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. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    Agreed. I would also. I have 18 watt Lamm amps - so I am more in your camp.
    IanL likes this.
  2. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Haha. Well played sir. I guess at some point I should just pick an amp. If I don't like it I can always sell it and try a different amp. The consensus of this thread is muddy.

    All of the amps I am considering have good re-sale value. So I can't really lose I reckon.
  3. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    I'd say it's all about volume level. There have been many nice integrated amps, IIRC topping out at 100-150 watts. Separates can have even more power. I feel like you have at least a tad of concern about having enough power, so you should get a massive outboard because if you get an integrated you may always be wondering in the back of your mind. In the extreme, you could get a Behringer iNuke with thousands of watts, or better yet a QSC PowerLight-though at some point your wall outlet and electrical box limit things.* But I feel if you get a real solid like 200 watt per channel Classe or Parasound or ooooh, McIntosh or Bryston, you will simply be happy. And I'd think that yes, gently used could be a great way to go.

    If you're concerned the B&Ws are hard to drive and need a lot of current, you could get an old Crown Macro-Tech 10,000: 7695 watts into 0.5 ohms equate to about 124 amperes of current.:yikes:
    That should, as Rolls-Royce used to specificy their engine horsepower, be "sufficient" :cool:

    *(Oh, you need 3-phase power for it. Fire hosed sized AC cord made out of unobtanium. And a new electrical box and 0000 gauge new wiring to your apartment. But your landlord would be cool with all that, right? :laugh:
    Actually it is a valid concern, a huge amp could pop breakers so you need to be aware how the apartments are wired. From a sheer watts out of the wall standpoint, Class D is significantly better, and there ARE good class D designs but I don't know what is currently available for home. Also not sure if anyone has a Class G or H for home these days.
    Bananas&blow likes this.
  4. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    If the 5.1 thing is the focus and you like the 3030, have you considered going with a better AVR? I have the RX-A3060 (with Sunfire in-wall speakers) and the thing can shake the walls. Sound quality is good enough for movies and stuff, but I use my 2 channel system for serious listening.
    jon9091 likes this.
  5. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    In the end it was time to make a decision. I pulled the trigger on an audiogon Parasound Halo A-21. It's shipping from NY to Phoenix so I probably have a week to wait for delivery. I'm excited. I feel like my system is complete for now. At some point I'll get a pre-amp to pair with it. But I feel like that can wait a while. At least I have the power and current to run the speakers properly for now.

    On a side note I've had some more time to break in my ears to the speakers. The more I listen to them the more I think they sound like nothing. They just re-produce what is there. They don't have a sound. They just produce the source. Which in some ways is the best compliment you can give them.
    ssmith3046, IanL, Kyhl and 6 others like this.
  6. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    I think every audiophile owes it to himself to own a tube amp at some point. The CMII is a good amp with a lot of great tube character. I highly doubt it would struggle to drive your speakers.
    SandAndGlass and Bananas&blow like this.
  7. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I really liked the 3030 and still do, but I can tell it just isn't bringing the 804's to life. Hopefully that problem has just been solved.
    Erik Tracy likes this.
  8. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    South Bend, IN
    I think you're in for a treat, man. Heck, I went from a "separate" B&K multich amp to the nuprime, over 3 years ago and the Nuprime was right out the box and I turned it on to just let it warm up and do its thing, intending to come back a few hours later to listen. I couldn't believe my ears. I just sat, awestruck for an hour and couldn't find reference tracks fast enough. That Parasound, I think, is going to blow your mind. Good choice, enjoy the anticipation of getting it, the struggle to bring it into the house, and the ritual of hooking it up.
    IanL and Bananas&blow like this.
  9. jon9091

    jon9091 Master Of Reality

    Congratulations. I just ordered a Parasound Halo Integrated today, myself. It’ll be a while before I can my system back together though. Enjoy!

    Bananas&blow and Gavinyl like this.
  10. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Congratulations! I have a feeling neither of us are going to be disappointed with our purchases. Please report back with your impressions Jon. That 2.1 halo was near the top of my list, I just felt like these speakers needed a little more juice.

    I look forward to your impressions of the Halo and getting back to the Now playing on vinyl thread.
    jon9091 likes this.
  11. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    Congratulations! The person who sold me his a23 also let me listened to his a21 with his 3 ways speakers and it sounded great!

