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Powering 803D3

leemkule

Standard Member
So I posted this originally in the wrong section so have deleted and started a thread here. I currently run B&W CM8, CMC2, CM1 with a pioneer sclx83. I'm going to upgrade my front speakers to the new B&W 803 diamond D3 but I'm not sure what to get to power them. Things like classe are outside my budget but will have a few thousands to spare. I was thinking possible either the arcam550/850 or going down the separates route by adding a rotel 1575 and using the pioneer pre-outs, what are your thoughts? I'm still going to be running 5.1 and don't have a great interest in adding loads of speakers for atoms. Usage is currently about 50%-60% music and the rest of the time movies/gaming.

Any input would be appreciated.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I personally wouldn't spend that sort of money on them speakers without having separates to run them with. If you play music (stereo?) most of the time I would recommend getting a stereo amp and a better source. The 803s will reveal any shortfall in both your source and amplification, possibly to the point they are less enjoyable than the CM8s if you don't run them with equipment befitting them. Better results may be had by buying 804D3s or 802D2s and spending the other 6 grand on upgrading the whole system in my opinion. I have run my 802s with lesser amps and sources and they just get shown up as being lesser amps and sources.

If you are patient you would get a Classe CA2300 for around 3 grand on the second hand market. That's what I would do (and did, I have one).
 

leemkule

Standard Member
I appreciate the advice but I use surround sound as much as I do stereo, getting the 804D3s would be an option but I'd rather invest my money in speakers than electronics as it's easier to upgrade electronics in future. I know if I get the 804's i'll always be itching to upgrade.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
Yes I understand that too (that's why I bought 802s, because I always knew they would be there if I had 804s or 803s). The thing is regardless of what you might think, electronics do make a big difference and are key to getting the best out of your speakers. Speakers as good as the 803s show things up your CM8s won't, and if you don't give them the right sort of signal (ie, the best signal you can) then it will show what you put into them as not good enough. Can you get a home demo in your system?

Bear in mind if you value surround sound as much as stereo then having such a void between the capabilities of speakers may also leave you unhappy. I have done this myself and although I lived with it because I prioritised stereo and therefore knew that it was to allow my stereo to get better! But then I have gone down to stereo and I don't miss having the surround sound, even for films as the increase in sound quality from running it though the better speakers, better amp, and far better DAC outweigh the lack of sound from behind IMO. Money no object I would have a multichannel system with diamonds all round but as I cannot afford it I decided the compromises of multichannel were not worth it. I kind of digressed there but just be careful you aren't buying something that might lead to you being unhappy with the rest of your system! Too much priority is put on speakers on a lot or forums and although I appreciate they do make a massive difference they are only as good as what is driving them, in the same way a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

When you say you have a few grand left after the speakers, how much? For example the Bryston 4B SST2 for sale on here would work well with them, and then another couple of grand or so on a pre amp/streamer such as a Linn Akurate DSM or Classe CP800 would make a huge difference. Even if short term you cannot afford to do it I just think it's stupid buying a £12500 pair of speakers and running them with gear best suited to speakers around 10% of that if you do not plan to improve the electronics.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I take it that second hand isn't an option since you dismissed the suggestion of 802D2s? The new 803s are meant to be better (haven't got round to having a listen yet) but there are 802s going for around £6500 which is very good value IMO.
 

leemkule

Standard Member
Thanks for your input. I am certainly no expert in this field I just and your experience is invaluable for me. Basically my budget isn't strict but I do have somewhat of a self imposed limit in my head for now, I would say I have circa £5000-6000 after the speaker purchase, I could spend more, but as you well know in this game you keep adding and before you know it you've spent another £15k. I've heard the 802D2 and while a fabulous speaker I suspected that B&W were due to release a new version and waited and I really love the 803D3, haven't heard the 802D3 and don't dare to as I know what will happen. I've always lusted after one of the higher end diamond speakers and have my heart set on the 803d3. I'm not in a position to comment on the necessity of good separates to power a speaker like this, but I believe you when you say it is important. It would make sense. While I am adverse to the idea of second hand speakers, I'm perfectly open to the idea of second hand electronics. To be perfectly honest I've never been all that enamoured with my rears (CM1's) in a 5 channel setup for movies but I do love it for gaming, but I do really enjoy having the centre speaker, which I would probably upgrade to the smaller diamond series in due course. Ah this game is too complicated, there's so much choice and it's all very expensive!
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I would certainly agree with buying electronics second hand but I bought my speakers ex demo because I wanted the benefits of buying from a dealer. The thing is, if you buy the speakers then just keep an eye on the second hand market you will get something that suits eventually, and then you will be able to tell the improvements for yourself, which is also more enjoyable than buying all at once and having one massive upgrade. But I would certainly recommend Classe for the amp if you can find one. Then you could buy a cheap ish amp for the other speakers, lose the receiver and get a pre/pro of some sort. Classe SSP 800 is a good one that goes for a lot less than its RRP nowadays, but there is loads of stuff on here already about different processors so you can look all that up rather than me misinform you.
 

