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AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Receivers, Amps, and Processors › Should I switch from a Denon AVR to Rotel (or other) amp for a better sounding B&W speaker match?
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Should I switch from a Denon AVR to Rotel (or other) amp for a better sounding B&W speaker match?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a Denon AVR-988 and recently picked up a pair of B&W DM-604 S3 speakers. While I love the speakers, they do seem a bit bright, (the highs being a bit shrill at times depending on the recording I am listening to). I have read that a Rotel amp using the Denon's preamp will improve this sound as the Rotels have a bit less bite in the high end. I have also read that many of the recent receivers do tend to exaggerate the highs a bit....so the Rotel does seem like it may be a good match for the B&Ws.

Anyone with experience using a Rotel with B&W speakers care to comment?
post #2 of 11
B&W speakers are known for being "bright" or "forward" sounding, if that's not the sound you prefer I would get a different speaker. You gotta be careful about audiophool wisdom regarding how certain amp "sounds".
post #3 of 11
Or just use your treble control
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
>>>Or just use your treble control<<<<br />
Ahhh how I wish modern components still had those things rather than having to get out the manual or get a doctorate to try and figure out how to use them!

I am using the receiver in direct mode which bypasses any processing that the preamp offers. I find the sound to be infinitely better that way. So I am not even sure that changing the "treble control" wherever that menu item is, would do anything.
post #5 of 11
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
By the way, I LIKE the sound of the B&Ws..but not for all recordings. A lot of modern music has exaggerated highs. I have read that Rotels treat these better than other amps. Just asking if anyone who owns once can concur.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Before buying the B&Ws I listened to the same pair on a friend's system which uses 2 mono Mcintosh tube amps. The sound was absolutely superb!
post #8 of 11
I'd agree either learn to use the dsp (or the simple treble control) to shape the sound to your liking or get speakers that sound more to your liking or perhaps you need room treatment. If the amp doesn't simply amplify the signal given without adding or taking away, it's defective. If you want an amp to change the sound maybe get a tube amp rather than an ss amp. To say a brand name imparts a certain quality for every model because someone "says so" leaves a lot to be desired.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the sensible advice and understand perfectly. I have owned various audio components for over 40 years now and am not a newbie in this stuff. I know that the ideal amp is one that does not color the sound, but merely reproduces it. However, over the years, I HAVE noticed that each component does have its own character and that some things do sound a bit different mated with certain other items.

With my Denon receiver set in ''pure direct' mode' the signals bypass the tone adjustment circuitry. I don't particularly want to turn this mode off as everything besides the highs in some recordings sound noticeably (at least to my ears) better than any processed mode available on the receiver. I wish I could remember where I read what I did, but it was not from a forum. It was written by someone of prominence in the field of designing audio amplifiers. He claimed that an awful lot of modern day receivers are bright sounding and so are a lot of contemporary audio recordings. He then claimed that this can result in fatigue due to listening to the exaggerated highs for a length of time. He suggested that instead of relying on these receivers, that the better option is an amp such as a Rotel which tends to have a smoother high end and thus mates better with a bright speaker such as the B&Ws. This was not the first time I have heard the suggestion that Rotel is a good match for B&W speakers.

Again, I just wonder if anyone around here has gone this route and can concur. It's not like I can just plop down $1500 on an amp hoping that it has a slightly different sound that might be better suited for my speakers.

I suppose that the thing to do is go sample the stuff. I am going on Monday to a dealer near me to do just that. If anyone is interested, I will report back here after that experience with my thoughts.
post #10 of 11
The sound signature will be from speakers and the pre-amp so if you want change it will require one of those the amp should not alter the sound unless its defective or as stated going from SS to tube because tube amps introduce even order harmonics which makes them warm and fuzzy not what I would call neutral but great for a Fender Stratocaster.
post #11 of 11

My understanding is that many tube pre-amps and amps roll off the highest frequencies, which might be one reason why the speakers sounded so good in your friend's room. Other reasons would involve the room's acoustics. If you don't already have absorbers at the first reflection points and/or the back wall, they might help a little, although not, of course, with the directly-radiated sound. If WAF is a consideration, some companies provide them with silk-screened artwork.

If you want full control over the acoustics provided by the electronics, you might consider external amps. Then you could insert equalizers (analog or digital, graphic or parametric) between the AVR's pre-amp outputs and the amps driving the speakers.

Edited to add:
Quite often people have problems with the results of an Audyssey calibration because of an imperfect calibration procedure. The instructions in the AVR's manual are woefully inadequate. The guidelines provided in the AVS Audyssey 101/FAQ can help. http://www.avsforum.com/t/795421/official-audyssey-thread-faq-in-post-1/51750#post_21782993

Recent discussions in the Audyssey thread (or maybe they were in the REW thread) revealed that sometimes Audyssey gets the distances to the main speakers wrong, placing one slightly farther away from the primary listening position than the other. This can do unfortunate things to the soundstage. Manually adjusting that distance setting in the receiver so they're both identical does not invalidate the Audyssey calibration. Of course, you also have to make sure that the speakers themselves are properly positioned and oriented.
Edited by Selden Ball - 10/4/13 at 12:53pm
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