The Dream System

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Roger, Dec 14, 2002.

  1. Roger

    Roger Auditioning

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    I've got a great 5.1 system but am looking to turn it into a 7.1 dream system.

    I'm currently running a 5.1 theatre with B&W speakers all round, including a pair of B&W 802's for my front L/R. I'm powering the system with a 7 channel Lexicon amp, so that the front 2 speakers are bi-wired (2 channels of power going to each of the front speakers.) I listen to my music on this system but only in 2 channel so those front L/R speakers matter a lot to me.

    I've heard the new Nautilus 800 speakers and am very impressed by them. But in looking at the B&W site I came across their "Prestige" loudspeaker or "Original Nautilus" (the ones that look like snails) that sells for approximately $40,000. Though the price tag is intimidating I am not yet completely turned off. I understand, however, that these speakers require 8 channels of power and that B&W recommends 500 watts/channel for "optimum performance" (although I hear that they run them with only 4 X 350 watts at their factory in North Reading, Mass.) Wow!

    My questions are: since I am unable to arrange an A/B test between these exotic "Prestige" loudspeakers and the Nautilus 800's, has anyone out there heard both of these speakers and can anyone comment on their differences? Are the prestige speakers as good as it gets or are they basically an engineering experiment? Do they sound as good as they look?

    If I go with the the 800's my plan was to keep the Lexicon 7 channel amp and use that for the surounding 5 speakers but get two Krell monoblock amps for the 800's. Any comment here?

    Any info would be helpful.
     
  2. Brandon Blair

    Brandon Blair Stunt Coordinator

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    Roger,
    Sounds like you've got a great start to that Dream System. I just wish I could afford a system like you're looking at. The B&W Nautilus 800's are great speakers and i'm sure you'd be very happy with them as well as the Krell's they are very good electronics as well. I'm not gonna try to turn you off to either of those, but I'll try to provide a few more options for you to check out if you're interested.
    First, on speakers I'll recomend two brands here, JMlab and WEGG3. Here is my personal experience with JMlab speakers versus B&W. I used to own a pair of Nautilus 805's along with a an HTM-1 and always thought that the B&W stuff was as good as it gets. I couldn't have been more wrong, because then I got to hear some JMlab speakers. I was blown away. I ended up selling my B&W stuff and getting a pair of JMlab Electra 906's and a 901 CC. To me they sound better in every way possible as compared to the B&W's. My only wish is that I could have afforded the some Utopia speakers instead.
    Speaking specifically of the Utopia's though. At a local shop here in Birmingham, they have a pair of JMlab Mezzo Utopia's setup with a CJ (Conrad-Johnson) PV10BL tube preamp and a CJ MF2250A 125 w/ch solid state amp. Right next to it in the same room they have a pair of B&W Nautilus 801's hooked up to a CJ PV14L tube preamp and a CJ MF2500A 250 w/ch solid state amp. Now you see the B&W has the better, more expensive preamp and amp, and they also use the same CD player. I took several CD's in to listen to one then the other right after to compare. It took all of 15 seconds into the first song to see that the difference between these speakers is like night and day. The Mezzo's sounded better in everyway I could think, surprisingly enough they even had more bass than the 15" drivers in the 801 could put out. I probably compared them for about 30 minutes with varying types of music, and everytime the Mezzo's came out the same. The owner of the shop told me that since they set this up not one single customer on one single song said they prefered the B&W 801's. Funny thing is that the 801's belong to the owner of the shop, he bought them a while back before he started this shop, now he is an authorized JMlab dealer. He is trying to sell his 801's at his shop as he has replaced them with Utopia's and that is why he set up this display. But as it turns out everyone who hears them ends up buying the Mezzo's instead. Here is the JMlab website where you can find out more about their company and the speakers they make.
    www.focal-jmlab.fr
    The other speakers I mentioned are the WEGG3 speakers, which from what I've seen and read of them are some of the coolest speakers I've ever heard of. Here is their website for more info on them.
    www.WEGG3.com
    Now as far as looking for a pair of powerful monoblock amps to drive your fronts, my father used to own the Krell's and they sounded very good, but ended up trading them for a pair of YBA Passion Monoblock amps, which to my ear are MUCH more musical and smooth. From what I've heard I would put the Krell monoblocks below 4 others sets of monoblock amps I've heard. I'll just give you the website for each and you can look to see for yourself about them.
    Boulder Amplifiers
    2050 Mono Class A 1000W...pair...$62,000 (retail)
    2060 Stereo Class A 600W/ch......$36,000 (retail)
    www.boulderamp.com
    YBA
    Passion Series 1000 Mono 250W...pair...$16,000
    Passion Series 1000 Stereo 250W/ch.....$10,000
    www.audioplusservices.com
    Moon, Simaudio
    ROCK 1000W Monoblocks...pair...$29,995
    W-10 650W Monoblocks....pair...$9,995
    www.simaudio.com
    Halcro
    www.halcro.com
    I realize this has gotten kind of long, but I've been doing a lot of looking into these companies lately (been bored and planning a future dream system for myself). Anyways good luck, and the best thing I can recomend is that you go with whatever sounds best to your ears and not worry too much about what others think.
    Good Luck,
    Brandon
    [email protected]
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I can't say much of anything towards top of the line B&W and JMLabs, but for the hell of it I'll point you to some significantly less expensive options that I believe can compete in the class of speaker you are speaking of. Both of which are very efficient speakers and require very little power.
    http://www.gr-research.com/AlphaLS/Alpha.htm
    A little over $5k fully assembled and shipped. This is with an Oak finish. You can get whatever finish you want at an extra cost though. 96dB/W/m and because they are line arrays their output drops off half as fast as point source speakers as you increast the listening distance.
    http://www.lambdacoustics.com/unity.html
    http://diy.cowanaudio.com/unity.html
    103 dB/W/m. The heart of this speaker and what makes it so special is the summation apperature. Tom Danley came up with this funky idea that allowed him to a make a horn that uses 5 drivers and acts like a single driver point source from 300hz up to over 20khz. Time-aligned, phase coherent, controlled horizontal and vertical dispersion.
    The tricky part will be actually getting some. But with the kind of money you are considering spending I'm sure Lambda or ServoDrive could get you some. Hell, you might even be able to get some SPL-TD1 (adds a pair of 12" drivers to the horn that extends its time-aligned phase coherent point source behavior down to 60hz or so) modified for home use out of ServoDrive for that kind of money.
     
