There are many ways to accomplish what you wish to do, from changing the speakers, amp, preamp, source or even cables. Also, subtracting damping materials from the room and adding more reflective surfaces could also help liven up the sound.
I was faced with a similar dilemma several years ago, the speakers I bought sounded great in the dealer's showroom, but dead in my room. I called the dealer and talked about this, and it turns out he was using silver cables. I had tried silver cables a few times previously with no success, but when I tried them with these speakers they worked great.
As for your original question regarding amps, Bryston makes powerful SS amps that sound like what you are looking for.
Would it be considered rude to actually state what loudspeaker you are talking about?
What else can be done to push a system in this direction
It would be helpful to know what components are in the system.
The general presentation of switching amplifiers may be working against you (and I don't mean this in a derogatory way).
The switching amplifiers I've owned didn't like silver anything. Check out NuForce cables. When I upgraded my AC mains to shielded 20 amp dedicated there was a noticeable improvement.
Also, when I used tube preamplifiers in front of switching amps I found I was listening to the preamp lower the resolution and transparency and masking my speakers shortcomings. It took a substantial speaker upgrade before I realized this.
IMO, switching amplifiers are ruthlessly revealing and many blame the amplifiers rather than poor system synergy. Class D can be economical but it's simply not easy. This is why I still use nCores in my studio. I've returned to tube amplification in the main system. In both cases I've always used subwoofers.
Find yourself an Acoustat TNT200 and have it rebuilt by Roy Esposito at Sounds Like New in Florida. It'll cost about $1,500 total + shipping and you'll have an amp rivaling anything up to $20,000.00. Characteristics are over the top in what you're asking for with unrivaled bottom end.
how about a nice Coda? First rate tn every way.
What speakers are we talking about? Of course, my experience is very limited, but generally speaking I don't think that you can completely change the character of the speakers by going with a different amp.
Of course, if you speakers are being under driven, that may be a different matter entirely.
So, what speakers are you running?
You may not change their character but you may very well change/realize their potential.
I'm pretty sure I saw a few Krell KAV 250's listed here. I used to have one and liked it very much. It should easily do what you are asking. You can get one for a lot less than your max budget.
Agree with others that it would be most helpful if you listed your current components and interconnects/cables. That said, if you're using some polite copper interconnects swapping them for silver interconnects that possess the characteristics you're looking for can push your system in that direction. Again, without knowing the rest of your system this is a complete crapshoot.
Are you describing the new line of Eddie Hascal speakers?
That's a beautiful pair of speakers Mrs. Cleaver :D
thanks for the inputs, all... much appreciated. the gear in play is as follows: B&W 802D speakers, Acoustic Zen Satori speaker wires, Acoustic Zen Silver Reference 2 and Acoustic Zen Matrix Reference 2 ICs, Placette preamp.
sorry about the vagueness of the question - i posted to get general thoughts on moving a system in the direction i'm looking for. any further thoughts given how things are configured would be appreciated.
interesting you mention nCores, as the NC-400 has been reported as a VERY good match for the 802D speaker. if you don't mind, what speakers were you using them with prior to moving them to your studio?
i was a long time tube amp user - Atma-sphere and VAC - but need to goto solid state or class d for domestic considerstions.
Polite is not a description I would associate with 802D's. How's the power supply side, dedicated lines, power cords, conditioning?
That said, the bottom end would not necessarily be characterized as quick and tuneful but capable of delivering a healthy dose of weight.
FWIW I like the W4S ST500 with N802's. British Mag Hi Fi Choice did an article on the 802 Diamonds with some new Musical Fidelity amps that put out somewhere around 600-700 watts ea (I don't recall the model number) and were duly impressed.
Scott you might try some different cabling for speakers. I have the Satori (shotgun bi wire) as well and it leans to the more polite/recessed I would say. And I would also say it bumps the mid bass a bit. But it works great with the class D amps if that's the route you go.
You don't state specifically what amp you're using right now, but I assume it's either the VAC or Atma-sphere. Regardless, driving B&W speakers with tube amps seems like an uphill battle and may be part of the problem given that the rest of your system seems pretty darn neutral. That said, you don't specify if you're using a passive or active Placette preamp, and I'm not sure if there could be a possible problem there especially if you're using a passive model and how that may be interacting with your amp. Just throwin' crap out there, but driving B&Ws with tubes still just seems like a tough road given what you're looking for. I had the Rogue Medusa in my system for a while and that might be a great fit given what I heard and what you're looking for, again if it works with your preamp. Best of luck.
Well i suppose everything is relative. I'm coming from a pair of Wilson speakers and don't find the B&W speakers to be as dynamic and lively.
AC is via 4 dedicated circuits and a running springs conditioner (amps are direct to the wall).
The placette preamp I'm using is the passive version with no compatibility issues in my system that I can tell. I was honestly skeptical at first, but Guy at Placette assured me I wouldn't have any issues given the rest of my system. So I gave it a try and was VERY impressed. It replaced a $5k active preamp.
I heard a Moscode 600 wake up a pair of Von Schwiekert speakers to an extent I did not think possible.
Some people have reported a similar impression w a passive pre-amp. Lots of detail and very transparent but lacking a little something. FWIW,I've heard 802ds driven by Doshi-modified Lectron JH-50 (2 6CA7s a side) and I would not call them polite or laid back at all.