Help me build my system to match my "new" B&W Nautilus 804's

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bananas&blow, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Tomorrow I am having delivered a pair of B&W Nautilus 804's. I have lusted after a pair of the N 800 series B&W speakers since I first heard them in a high end store ca. 2002. That dream is becoming a reality tomorrow. Currently I am adding them to a 5.1 system and I will use them as fronts for movies and 2.0 stereo music listening. They are replacing my B&W CDM 7se's that I have had for 15 years and still love.

    My main concern to start with is finding an amp to help them deliver the sound they are capable. My current options are (I own the first 3 amps already):

    1) Yamaha HT Receiver model RX-3030 Aventage receiver: Yamaha-AVENTAGE-RX-A3030.html. This was the flagship Yamaha receiver in 2013 and in 2 channel stereo offers 150 watts.
    2) Yamaha A-s801 Integrated amp with 100 WPC.
    3) Vintage Marantz 2245 receiver. (I can't imagine this has enough power but I do have it).
    4) Buy something else.

    The RX-3030 has pre-outs for all 5 channels, so I could use the Yamaha as a pre-amp. I happen to love the RX-3030 and I think it sounds great, however I am concerned it will fall short with power hungry 804's. I also don't like using a sub if I can avoid it, and I've read that properly powered 804's will deliver satisfying bass.

    My current digital chain is:

    a $70 samsung blu-ray player I use as a transport using the ESS Sabre DAC in the 3030 to the speakers. I realize the player sucks but since I'm using the internal DAC on the Yammy, I'm not sure how much the player really matters. It is likely to matter more with the more revealing 804s.

    My analogue chain is:

    Ortofon Bronze --> Vinyl Nirvana Thorens TD 160 -> Lounge audio MKIII --> amp.

    I've read that that the B&W's like high current amps, not necessarily high wattage or both. What upgrades would you make to get the most out of the B&W's musically? I will be looking to upgrade the DVD player to either an OPPO 105 or 103 type range. I plan on listening to CD's as well as records with the new speakers.

    I listen to rock, funk, soul primarily. Occasional Jazz.

    I'm pondering picking up a used high powered Krell amp or something similar and using the Yamaha as a pre-amp.

    Any advice is welcome. Budget is up to $5000 to make the speakers sing. I'd prefer to stay much lower than that.

    Pete
     
  2. dchang81

    dchang81 Active Member

    by you saying your budget is 5k, the suggestions will start well beyond that. i lust for 800 series, nostalgia thing as they were the first real high end item i demoed. wife vetoed with the damned pod on top
     
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  3. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Fair point but i'm open to used. Some excellent used Krell amps to be found for under 2k. These are not 800's-802's either. So excellent speakers but certainly not something I need to spend 20k on to get excellent performance from....at least I hope :). I do have a wife.
     
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  4. GyroSE

    GyroSE Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Congratulations! :righton:

    I'm also a B&W N804 owner and have been since 1999 when I bought my 804's new. They've more or less been the platform in my sound system through the years of slow but steady upgrading. I can tell that you'll get the best out of your 804's if you put tube gear somewhere upstream- they're more or less made to be combined with tube gear IMHO. I for many years went the solid state route and in 2012 I was considering to give my 804's up since I wanted to get a change. Suddenly an used duo consisting of Audio Research LS17 and PH5 appeared for a fair price so I couldn't resist this deal. It was quite shocking to hear the music the first time I connected the ARC gear in to the sound system, my 804's really sounded like a pair of new speakers- high quality bass, fantastic midrange and a silky treble. The sound was big and full- I remember this really knocked me out for the first hours I was listening to the new set up. So much more potential was built in but had never ever appeared before I got the tube gear. After this eye opening occasion I can tell I'll probably keep them forever as they sound fantastic.

    Yes the B&W 804's are power hungry but I think you'll manage with your Yamaha RX-3030 but try to start directly to save up for a more powerful amp of somekind. I use a Bryston 4B SST power amp which is a great match with both the 804's and the ARC LS17 as well- the synergy effect between those is prominent IMHO. The Bryston keeps the 804's in a firm grip and it has full control over the speakers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
  5. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Adelaide Australia
    Congratulations on your 804’s N. They are amazing speakers for sure.

    As others have already pointed out.

    Like the most of 8xx series speakers, these pups need some serious amp fodder to make their bottom end rock.

    I am sure you’ll get a lot of recommendation ‘standards like Krell, MF, Bryston etc., and they probably all be the right recommendations for these speakers. You can really do better than with your current amp.

    My personal opinion is that pre+power combos are better solution over the integrated ones for these speakers. Based on that, I will propose something real funky to you. Something that I am seriously considering doing myself.

    Schiit Freya tube pre-amp with balanced connection to 2 Schiit Vidar mono blocks. (400 W).

    All together for $2100 USD new and U.S. made with 5 years warranty.

    Been listening to Freya with some NOS tubes for the last month or so, and it sounds amazing for the price.

    Also consider the option of running the bi-amp(ed) setup with an tube amp for top and SS for the bottom end.


    Happy listening.


    Regards
     
  6. vinylvin

    vinylvin Active Member

    Location:
    MA
  7. Chris C

    Chris C Music was my first love and it will be my last!