    BTW, he also uses Parasound preamp. But his source was CD. :D.
  12. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    If only he knew what he was missing with analogue and ice boxes. :) But I'm not going to argue with an Oregonian. I'm originally from Aloha, OR and still claim it as my homeland. Grew up 5 miles from the Nike headquarters.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  13. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think I'm in this camp. Never heard tubes and am curious about them. Just not as curious as I was to own the N804's. Given the pages of feedback in this thread I'm starting with the high power high current amp and seeing if they really give me the sound I was hoping for when I purchased the 804's. The more I listen to them the more I like them. I also feel like I'm not satisfied with the bass yet. I have a feeling the amp will solve that. If not I'll go to my velodyne sub. More decisions to be made. It's been a fun process.

    Thanks to all that have contributed!
    DrZhivago, GyroSE and Helom like this.
  14. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    Cool! I moved to Oregon about 21 years ago. My first apartment in Oregon was in Aloha! How time flies!

    Anyway, enjoy! :righton:
  15. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    The last time I was looking for an amp, I visited the local dealer and the young man was very kind to demo their all McIntosh setup with their $10K pair B&W with a huge JL Audio sub. It was definitely impressive. You can always add one of those big sub if the amp is not helping with the bass. : )
  16. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Adelaide Australia
    It's all good mate. I am sorry that the joke was lost on you.

    I have been in this thread from the get-go. ;)

    pdxway likes this.
  17. 14 Cheerleader Coldfront

    14 Cheerleader Coldfront Forum Resident

    I have 805 D3's with a Rogue Sphinx v2 and it sounds very nice...sweet and smooth.
  18. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Meet me at the Green Dragon for an ale

    San Diego, CA, USA
    It's a step in the right direction, for sure, imo.

    I think you are going to be grinning in sonic enjoyment.

    But remember - pics - or it never happened.:righton:
  19. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Oregon, USA
    All good mate, sorry I did not get Australian's joke. :D
    DrZhivago likes this.
  20. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I have the original CM I, with KT-120 power tubes. I bought this off of eBay right before the II came out. I think that I paid around $1,700 with the optional $100, tube cage.

    I originally was looking to by an Atlas, because, I too was interested in this tube thing. Until a few years ago, I really had no idea that they were building tube amplifier's any more.

    I was born in the 50's and grew up during the 60's, when McIntosh had some large and expensive tube amplifiers. but as we moved into the later 60's and moved toward the 70's, tubes went away and everything became SS. So, all of my musical life, I listened to SS amplifier's.

    I figured that maybe I could pick up a Rogue Atlas, used, on eBay for about $800 - $900.

    I didn't find an Atlas, but I did find a pair of older but well cared for Rogue, M-120 monoblocks with all new tubes. I bid and won the auction for $1,450, plus shipping, which was an additional $100 for the pair.

    Opening them up, I found that one capacitor had a broken lead, going into the circuit board, so I soldered the connection, put the amps back together and installed the tubes.

    I was absolutely floored when I first powered them up and ran them through the legacy Altec Lansing, horn loaded A7, voice ot the theater speakers.

    The main pair that I currently own, are set up with custom crossovers and some other modifications.

    I have owned A7's since I had my fist pair built, back when I was sixteen and I have had different Altec horn speakers at various points in my life. But they were always powered by SS amps.

    This was the very first time that I had the opportunity to hear them with tube amplification.

    It blew me away!

    These units were old and I decided that I would upgrade them the following year, so in 2014, I upgraded them to M-150's, driven by KT88's.

    Most of Rogue amplifier's can be run in the Ultralinear mode, which for the 150's, is 150-WPC. They can also be run in the Triode mode at 75-WPC.

    I bought the CM as a tube back-up, in case, I had to take the M-150's off line for servicing.

    While, the M-150's are no longer being offered, in favor of the KT-120 powered M-180's. If they were still being offered for sale, they would retail at $5k.

    The new and improved CM II is half the price of the large monoblocks, yet, it also has a tube pre-amp section and a decent MM phono-pre.

    AND... It sounds almost as good as the monoblocks in UL mode. AND... It is about half the price of the monoblocks.

    If you have never listened to tubes in your own home, with your own speakers, then you will never know the true tube experience.

    I have never owned B&W speakers, but ones that I have listened two, had a tendency toward the bright side, but they were being played with SS amplification.

