B&W 804n

anton1989

Novice Member
Hi all,

I have recently purchased a pair of 804n speakers, this was an impulse buy and one that was done with admittedly very limited knowledge (heart over head).

I have been a longtime fan of b&w, more so of the design side of things over the sound (I know) as I haven’t listened to many, apart from briefly owning the DM range (604/602/cc6 s1) in a 5.1 set up many years ago, again with limited knowledge at the time.

After doing some research I have come to the conclusion these speakers require some heavy duty power and would probably suit a stereo power set up best, however, for now I am set on running a AV Receiver as I am already in the dog house for coming home with said speakers haha.

what would people recommend?

The reason for wanting to start with a AV Receiver is so I can add to it the future going for a 5.1 set up and using it as a pre amp.

the set up will be used to watch films, play games but mostly listen to music.

I do feel I have bitten off more than I can chew to start with but I’m wanting to keep these speakers for along as they just look stunning and while being given a demo I had a huge grin

at the same time I want to give them a good amount of power even if they will not but running at full potential.

the way I see it is, I can enjoy them now and in the future once I upgrade the amp it will be like buying new speakers.

hopefully I’ve made myself clear. Am I very new to this. I’ll also need recommendation for speaker cables
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
Budget for AVR?

Speaker cable wise, no need to spend fortunes, but bearing in mind your speakers I would get some 4mm cable for the fronts. 2.5mm will be fine for the surrounds when you add them.
 

anton1989

Novice Member
Budget for AVR?

Speaker cable wise, no need to spend fortunes, but bearing in mind your speakers I would get some 4mm cable for the fronts. 2.5mm will be fine for the surrounds when you add them.
I’d be happy around the £1500 or less until I save up for something to get the full potential out of them or a power amp to add on.
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
I’d be happy around the £1500 or less until I save up for something to get the full potential out of them or a power amp to add on.
I'd suggest something like a Denon X4700H which should be at least adequate. You might also want to consider using a stereo amp in conjunction with the AVR to drive the fronts - you need to use an amp with a Home Theatre bypass option.
 

anton1989

Novice Member
I'd suggest something like a Denon X4700H which should be at least adequate. You might also want to consider using a stereo amp in conjunction with the AVR to drive the fronts - you need to use an amp with a Home Theatre bypass option.
Thank you I will give them a loom

when referring to a power amp I was meaning a stereo amp, sorry for the confusion.

I'm yet to go full 5.1, for now I’m just looking for a good AV receiver to power the two 804n
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
Thank you I will give them a loom

when referring to a power amp I was meaning a stereo amp, sorry for the confusion.

I'm yet to go full 5.1, for now I’m just looking for a good AV receiver to power the two 804n
Then maybe for now get a stereo amp with an HT bypass - that way you will get a much better performance out of your front L/R, but also be ready to add an AVR at a later date.

 

anton1989

Novice Member
Then maybe for now get a stereo amp with an HT bypass - that way you will get a much better performance out of your front L/R, but also be ready to add an AVR at a later date.

Perhaps your right. Any suggestions?
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
Perhaps your right. Any suggestions?
It would be the way I would go with your speakers in order to do them justice. Check out the HT Bypass list for ideas, @gibbsy on here swears by his Rega Elicit and he knows his stuff, but there are plenty of options out there.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
There is a chart here for the type of speaker cable you need, depending on the impedance of your speakers and the length of run of the speaker cable. The B&W 804n dip to 3 ohms, so for a 3.6 metre run of cable you would be okay with 1.3mm:


I tend to go a bit overkill and use 2.5mm on all of my speakers.

With regard amp, if you can pick up one of the end of line Arcam FMJ AVR's, they are excellent for both movies and music, so you would not need a separate stereo amp.

It looks like Peter Tyson may have some of the 390's left:


If you can find a 550 or 850 that would be even better, a B Grade 550 here:

 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
There is a chart here for the type of speaker cable you need, depending on the impedance of your speakers and the length of run of the speaker cable. The B&W 804n dip to 3 ohms, so for a 3.6 metre run of cable you would be okay with 1.3mm:


I tend to go a bit overkill and use 2.5mm on all of my speakers.

With regard amp, if you can pick up one of the end of line Arcam FMJ AVR's, they are excellent for both movies and music, so you would not need a separate stereo amp.

It looks like Peter Tyson may have some of the 390's left:


If you can find a 550 or 850 that would be even better, a B Grade 550 here:

2.5mm is not overkill, it's the minimum. I always use 4mm for the fronts, it doesn't need to be expensive. at <6 quid a metre for something like this, why skimp?

As for Arcam AVRs, while they have a reputation for being good with music, that is "Good with music for an AVR".

