A new "reference" Amp for my B&W 800 D below 9000 €, possible? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 33 Old 06-27-2013, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I can buy a new Power amp, due to insurance payback, as we had water in living room.

I had this set up :

1. B&W 800 D Speakers
2. Pre amp : Mark Levinson 380 S
3. Mark Levinson 335 (to be replaced)
4. Accuphase DSP 67
5. Oppo 93 BD PLayer

Ok the most important, I need a new amplifier, that can drive the 800 D well. The 335 did a good job for that.

Then there is sound quality. I did not find the Accuphase, and the ML's the best match. With the Accuphase, as good as it is, some recordings good sound a bit dull.
Musically, it was nice, warm, but it lacked, a bit of detail in the high. This is probably just the combination, as it is a fine player. The Mark Levinson, has a lush sound, rather warm itself, and sometimes it becomes too much. It all depends on the cd's too. I have some cd's like Madeleine's Peyroux, Norah Jones, the last John Mayer, to name a few, that sounds warm and closed and dull. Others, like the last Eagles, also "Hell freezes over", Fleetwood Macs remasters of Tusk or Rumours, sound perfect. Not too cold, yet well balanced. But a lot of stuff is a bit dark.

When I play on the Oppo 93, which is a much lesser player on paper, it sometimes is better on some recordings. The above mentioned recordings, are not so dull any more, sounds brighter, without being aggressive, just as the good one's on the Accuphase, that are maybe a tight more digital sounding, but not much. I am surprised by this. The Oppo 93 is not a dedicated music player, has no XLR (But I use "Transparant Cinch connectors, that make the sound smoother, that goes well with THIS player). The sound of the Accuphase is a bit more musical, but I found some details in the mix on the Oppo, that is not always there on the dedicated cd player.

So be short, the ML 335, can sound just a bit too dark, on a very good cd player. I prefer that then too aggressive

The new ML 532 H reviews are good. It claims to be a bit more vivid then the 335. But i also read it lacks a bit of Power. When I see the inside of it, I wonder where all the electronics went! It is much lighter also. I doesn't mean it cannot be the better amp, But it is weird.

Would there be better matches these days then Mark Levinson? I hear a lot of good of Pass Lab. Never heard them. It also have to go well with the ML 380 S of course. Maybe the Accuphase Amps, will match well with the Accuphase player. I heard them once, but I found it a bit bright, but this was with 802 D i, not 800 D. Mc intosh, I find a bit dull too sometimes, I know B&W is sold a lot with Classé, heard them once and found them then less musical then the B&W. Other brands, I not know so well, but never was so impressed with Krell.

I cannot by second hand gear, as I need an invoice for insurance. I live in a remote village in Provence, so I could need some help in which direction I should search to fidn a good match. I can also buy a good DAC that goes well with the amplifier, as i found the Accuphase DSP 67, a bit soft.

Thank you for your suggestions!

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #2 of 33 Old 06-27-2013, 05:24 AM
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The OPPO BDP-105 would be a wise choice, because the CD/SACD sound quality is really outstanding; in a class with units costing $5000 and more.. It also has balanced outputs.

You will find a major improvement in the sound quality compared to what you have.

For a power amplifier, I suggest that you look at the Musical Fidelity M6PRX amplifier, which Stereophile rates as Class A in Recommended Components. It runs $3500 in the USA.

Another excellent one is the Bryston 4B-SST2 amplifier, which is around $5000.

I think either one of those amplifiers would sound very good with your preamp. I would get the new OPPO and the new power amp and see how the system sounds to you.

I think you will find that your preamp is very good when you do those system upgrades, and that the sound is completely transformed.

I use a Bryston 3B-SST2 amplifier with an Audio Research LS-26 preamp and the sound is to die for. biggrin.gif

I would suggest that you get the Accuphase unit out of the system; IMO it does not have the best sound quality.
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post #3 of 33 Old 06-27-2013, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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What is weird that he salesman, who is dealer of ML, Accuphase, Pass Labs and others, thinks that the Accuphase is not faulty and pushes me in the direction of an Accuphase Amplifier. And for him the cd player is difficult to match.

For the oppo 105, the sound is very different from the 95, as I have a friend who can borrow me this one....

