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. amgradmd

    amgradmd Active Member

    Location:
    Richmond, VA
    FWIW, I had a Yamaha RX-3020 before switching to the Anthem-McIntosh combo. To say that the Anthem-McIntosh combo was a step up is an understatement.
     
    GyroSE likes this.
  2. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    I would try a big vintage threshold or pass labs amp with these.
     
  3. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    Yes, but they and most of the NCore-based amps have a somewhat gray/dry treble.
     
    AmericanHIFI likes this.
  4. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Active Member

    Do you still have the Sunfire receiver? If so, you could run the 3060's pre out's, into the analog multi-channel inputs on the Sunfire, and still enjoy the amp section of the TGR-401. It would be no different than using an A/V processor into a multi-channel amp. No reason you can't, and you'd get that oomph back! :agree:
     
  5. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Napper Valley, WA
    Ha! So the kids can play video games even louder? Even if they didn't dominate the media room, I'd have no room for it on the rack. So, in storage it sits (along with a growing array of unwanted components).
     
  6. StimpyWan

    StimpyWan Active Member

    Kids??? I always play Destiny 2 with the surround on, through my RX-A3030. It sounds awesome! :righton:

    Sorry to hear about the Sunfire. That's a sad fate. I had all of my gear in storage for about 2 years. I hated it. :mad:
     
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  7. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Resident

    Location:
    Napper Valley, WA
    I should get the ball rolling with Audiogon or something. My wife reminds me nearly every day!
     
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  8. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    I was able to spend some good listening time to the 804's this week and they are growing on me. Clear but not bright treble. Revealing midrange. The bass is not as deep as I'd like but I'm expecting that to improve once the Paraound A-21 amp arrives. These speakers are very revealing. My well recorded records sound terrific. I don't own a lot of Jazz records yet but Seven Steps to Heaven by Miles Davis sounds sublime on these speakers. Bill Evans trio sounds like they are right in the room, like I'm sitting at the Village Vanguard. Blue Oyster cult "On your Feet on on your knees" sounds worse as it's just not a good recording. Cat Stevens sounds terrific on these speakers.

    I'm now pre-amp shopping. But I'm wondering how important the preamp is going to be and here is why. I'm using the analogue outputs on my Oppo for 2 channel audio listening. For my vinyl I'm using an outboard Lounge MKIII LCR phono pre. The only thing the pre-amp would be doing to transferring the analogue signal from these sources to the amp. It won't be doing any processing. So my question is : do I need a pre-amp? Or can I just use my Yamaha Receiver in "pure direct" mode as a pre-amp since it isn't really doing any change to the signal anyways. Or am I under-estimating the role of the pre-amp in the sound process?

    I've never had separates before. I was just daydreaming about owning a McIntosh c47 and reading about the amazing dac and phono section on the pre-amp and it dawned on me I wouldn't be using either of these functions.
     
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  9. Mazzy

    Mazzy Forum Resident

    As one of my friends reminded me, with high end speakers, great recordings sound amazing but not so great recordings can sound terrible.

    Modest systems sound pretty good with almost everything.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  10. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    If your receiver has variable level pre-outs, you can use it as a pre-amp.
     
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  11. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    IT does. I guess I'm just wondering if I will see any sonic improvements with a different pre-amp.

     
  12. GyroSE

    GyroSE Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Sweden
    Sounds great! The trade mark of the 800- series is the almost perfect treble and the full bodied midrange IMHO.
    You will. The pre amp is the heart of the sound system and you'll be amazed what a difference it makes when you connect a dedicated high quality pre amp in to your sound system.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  13. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    Might be an opportunity to try some tube flavor in your system, maybe something like the Schiit Freya, which allows fully passive or tube buffer mode, with a high quality volume control. It won't give you the full tube experience, just a teaser.
     
  14. Bananas&blow

    Bananas&blow Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Phoenix
    Hi Helom! So funny you mention the Freya because I was just reading about it this morning. I like the idea of having both options so that if I don't like it, I can just use it as a volume adjust.

    Based on your comment, so the Freya isn't a true tube pre-amp? My primary listening is vinyl these days, seems like I could go with a tube preamp or a tube phono pre. I have been only considering a tube preamp based on the suggestions in this thread and the fact I love the lounge preamp. But I am curious to hear what the tube fuss is about. And it seems like the overall recommendation for an amp was a high power, high current solid state amp, which is on the way.

    @GyroSE commented about how he had the same N804's and felt like he rediscovered the speakers when he went all tubes. Intriguing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2017
  15. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    First of all, it's good to hear you are enjoying your new speakers so much. Those are excellent speakers and I bet it is a real treat to hear them. And if you think the Bill Evans Trio stuff sounds good now, wait until your new amp gets here and you are able to hear the full expression of Scott La Faro's contributions! Takes that music to a whole new level!