I don't think even Arcam would claim their AVRs are a match for a decent stereo amp.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
2.5mm is not overkill, it's the minimum. I always use 4mm for the fronts, it doesn't need to be expensive. at <6 quid a metre for something like this, why skimp?
The minimum in what regard? You are welcome to use 4mm but it is way overkill and definitely not required. Your link goes to a dead page.
As for Arcam AVRs, while they have a reputation for being good with music, that is "Good with music for an AVR".

I don't think even Arcam would claim their AVRs are a match for a decent stereo amp.
No the Arcam AVR is as good as a stereo amp for music.

Arcam say that themselves:

Offering a level of sound quality that is far above competing receivers, these AVRs are audiophile products by any measure. Equally at home with high resolution surround sound or two-channel music, they deliver stunning realism with everything from heavy- weight blockbusters to your favourite concert video.

For me, running it in analogue direct mode with an external DAC, it sounds as good as my Musical Fidelity stereo integrated amp.
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
The minimum in what regard? You are welcome to use 4mm but it is way overkill and definitely not required. Your link goes to a dead page.

No the Arcam AVR is as good as a stereo amp for music.

Arcam say that themselves:

Offering a level of sound quality that is far above competing receivers, these AVRs are audiophile products by any measure. Equally at home with high resolution surround sound or two-channel music, they deliver stunning realism with everything from heavy- weight blockbusters to your favourite concert video.

For me, running it in analogue direct mode with an external DAC, it sounds as good as my Musical Fidelity stereo integrated amp.

Overkill in what regard? please tell me any downsides from using 4mm cable?


As for as the Arcam marketing guff is concerned, the key phrase is: "Offering a level of sound quality that is far above competing receivers"

Note they are careful not to compare with stereo amps, only other AVRs. As for your own set up, why are you running an external DAC if the Arcam is so good? Obviously the use of such a DAC renders your comparison completely invalid.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Overkill in what regard? please tell me any downsides from using 4mm cable?
Overkill because it is way thicker than the minimum required to ensure the cable has a resistance less than 5% of the speaker’s nominal impedance.

Downsides of using 4mm cable - more expensive and more problematic to run in a discrete and tidy fashion.

As for as the Arcam marketing guff is concerned, the key phrase is: "Offering a level of sound quality that is far above competing receivers"
I don't think we can really take the Arcam marketing of their AVR's as gospel, as I am sure they want to sell as many of their stereo integrated amplifiers as possible, but you have ignored the bit that says Equally at home with high resolution surround sound or two-channel music

And some other marketing here:

The Arcam sound difference
Using audiophile-grade components, the AVR550 delivers quality to match the power. At the heart of this Arcam AVR is a toroidal power supply. Unusual for an AV receiver, this type of power supply is more usually only found in high-end stereo amps. It helps the AVR deliver smooth, dynamic sound that works equally as well with music as movies.

. As for your own set up, why are you running an external DAC if the Arcam is so good? Obviously the use of such a DAC renders your comparison completely invalid.
Nope - you've lost me there.

I compared it to my Musical Fidelity integrated amp, which is an analogue only amp that requires an external DAC. I use my Arcam AVR in the same way, in pure analogue mode, and it sounds lovely, as good as any other stereo amp I have auditioned in my system (and I have tried many).

The AVR390 and AVR850 were measured by ASR, like many devices measured, they are far from perfect but one of their strengths is:

A great analog engineer designed the amplifier in the Arcam AVR390 and did a great job both in measured performance and proper cooling

Before that review was published, I had already decided that in my system it sounded much better with an external DAC in analogue direct mode, and that is how I have been running it for some time.

A pretty graph to illustrate my point:

Best AVR stereo amplifier review 2020.png
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
Downsides of using 4mm cable - more expensive and more problematic to run in a discrete and tidy fashion.
So there isn't a downside in reality then, other than perhaps cost? So tell me, how much would you spend on a metre of 2.5mm cable?

I don't think we can really take the Arcam marketing of their AVR's as gospel, as I am sure they want to sell as many of their stereo integrated amplifiers as possible, but you have ignored the bit that says Equally at home with high resolution surround sound or two-channel music

And some other marketing here:

The Arcam sound difference
Using audiophile-grade components, the AVR550 delivers quality to match the power. At the heart of this Arcam AVR is a toroidal power supply. Unusual for an AV receiver, this type of power supply is more usually only found in high-end stereo amps. It helps the AVR deliver smooth, dynamic sound that works equally as well with music as movies.
So again, not even Arcam claim that their AVRs match the performance of a stereo amp - merely that they are "equally at home" with two channel music (as they are with multi channel) - an utterly meaningless statement.

(And if you think that using a toroidal power supply in an AVR is enough to make it equal in sound quality to a stereo amp, you are even more easily fooled by marketing guff than I suspected. Their guff is cleverly worded to make punters draw exactly the conclusion that you have).
A pretty graph to illustrate my point:

View attachment 1458773

I don't listen to pretty graphs.


