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  1. #1
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    Classe vs McCormack for B&W

    Hi:

    I am new to this forum. I have a B&W Nautalus 804 system with B&W center and surrounds. Right now I have a Rotel 1075 (5 channel amp) and Rotel 1066 processer that I will eventually replace later, and I want to upgrade to a 5 - 6 channel amp that fits with the 804's and is more musical. I watch a lot of music DVD's and movies, but the music sound quality is my top consideration. I want detail but not harshness or extreme brightness that makes it unplesant. I am a guitar player, so I understand the best amp is that which gives the true sound, but some are far more musical than clinical. I like musical.

    How does the McCormack HT-5 system compare to the older Classe CAV-150 amps, (or are the other Classe to consider)?

    The new Classe systems are quite expensive, are they that much better?

    Thank you for any advice you give. I appreciate it.

    still learning
    Last edited by still learning; 07-10-2007 at 04:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi
    wecome to this forum still learning,although judging by your system you don't have much to learn.Depending on what you use for sources,there are different ways to upgrade,you could replace your processor first or the amp first.I have not heard either amps you mention ,both have great reputations however.There are some great new pre-pro's out there,Sim Audio Stargate for one and i believe MacCormack has an all analog multichannel preamp that should sound great,but you would need to feed it high end dvd player with on board decoding.Your options are endless,depends on budget.I will be looking later this year,I upgraded my processor first,to an Anthem AVM-30,and the power amp will come later.It made a huge difference.

    bill
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  3. #3
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    Thanks, but I have a lot to learn still. I have a Denon 3910 DVD processor, Rotel 1072 CD player, Rotel 961 radio receiver, and a Direct TV HD DVR, so that is the input.

    I am looking to replace the processor someday and the amp now (unless that is a mistake and I should reverse the order). The Rotel is nice, but I have heard much more depth, detail, and musicality in others (at a price). I am looking for improvements but at a reasonable cost.

    Any suggestions or advice is very much appreciated.

    Thanks

  4. #4
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    I think you'll find more of your answers by upgrading the processor though...

    how big is your budget? the amp will provide you the power, but when you don't listen extremely loud, your amp shouldn't have troubles driving the 804's.
    Life is music!

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  5. #5
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    Hi:

    It does make sense to upgrade the processor first. A local dealer (strictly retail pricing though) has a very similar system and upgraded the Rotel amp to the McCormac (which they carry). He said it made a 30% improvement. But I can see that it could be far more effective to upgrade a processor that decodes the signals to get significant improvement.

    I have flexibility on the budget, but am looking for significant improvements and am not inclined to pay Mark Levenson (sp?) or extremely high end types of prices. I am completely open to any ideas though.

    Thanks

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to disagree

    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Hi:

    It does make sense to upgrade the processor first. A local dealer (strictly retail pricing though) has a very similar system and upgraded the Rotel amp to the McCormac (which they carry). He said it made a 30% improvement. But I can see that it could be far more effective to upgrade a processor that decodes the signals to get significant improvement.
    ...

    Thanks
    With basite, that is, that you ought to upgrade the processor first. My guess is that if your Rotel has all the functions you want, you will get more sound improvement from a power amp upgrade. If your budget includes the likes of Classe and McCormack, you have plenty of options.

    I agree you ought look beyond Rotel, NAD, Adcom models: these won't give you significant improvement. You could to a lot worse than five Monarchy SM-70 Pro monoblocks; (I've got two). 80 wpc should be enough with the B&W's, and the sound is gorgeous, dynamic, smooth, yet detailed and transparent. Five of the them could cost you less that $3k if you look in the right place.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Hi:

    It does make sense to upgrade the processor first. A local dealer (strictly retail pricing though) has a very similar system and upgraded the Rotel amp to the McCormac (which they carry). He said it made a 30% improvement.

    Thanks
    I would wonder a little bit about a statement like that.A 30% improvement,at this level of gear is huge and probably not realistic.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
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    dac= sim audio moon 300d

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    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
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  8. #8
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Hello SL. I can't really add much to it except that I would go with a different processor. You have great speakers that will last you years of great experience. Apparently B&W, Rotel, and Classe is owned by the same company here in US. For that some will tell you that those gears are match made in heaven. Dont even listen to that non-sense. Even if they are made to offer the finest sound together, whotta hell makes that decision? You should always be the judge to what combination sounds best. Best of Luck!!

    also.......

    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    upgraded the Rotel amp to the McCormac (which they carry). He said it made a 30% improvement.
    Thanks


    Stay away from that salesman or just dont listen to him at all. That is probably the stupid thing Audio Salesperson has ever said. I would be curious to know what he meant by 30% improvement or how the hell he/she measure it. Sounds like he's only trying the pursuade you with this magical "30".


    Better Power Conditioner - 4%
    Better Cable - 8% improvement
    Better Power amp - 12 % improvement
    Better source - 24% improvement
    Better Pre - 48% improvement
    Better Speakers - 96% improvement

    All of those percentage are subject to change by 50%+/-, but better Music or Movie will offer 100% improvement.

