New Speakers or Amp?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by bwalk63, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Thought I might ask for some opinions on which way to go as far as Changing speakers or amps. I love everything about my set up, not audiophile grade or anything but good for now. Here is my setup, Music Hall mmf 2.3(very happy with it) mofi studiophono preamp, sounds very good and extremely quiet. Now for my dilemma. My amp is a NAD D3020 and speakers are Wharfedale Diamond 220 with stands. I have always felt there was something not quite right about the sound, I always thought it should be better. Don't get me wrong certain music like Jazz and acoustic sound great at low volumes and high, but rock albums need to be cranked up quit loud to sound the best. The reaon i like the D3020 is I have quite a bit of digital albums and sometimes i just want to stream and let them play. I have tried different speaker placements but it doesn't seem to matter much.
    The amp is 30w and speakers are 25-100w, 86db, so I have been assuming that they may be a bit underpowered, but I am just a novice so I can't say for sure. so do you think that a higher db speaker would be the answer or getting a better amp. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    What budget?

    Larger, more sensitive type speakers would give you an easier, fuller presence at low volumes - if that's what you mean.

    Would you be able to accommodate them?
     
    bwalk63 likes this.
  3. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    Yep, need to know your budget. Sounds like what you need is just more efficient speakers.
     
    bwalk63 likes this.
  4. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    like to stay with stand mounts, not a lot of room, and yes you are getting what I am looking for, am I wrong in assuming that say jumping from an 86db to say 91 db would help this?
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  5. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    sorry budget around $600-$800 pair
     
  6. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated
     
  7. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    Location:
    B.
    That amp is decent but not all that powerful. Some speakers do like healthy power.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  8. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    yes that also was what I was thinking as well, but I do like the versatility of the D3020 and can't afford to change both the amp and speakers
     
  9. Minty_fresh

    Minty_fresh Forum Resident

    Location:
    B.
    Completely understandable. Biggest bang for the buck would be speakers but the caveat is that your amp may not get the best of your speakers. It’s a little chicken and egg.
    The specs call for 25-100 watts and you’re in the low end of that range. There are many opinions on wattage but I used to always get amplification of no less than 100 watts if solid state. So really the decision for you is that if you like the speakers then aim for better amplification.

    Im in somewhat of a similar situation in that I love my speakers and the amp I have sounds good but I think a better, more powerful amp will really make them sing. I’ll be upgrading this summer.

    Good luck!
     
    trd likes this.
  10. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Get a powered sub, six pack and report:)
     
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  11. Socalguy

    Socalguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    Speakers. You'll be surprised how good your NAD can sound powering a better pair of speakers.
     
    Ponzio, trd, Paully and 2 others like this.
  12. pdxway

    pdxway Forum Resident

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    +1

    OP, get an SVSound sub. You get home trial and could return it if you can't make it work well in your system during the trial period.
     
    Manimal likes this.
  13. lobo

    lobo Music has always been a matter of Energy to me...

    Location:
    Germany
    What about active speakers? Don't need much space and can be adapted to the room. But not sure about the budget...
     
    Brother_Rael likes this.
  14. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Sensitivity alone only goes so far... All else being equal, yes, IME more sensitive speakers tend to be more dynamic at lower volumes, but it's no real indicator of what they actually sound like.

    As others have said, if you want to stick with stand-mount then an active sub would be a good way to go. That it is if you like the basic nature of your Wharfdale's - ie the treble and mid response. Integrating one of these will give you a fullness of sound/delivery (including at lower volumes) that you'd never get from a smaller speaker.

    I'd also say try and get out there and audition other speakers too, and subs too, with your amp if pos. Absolutely no substitute for that, and something might grab you. Or repel you, which is equally useful!
     
  15. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    I'd need very efficient speakers if I only had 30 watts. I say increase power first, sell the 3020 and buy something 80 watts or more per ch.
     
  16. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    The speakers are good performers. Not high grade, but not far from it. I would buy a tube amp with 6550, KT77, EL34 or KT88 tubes. That should produce 50 watts per channel. Your budget of $800 should be enough for a USA built modern (not vintage unless completely rebuilt) used amp or new amp from China. Do not buy the Bob Latino amp as it just does not sound that good.

    A Yaqin MC-100B is good with 6SN7 and 12AX7 preamp tubes plus four KT88 for 60 watts per channel. $803 shipped. Change the 6SN7s to Sylvania 6SN7GTA & 12AX7s to RCA long gray or black plate and the amp will be stunning. If budget is restricted, change the 12AX7s first. You will never go back to SS amps again!

    Note- Some amps use 12AU7s and that tube does not sound that great.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
    bwalk63 likes this.
  17. Echoes Myron

    Echoes Myron Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    For $800 you could get some used KEF LS50s.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  18. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Thanks for all the great thoughts and solutions, I will not probably go the sub route but understand why it could help, but not really an option for me as of now. I have considered going the tube amp way but that may be down the road, I want to make sure it will be the last amp I buy for awhile and want to make it a very good one. So I will probably audition some speakers first with my amp to see if that will make a difference. I feel that it will but I want to be sure. I have a dealer close by that sells Definitive, Klipsch and Paradigm. Will try my brothers Martin Logan motion's. I have heard the LS50 can be hard to drive. Is that accurate? Thanks for all the great thoughts.
     
  19. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Do you or have you had the D3020? and if so what speakers do you have?
     
  20. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Location:
    Fenton, MI
    Just one more thought. Your speakers will only sound as good as the amp that supplies the audio to the speakers. As for tube amps, you will have to go to an Audio Note or similar amp to outperform the Yaqin for a much higher cost.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  21. Socalguy

    Socalguy Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    I had an old NAD3020 in my garage driving some Klipsch RB 81's. Sounded great.
     
  22. canavalpo

    canavalpo Active Member

    Location:
    GTA, Canada
    I have these speakers in my home office. I like them a lot, but without a subwoofer they sound really tiny and lack soundstage and separation, which is probably what you feel you are missing.

    At this very moment I'm auditioning the Kef LS50 for the office and I'm prefering the sound signature of the Warfedales with a subwoofer over the Kef without a sub.

    To be fair with the Kefs, they had to be positioned less than a feet from the walls and I'm using an old Denon receiver as amplifier and as we know, they require a very good amp to really shine.

    You don't need a better amplifier for the Wharfedales. I would get a subwoofer like the SVS SB-1000 and a used good old receiver ($100) that has bass management so you can properly set the crossovers for the speakers and sub. Subwoofer location is tricky, so be prepared to spend several hours to get it right.

    Regards.
     
    Manimal likes this.
  23. mtrot

    mtrot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tyler, TX
    The $300/pair Elac Debut B6.2 are getting impressive reviews, and are a bit more sensitive than your current speakers. But there are just not that many bookshelf speakers out there with significantly higher sensitivity than yours.
     
  24. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Glad I found someone who had the speakers I have. Like I said they sound good sometimes lol don’t really have room at this point for a sub. But just the different ideas everyone is giving me is appreciated. Thanks
     
  25. bwalk63

    bwalk63 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Champaign, IL
    Great I am planning on keeping this amp I do like the versatility. Thanks
     
    noahjld likes this.

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