Nope - you've lost me there.
Nope, you've lost yourself. You stated that you use your Arcam AVR with an external DAC to listen to music - so why do you need an external DAC if the Arcam is so great?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
The 804s certainly do need a lot of current to keep them happy. There are AV amps that make a fairly good fist for stereo music such as Arcam. There are some members who like Dirac for what it does with home cinema but feel it doesn't do the same job with stereo music and turn it off. Depends if you want a one box solution that may be inferior in music presentation than a good stereo amp.

Lyngdorf with Room Perfect is getting some very good reviews although I'm yet to hear one. Would be great in a difficult room. As for amps with HT by-pass you should really be looking at the ball park of the Rega Elicit-R and Musical Fidelity M5si. Naim would also make a good partner with B&W. They would easily work in tandem with a mid range AV amp that has the requisite pre-outs.

If music is very important then certainly go for a stereo amp that has HT by-pass. Auditioning is so important. The pandemic is proving something of a double edged sword with all the dealers now being shut but they are offering home auditions which is such a bonus for the prospective owner.

I use Rega Elicit-R with HT bypass alongside a Denon AV amp. I can't see any reason to change to a one box solution as the Rega puts a huge smile on my face everytime I listen to music on it. Even though Denon has a far inferior room correction with Audyssey over Dirac the simplicity of ownership can often be better than the dedication needed to be an Arcam owner.

What ever you decide there's no right or wrong decision just the one that's best for you.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
So there isn't a downside in reality then, other than perhaps cost? So tell me, how much would you spend on a metre of 2.5mm cable?
It is not relevant how much I spend on speaker cable.

The issue is that generally speaking, resistance starts to have an effect on the performance of a speaker when resistance is greater than 5% of the speaker’s impedance, so taking into account the impedance of the speakers and the distance of the cable run, science can specify the thickness of speaker cable required to ensure optimum performance.

You said that because of the OP's speakers, he should use 4mm cable, I wonder what you meant by that? What are the characteristics of those speakers that you thought a thicker cable would be required?
So again, not even Arcam claim that their AVRs match the performance of a stereo amp - merely that they are "equally at home" with two channel music (as they are with multi channel) - an utterly meaningless statement.

(And if you think that using a toroidal power supply in an AVR is enough to make it equal in sound quality to a stereo amp, you are even more easily fooled by marketing guff than I suspected. Their guff is cleverly worded to make punters draw exactly the conclusion that you have).
No, Arcam market their AVR's to be a one-box solution for both Home Theatre and 2 channel music listening. It was yourself that introduced the concept of examining Arcam's marketing claims. In fact, that is not particularly interesting to me, as I already have the AVR. I am sharing the information about its performance for music, based on real world experiences, and from real world measurements.
I don't listen to pretty graphs.
That's a shame as objective measurements are useful in these types of discussion, alongside subjective opinions.
Nope, you've lost yourself. You stated that you use your Arcam AVR with an external DAC to listen to music - so why do you need an external DAC if the Arcam is so great?
Let me explain...

Most / all AVR's have a direct or pure direct mode which attempts to shut down certain processes to make the audio performance better. I have tried this with many other AVR's from Sony, Cambridge Audio, Yamaha, Marantz, Denon, and generally it sounds no different, or equally as bad.

However, with the Arcam it is a different story. As the ASR review noted, a great analog engineer designed the amplifier in the Arcam AVR and did a great job both in measured performance and proper cooling.

Arcam describe the direct modes as, Stereo Direct - to listen to a pure analogue stereo input, press the DIRECT button. The Stereo Direct mode automatically bypasses all processing and any surround functions. In direct mode, digital processing is shut down to improve the sound quality and reduces digital noise with the Receiver to an absolute minimum.

I can confirm that this sounds great to my ears, and in line with the performance from the Musical Fidelity stereo integrated amplifier.

Therefore, using my own external DAC enables me to have the AVR in analog direct mode, where it really performs at it's best, and also to choose a DAC that has the sound signature that I prefer and the features that I need.
 

anton1989

Novice Member
some good advice here thank you.

I have been looking around at the suggested and more at I can't see many stereo amps that state 200 watts @ 8ohm

is matching the watts important or can I stay around the 100/125 mark?

I do not tend to push them to the limit, would be nice to know I could though.

also

in the future I would love to add a HTMn, what would be my amp options at this, would I have to go AVR?
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
some good advice here thank you.

I have been looking around at the suggested and more at I can't see many stereo amps that state 200 watts @ 8ohm

is matching the watts important or can I stay around the 100/125 mark?

I do not tend to push them to the limit, would be nice to know I could though.

also

in the future I would love to add a HTMn, what would be my amp options at this, would I have to go AVR?