  4. David_C_M

    David_C_M Auditioning

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    Roger
    Were the 800s you listened to the regular line or the signature series? I have to agree the signature are completely awesome. I have heard the "Prestige" speaker and the experience was SCARY, they sounded that real. I would suggest going with the signature series 800's,matching centre and rears for the whole system. The integration with the new crossover tweeter design would work the best. If your are going with the 800s why not bi-amp to mains? I have heard Bryston,Classe,Krell,and YBA with B&W and they all sound great. Yea, I am a B&W fan and have N803 as mains N805 as rears and the HTM1 on the way. I might be biased. LOL [​IMG]
     
  5. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    Whatever you end up doing, I suggest active bi-amping to get the most performance possible. Personally I feel that if you're going to spend that kind of money, I would want a system without any passive crossovers.
    e.g. check this out:
    http://www.adam-audio.de/profi/MPs/MP1/e_mp1_start.htm
    5 amps in each speaker!! No passive crossover components!
     
  6. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I'd audition a horn setup as well.
    Like the Avantgarde Trio 3.0 ($40,000) teamed with the Hovland HP100 and some Model 88 monoblocks.
    Another idea is the Dynaudio Evidence Temptation which is about $30,000.
    And of course an ESL type such as a Martin Logan Statement or Odyssey.
    Not saying these will be better, but I'd try and listen to as many types as you can before investing such a large amount. (This is a large amount were talking right? [​IMG])
     
  7. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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  8. Ted Kim

    Ted Kim Stunt Coordinator

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    If I were you, I would also consider the Avalon Eidelon's.
     
  9. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Supporting Actor

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    Real Name:
    Mark Seaton
    Thanks for the mention Dustin,
    Similar horns to the ones liscenced to Lambda ARE available in our C^3 loudspeaker as well as the trik, which can be found on our website. There are Theater Calibrated variants of these products which are not really publicized yet, but available.
    Honestly, even as I know what I'm doing, if I were putting together a "dream system" I would go ahead and hire Keith Yates and not leave anything to worry. If anyone here is seriously interested in a dream system on that level, tell Keith I directed you to him.
    Regards,
     

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