    You asked if you might be underestimating the role of a preamp in the performance of a high end system. And in my opinion the answer is probably yes, you are. But that works both ways... sticking a low end preamp into your system, like the one mentioned above that uses a tube buffer, can do more harm than good. You will likely lose a lot of transparency with something like that, and not add any of the refinement and dimensionality that is possible with the "right" preamp. So definitely put as much research (and resources) into the preamp as you did into the amp. Perhaps more. Those speakers are going to reveal a poor choice. And if you want to go with tubes, that is great, but you have to look at a good design, not just a model with a tube buffer, which is basically a half-assed approach. In the absence of a high quality preamp, I think your approach of trying a direct connection between your sources and amplifier is worth exploring, as long as you can control the volume. It will likely be wonderfully transparent, which can be a thrill, but it also may lack some of the ambiance, refinement and tonal color that are possible with a well-chosen preamp, as well as a more pleasing sound over longer listening sessions.
     
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  16. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    From a technical standpoint, after your phono-pre, all of your sources are already going to be a line level.

    Which means, that you can drive a power amplifier directly. But you need to have some sort of provision to control the volume level. Decware amplifiers are mostly equipped with dual volume controls and at least two inputs to switch sources, for this very reason.

    Or you could use some sort of external volume control knob, which I have between my tube pre-amp and the final power stages.

    Agree with IanL, that having a tube preamp in the circuit does do nice things to the signal. Although not technically necessary.

    There is a volume control knob on the preamp, I prefer to have my external one, which hangs over the back of the 2nd sofa, which sits in front of various electronic equipment. It makes it easier to adjust the volume that way.

    And, if your amp has a preamp output, the volume level is controlled by the amplifier's volume knob.

    Line level outputs are not adjustable by the amplifier's volume control and can be considered to be at full volume all the time.

    That is because, they are intended to be fed into a source that already has a volume level control, such as a tape recorder.
     
  17. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I haven't used a standalone tube preamp with a SS amp. Based on my experience with a tube DAC/ SS amp combo, and everything I've read about the Freya, it should give you some tubeness, but not quite what you'd get from a full-tube system. I'm sure others here can offer better insight.
     
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  18. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Forum Resident

    And to note, Helom has a Rogue Pharaoh integrated that is a fairly costly hybrid design that includes a tube pre and a class-D SS power amp section which is 185-Watts into 8-Ohms and he started a thread about his amp being no longer pleasing to me.

    So far, I have not been entirely happy with Class-D personally, and I own three Rogue tube amplifier's and I am with Helom on this. Regardless of who is doing this type of hybrid design, is still fatiguing. This is really nothing different than using a tube preamp with a class A/B SS power amp.

    If you are going to use tubes, use them all the way through the audio chain. For the A7's, there is a tube phono pre, and a tube preamp feeding into one of the tube power amplifier's or tube integrated and a vintage tube receiver.

    If there is a digital source, then the source, like a streaming box, feeds into the digital input's of the Peachtree iNova, so I can take advantage of its ESS Saber DAC, a SS class-A preamp section and input source selector. Still I feed the line level outputs into a tube preamp.
     
  19. Helom

    Helom Forum Resident

    Location:
    U.S.
    I no longer have the Pharoah for the aforementioned fatigue issue.

    I do believe tubes components can give some tube flavor as I've experienced with my LM502CA paired to a SS Yamaha amp. It's still a bit short of the level of holographic, 3D presence I get from my Cayin tube integrated. I think the Freya would be a good option for him because it can be used with or without the tube stage, has balanced outs and a high quality volume control.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  20. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Forum Resident

    Location:
    Adelaide Australia
    I recommended Freya very early in this thread. I found it to be an exceptional value for money. Throw some good NOS tubes into the gain stage and you got yourself an amazing tube pre-amp.

    Freya is actually a full-blown tube pre-amp. While it can operate in jfet and passive mode, these two are pretty unremarkable. Only in the tube mode with some decent NOS 6N7’s you hit that sweet spot of stage depth and overall image 3Dmensionality.

    Given the OP objective to integrate into his HT setup, the question becomes “why would you want to burn (waste) the relatively expensive NOS tubes while watching movies or TV? Freya design doesn’t switch off the tubes irrespective of the mode selected. They’d have to be physically removed!

    Regards
     
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  21. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Yes. :D
     
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  22. IanL

    IanL Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oneonta, NY USA
    This is a good point. One worth thinking about, with any tube preamp in such a setup.
     
  23. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nashville
    I’m ofbtge camp that your best bet is to get a parasiund pre. I think the synergy would be great. I think a tube ore could be a mixed bag and may not give you what you expect.
     
  24. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    Not true. The Quicksilver Line Stage Preamp I posted a link to earlier is designed to allow the video signal to pass thru when the unit is off - smart thinking!

    From their site: "Price $995. add $45 for home theater pass-through which routes the Video inputs directly to the preamp outputs when the preamp is off."
     
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  25. AmericanHIFI

    AmericanHIFI Active Member

    Location:
    California
    They're very good speakers. I've owned two pairs at the time of their currency.
    Amps (multichannel), in no particular order:

    Rotel RB1095
    ATI (any of them).
    Parasound products
    Sherborn
    Anthem
    Classe Audio CAV150
    McCormack multichannel (I forget the model).
    Primare multichannel.

    Alternately, use a two channel to power just them and save money (unless you have the HTM1 matching center channel which sucks up an equal amount of power).
    Any of the aforementioned brands offer 2 channel version amps. Have fun!

    D
     
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