    Location:
    Ohio
    I agree with member Vinylvin above, to check out that new McIntosh piece, as that would clearly do the trick for what you need, plus it would look awesome in your room! Of course, the price tag will spend EVERY penny of your budget, but just like I did myself, when I ventured into the McIntosh and B&W world a few years ago, a guy has to sometimes do, what he has to do!
     
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  8. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Thank you for the responses. I would love to have a Mac integrated however where does that leave me for the 5.1 set up? I do like surround sound when watching games and movies. I guess I could just stare at the blue meters and be satisfied for the rest of my life. I would definitely consider a used amp from Mac, how much would I be missing pairing a high quality amp like that with my Yamaha receiver used as a pre-amp?
     
  9. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Look for an integrated amp with HT Direct/Bypass - that way you can build a hybrid system to double as a 2-channel only for music and multi-channel for surround.
     
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    My experience with Yamaha integrateds is that they produce the higher quality bass than many others. My modest A-S500 bested a Rogue Paharaoh and Parasound Halo in that regard. This was with a variety of speakers. My A-S1100 takes it a step further. It completely transformed the bass of my Spendors. I suggest you consider the upper tier, MOSFET based A-S series, maybe the 2100.

    I imagine it would have great synergy with your RX-3030. Even though they're rated at only 90 watts/ch RMS, they seem far more powerful due to their huge capacitance reserves.
     
  11. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Oh I like the option of an integrated with HT bypass. Thanks @Helom for the suggestion. I noticed there is a new A-s2100 on Ebay for $2299. Hmmm.

    And @Erik Tracy for the suggestion.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2017
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  12. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
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  13. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    I use a Musical Fidelity Int amp with HT Bypass to drive my B&W bookies; great synergy and a clean way to have a multifunction system for surround & old school 2 channel music.
     
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  14. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Does your A-s1100 have HT bypass? I don't see it listed in website but the A-s1000 did, which seems odd.
     
  15. Slippers-on

    Slippers-on Well-Known Member

    Location:
    St.Louis Mo.
    If I was in your shoes...I'd look for a Classe amp...you might even get a great price seeing that they are going out of production. Home - Classé Audio

    You might even find a nice used one Search Results for classe | Audiogon
     
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  16. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I would use a valve preamp and a solid state amp. B&Ws love high-current solid state. It has been said that the new ones require a 200w amp. I don't believe the model you have is quite that hungry.

    A used Bryston suggested above seems a good choice; or if you prefer new, perhaps contact Klaus Bunge of Odyssey and get a pair of Stratos Monos (180w). $2700 and all the current in the world (120A).

    Odyssey Audio: Stratos Mono amp
     
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  17. vinylvin

    vinylvin Active Member

    Location:
    MA
    The 5300 does have HT bypass.
     
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  18. Diskhound

    Diskhound Well-Known Member

    If you want to drop the whole 5K on an amp then you should look at a used Modwright 150 Signature. I personally think you would be fine with a used Modwright 100 SE with a 130 real watts and lots of current. That would leave you with enough cash left over to buy a used Modwright LS 100 that has a home theatre bypass. I am running an LS 100 and 100 SE. It's an incredible combination. Very musical.
     
  19. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Any thoughts on the Parasound Halo 2.1 integrated? I love the idea of the HT Bypass as I like to watch sports while listening to music. The integrated amp gives me this option.
     
  20. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT, USA
    Options are many so here as predicted is a suggestion. Bryston, yup I am an owner as well. I see a 4BSST ² for $3500 on one audio market place. Look around as Bryston has a newer model out so some good buys are out there on the "squared". If you have a preamp out switch or jumper you can continue to use your current front end until you find a replacement in the future. This is a very good match to your new speakers.
     
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  21. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    If they are new give them about 100 hours to blossom. My new BW 702s2 are finally opening up and warming up at almost 50 hours.

    I was told at a hundred they should be really great. And I’m pushing them.
     
  22. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    For the 800 series, I would avoid home theater-anything, receivers, even integrateds. You want high-current power, and I agree with the above poster who suggested separates. The Krell you mentioned fits that bill, if you like the Krell sound. I much prefer Pass Labs, or if you are on a tighter budget, Parasound. I've heard the Nautilus 804 with a variety of McIntosh amps, both SS and tube. They are capable of powering them as well, but IMO you can get much better sound from other options.
     
  23. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Congrats! They look like awesome speakers and I hope you are wowed by the sound.
    If they were my speakers I would have no hesitation and drive them with a Rogue Cronus Magnum II and run them vertically bi-amped with a Rogue Atlas Magnum. The Rogue Audio Pharaoh would also be an excellent candidate for these speakers.
     
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  24. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Yes, it has "Main In" jacks that serve that purpose.

    After an extensive comparison, of the A-S1100 and Halo, I determined the Yamaha is the better amp, including the quality of its Phono stage. Unless you need the raw power of the Halo, go with the Yammie.
     
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  25. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    That hybrid integrated may not quite cut the mustard if Greg Handy's experiences driving the 800Ds have a comparison point. The 800Ds are more demanding for sure than the N804s, but you would need to see for yourself.

    Rogue Audio Pharaoh Tube Hybrid Integrated Amplifier Reviewed
     

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