Celestion SL6Si amp match advice needed

H

hfinky

Guest
I've had a pair of SL6Si peakers for years, driven by an Arcam Delta 60 integrated amp. I've recently started playing vinyl again, and it's rekindled my interest in qwality soundz. I feel that something isn't quite right in the sound of my system, regardless of source, so that leaves the speakers or the amp (OK the cables could be better, but I'd like to get the fundamentals solid). The sound offers promise, but to my ears it becomes confused, harsh and "noisy" when complexity and volume increases. I know the Celestions have a reputation for being an extremely tough amp load, but by all accounts when matched well they are superb - and my recollection of the first time I heard a pair of the original SL6's soon after they were launched in the early 80s was of a beautifully smooth, but powerful and clear sound.

Give that of all the components in the system, the speakers are the real classics, my logic is that I should keep them and look for a better (or better matched) amp. Question is, what? I'd rather not spend a fortune, but am happy to find something used. I'd rather keep things simple, so would prefer integrated to separate pre/power, and probably not valves.

Suggestions gratefully received...
 

Londondecca

Active Member
I cannot help with a amp recommendation but my memories of the SL6 were the complete opposite of "confused, harsh and noisy" so it sounds as if there is a problem somewhere. I think they tended to be used with mid range amps (£500 - £1,000).
 
H

hfinky

Guest
Thanks, yes - most comments and reviews suggest they have a fairly laid back sound, though isn't it also the case that early metal dome tweeter designs (like these) could be harsh in the treble?
 
H

hfinky

Guest
For anyone who may be interested, in trying to locate historical information on these speakers, I came across a few comments about the importance of stand height. Apparently Celestion's dedicated stands were 18" tall, and some users commented on the importance of not exceeding this height. I had mine on 24" Atacama SEs... I've temporarily mounted them on a couple of (none-too-rigid!) 18" stools, and have to say, especially given that the platforms are far from ideal, the effect is fairly impressive - the sound does sound much better integrated, and much smoother, which is what I think I'm looking for. Imaging is also more credible, which in some ways is surprising since I would have expected the rigidity (or lack thereof) of the supports to have a considerable effect in this area.

So maybe the amp isn't the culprit after all. Having said which, I have my eye on some used Naim kit which might just have the guts to make these boxes sing...
 
H

hfinky

Guest
The Atacamas were (are) sandfilled, and when first used they certainly sharpened the imaging and solidified the bass. However my latest experiment suggests they are just too high for the speakers. I've just been doing some searching for something similar but shorter and the best bet looks to be the Atacama SL which is available in 400mm and 500mm heights. I've also seen some s/h 500mm Heybrook stands on ebay; I like the design in that it's three-pointed (stable!), but it's lightweight (diagonally crossed 1"-ish square steel tube) so if the mass loading is important maybe not the best option.
 

Welwynnick

Distinguished Member
I've always had a lot of time for those speakers, but they really do need a beefy amp to get them going. They would be wasted on a budget integrated. You need an amp that will give you back-ache!

Nick :)
 
H

hfinky

Guest
Thanks - though my back's enough of a mess already! I've always understood the SL6XX family needs power, but always presumed that means the expensive kind of watts, which seem to push harder than the cheap sort ;-). I don't have (or at least can't justify) the kind of money to buy high end kit new, but have discovered ebay! So, now realising I can probably get something decent, the question is, what? I've seen a few Naim NAITs - depending on version they deliver 30-50 watts, which may still be on the low side even if they are Naim watts. I've also seen a NAP 140 which goes up to 70 watts which is starting to sound serious, but maybe still not the sort of power the Celestions really need. Other options might be something like Audiolab, Primare, perhaps Quad. Or how about something from the beefy end of the Nad or Marantz ranges? Any suggestions/recommendations gratefully received.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Samsung HW-Q800A Soundbar & Rotel Michi X3 Reviews + TV show and Movie News & Reviews
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom