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. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    Well that is precisely what I was saying. So your post should have started with "So true." not "Not true." Considering whether a tube amp has the feature you described is exactly the type of thing that needs to be considered.
     
  2. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    In the case of a preamp, burning tubes isn't really an issue. I guess I must have my 6SN7 based tube preamp about four years or so. They are on my second set of tubes and I leave it on 24/7.

    You wouldn't want to burn power tubes that way, but the small signal tubes last a long time.

    In the Peachtree iNova, there is a tube buffer that can be brought in and out of the circuit with a button on the remote. When it is in the circuit, a little blue LED under the base of the tube lights up. But there is always power to the filament, either way, when the SS integrated amp is powered up.

    That tube has been burning for years and years.
     
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  3. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    Yep.
     
  4. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Did you have a preference of which amp you preferred with the N804's? Or a style you felt worked better than others?

    I already looked into the HTM1 and it doesn't fit in my entertainment center :(. It's 1 inch too tall unfortunately. I love the entertainment center and only really care about critical listening when it comes to music. I actually currently have the CDM CSE center channel, 804 fronts and 601S3's for rears. So my 5.1 has 3 different iterations of B&W speakers but for movies it sounds good enough to me. I don't listen to 5.1 music and for movies it's good enough. Besides if I got the HTM1, I'd have to get 805 surrounds and a more expensive 5.1 or 3.1 amp and now I'm out another 3-5k and I've already lost my mind spending more than I want to.
     
  5. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    I think for movies, it is a very reasonable approach to use the lower-end lines from B&W for the surround speakers. I do like to have my front L&R match the center channel though. But again, a bigger concern for music. If it is just for movies, I think it will work fine. Having most of your resources in your front L&R for music reproduction is definitely the way to go.
     
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  6. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    I agree about having the front 3 speakers match. For movies and TV the center channel puts out the most information. But as I have previously stated I think the CDM Special Edition, while over 20 years old, were very well done. Plus my Yamaha YPAO does make some room adjustments to compensate and help the speakers match.

    I'm sitting here in limbo waiting for my amp to arrive from NY. UPS says Thursday or Friday arrival. Sigh. @IanL I read about half of your thread about your Line Magnetic tube amp. Looks like quite a piece. I still have a lot to learn about amplification as you went from a 100wpc SS Mac amp to a 22 watt tube amp and somehow you have enough power to drive your Harbeths!! I got a little lost in the weeds when it got into heave tube discussion as I'm ignorant of the subject. The seems like a whole other rabbit hole. We must be around the same age and have some similar musical tastes. I too remember when "One from the Vault" came out. I caught the Dead with Jerry 5 times prior to his death. Even though it was 1995, the dead were in heavy rotation among my friends at the University of Arizona. Tucson is a bit of a hippy town and you would go to parties and here the Dead or Snoop Dog or Cypress Hill a lot back in those days. I'm playing "One from the Vault" right now.

    First thing I'm going to spin when I get my new amp is Bill Evans "The Complete Village Vanguard" recordings. I'll listen for Scott's bass for sure. I'll also spin "There Goes Rhyming' Simon" and "Aja" as those are a couple of albums I spin to get a feel for a new system. I've been researching preamps lately. Your comment about "once you get into tubes you will never go back" kinda stuck with me. It seems my 804's are best served by high current SS amp, but I could dabble with Tube preamp and possibly a Tube phono pre. The rabbit hole grows deeper by the post...
     
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  7. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    God Luck. You’re a braver man with this stuff than me.

    I’m keeping by multi channel old Rotel rsx1065 with my new B&W 700 s until the perfect 2 Channel plus surround separate combo comes to me. HT bypass is something I️ only recently learned about.

    Really want to keep it simple.

    Damn iOS typo glitch !!!
     
