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  1. #1
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    need amp advice for B&W nautilus 805

    hey guys, i currently run a peachtree decco -> n805's as a 2.0.. using my computer a source

    the decco works suprisingly well in powering the n805... but im looking for that extra bass/clarity while keeping the mids honey smooth

    i know these speakers are power hungry, but i dont need anything crazy for a ~12x14 room

    i was thinking of picking up a mcintosh mc7100 and keeping the decco as a dac/pre

    do you guys think that would work well?

    if not, what are some better options? ive heard mcintosh + b&w is a good match, but ive also heard the same about anthem, rotel, classe, etc

    i've also thought about just upgrading to the peachtree nova and calling it a day, since i like the decco so much

    any advice is appreciated, thanks

  2. #2
    RGA
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    First I want to clear up something as it really bothers me that the myth gets propagated on forums over and over again. The B&W N805 is NOT a hard to drive speaker. While it typically only measures ~86db sensitive it has a minimum impedance of 4.8 ohms - this is a VERY easy to drive loudspeaker.

    The issue of needing more power likely has come about because of owner's expecting more from the speaker than it is capable of. The speaker is not hard to drive but the lowish sensitivity might mean you'd want 30-50 watts.

    I'd tend to go lower in power to get better quality sound rather than high power which means high negative feedback which means worse sound. I'd definitely only consider McIntosh tube amplifiers. For SS I'd look at Sugden. Buy a quality sounding amplifier over a quantity of brute force sounding amplifier. The latter can be tiring after awhile.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I don't know because I havent put a low powered tube amp on a pair of 805's but 86 db effeciency if this is a true rating of this speaker(a lot of speakers seem to be either more or less efficient than their ratings) is not real high refficiency,not to say its real low either but there are many speakers with higher efficiency than that, When I heard them they were being powered by some McIntosh 500 watt monoblocks and they sounded great. I wouldn't be afraid to put some power to them! and not all high powered amplifiers sound bad. This is just my opinion and I have heard plenty of low and high powered amps that sound good and I guess its just a mater of tastes, Source and preamp components. and what you are trying to get out of your speakers. If you are listening at lower volumes and since your room is not that big you could probably get away with fewer watts but you don't want to loose bottom end or dynamics because you are powering them with a little wimp of an amp.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    First I want to clear up something as it really bothers me that the myth gets propagated on forums over and over again. The B&W N805 is NOT a hard to drive speaker. While it typically only measures ~86db sensitive it has a minimum impedance of 4.8 ohms - this is a VERY easy to drive loudspeaker.

    The issue of needing more power likely has come about because of owner's expecting more from the speaker than it is capable of. The speaker is not hard to drive but the lowish sensitivity might mean you'd want 30-50 watts.

    I'd tend to go lower in power to get better quality sound rather than high power which means high negative feedback which means worse sound. I'd definitely only consider McIntosh tube amplifiers. For SS I'd look at Sugden. Buy a quality sounding amplifier over a quantity of brute force sounding amplifier. The latter can be tiring after awhile.
    i could tell they are easy to drive.. the decco is only 50wpc and it sounds really good already... if anything, the bass is a bit lacking..so i'm curious about upgrading

    i know a lot of people run mcintosh with b&w, so i'd assume it's a safe choice? the reason i'm asking is, there's a used mc7100 (100wpc) that i'm thinking about buying... but.. do you think tubes would sound a lot better?



    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07
    I don't know because I havent put a low powered tube amp on a pair of 805's but 86 db effeciency if this is a true rating of this speaker(a lot of speakers seem to be either more or less efficient than their ratings) is not real high refficiency,not to say its real low either but there are many speakers with higher efficiency than that, When I heard them they were being powered by some McIntosh 500 watt monoblocks and they sounded great. I wouldn't be afraid to put some power to them! and not all high powered amplifiers sound bad. This is just my opinion and I have heard plenty of low and high powered amps that sound good and I guess its just a mater of tastes, Source and preamp components. and what you are trying to get out of your speakers. If you are listening at lower volumes and since your room is not that big you could probably get away with fewer watts but you don't want to loose bottom end or dynamics because you are powering them with a little wimp of an amp.
    thanks for the advice, as much as i love the highs/mids on the decco, the last sentence is really how i'm feeling right now

  5. #5
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Yeah low end seems to be naturaly where the sound seems to suffer the most with lower powered amps, Which is to be expected seeing that bass takes the most current to produce. I have heard good setups with McIntosh and B&W speakers but not with all the amps that McIntosh produce and especially the tube models. I have heard good sound with Classe amps and Acurus, even Adcom amps running B&W speakers sounded good. I used to sell B&W speakers so I have tried many different combinations with them with some good results. I do understand what RGA is saying about getting more quality than quantity but in todays world I believe there are several good choices of Amplifiers out there that can give you the quality you desire with the power you need to drive your speakers to your desired level and dynamics.