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #4 of 33 Old 06-28-2013, 02:46 AM
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The sound quality from the BDP-95 and the BDP-105 is IDENTICAL, because they have IDENTICAL DAC chips and audio circuits!!!.

That part of the circuitry is completely unchanged from the 95 to the 105.

If you think you heard something different, you were mistaken.

The Accuphase has DAC chips that are obsolete and not up to current standards; they are far inferior to what the BDP-95 has.

Gee, the salesman is pushing what he can sell for a high profit; what a surprise!!
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post #5 of 33 Old 06-28-2013, 02:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The sound quality from the BDP-95 and the BDP-105 is IDENTICAL, because they have IDENTICAL DAC chips and audio circuits!!!.

That part of the circuitry is completely unchanged from the 95 to the 105.

If you think you heard something different, you were mistaken.

The Accuphase has DAC chips that are obsolete and not up to current standards; they are far inferior to what the BDP-95 has.

Gee, the salesman is pushing what he can sell for a high profit; what a surprise!!

Would there be a huge difference between the 93 and the 95. I find the sound of the 93, rather good, but then only if the connectors are good. With tranparent connectors, it sound less harsh and more musical

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #6 of 33 Old 06-28-2013, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

Would there be a huge difference between the 93 and the 95. I find the sound of the 93, rather good, but then only if the connectors are good. With tranparent connectors, it sound less harsh and more musical

I don't know about huge, but there is a difference in the analog output. The 95 is much better. If your are using digital ouputs there is no difference.
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post #7 of 33 Old 06-29-2013, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I see that. But let's get to the amp question......

Mark Levinson again, Pass Labb, Accuphase or somethign else. 10.000 € is ok too. i can add a bit.

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #8 of 33 Old 06-29-2013, 05:58 AM
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The BDP-95 and 105 have VERY superior DAC chips, and there is almost NOTHING under $6000 that can touch their superior sound quality. They are worth 3 times their price.

I sold my $6000 Ayre C5xe/MP player after I got the 95. The 95 is better.

The 93 and 103 are nowhere near as good-sounding; not in the same class at all. There IS definitely a HUGE difference.

You are really missing out if you don't upgrade to the 105. It would be a huge waste of money to get an expensive amplifier and not do so.

The Bryston 4B-SST2 will be a great amplifier for your system.

If you do not have access to Bryston, then the Mark Levinson 532H would be a good choice.

They are both excellent amplifiers.

The 20-year warranty of the Bryston is something to consider also.
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post #9 of 33 Old 07-31-2013, 01:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Bryston is good, but above my budget.

The old Mark levinson , 335, coupled with the 38 S was tested with both 93 and 95.

The ML is a bit dark and lacks a bit of clarity. The 93 is a bit more agressive then the 95, but in fact it goes very well with the Transparent connectors. Everything is more alive. High resolutionis soemtimes a bit too agressive and sounds way better on the 95. The 95 gives a warmer sound, stage is much larger, highs are luckily better then on the Accuphase. But strange enough on cd's, I prefer the 93. Not that it is better, it is not. But balance is better as the ML are too dark, so especialy with the kind of music I am playing (classic Rock), the 93 is more pleasant and lively.

So if the new amp is less dark, then we will have another result. Then the 95 must blown the 93. But although a bit too agresive, the 93 is still very good for the price you pay.

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #10 of 33 Old 07-31-2013, 04:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

I can buy a new Power amp, due to insurance payback, as we had water in living room.

I had this set up :

1. B&W 800 D Speakers
2. Pre amp : Mark Levinson 380 S
3. Mark Levinson 335 (to be replaced)
4. Accuphase DSP 67
5. Oppo 93 BD PLayer

Thank you for your suggestions!

What your system seems to be missing that many of us are benefitting from are things like room acoustical treatments, a subwoofer, bass management and some means for optimizing system response (e.g. Audyssey, YPAO, MCACC, stand-alone equalizer/correction unit, etc.)

The components you have should be reasonably free of sonic flaws, but the upgrades I've just mentioned address areas that a classic 2.0 stereo system can't touch.
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post #11 of 33 Old 08-02-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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For acoustic treatment, I hear you. But I live in a remote place in the Provence, Southern France, where to find someone, who actually knows what he is doing is not that easy. It is indeed stupid, because my living-room, has been upgraded, but no one I could find, who could integrate better acoustic features. If treatment is done the wrong way, it makes no sense.