leemkule

Standard Member
I would certainly agree with buying electronics second hand but I bought my speakers ex demo because I wanted the benefits of buying from a dealer. The thing is, if you buy the speakers then just keep an eye on the second hand market you will get something that suits eventually, and then you will be able to tell the improvements for yourself, which is also more enjoyable than buying all at once and having one massive upgrade. But I would certainly recommend Classe for the amp if you can find one. Then you could buy a cheap ish amp for the other speakers, lose the receiver and get a pre/pro of some sort. Classe SSP 800 is a good one that goes for a lot less than its RRP nowadays, but there is loads of stuff on here already about different processors so you can look all that up rather than me misinform you.

Thanks again, yeah I think this is the best advice, I'll look at the likes of classe. What do you think of the sigma SSP/AMP5? The problem I have is I've spent a few days looking at the newer pre-amp processors and it seems to be something that isn't released that often, the Japanese brands are focusing on 4k, atoms, DTS:X and 11 speaker setups, and I'm not really that interested in them nor do I have the room / budget for that many speakers. The more 'audiophile' type brands seem to upgrade their hardware very infrequently.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I have heard the sigma with the amp 2 with 803 diamonds and thought it was good. I also heard the CAD200 with 802 Diamonds and CP800 and that was also very good, and the CAD 200 is internally the same as the AMP2. It would be a system I would recommend if you can afford it.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
Not mine, but something like this would be perfect for an 800 series system and well within your budget...

For Sale - Classe Delta CA-5200 Power Amp
I had one of them, drove my 802s well. The 300 series amps are better, and possibly the Sigmas too but they are all more expensive (and lighter!). I would also say that is on the expensive side for one of them. Most have gone in and around the £2500-2750 recently that I have seen, and I sold mine for £3000 about a year ago, and paid £3400 for it back in 2012.
 
I fully agree mate, but just showing whats available for well under the OP's budget.

If you haven't guessed by my username I'm a HUGE Arcam fan but very much doubt a 550/850 would hold a candle to the 5200 in terms of amplification.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I fully agree mate, but just showing whats available for well under the OP's budget.

If you haven't guessed by my username I'm a HUGE Arcam fan but very much doubt a 550/850 would hold a candle to the 5200 in terms of amplification.
Don't worry I wasn't being critical of you when I mentioned the price. I was just making sure the OP aware that there may be one come up for less.
 

Captss

Novice Member
So I posted this originally in the wrong section so have deleted and started a thread here. I currently run B&W CM8, CMC2, CM1 with a pioneer sclx83. I'm going to upgrade my front speakers to the new B&W 803 diamond D3 but I'm not sure what to get to power them. Things like classe are outside my budget but will have a few thousands to spare. I was thinking possible either the arcam550/850 or going down the separates route by adding a rotel 1575 and using the pioneer pre-outs, what are your thoughts? I'm still going to be running 5.1 and don't have a great interest in adding loads of speakers for atoms. Usage is currently about 50%-60% music and the rest of the time movies/gaming.

Any input would be appreciated.
 

anoutsos

Novice Member
There seems to be a lot of useful advice in this forum, so I was wondering if I can have some recommendations on upgrading my current system.

I currently have a 5.1 system, with B&W 805d2 fronts and the rest is from the 685/6 series (incl. the ASW sub). I am driving the speakers with a Marantz AV8801 + MM8077 combo. The stereo music is sent to the prepro from a Mac Mini (standard, apart from having swapped the spinning disc with 2 SSDs) via TOSLINK; the multichannel music, from an Oppo BDP-93 via HDMI.
My listening preferences are 50% music 50% movies, with ~20% of the music being multichannel SACDs.