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  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    If you want plenty of power, detail and great dynamics consider the Parasound A21. It 's 250wpc at 8ohms, 400 wpc at 4 ohms and peaks at 750wpc. It has very good bass slam.

    Also consider the Van Alstine FET Valve hybrid tube amp. Its 250/500 wpc and leans to the slightly warmer side. Its not as glamorous looking as the Mac but its a great buy. www.avahifi.com

    I also like Classe amps!
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp, Pass X-1 Preamp
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  7. #7
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    The Mac would probably sound good with your speakers. Brands like Conrad Johnson and Musical Fidelity are also known for excellent midrange while maintaining solid bass.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  8. #8
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    thanks, i picked up the mc7100.. hope all goes well

  9. #9
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    thanks, i picked up the mc7100.. hope all goes well
    Congrats, Koven. I think you'll enjoy the Mac.



    Too bad no big blue meters, though!

  10. #10
    Administrator Site Administrator atomicAdam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    thanks, i picked up the mc7100.. hope all goes well


    Ok Koven, You've done half the work. Once you get to know the system a bit more come back and give up a write up. The more info out there the better for everyone.

    Thanks,
    -aA
    This is a test to edit sig.

  11. #11
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    thanks, i picked up the mc7100.. hope all goes well
    Another thing you can do is bi-amp the 805's. I've heard a lot of good things about bi-amping B&W's.
    Audio;
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Congrats, Koven. I think you'll enjoy the Mac.



    Too bad no big blue meters, though!
    Nice! Is that yours? Any comments on your experiences with it?

    I know, I would have loved meters but the nicer amps are out of my price range since I spent most of my budget on the 805's.

    Quote Originally Posted by atomicAdam
    Ok Koven, You've done half the work. Once you get to know the system a bit more come back and give up a write up. The more info out there the better for everyone.

    Thanks,
    -aA
    I will definitely report back w/ my thoughts, once I've received the MC7100 (shipping out on Monday)

    Also, since you say the more info the better.... I thought I'd add some comments on the Emotiva UPA-2 ($299, 125WPC)

    I first bought the UPA-2 to use w/ my Decco, mainly because it was cheap and Emotiva has great reviews. However, whether it's a problem with synergy or what not, the UPA-2 totally sucked the life out of the vocals (compared to using the Decco alone).

    This taught me a valuable lesson in WPC.... and that it's not as relevant/important as people make it out to be. The only improvement the UPA-2 provided was extra bass... and maybe a tad bit more clarity, but it was not worth sacrificing the rich, life-like mids that the 805's are capable of. The timbre/tone just didn't sound/feel right with the UPA-2.

    So that was what ultimately led me to try higher-end brands.. the UPA-2 has been returned.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Another thing you can do is bi-amp the 805's. I've heard a lot of good things about bi-amping B&W's.
    Hmm I thought about that but I've read mixed opinions on whether or not it makes a difference.. but I do plan on finding out for myself.

    I'm actually also in the process of picking cables.. I need 1m RCA and 2m speaker cables. I know cables can easily get expensive, but I need to keep it relatively cheap.. probably $300-$400 for both. I was thinking of going with Morrow Audio since a lot of people have liked their cables and said great stuff about it's sound and value. I'm also considering Kimber, but they're more expensive. I thought about Anti-Cables too, but I don't like how they look and aesthetics is a definite factor for me, since my rig is not only for sound.. but also eye candy. Probably taboo to say that, but.. whatever floats my boat, right?
    Last edited by koven; 11-06-2009 at 12:18 PM.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    yeah I have heard of a lot of good results powering B&W speakers with McIntosh amps. they seem to work well together. I think you will enjoy this setup and let us know what you think after you hook it up and listen for a while.

    yamaha htr5560 receiver (HT)
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    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
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  14. #14
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    Nice! Is that yours? Any comments on your experiences with it?

    I know, I would have loved meters but the nicer amps are out of my price range since I spent most of my budget on the 805's.



