not there in the first place. The Nova is good, but it has its limits.

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This is completely wrong I’m afraid.

I’m with @hungryhalibut here

I went to a dealer demo day once matched NOVA with Fyne Auido F701 which are nice speakers but the NOVA could not drive them, however Fyne audio 301 were lovely with Atom

I believe in the theory of source first then balanced system to be honest

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Obviously the shop might say that, as it helps them shift a pair of speakers they are clearly trying to get shot of, or why would they be offering a discount? The temptation to get speakers that are beyond the rest of the system may be tempting - they look big and flash and you can impress your mates - but it really isn’t the way to build a nice system that just lets you enjoy the music. I tried a Nova on my former SL2s - speakers that are much less of a handful than the B&Ws - and it was really poor. The Nova was way out of its depth, and you could really hear it.

That’s quite alright - I’m sure no-one will think you need to give any explanation or context to go with that statement.


You said;
“ In general, B&Ws have a reputation for needing a lot of grip and control from the power amp to sound their best. This is basically hifi-speak for the impedance issue noted above. Thankfully, Naim amps - even the ones with (on paper) lower power ratings- have bags of both qualities”
Naim power amps have many fine qualities, their ‘musicality’ not the least. But to state that they have “bags of grip and control” for low impedance loads is completely incorrect. Due to the design of their output stage and their current regulation, they have neither with complex, low impedance designs. They need to be matched carefully to speakers to ensure the best results. High current trips will be the least of any problems encountered if this is not done. Damage to the speakers will be the worst. Driving an amp towards clipping results in most of the speaker damage that I have seen, particularly mid range drivers and tweeters.

Forgot to add, these comments do not apply to Statement.

Not a good idea it would bit of a mullet system heavy on the back and not quite there as a source/preamp

The 800 series are very revealing and the Nova not quite at that level to be paired with an endgame speaker

Try some Dynaudio special 40 instead

Or the focal range usually sold with the Nova