The power number is not crucial, but obviously more power gives you more headroom. Bear in mind that that quality of the amp is more important than the headline wattage.
 
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D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
some good advice here thank you.

I have been looking around at the suggested and more at I can't see many stereo amps that state 200 watts @ 8ohm

is matching the watts important or can I stay around the 100/125 mark?

I do not tend to push them to the limit, would be nice to know I could though.

also

in the future I would love to add a HTMn, what would be my amp options at this, would I have to go AVR?
If you ensure that the amp that you buy has pre-outs then there is always the option for adding power amps later on if you feel you need or want to.

The amount of power that you actually need depends on different factors, such as the size and acoustic properties of your room, whether you run the speakers full range or crossed to a sub, the dynamic range of the content that you listen to, the impedance curve of your speakers, and the capabilities of the amp. Although there are maths that can help you to estimate how much power you might need. The only way to be sure if more power will bring a better audio experience, is to give it a try and see.

The B&W 804 speakers have a sensitivity rating of 89 db, this means that at 1 metre distance, 1 watt of power will produce 89db. If you scale this to a 3 metre listening distance and 100 watts of power, this will get you 99db which is very loud.

HTMn?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

anton1989

Novice Member
If you ensure that the amp that you buy has pre-outs then there is always the option for adding power amps later on if you feel you need or want to.

The amount of power that you actually need depends on different factors, such as the size and acoustic properties of your room, whether you run the speakers full range or crossed to a sub, the dynamic range of the content that you listen to, the impedance curve of your speakers, and the capabilities of the amp. Although there are maths that can help you to estimate how much power you might need. The only way to be sure if more power will bring a better audio experience, is to give it a try and see.

The B&W 804 speakers have a sensitivity rating of 89 db, this means that at 1 metre distance, 1 watt of power will produce 89db. If you scale this to a 3 metre listening distance and 100 watts of power, this will get you 99db which is very loud.

HTMn?
HTM1 centre speaker
 

anton1989

Novice Member
I have come across a rotel RMB1095 that appears to play 200w @ ohms

thoughts on this unit? it would mean purchasing a AVR on top but said unit is half my budget.

being 5 Chanel It should be future proof also perhaps?
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
That is a decent power amp and should provide plenty of headroom. Power amps are future proof in terms of technology changes. This model was introduced in 2004, so in terms of longevity, that will depend on what sort of use it has had to date, whether it's been serviced, and luck, to some extent.
 

CaptainJames

Well-known Member
I have come across a rotel RMB1095 that appears to play 200w @ ohms

thoughts on this unit? it would mean purchasing a AVR on top but said unit is half my budget.

being 5 Chanel It should be future proof also perhaps?
Meanwhile, back in the real world,we listen to music not graphs or maths, so always important to try and demo before buying an amp. The Rotel is a specialist power amp, you really need a quality integrated stereo amp with HT Bypass, IMHO. Together with some 4mm speaker cable, this will do justice to your speakers.

The HTM would be a great match for your fronts, but yes you would need a multichannel AVR to go 3.0 or more. I have a 5.1 B&W based set up, albeit a bit lower down the chain, so I speak from personal experience, not theory and conjecture.
 
D

Deleted member 39241

Guest
Meanwhile, back in the real world,we listen to music not graphs or maths, so always important to try and demo before buying an amp. The Rotel is a specialist power amp, you really need a quality integrated stereo amp with HT Bypass, IMHO. Together with some 4mm speaker cable, this will do justice to your speakers.

The HTM would be a great match for your fronts, but yes you would need a multichannel AVR to go 3.0 or more. I have a 5.1 B&W based set up, albeit a bit lower down the chain, so I speak from personal experience, not theory and conjecture.
Don't worry about the graphs that I posted above, graphs and maths and science aren't for everyone. They were relating to the Arcam AVR, but the discussion has moved on now, so not relevant here.

What is it that you mean by the Rotel being a 'specialist' power amp?

It will be difficult for the OP to demo, as presumably this power amp is used, as no longer a current model, and from what has been posted so far, they don't currently have anything to use as a pre-amp.

My main concern is the risk factor with buying used electronics, I have been burned too many times with that. Although I have managed to recoup some of the cost by selling the units as spares or repair.

It seems that out of the £1500 budget that would leave £700 for 5 channels of processing. With the two front channels pre-amp being decent for 2 channel music.

The OP seems keen on getting a considerable amount of power on tap, and a 5.1 set-up, with good quality 2 channel music. Ultimately, I don't think £1500 is a big enough budget to achieve that, unless buying used, which I guess explains the current choice.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
This thread has deteriorated into a tit for tat battle between two members. It is unfair on the OP to close it. It has been locked on a temporary basis whilst it was edited to remove posts from both of these members.

It stops now please otherwise there will be steps taken to ensure the smooth running of the thread.
 
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