    I will definitely report back w/ my thoughts, once I've received the MC7100 (shipping out on Monday)

    Also, since you say the more info the better.... I thought I'd add some comments on the Emotiva UPA-2 ($299, 125WPC)

    I first bought the UPA-2 to use w/ my Decco, mainly because it was cheap and Emotiva has great reviews. However, whether it's a problem with synergy or what not, the UPA-2 totally sucked the life out of the vocals (compared to using the Decco alone).

    This taught me a valuable lesson in WPC.... and that it's not as relevant/important as people make it out to be. The only improvement the UPA-2 provided was extra bass... and maybe a tad bit more clarity, but it was not worth sacrificing the rich, life-like mids that the 805's are capable of. The timbre/tone just didn't sound/feel right with the UPA-2.

    So that was what ultimately led me to try higher-end brands.. the UPA-2 has been returned.



    Hmm I thought about that but I've read mixed opinions on whether or not it makes a difference.. but I do plan on finding out for myself.

    I'm actually also in the process of picking cables.. I need 1m RCA and 2m speaker cables. I know cables can easily get expensive, but I need to keep it relatively cheap.. probably $300-$400 for both. I was thinking of going with Morrow Audio since a lot of people have liked their cables and said great stuff about it's sound and value. I'm also considering Kimber, but they're more expensive. I thought about Anti-Cables too, but I don't like how they look and aesthetics is a definite factor for me, since my rig is not only for sound.. but also eye candy. Probably taboo to say that, but.. whatever floats my boat, right?

    IF you go with the Morrow cables please give a detailed report. Ive read nothing but great things about Morrow. And I think he has some of the cables discounted.

    frenchmon

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07
    yeah I have heard of a lot of good results powering B&W speakers with McIntosh amps. they seem to work well together. I think you will enjoy this setup and let us know what you think after you hook it up and listen for a while.
    yeah i've heard/read the same, i got my fingers crossed, will report back in a week or two

    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon
    IF you go with the Morrow cables please give a detailed report. Ive read nothing but great things about Morrow. And I think he has some of the cables discounted.

    frenchmon
    i'm really leaning towards Morrow since 1) some cables are discounted and 2) i like the look 3) he offers a full refund within 60 days...

    actually, the more i think about it - i'm probably going to pull the trigger this weekend on the MA1 and SP1... starting low, will move up if i really like them.. but yeah, i will report back after some critical listening and a/b'ing with monoprice cables

  16. #16
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    Nice! Is that yours? Any comments on your experiences with it?

    ...
    No, not my MC7100. The picture comes from this excellent site dedicated to McIntosh of all vintages ... Berner's Site.

  17. #17
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koven
    Hmm I thought about that but I've read mixed opinions on whether or not it makes a difference.. but I do plan on finding out for myself.

    I'm actually also in the process of picking cables.. I need 1m RCA and 2m speaker cables. I know cables can easily get expensive, but I need to keep it relatively cheap.. probably $300-$400 for both. I was thinking of going with Morrow Audio since a lot of people have liked their cables and said great stuff about it's sound and value. I'm also considering Kimber, but they're more expensive. I thought about Anti-Cables too, but I don't like how they look and aesthetics is a definite factor for me, since my rig is not only for sound.. but also eye candy. Probably taboo to say that, but.. whatever floats my boat, right?
    Well I can recommend HGA cables wholeheartedly. http://www.homegrownaudio.com/

    Very high quality, and not too expensive. For small signal I always use pure Silver. Silver is the most conductive metal, and you will loose the minimum signal with a Silver interconnect. The whole idea with interconnects is to keep as much of the signal intact and exactly as the source has outputted. If you can hear your cables, good or bad, there''s something wrong. I like Anti-cables too. If I was going copper that's what I would choose. Actually, for speaker cables I think you really would have a hard time beating the Anti-cable.

    Bi-amping is not some esoteric thing that audiophiles do to impress the neighbors. Even B&W themselves with their most impressive speaker, the flagship Nautilus, uses a NO crossover pure multi-amping design. Absolutely brilliant engineering. And a nod to people who make use of multi-amps in their sound systems.
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  18. #18
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoffcin
    Even B&W themselves with their most impressive speaker, the flagship Nautilus, uses a NO crossover pure multi-amping design. Absolutely brilliant engineering. And a nod to people who make use of multi-amps in their sound systems.
    If by no crossover you mean no passive crossover then you are correct but as they are a 4-way design I'm pretty sure they use active crossovers, and thus are quad-amped.