In the future, I would like to upgrade to either the 803d3 or the 802d3. My current preference is the Sigma SSP + Sigma AMP5 combo, which prioritises on music but allows 5.1. However, I am worried that if I go that route, it implicitly assumes that I will have to upgrade my surround speakers, also – otherwise, what's the point of a high-quality surround system, if only the fronts are high-end. And I don't think I can afford a high-end 5.1, especially if it includes the 803d3/802d3. The other option is to switch to a stereo-only system, using e.g. a CP-800 + CA-2300 combo. Of course then I will have to give up surround sound, but if the soundstage is dramatically increased from my current setup, it may still be enjoyable. Lastly, there is one more option I have thought of but I need people's advice on that: if I replace my rear and centre speakers with two 805d2 and the HTM4, get an SVS sub and the Sigma combo, I will have all speakers having the same response and much better electronics. This is the cheapest option, but it assumes that speaker uniformity trumps the better quality I would get from the 803d3/802d3. I'm not sure that is true.

Finally, I would like to ask people about music servers. I currently use a Mac Mini with Amarra, which produces good sound quality (as far as I can tell) but it is very fiddly to operate. My dream would be to replace it with an Aurender server (N100H or perhaps the new A10), but it is quite expensive. Do people here think that there would make a dramatic difference in sound quality? The ease of use is very, very appealing to me but I wouldn't want to sacrifice investment towards speaker/amps if, as some say, it is a lifestyle item. On the other hand, if I invest in e.g. a 5k Sigma SSP (or CP-800), is it wasteful to feed it with a box-standard Mac Mini?

I apologise for the very long post. I would really appreciate some insight from the experienced members.

Aris.
 

TomScrut

Well-known Member
I have been through a lot of what you have done I think. I have 802d2s and I used to have lesser speakers in 5.1 (with the 802s as fronts). I decided I couldn't afford the better speakers for surround so decided to drop down to a stereo (2.2) system and haven't looked back, I was happy with the balance of the system sonically I just felt my money was better invested in stereo gear, as I also could not afford a high end processor or multi channel amp. I wouldn't rush into anything yet, the CP800 and CA2300 are allegedly discontinued so I would see what replaces them. You either get the new item, or the old item cheaper!

As for music servers, renderers etc are concerned I don't think there is a sound quality difference between what you serve the DAC with, but others would say otherwise. I also aren't of the belief that the server makes a difference to sound quality if you're talking on a network, but again others will disagree. There is no evidence (I am aware of) other than people's opinion that either the renderer or server makes a difference to sound quality.

I use JRiver on a PC that is switched on all the time (an Intel NUC that uses next to no power) and use the JRemote app.
 

anoutsos

Novice Member
Thank you very much for this informative reply. I will wait. My main concern at the moment is not so much the equipment upgrade but whether it is worth investing in expensive speakers (and amps) without placing them in the appropriate space. My current listening environment is my living room, which is far from ideal. I 'treated' it with a few absorbers but it is quite asymmetric and has zero depth behind my listening position. What do people think about the balance between speaker/amp quality and room acoustics? Isn't there a point beyond which higher-end equipment are simply wasted due to average room acoustics? Would it be better to wait for a better room before I spend all this money? Having said that, there was a clear difference (even in my room) between the B&W 685 + Marantz Av7701 and the 805d2 + AV8801, but I am not sure if further improvement can be achieved in my current space.
 

andychoff

Standard Member
So I posted this originally in the wrong section so have deleted and started a thread here. I currently run B&W CM8, CMC2, CM1 with a pioneer sclx83. I'm going to upgrade my front speakers to the new B&W 803 diamond D3 but I'm not sure what to get to power them. Things like classe are outside my budget but will have a few thousands to spare. I was thinking possible either the arcam550/850 or going down the separates route by adding a rotel 1575 and using the pioneer pre-outs, what are your thoughts? I'm still going to be running 5.1 and don't have a great interest in adding loads of speakers for atoms. Usage is currently about 50%-60% music and the rest of the time movies/gaming.

Any input would be appreciated.
What amplifier did you get in the end?
 

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