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  8. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    Reminds me how much I love the vintage 90's Rotel gear. I wish they would bring back some of these items (especially the CD players and preamps) much like Conrad-Johnson did the their "Classic" series. Some have a thing for NAD, for me it is Rotel. Guess I am just a fan of their retro look, sound and value.
     
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  9. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    Mine is from 2003. Rock solid and powerful for stereo and decent for surround, however no hdmi or the other related updates. So the decision for me seems to be shifting to a two unit solution. Maybe next year as the Rotel still rocks
     
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  10. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Active Member

    Location:
    California
    Yes, the Classe. Second choice was McCormack.
    I understand all that you're going through, and that it's really expensive. The CDM center is fine, but and HTM 2 would do real nice........
    You might find this as a great surprise, but I wouldn't spend the money for 805 rears, especially as you're going to use 5.1 music. The DMs are all you need for rears for film tracks. Put the money towards an HTM 2 center speaker (as it would yield better tamber matching), have more money towards the better amp, or save the money all together.
     
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  11. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    The waiting is the hardest part. I think somebody famous said that once.

    Yeah, it seems counterintuitive, but the Line Magnetic definitely controls my Harbeths a lot better than the 100wpc McIntosh did. Plus that McIntosh just sounded so boring. Nothing special about it at all. But it had every feature you could want, and looked wonderful. Oh well. The Line Magnetic amps have some extremely beefy transformers, and I think that is where they surprise people with their ability to drive speakers that are not necessarily that sensitive. I wouldn't try it with Nautilus speakers though! The Harbeths are a 2-way design with simple crossovers, so that plays a role too. In this hobby, there is no substitute for experience.

    As far as tubes go, it is something you should check out when the opportunity presents itself. But don't let it get in the way of what you are doing now. There are multiple possible paths to musical bliss, and you are following one of them now. Making a change to a tube-based system (I'm not talking about just adding a tube preamp to your current system, which is also a possibility) would require changes to not just your amp, but your speakers, and is not a small undertaking to do it right. But definitely try to hear a nice tube system when you have a chance. If you love it, then you can consider whether it is worth wholesale changes. It won't be a cheap change. It wasn't for me. But for me, it was worth it. I still intend to make a speaker swap at some point. The Harbeths are great speakers, and the sound I have now is really wonderful, but moving to a more sensitive speaker will allow me to get even better performance out of my amp.

    Yeah, the Dead was in constant rotation at college (in Ithaca, another hippy town), along with some of the same bands/rappers you mentioned. Actually was a great time for hip hop, compared to both before and after, IMO. Never caught the Dead myself, but it hit me pretty hard when Jerry died a couple months after I graduated. Great times...

    That Complete Village Vanguard set is awesome. I have listened to it on Tidal, and it is definitely something special. I have been listening to the original Sunday and Waltz for Debby a lot lately as well. Such great music.
     
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  12. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known as Strabo

    Location:
    Savage
    I've been running a three box solution for a long time, AV preamp, stereo amp, and multichannel amp. Auditioning a fourth box that arrived last week but will eventually drop back to three boxes again at some point. The three boxes being stereo preamp with pass through, stereo amp, and AV receiver.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
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  13. WestGrooving

    WestGrooving Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California, U.S.A
    I've had my Rotel RC 972 Preamp/RB981 Power Amp and B&W CDM7se speakers for around 15 years now. This combo still sounds great to me.
     
  14. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Pardon the cabling disaster. I promise I'll clean it up. My bass problem has been solved in spades. The parasound A-21 arrived in all of its 75 lb glory. Sort of regret not spending $100 more for the black face plate to match the rest of my system. That sub you see in the corner is off and I doubt I'll use it for music. I'd describe the timbre of the bassoon, the depth of the pipe organ and the thunder of the timpani's. Except I put on Earth Wind and Fire and am just funkin' around on a Friday night. I blanketed my plasma to gain the approval of @Black Elk :). Initial impressions are: AC/DC records in mediocre condition sound better on my vintage system. The sounds is more pleasing with the A-21. Less bright but clearer. The bass is tighter and fuller. The overall sound is more full. But these speakers quickly disappear. For good or bad depending upon the source, they just give you what is there. The most honest speakers I've owned. I need to spend more time with the A-21 and speaker combo. So far I love the combo. I will probably have to be a little pickier with the vinyl I purchase in the future. The Oppo has opened my music buying up to include more CD's, as the last year I have bought almost exclusively vinyl. I anticipate buying more Jazz as so far, that genre is given the biggest boost by the 804's.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    I am happy for you! I can imagine having one a21 would help making my big speakers sing better too!
     
