Will AVR-300 drive new B&W 703 or 803S/D in a 5.1 system?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Angioguy, Oct 25, 2005.

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  1. Angioguy

    Angioguy
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    Hello,

    Hoping someone out there can answer the following questions: I recently purchased the AVR-300 (which I love) for my growing home theater system. This receiver replaced old Adcom GFA-power and GFP 555 pre-amp combination which was used purely for audio. Now I want to upgrade from an old pair of B&W DM-330's to the B&W 703's or even the 803's, a matching center channel, a powered sub-- either the Revel B12, B&W ASW series or comparable Velodyne-- and a set of rear speakers, but I am concerned that the Arcam won't be able to exploit B&W's full potential. Is this the case? Does biamping preclude using the other speakers at once? If not, is biamping going to be much of an improvement?

    Would using the Adcom as an additional power source be a mistake where the new B&W's are concerned? Should I go with something more upscale and trash the Adcom? I've heard about various problems with the new Arcam separates, so I'm reluctant to go that route, and I would hate to part with the AVR-300.

    Also, I've been told by a dealer selling both B&W and Revel, that Revel's new Concerta series delivers less colored sound than the former, and that it far surpasses B&W where home theater goes. I've been a long time admirer of B&W, so I find this hard to believe. BTW, audio:home theater usage ratio is about 50:50.... Thoughts?

    Thanks in advance,

    :thumbsup: Angioguy
     
  2. gregeas

    gregeas
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    One thing you could do it start with the AVR300 powering all the speakers and later, when the upgrade bug bites, add a two-channel amp. I have the AVR300 and B&W N804s, but they are in separate systems... I drive the 804s with the A32 and P35 bi-amped, and the results are excellent.
     
  3. Ashmaster

    Ashmaster
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    Hello Angioguy,

    The B&W 800 generally require alot of power in order to sound their best, especially 802D and above. The 803S would also require sufficient power to drive them to optimal performanc, and 803D would be even harder to drive as it has three bass drives when compared to two bass drives in the 803S.

    If you use AVR 300 100w of power to drive the 803s, I think that you will be unsatisfied with the bass performance. If you look at the 803 specs you will notice that they require 250w (803D 500w) and that they have an impedance drop to 3 ohms. When a speaker drops in impedance, it requires the amp to provide it with additional power. In a perfect world, the amp should actually double its power when the impedance halves (i.e. if the amp delivers 250w into 8 ohms, then it should be able to deliver 500w into 4 ohms), the closer to the double, the better. The AVR 300 delivers 100W into 8ohms and 4ohms (I think it delivers a little bit more in stereo mode).

    If you are plannig a 5.1 HT system, then you can use the extra 2 channel in the AVR300 to biamp the 803, however, i dont think that this would help you much (I'm not sure about the Adcom amp, what is its power rating?).

    If you do your music listening in stereo, then I would suggest buying a two channel amp, some thing like the Bryston 4B SST (300w into 8ohms and 500w into 4ohms) those should do the job. However, if you will also buy a 800 series center speaker, then this would probably also require additional power to sound its best.

    B&W 803 are great speakers and to get what you pay for, you have to invest a little bit in amplification. I would recommend that you try to listen to the 803 driven by a good amp and see how it sounds. It will also be better if you can listen to it in your place.

    Ash
     
  4. gostan

    gostan
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    I found the AVR300 internal amps insufficient to properly drive my N803's so I purchased the AVP700 and three NuForce Reference 9's to power my fronts and HTM1 center channel with another 2 channel amp to power the rear surrounds.

    If you elect to go for the AVR300 your best bet would be to add a 2 channel amp as quickly as possible. Of course, since you are 5.1 you could passively bi-amp the fronts during the interim, with the extra 2 channels.

    And, although I did not elect to purchase an Arcam separate amplifier, I know of no problems/issues with the Arcam separates. I believe it is exactly the opposite when you compare the separates to the all-in-one receiver.

    Good luck and have fun building your new system.
     
  5. Angioguy

    Angioguy
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    Thanks for all your thoughts.

    The Adcom I have is a two channel power amplifier, circa 1986, rated at 200 watts per channel (8 ohms) and 325 watts per channel (4 ohms). Could this amp be used in conjunction with the AVR-300 to power a 5.1 system, and if so, are the powers of each amplifier additive or is the Arcam simply functioning as a preamp?

    Would this setup suffice for either the 703's or 804's (with matching center and rear channels)?

    Or do I toss the Adcom and spend big $$ on a serious power amp-- suggestions for a reasonably priced (< $2000) power amp to complement the avr-300 are welcome.

    My apologies-- even the basics can occasionally be confusing....
    :confused:
     
  6. Ashmaster

    Ashmaster
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    Angioguy,

    I'm not sure regarding the Adcom amp, however, the power rating seems reasonable to drive 703 & 804, you would really have to test it against other amps to really know, and if it is very old then perhaps you should invest in a new amp, but experiment first, take the Adcom to the dealer and test it with the 804/703 and compare it to other amps there.

    If you decided to connect the Adcom or any other 2 channel amp to the AVR, you have to connect the Fronts Left and Right pre-out from the AVR to the Adcom amp, this way the AVR will function as a pre-amp for that two channels and the Adcom will power them, and the other channels will be powered by the internal amps of the AVR for 5.1 surround, thus in 5.1 you will have the 2 front speaker driven by the Adcom and the center and surrounds by the AVR.

    If you decide to go with the 804 (which I recommend over the 700 series) and matching center speaker, then you would also need to power it with something better than the Arcam internal amp, cause just like the 804 they would need sufficeint power to sound there best. Therefore, you could consider going with a three channel amp to power the fronts.

    You have to decided first about the speakers you want, considering your budget and needs (the B&W 800 sereis are a level above the 700 series, and you will love them, however, you have to invest in amps). If you decided on the speaker, then start thinking about which amps would be suitable for them.

    For the budget you stated for a two channel amp, I think that you can get something like the Rotel RB-1080 200w into 8ohm, this will be able to drive 804, however, if you are considering 803D, you would need something stronger like the Bryston 4B SST (but costs more than $2000).

    However, always listen to the amps you want to buy with your speakers before you buy. I would also suggest that you try to connect the Adcom to the AVR and try them with the your current speakers, and see what happens!
     
  7. RumNYC

    RumNYC
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    I have been happily running N804 with my AVR300. I do plan on augmenting it in a few months with a Velo DD12 sub, as the bass is a bit lacking at my listening position (its fine when I move a bit closer or further, so I attribute this to room acoustics).
     

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