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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Yoon Lee, Apr 29, 2002.
Which will be best match for N804 among sub-2k amps?
It all depends on your taste. How many channels do you hope to get? monoblocks? 2? 3? 5?
I use HT a lot, so I prefer 5 channel. (No room for 7) BUT, but, if 2 channel amps sound much better, since I have a receiver, I'll use the amp just for music.
Below $2K you have a couple of choices for respectable 5 channel amps, these include the Rotel RMB-1095, the Sherbourn 5/1500A, the Parasound HCA-2205AT, the ATI 2505 and the Anthem MCA50. As an RMB-1095 owner, I'll have to go with that, especially since I've read that Rotel and B&W generally mate pretty well. Of course, that's just what I read, and I don't own B&W speakers so take it with a grain of salt.
Generally, people tend to agree that the Rotel, Sherbourn and Parasound are similar in sound quality and price.
What about b&k 7250 although slightly more in MSRP you can find one right around 2K and musically its better than all the others mentioned above, IMHO. Although its a matter or personal tastes I have found B&K to be the easiest to listen to at any volume level. Anyone else with experience with B&K, Rotel, Parasound, ATI, Anthem please chime in.
I'm currently using a B&K 7250 to power my 804s, along with a HTM2 and SCM1 surrounds, and I am quite happy with the pairing. That being said, I am still curious about the added benefits of having a separate 2-channel amp for the mains when I listen to music. Classe amps are supposed to be amazing when paired with B&W, but as always, it'll cost you. Another option that I have been looking into is the new PS Audio amp. It's gotten amazing reviews from the beta-testers (one guy was even running his 803s with it) and they have a 30 day in home trial period, not to mention some of best customer service I've ever encountered. And on top of all that it's only $1695! Here's a link:
Classe Seems to be the top choice to go with regarding N804's. I've yet to see someone dislike it or post they didn't prefer the sound.
I use an Aragon 8008BB(2 channel balanced) to power my N804's. I have an Aragon 8008 X 3 for my center & surrounds. I have had this combo for over a year and love it. The Aragon supplies plenty of power, 200 wt/8 ohms, 400 wt/4 ohms. You may still be able to pick up one of these amps on Audiogon, they were selling them for 1/2 retail recently. Classe is also good with the Nautlus line but it's probably out of your budget, unless you can find something used. Good luck!
I would definately look at Classe'. I think they make a 6x75 amp that is within your price range. Even though it doesn't have tons of power, I'd take 75wpc from Classe' over 200wpc from a mid-fi manufacturer. Besides, the B&W N804 isn't too difficult to drive, and high current is more important that high power.
I use a Classe CAP-101 integrated (100W per channel) to power my Nautilus 804s. It's a beautiful combination. Breathtaking.
I use a Rotel RMB-1075 (5 x 120) for my home theater, which consists of a combination of B&W CDMs across the front and 601S2s for the rears. IMO, Rotel is a great match with the CDMs. This is a fun, kick-ass system for HT and casual music.
But when it came time to decide on an amp for my 804s (my dedicated stereo system), I narrowed my choices to Aragon and Classe. These two possess a refinement that I didn't find in Rotel, Parasound or Bryston. This isn't a slam on any of these amps, because it really comes down to what your ears tell you.
You can get a Classe CAV-150 used in the neighborhood of $2000 on Audiogon. I have been using one in my system for about 1.5 months (804/805/HTM2), and it does sound extremely good. It actually makes poorer recordings sound pretty good on the 804s, which is quite difficult to do on these revealing speakers. The Classe sound is extremely smooth, without harshness, and with good detail. Aslam, think of the B&K sound, but only better. BTW, I think B&K makes great, smooth amps. I have heard the Rotel, but on Linn speakers, and I thought it sounded a bit dry, but it reportedly matches nicely with Nautilus speakers. The 1095 can be had for about $1300 on audiogon. Another very good choice that sounds good with the B&Ws is the Sunfire (200Wx5 version) which can be had in the $1500 range on Audiogon. I found the Bryston 9BST to be a bit harsher than the Classe, so although it is an excellent amp, I would recommend the Classe over it for similar money. I
Justin, I would perhaps think the CAV-75 might be a bit underpowered, but I have not tried it.
Overall I would recommend the following order in terms of price (used): Rotel, B&K, Sunfire, Classe CAV-150. I hope you find the right mix and enjoy your speakers as much as I am.
I'd be tempted by the new PS Audio HCA-2 amp. It lists for about $1700 (and is only 2chn). Not many reviews yet out on this, but the few tidbits that are indicate it may be superior to the Bel Canto digital amp in many ways, which would really be saying something.
Just a thought.