  19. #19
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    I guess if a speaker is designed to be bi-amped it might be best but it seems like the simpler, or more straight forward, approach the better. It would be a good way to use tubes for mids/highs while solid state for bass without compromise. Naim has always embraced bi-amping as well as a few other British manufacturers. Dynaudio to my knowledge has never designed a speaker to allow biamping. So I guess it comes down to the manufacturer's philosophy. It would seem bi-amping could open up to a host of issues that would be avoided by not doing it. I mean, who better to know what crossover point to use and most have difficulty blending a sub let alone two or three amps. I've only done bi-amping a bit in pro sound set up and that wasn't a science, we mainly used the manufacturer's specs and associated crossovers. Well, I've designed a lot of car audio systems, would that be same principle?

    How do you set your gains so you hear a even response from all amps? Like if you were using tubes for mids/highs, or if you used a much more powerful amp for the woofers? Seems the possibility of one end or the other over powering the sound would be great. Especially, with using a passive crossover.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  20. #20
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    If by no crossover you mean no passive crossover then you are correct but as they are a 4-way design I'm pretty sure they use active crossovers, and thus are quad-amped.
    Exactly that, no passive caps,inductors, ect. in the signal path. Direct amp-to-speaker.
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  21. #21
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    Here's the Stereophile review if no one has seen it or wants to scan it again: http://www.stereophile.com/standloudspeakers/168/

    He used some beefy amps to drive them.
    Mark Levinson #512
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  22. #22
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    How do you set your gains so you hear a even response from all amps? Like if you were using tubes for mids/highs, or if you used a much more powerful amp for the woofers? Seems the possibility of one end or the other over powering the sound would be great. Especially, with using a passive crossover.
    I've only ever seen/used biamping with matched amps, ie. two PS Audio HCA-2 in a vertical bi-amping configuration. Some receivers like my Pioneer are also setup that if you only run a 5.1 configuration (rather than 7.1) you can use the 2 center back amps to bi-amp the mains. Never did this yet but it should be pretty easy.

    I would guess that if you use multiple amps with different gain settings then you would have to put an attenuator somewhere upstream of the amps to level them. I don't think it would be too hard to do ff you have a dB meter (and everyone should!).
    Audio;
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    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
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  23. #23
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I mean, who better to know what crossover point to use and most have difficulty blending a sub let alone two or three amps.
    I guess you could build a speaker with no crossover and use sophisticated software to feed the amps a truncated spectrum signal but that is very high tech. The boys at B&W save it for their flagship so it must be good stuff! However, every commercial speaker that I've see that is set up for bi-amping uses the internal crossovers. (except for the flagship Nautilus) So no need to figure out crossover points and such. Just hook your amps up. My HT mains are a bi-amp design with the woofers being powered by an internal 300w amp. Really unloads the receiver to power the surrounds.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
    PS Audio 4.5 preamp,
    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

  24. #24
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    Ah, OK, if still using the internalcrossover this would eliminate a lot of issues. For some reason I was picturing one of those Naim set ups with the external crossover etc.
    Mark Levinson #512
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    Clearaudio Performance DC, Dynavector 10x5, AcousTech Ph-1p
    Clarus Crimson loom - AC outlet to speaker terminal
    Revel Performa F52 main/center & S30's
    SVS PC13 Ultra (sub)
    Marantz BD-7003 > AV-8003 > LINN 5125
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  25. #25
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I have seen it done both ways. I have seen DIY designs that use an electronic crossover in front of the amps to crossover the speakers drivers before amplification and I have seen the passive crossovers used after amplification. I tend to believe that the best results could be had with active(electronic) crossovers if the drivers work well together and sound right without any passive filters or compensators. The less passive circuits in the signal path between the amp and driver then the more unaltered signal the driver should get. This is something car audio has adopted for years but home audio has only used in a few cases in ultra high end designs. I think with clean enough active circuits with electronic compensators for driver response and impedance could possibly be have the best results. I think the cost, and power necessities of people in their home systems are what keep people from going that route. Most single amped systems produce enough volume and dynamics to satisfy most people in their homes and that why you don't hear more about active crossovers and multi amp designs, Where car audio is typically a higher volume bass heavy environment that is designed much different than most home systems.

    yamaha htr5560 receiver (HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
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    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



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