But acoustic is not too bad, I know much worse. I would even say, it all sounds very good, but not perfect. And even with perfect acoustic, the question remains the same. I tried several amps with my B&W 800 D speakers. It is obvious htat the Mark Levinson, is a bit dark amp, that will still sound great if coupled to a lively cd -player.

So my question remains the same, if no Mark Levinson, what would be a better choice, for my budget?

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #12 of 33 Old 08-02-2013, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

For acoustic treatment, I hear you...If treatment is done the wrong way, it makes no sense.

I'm not sure it makes no sense if done the "wrong" way. Compare an empty room with an untreated but pleasantly cluttered room, and the cluttered room will sound better, with no effort at doing it the right way whatsoever.

Besides, it sounds very good to you now. You may only need to address an early reflection point here or there. Further assessment from someone qualified (see below;)) is needed. Improved bass smoothness is best addressed by multiple subs, so consider a pair (and a pre-pro with bass management).
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Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

But acoustic is not too bad, I know much worse. I would even say, it all sounds very good, but not perfect. And even with perfect acoustic, the question remains the same. I tried several amps with my B&W 800 D speakers. It is obvious htat the Mark Levinson, is a bit dark amp, that will still sound great if coupled to a lively cd -player.

So my question remains the same, if no Mark Levinson, what would be a better choice, for my budget?

As for amps, choose a well designed and executed amp. That could be expensive (Bryston, Pass), or reasonable (ATI, Emotiva RPA series). I seriously doubt your ears alone could tell the difference.
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But I live in a remote place in the Provence, Southern France, where to find someone, who actually knows what he is doing is not that easy.

Now I'm jealous.

For the cost of a qualified consult out there in the boonies, you could buy Toole's book on acoustics, a calibrated mic, download REW (free), and have an enjoyable learning experience. You would assuredly have the best sounding system for miles, make that kilometers, around!
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post #13 of 33 Old 08-02-2013, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

So my question remains the same, if no Mark Levinson, what would be a better choice, for my budget?

You could take a look at various manufacturers of class D amps. Some very capable performers available at much more reasonable prices. Plus I can no longer stand listening to music in a room with transformer hum from what now seems like big dinosaur boat anchors of class A/B amps in comparison.

... i.e.. Bel Canto, NuForce, D-Sonic, to name a few.

..
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post #14 of 33 Old 08-02-2013, 06:03 PM
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Being your in Europe have you checked out the Bladelius audio line. The Beowulf amp might meet your needs. Michael Bladelius was hired by Nelson Pass at Threshold many years ago. He moved on to design amps for Classe and Primare before setting up hi own company. I have an amp he modified at Threshold and still use it. Might be worth looking into.smile.gif
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post #15 of 33 Old 08-20-2013, 03:45 PM
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Check out what Plinius has to offer. The SA-Reference is an incredible amplifier.

I haven't heard it with Mark Levinson but I have heard ML by itself, should be a good match.

Will have no trouble controlling the B&Ws. Has excellent bass control and incredible separation. I know B&Ws have a tendency to sound a bit hard, class D may accentuate that problem.

VTL could be another option as could be Rogue Audio.

Cheers smile.gif
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post #16 of 33 Old 08-24-2013, 07:31 PM
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I have 802 diamonds and am very happy with Mcintosh mc452.

If I were in Europe and buying an amp now, the devialet d premier would be on the top oft list.
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post #17 of 33 Old 09-25-2013, 06:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I always found those amps a bit too smooth also....

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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post #18 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indieke2 View Post

For acoustic treatment, I hear you. But I live in a remote place in the Provence, Southern France, where to find someone, who actually knows what he is doing is not that easy. It is indeed stupid, because my living-room, has been upgraded, but no one I could find, who could integrate better acoustic features. If treatment is done the wrong way, it makes no sense.

But acoustic is not too bad, I know much worse. I would even say, it all sounds very good, but not perfect. And even with perfect acoustic, the question remains the same. I tried several amps with my B&W 800 D speakers. It is obvious htat the Mark Levinson, is a bit dark amp, that will still sound great if coupled to a lively cd -player.

