I am finally a proud B&W owner. I would have to agree with some of the other statements here that they do not “need” a lot of power to play loud. For example, I have a pair of Marantz MA700 (200W each) powering my speakers and they had no problem getting to 100db. However, what’s interesting is that I was at an “audition” event at my dealer recently and they managed to clip the 600W Classe mono blocks that were driving a pair of 800 Diamonds. But I guess due to the acoustical treatment and relatively large room size they only got to roughly 100db before there was noticeable clipping during heavy bass notes.
So I am re-arranging everything in the family room due to the new speakers and got a chance to compare bi-amping vs. single amping.
My equipment is as follows: Onkyo PR-SC5508; B&W 802 diamond; Monitor Audio Silver Center; N.E.A.R. Mast (used to be the front speakers); Play Station 3; Comcast digital HD DVR; Three Marantz MA700 mono blocks; 4 Marantz MA500 mono blocks; Belkin PureAV PF60.
So I used the Onkyo primarily in “Pure Audio” mode and hooked it up to the MA 700 (200W into 8 ohms / 300W into 4 ohms each) to drive the B&W. As I mentioned above, the speakers play loud. They also sound very good.
I then decided to try using the MA700 for the bass and the MA500 (125W into 8 ohms / 185 W into 4 ohms each) for the mids and highs. So I switched the Onkyo to bi-amp mode and again did most of my listening using “Pure Audio” mode. I used dissimilar cables that weren’t even the same length (close enough I guess).
What’s the result? To me, to my ears, in my room, the above bi-amping arrangement produced a “better” sound. I don’t know how to describe it and what exactly changed, but it just sounded better. I do not believe the difference was huge but I certainly think it’s there. I may try to get a friend of mine who has 803 diamonds over to try to do a simple blind test with him to see what he thinks.
Which brings me to a couple of questions:
1. People in this thread seem to think that passive bi-amping is a complete waste of time, do you agree?: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1336776/biamping-with-onkyo-tx-nr5008-vs-1-amp-and-onkyo-pr-sc5508
2. How do you drive your diamonds?
3. Have you experimented with bi-amping?
4. How do you feel about the “match” between my current amplifiers and the diamonds?
Thanks for your thoughts.