B&W 804n


I might be able to help.

I have N804Ss in my living room. I'm powering them from a Classe Sigma 2200i integrated and they sound great. I also have N802 and N805 speakers in various systems. I used to run the N805 on a sony AVR and the jump to a processor/power amp combination was significant (although I never tried an Arcam) so if you can do it, power amps are the way to go.

The 800s are thirsty speakers.

My 802s I ran for a long time with Crown 1502 amps. Originally with two amps, each in bridged mode, and eventually four amps, two per channel. Moving from two to four made little difference but having an amp per channel was a step up from my 100wpc High Current Class-D T-amp.

I'm now running one of my pairs of 802s on the stereo version of that Rotel amp (I have the 1590 RB-1590) and it handles then very well. I don't doubt it would be great on the 804 as well.

For cabling I've tried solid silver, 0 gauge (yes, really 0 AWG), Van Damme Blue 4mm, Blue Jeans, and Van Damme HiFi 6mm. I didn't hear any difference between them. I'm currently using the BJC on a pair of 802s as I like the locking connectors, the hifi on the 802s in the office as they look good (having 2.5mm cable on the back of an 802 might be ok technically but it'll look odd!) and I use the solid silver on the 804Ss, mainly because I have them so I feel I should use them.

Cabling, get something that looks sensible given the size of the 804s, and get OFC not CCA.
Power wise, the more power you can throw at them the better.

How many sources do you have? If it's one, or you can cope with one for a while you could start with a power amp and something as simple as a passive pre-amp.

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