    I have a feeling that with a tube pre-amp section and a tube power amp, you will be hearing the sound signature that you have been looking for.
  21. amgradmd

    amgradmd Forum Resident

    Richmond, VA
    I realize that this is too late @Bananas&blow, but one good option would have been to go with the new PA Audio Stellar S300 2 channel unit at $1500. This is a hybrid class D design analog gain cell, whatever that is, with 300 wpc dual mono design. By all accounts it is a fantastic amp and incredible for the price. Many report it is the most natural sounding class D amp out there. You could start with that and maybe pair it with the Stellar DAC/preamp, also reportedly fantastic. Then if you wanted to up your system to HT, you could maybe pair it with three of the Stellar M700 monoblocks (also $1500 per) and keep the S300 for the rears. Or maybe another S300 for the fronts and a M700 center. Regardless, for $6k you would have some serious power for both 2 channel and surround sound use to power the B&W's. BTW, the S300 and M700 units are designed to work together if in a HT setup. I have considered going this route in lieu of my MC205 5 channel amp, but decided against it since I really like the Mac. Hope the Parasound works for you!
  22. Black Elk

    Black Elk Music Lover

    Bay Area, U.S.A.
    That's understandable.

    Hard to say for sure, as your room looks like it will be quite 'live'. If you have a quilt, or thick blanket, or some heavy velvet drape you can do the experiment for yourself, and see if it makes a difference (also as you move the speakers closer to/further from the TV). Try clapping your hands from your listening position. Do you detect a difference in sound with/without the TC covered? Do you prefer one over the other?

    It is possible that the effect of the TV's reflections could be masked by the liveliness of the room itself, but you will only know for sure by trying out the above.

    I noticed that you have bought a Parasound A21. I really hope that it provides the step up in performance you are seeking. I have heard the bigger JC amps driving a few systems to very good effect, so I think you have made a safe purchase.

    That's a tough question to answer because you could consider pre-amps from a few hundred dollars to over $10k.

    The 'problem' with AVRs is that they are built to a cost, and have to support a myriad audio and video formats. They have huge numbers of connectors. They employ DSP, etc. All of those things cost money, which means compromises (unless you increase the build cost, which means a more expensive product!). While modern AVRs are capable of producing great sound quality, where they are let down (generally speaking) is in the power amp stages. This is especially true when considering 7.1, 9.1, 11.2, etc. type units.

    The good thing for you is that you will now bypass the power amp stages. Provided the pre-amp section of your AVR does no harm, you should be fine for the time being. The Oppo 105 is an excellent player/DAC, and performs at a very high level for the price.

    I do not know how you have things configured, but I would start with your AVR configured to dis-engage all DSP and tone controls. If it has a Pure Audio mode, start with that to ensure that any changes (either to source or power amp) are not being masked by processing in the AVR. I am NOT anti-DSP, but as with everything else, there are good and bad algorithms, and more/less powerful DSP chips. I would try to get the set-up as close to your taste as possible with everything OFF, then add EQ or tone control to taste.

    Here's a true story, years ago I worked for Sony in the SACD project. At some point I had to do joint demos with the video group (showing off their very pricey front projectors). The audio equipment was a 9.1 system of Wilson Watt/Puppy 8s (and Watchdog sub)! However, they were using the top Sony AVR to drive the system. I'm no Wilson fan, but was familiar with the same speakers driven by Cello, Pass and Spectral amplifiers. Could the Sony AVR produce pleasant sound at a fairly high playback level? Yes. Could it challenge the quality of the separate amps with the same speakers? No! (There was a HUGE cost-saving, though! :))

    I've been very lucky to have gotten exposure to a lot of high cost items, but I didn't start there as an impoverished student audiophile many years ago, and I fully understand that everyone has different budgets. I just want you to get the best from your new speakers. Unfortunately, the B&W 800-series tends to like pricey companions! :)

    I seem to recall you reporting good experiences with the Bel Canto REF amps too?
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  23. If this Xmas box were promoted as a RSD release, they will see out that weekend. 10,000 would early be gone since the buying mentality is different for RSD. But then folks now nerf stores would be upset. Someone somewhere is always pissed off :tiphat:
  24. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Forum Resident

    The RX-A3030 and the RX-A3060 are both TOTL Yamaha A/V receivers. They use identical DAC's, and output the same wattage. The main differences are ergonomics; the number and type of connections, and which surround formats are supported. So, 'upgrading' to a newer TOTL Yamaha would be a sideways move. I doubt there'd be an audible difference in 2 channel playback. Still, your RX-A3060 is a top receiver, I'm not knocking it. But, hopefully, the OP's new stand alone Parasound amp will kick sound quality up a notch or two?
  25. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    I wasn't aware of that... I bought the Yamaha AVR to replace a Sunfire TGR-401, which was a BEAST of a receiver but wouldn't support 4K. Sometimes miss the sheer oomph of the Sunfire, but the Yammie sounds nice.
    StimpyWan likes this.

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