So my question remains the same, if no Mark Levinson, what would be a better choice, for my budget?

Beautiful area! I was in Southern France last summer around Lourmarin, it was really nice.

Anyways, get a good room correction system. Anthem MRX receiver PLUS maybe an Emotiva XPA-2 and your all set. The room EQ system is what makes the biggest difference in sound.
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post #19 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 07:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

What your system seems to be missing that many of us are benefitting from are things like room acoustical treatments, a subwoofer, bass management and some means for optimizing system response (e.g. Audyssey, YPAO, MCACC, stand-alone equalizer/correction unit, etc.)

The components you have should be reasonably free of sonic flaws, but the upgrades I've just mentioned address areas that a classic 2.0 stereo system can't touch.

Arny, the B&W 800 has all the subwoofer it needs built in. It has a pair of 10" high Xmax bass drivers per cabinet. Really nice speakers. Overpriced to be sure but excellent in every sense.
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post #20 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

What your system seems to be missing that many of us are benefitting from are things like room acoustical treatments, a subwoofer, bass management and some means for optimizing system response (e.g. Audyssey, YPAO, MCACC, stand-alone equalizer/correction unit, etc.)

The components you have should be reasonably free of sonic flaws, but the upgrades I've just mentioned address areas that a classic 2.0 stereo system can't touch.

Arny, the B&W 800 has all the subwoofer it needs built in. It has a pair of 10" high Xmax bass drivers per cabinet. Really nice speakers. Overpriced to be sure but excellent in every sense.

I'm not buying that. 10" drivers are prohibited by the laws of physics from displacing as much air as even just a pair of 12's.

I have 2 12" subs right now, and a couple of Stereo Integrity 15" drivers on site for when I get back to my table saw. I might use all 4 systems in the end.
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post #21 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 09:13 AM
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You yourself wrote about the fact that driver size and excursion determine the air displacement. I have a pair of JBL speakers in my exercise room with 8" woofers. They will play movie LFE.
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post #22 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 02:36 PM
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You yourself wrote about the fact that driver size and excursion determine the air displacement.

Yes I did and that's a fact you can literally take to the bank.

I also wrote that maxium excursion tends to follow driver size. Largest Xmax numbers are maybe 12 mm for 6 1/2 drivers, 15 mm for 8 inchers, 28 mm for 12 inchers, and 40 mm for 15 inchers and up.
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I have a pair of JBL speakers in my exercise room with 8" woofers. They will play movie LFE.

People differ in what they think is adequate bass. I have several friends who find the performance of 4 each 18" drivers to be the minimal acceptable for them. I'm a little more conservative and get by with 2 12's, but I do have those two 15 inchers on site and my table saw is making hungry noises.
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post #23 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 03:13 PM
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If you were to listen to the B&W 800's with music that has a lot of bass content, you would think the system had a subwoofer. They do lots of bass. They really do. I didn't suggest that the 8" woofers provided adequate bass. I just said they would play LFE which rather surprised me. No they don't play LFE like either of my subs. My 15 incher handles LFE like a champ. smile.gif

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post #24 of 33 Old 10-02-2013, 04:43 PM
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Classe CAD200

 

 
Classe introduced the CA-D200, their first Class D amplifier.  This stereo amplifier is rated at 200W@8ohms and 400W@4ohmns.  The MSRP is $4,000.  A multi-channel companion is not in the works at the moment.
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post #25 of 33 Old 10-03-2013, 08:56 AM
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I have a friend running the 800's with Classe Delta monoblocks and they match up well. Another I know is running 801's, after a similar mishap and downgrade, with Parasound Halo monoblocks and they sound better than we'd expected.

The problem is those speakers require a lot of current to control them well and they are very revealing. High current and high quality doesn't come cheap.
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post #26 of 33 Old 10-03-2013, 12:26 PM
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I can't help but wonder how matching up well is established. Also I would opine that the cost of high current and high quality depends more on the unit volume of the manufacturer than anything else.
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post #27 of 33 Old 10-03-2013, 06:30 PM
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I know this is OT but arny, what about the Stereo Integrity subs motivated you to buy them?
I've never heard of them.