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  16. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Your system sounds like it will put out some serious power! Dual 15" subs!!! My goodness. Not sure you need more than 2 A-23's!!
     
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  17. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    no substitute for power and you have just found that out. the a21 is an awesome amp worthy of the best of the best speakers - it stays class A longer than most amps hence the need for large enclosure and heat dissipation.
    now all you need is a tube preamp and a can of black spray paint! congrats and peace...
     
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  18. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Location:
    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    :thumbsup:

    I'm glad to see someone is paying attention to what I say. Now, if only I could get my wife and our dogs to follow suit!! :laugh:
     
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  19. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Thanks again to everyone who has helped so far. I'm thinking the next step in developing my system would be the preamp. The Parasound P5 seems like an obvious choice as it is built to pair with the A-21 and seems like a solid preamp with all the features I would need. However enough hoopla has been raised regarding the consideration of a tube preamp that I am willing to listen. Please recommend a quality tube pre-amp to pair with my Parasound A-21 amp and N804 speakers. Vinyl front end is a ortofon bronze-> Restored vinyl nirvana Thorens TD-160-> Lounge MKIII phono preamp. Digital is Oppo 105 to preamp. I may use the Oppo paired with a Mac computer at some point. But for now I'm mostly spinning vinyl and playing CD's through the Oppo. Let's say budget is $1600 or less.

    Also, XLR balanced cables make much of a difference? Never used them but if the preamp has them I'd be tempted to try. I have a cheap RCA cable connecting the receiver to the amp now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 7:03 PM
  20. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
  21. GyroSE

    GyroSE Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Try to find an used Audio Research LS17- it's stunningly good and it will for sure be the heart in your sound system for many years to come.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  22. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    That looks like quite a piece. Much like my wife you ignored my budget :). I had no idea when I plunked down a little over 2k for these speakers I'd end up with a 10k 2 channel system. I'm not there yet but I'm getting surprisingly close.

    I see you have a Bryston and 804's also. In your experience the LS17 made that big of a difference in sound? It's crazy to me that I could have had a Cronus Magnum II for less than what I might spend on a preamp. It would have been fun to give the tubes a try with the CMII. Especially since I might end up spending double that for separates.

    I'm pleased with the sound now. I have a gnawing suspicion I still haven't reached the potential of the 804's. I am satisfied with the overall presentation of the speakers. But I have yet to have that jaw-dropping experience with them. And I suspect that is due to the AVR being used as a pre-amp. I'm also looking into possibly some Blue Jean Cables to upgrade my bargain basement RCA'/ 12 gauge speaker wire.
     
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  23. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known as Strabo

    Location:
    Savage
    You might have to be quick to snag one in your budget. When @GyroSE posted that I checked and there was an LS17 on Audiogon this morning for $1,650. That's why I gave him the like. It fit your budget. A little negotiation could bring that down within your budget. The listing is now gone, guessing it sold already.
     
  24. Riotvan

    Riotvan New Member

    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Maybe the Saga from Schiit is an option? Cheap and very transparant and only one tube to fuss over. Sounds very neutral with a slight touch of tube bloom in active(tube) mode. Think it’s about $350.
     
  25. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Have you tried with a subwoofer yet?

    May be relieving the amp and speakers from 80 Hz and below will bring you closer to that jaw dropping experience.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017 at 1:01 PM

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