    Five of the them could cost you less that $3k if you look in the right place.
    What is that? 6000watts of power usage?

    JRA

  9. #9
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    Thanks to everyone:

    Yes, the 30% improvement was just sales tecnique. I already had some experiences that caused me to question how much that was said was real.

    Anyway I understand that music and sound is very subjective, and I believe that I really need a better amp and processor. So all of you are correct.

    Having said that, what multi channel amp, or processors do you all recommend? I understand it is preferrence, but you all have an opinion based on your experiences and they are all based on what you like. I am open to all ideas, but eventually have to narrow it down to my preferences. It is just that there are so many makes and models, and only a handful of them are the "real gems" while the rest are missing something.

    Thanks for any suggestions you may have.

    still learning

    ps:

    JRA, I liked your chart. I do have a Monster 5100 power conditionsr, audioquest cabeling and NRG power cords.

  10. #10
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    hi
    just a thought,you mentioned that you were a guitar player,if you like tube amps there is a company known as Butler Audio that offers multichannel tube hybrid amp that are very well reviewed.

    bill
    Speakers-Jm Labs
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    dac= sim audio moon 300d

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    Wires and Cables-Kimber,Straight Wire, ixos, Gutwire and shunyata research
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  11. #11
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    The new Classe systems are quite expensive, are they that much better?

    still learning
    In answer to this one question, the Classé Delta Series components deliver sound and features that rank among the very finest available. Its up to the individual listener to determine if these products are worth the asking price. In the past the typical Classé buyer was the person looking for Krell, Levinson, Rowland, etc. performance at a lower price. Now, the typical Classé buyer is the person looking for the state-of-the-art.

  12. #12
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    Thanks Glen

    Do you feel the Classe Delta series are worth the cost versus others?

    How do you view the older Classe with B&W Nautalus 804's?

    Thanks

  13. #13
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    Thanks Bill

    I have a guitar amps with tubes. Great sound but a bit tempermental with tube replacement requirements and more maintenance. I will never get rid of them though. These Butler designs do sound interesting, I have never heard them though, have you?

  14. #14
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by still learning

    Do you feel the Classe Delta series are worth the cost versus others?
    If you mean worth the cost versus Levinson, Rowland et al, yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    How do you view the older Classe with B&W Nautilus 804's?
    I haven't heard older Classé with 804s but many B&W owners are satisfied with them combined with 802s thru 805s.

  15. #15
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    Hi Glen:

    You choose your words very carefully, I appreciate that. On the new Classe Delta series, I believe that you made some very complimentry statements about them. In your personal opinion if you were considering a Classe Delta multi channel amp and processor, would you also consider other brands. If so which ones and why? Is there something else you would prefer?

    Do you feel that the Delta series would be underutilized with the 804's?

    Do you have a preference for an amp and processor for the B&W 800 series?

    Thank you I appreciate the feedback. I have been a music lover all my life but only made it to this level so far.

    still learning

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Remember ...

    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Hi Glen:

    You choose your words very carefully, I appreciate that. On the new Classe Delta series, I believe that you made some very complimentry statements about them. In your personal opinion if you were considering a Classe Delta multi channel amp and processor, would you also consider other brands. If so which ones and why? Is there something else you would prefer?

    Do you feel that the Delta series would be underutilized with the 804's?

    Do you have a preference for an amp and processor for the B&W 800 series?

    Thank you I appreciate the feedback. I have been a music lover all my life but only made it to this level so far.

    still learning
    As JRA pointed out, Classé and B&W are owned by the same company, B&W Group, Ltd, along with Rotel -- and not only in the US, but everywhere. One would hope for some synergy between the brands.

    BTW, it looks to me that B&W Group, Ltd. took Classé "up market" after they acquired it, presumably to reduce competition between it and Rotel.

  17. #17
    Audio Hobbyist Since 1969 Glen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Hi Glen:
    In your personal opinion if you were considering a Classe Delta multi channel amp and processor, would you also consider other brands. If so which ones and why? Is there something else you would prefer?
    still learning
    Simaudio Moon, McIntosh, BelCanto, Parasound Halo, Bryston because they all offer fine reproduction. I am not as picky about multichannel as I am 2-channel, which is my primary focus. If I were looking for 2-channel only, my personal choices would be Classé or Moon.
    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Do you feel that the Delta series would be underutilized with the 804's?
    still learning
    I haven't heard the combination and can't really offer a valid opinion. Probably not overkill if you had no problem affording Deltas. A sound decision would be based on auditioning the Deltas versus something else with the 804s.
    Quote Originally Posted by still learning
    Do you have a preference for an amp and processor for the B&W 800 series?
    still learning
    Again, I haven't heard the 800s other than in an informal setting. Based on feedback from owners of 800s driven by Classé, the two mate well.

    For opinions from those who have tried various B&W models with Classé and other brands check out these forums:

    Club B&W: http://www.htguide.com/forum/forumdisplay.php4?f=22
    Club Classé: http://www.htguide.com/forum/forumdisplay.php4?f=40

    Glen
    Last edited by Glen B; 07-19-2007 at 05:49 PM.

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