 

It ain't ignorance causes so much trouble; it's folks knowing so much that ain't so

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post #28 of 33 Old 10-03-2013, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt View PostI have a friend running the 800's with Classe Delta monoblocks and they match up well. Another I know is running 801's, after a similar mishap and downgrade, with Parasound Halo monoblocks and they sound better than we'd expected.

The problem is those speakers require a lot of current to control them well and they are very revealing. High current and high quality doesn't come cheap.

Yes that's right CA-M600 work very well with them :)

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post #29 of 33 Old 10-08-2013, 04:37 PM
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I heard the Plinius SA-103 with the new Sonus Faber Olympica II and it sounded very nice as a combo! it is $10,000

 

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/plinius3/1.html

 

I like it a lot in silver :)

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post #30 of 33 Old 12-25-2013, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, a lot of water has been under the bridge since this question. I finally could make it to a dealer, who has a lot of options.

We started with teh new Mark Levinson on a B&W 800 D 2. Mine is the old model, but when the music came out of the speakers, I experienced in a different room teh same issues as at home. Although warm sounding, I still find the sound to warm and lacked nervosity. Boring is the right word.Note I like musical sound, but this was like at home, everything seemed in the mid- range.

We NOT change the Power amplifiers! But we left the Mark Levinson, and used the pre amplifier PASS LABS XP 10; When using this compenent, the sound change dramaticaly. The 800 D sounded completly, uterly different! Like you used a complete different set up! Finally the dull sound was gone! Clarity, speed, a better, really impressive! But then honestly, the sound was a bit more digital.The impression you were listening to a cd, instead of a live performance. Neverhteless, very nice!

We then Powered up a Pass Lab amp. Balance was even better, but still a bit too digital (not say cold, less involving) I inquiered if the elements had been "break in", which seemed to be the case. But tehn we all now htat the sound can still change dramatically, it the amplifier is used a longer period, without turning it off.

The salesman was very keen on something I never heard about. The Devialet 240. Unfortunally he had sold the last one, but his boss was coming at noon, with new units. When finally we put this pre amplifier- Power amplifier and build in Dac "all in one" miracle thing on the B&w 800, it just sounded horrible! Flat, no bass, digital a real disaster. My salesman agreed, but said that was because the unit were new and had no break in time. This was of course possible, but then it sounded too arwful.

But then he suggested to hook up the Devialet 170. As I thougt the 240 watt/channel were a bit jsut on B&W 800 D, sure the 170 watt ehre, could not do any better, but I let him hook it to the loudspeakers anyway. Honestly I was blown away. For me Treble-mids, and Bass were in perfect harmony. Bass was powerful, but sound very realistic, and it seemed that the word "transparent", was invented for this combination. Voices were clear, high very detailed, but never sounded digital, and there was enough "warmth" to not make it sound digital, the only thing I liked less with Pass.

The only thing that was a problem, was that at higher levels, it was obvious that the amplifier was looking for his breath, and that bass foundation, could be better. There was a little piece missing. Would the 240, be powerful enough, when it had his "break in"? I don't know.

So if I want to change something, with what I heard now, I have this choice. Just first buy the Pass Lab, even the XP 20, and as it also worked well with Mark Levinson amp, hopeas the old generation is a bit more smoother, it will match well. Even if I have to buy the Pass Lab amplifier later. Or go for to Devialet 240, let it break in, and then just enjoy te right balance it should obtain. But as much as I like the concept, even streaming from my computer, no need of fancy otehr stuff, I have some doubts. This kind of all in one amplifying, is certainly a nice way to go, and could be the thing of the future. But then it is sure that in a few years, ther will be other systes like this, and this investement will become worthless. Guys wanting a classic line up (pre amp, and big heavy amp), will always put some money down, for second hand quality gear.

Also, will this kind of system, on the long run, really provide enough "juice" to run the B&W 800, in any circonstances? I am not familiar enough with this gear. I like the concept, but am not sure that although the balance is so good, the accurancy, and the transparence impressive, to drive these speakers. The dealer not want to let me try bothconfigurations, for lets say a month. So it is a tough choice!

I like my HT, wine and pretty girls. But...am I the only one
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