Naim with Bowers & Wilkins

New to Naim and would like advice regarding amplifiers.

Will the Nait XS3 have enough power to control Bowers & Wilkins 704S2 or 703S2?

Would the NAC202 and NAP200 be a better match for the mentioned speakers?

Can you perhaps describe the sonic differences between the two amplifier options.

Naim dealers are few and far between in my area and getting to listen to Naim and B&W together is virtually impossible.

Also i have my eyes on the ND5 XS2. Will this be a good match for both amplifiers? I am afraid the NDX 2 is not an option financially.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Some like, other not. I am in the second camp. For me the combo is to fat, not enough airy . Engrossed.

How to choose a loudspeaker and more importantly live with your puirchase over time.
You need a dealer demo and one at home to be sure its for you as its a personal decision. Other items in the food chain are easier to make a decision on more quickly.
frenchrooster thinks they are fat ( too much lower bass?). PS Audio, Paul, on his blogs think they are sterile. Thats each end of the audio spectrum?
I only have experiance of their 802s and can testify they need a good source and an amp, 250+, as they can be power hungry.
You don’t say where you live. Infidelity in Kingston-on-Thames deal in both Naim, B& W and Linn so they would have a handle on which way to go.
Hope this helps.


As Douglas says, it’s hard to give a recommendation. I use 804S on the end of Naim (52/Supercap/135s) and I find them fantastic, I love listening to music on them. Of he other 2 guys to comment, one doesn’t like Naim/B&W, one does but references a blog that doesn’t. So I can give my view, but it’s only mine.
I listened to 702S2s being driven by 252/SC/300DR and it was a very good set-up. My gut feel is that the Nait might struggle slightly with the 703s, and you’d be better off with the separates, but I haven’t tried the combinations and might be pleasantly surprised.

The perfect speaker / amp combo Is not easy to find . It is a matter of taste , room interaction, impedance match, …
A test at home is absolutely necessary.

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I can’t speak of the exact amplifier as I have no experience of the XS3, but I have the Uniti Star, which has the same power output, with the 702 s2. So to answer your literal question, yes it will have enough power.

I do agree with the others that you should try and listen to the combination before you buy.
There’s lot of personal preference (and funds) involved.

I owned a XS 2 and ran a pair of ProAC D2’s and Naim S-400 speakers and they both sounded fantastic in my environment. Looking at the specs of the speakers you mentioned it appears on paper that they could work but we never know until we hear the equipment in our own environment.

Good luck, and hopefully you find a dealer that can demo for you…

It really is essential to demo speakers in the room in which you’re intending to use them. I had a very impressive demo of a pair of Focal speakers at a dealer but they just didn’t work in my home; thankfully I had them on loan from the dealer, rather than buying them.

FWIW I was completely underwhelmed by a demo of B&W803D with a top notch LP12 and NAP250 system - “boom and tizz” - lots of flabby bass and HF. All a matter of personal taste of course.

Infidelity - Very good dealer

The amp will do it… however the most important factor is the room…you need a home demo…With all things a better amp will give you more control…but dont worry about it…

welcome brian . great fan of the B&W and like Eoink i had some lovely 804s and a few others . its hard to tell what they will sound like with the naim .

as frenchrooster says

The perfect speaker / amp combo Is not easy to find . It is a matter of taste , room interaction, impedance match, …
A test at home is absolutely necessary.

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@Brian42 I own a pair of B&W 805N

In my experience B&W do like an amp with lots of control, my old 200 non DR drove the 805 really well, but as ever word of caution is to never by speakers blind

Still have the 805 on the end of 300DR, the results are sublime


I have 3 pairs of B&W book shelf speakers and have used them on Naim int amps and 202/200
now a 282. All with fine results. I have multiple systems so I can mix and match.

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I used to pair a 805S with a Nait XS and then 202/200

Both amps could drive the 805S ok

However after comparing a number of other speakers, I found the B&W sound too bright for my ears, it isn’t exactly neutral

Also when compared with my current Dynaudio (I have owned 3 pairs of these) I found that the Dynaudio were somewhat better, to my ears, at rhythmic ability.

Not sure why, maybe small details (much like Naim), such as only having a single speaker terminal… no metal bar linking the tweeter and midrange.according to one review " Dynaudio back in 1977 understood then, and maintain to this day, that the sound of any loudspeaker will be colored unless transient response, phase, timing, dynamic ability, etc., are addressed. This is commonly accepted today, but in 1977, Dynaudio was far ahead of the curve."

regardless, some people will like the B&W and Naim sound, but on balance, I am much happier with my Dynaudio speakers.

My opinion only.

That’s a strange thing to say when big studios like Abbey Road and Skywalker Sound using them. You might have a different preference, find better ones for the money, but surely they wouldn’t be using them if they weren’t neutral in character?

Yes but they don’t use Naim, but Classé Audio. The combo Naim/ BW is not neutral for me…

Hmm, interesting. Wonder what will happen now that Classe Audio has been sold, or is this why Rotel revived Michi?

Still here

But no longer in the same group as B&W. First discontinued by the group, and later bought (Just the name, or also the designs?) by the group that also owns Denon, Marantz & Polk. So no affiliation with B&W anymore.

In the B&W group only Rotel makes amplifiers now, hence my guess that that might be the reason they revived Michi.

As my profile will tell you, I also run 804Ss, but using a 202/200. As can already be seen from above, the Naim/B&W combination seems to split members of the forum: most hate it but a few of us love it.

Now, some of you might want to sit down and take a deep breath before reading on: it may horrify you.

I flagrantly disobeyed the cardinal rule of loudspeaker purchasing and bought my speakers s/h on the Bay having never heard Naim with B&W. In retrospect, I was phenomenally lucky to be absolutely delighted with them straight out of the courier’s van and remain so to this day. Every Naim upgrade I’ve done since has just made the B&Ws sound better.

Would I recommend you do what I did? No way. There are several really good Naim dealers in the UK who are also B&W stockists, so if you can get to one of them and have a jolly good audition, I’d recommend it.


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