B&W 801 vintage speakers in small space


I have vintage 801s (1979) powered by a similarly aged Stasis II, both still awesome with no service issues. All of my other components are history. I have downsized to smaller space, with an open great room listening space of no more than 1000 square feet and need to revamp my system. Seeking suggestions for whether I should trade for something else or complete my system building on these.  What other components should I consider? I am a novice here, just love the sound these old friends produced, even bi-amped with my old Beomaster and Beogram (both long gone). I need and welcome advice.
lawlass
Room acoustics matter a great deal. I encourage you to look into that early and contact GIK Acoustics for great advice and affordable products.

With those particular speakers, a tube amp may get you a little more treble detail and air. How about a CJ from the 1980s?

Best,

E
Oh, nearly forgot. The caps in those 801s are totally worth upgrading. :) That could be a fun project.

Best,

E
Welcome to Audiogon, Lawlass!

Given your statements about the condition of the amplifier and the speakers, and your satisfaction with them, it sounds like the first priority should be to purchase source components and a preamplifier. Decisions about upgrading the amp and/or speakers, or perhaps having them professionally refurbished with new capacitors (which may already not be performing as well as they did during the 1980s, especially in the case of the amplifier) could be deferred until a later time.

The gain, impedance, and other technical characteristics of the Stasis 2 are compatible with a wide variety of modern preamplifiers and other "front end" components. For specific recommendations it would be helpful to know the budgetary range you have in mind, and also whether your interests are in playing LPs, CDs, material that is streamed or downloaded via the Internet, other kinds of source material, or some combination thereof.

One final observation: I, and I believe most here, would not consider a 1000 square foot listening space to be "small." :-)

Best regards,
-- Al

+1 Almarg.  the 801s should be just fine in a 1000 sq. ft. room. 
Thank you, Erik, Al, and Swampwalker.  I will consider what you have recommended, and will check out the CJ. I listen to vintage LPs and CDs, and just started listening to streamed material.  The space has hardwood floors, area rugs, wood in the kitchen and DR furniture, and a few upholstered pieces.  The windows have double pleated shades, and the ceiling is peaked at 12'. I consider the entire great room my listening space and will have to determine the sweet spot. The space definitely is live. Any recommendations for a turntable and CD player?  I know these are key to sound quality. Budget will allow ~$1000 max for each component I add. I live in western Colorado in a small town, which limits my sources to Denver visits.
I would replace the caps in both the B&W and Threshold.  Will sound like new again.
YW, lawlass (perhaps an attorney of the female persuasion?).  Unless I missed something, you will also need a pre-amp (with phono stage if you want to spin vinyl) to switch sources and control volume.  Rather than drop $1K on a CDP, I would go with a music streamer.  Neal Van Berg of Sound Science is in Castle Rock, I think, and he often has trade-ins. His Music Vault streamers are set up to rip CDs and also can access streaming services like Tidal, Roon, Spotify, etc.  They store the files with an auto-back-up and I think they sound fantastic.  I've been a customer for about 10 years now and cycled through 2 upgrades to my original unit.  Very pleased with his products and first rate support via phone, email and log-me-in.
Lawlass, in the event that you prefer a CD player rather than an approach such as the one Michael (Swampwalker) suggested above, among a great many possibilities in the listings of used players that are presently being offered for sale here the one that particularly catches my eye is the following listing for an Ayre CX-7eMP. Although the $1595 asking price exceeds your stated budget somewhat, you would be getting what was originally a $3950 component produced by a company that is extremely well regarded not only for the quality of its products but also for its support, should a problem ever arise with the unit which would make that necessary.

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/cd-sacd-players-ayre-acoustics-cx-7e-mp-2018-01-21-digital

Scroll down about 1/3 of the way on the following page to see a summary of Stereophile’s comments, extracted from various reviews they have done of this player and its predecessor versions:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recommended-components-2017-edition-disc-players-transports-medi...

I have no knowledge of or affiliation with the seller, but I see that he has feedback which is both excellent and extensive.

Best regards,
-- Al


Regarding a turntable, I would consider the SOTA Comet, the Clearaudio Concept, and various models from Rega. Although together with a good phono cartridge the price of the first two will approach $2K if purchased new.

You can see these and many other models at www.needledoctor.com.

BTW, regarding my mention of Ayre, I’ll add that they are located in Boulder, Colorado!

Best regards,
-- Al

Having made a couple of suggestions that were well over the stated budget I’m now going to go to the opposite extreme in recommending a preamp. The Antique Sound Lab Line Two DT ($450) is a very simple one-tube line stage (meaning of course that it would have to be used in conjunction with an external phono stage for purposes of playing LPs). A few years ago I used its very similar predecessor, the Line One, in my main system for a time when my much more expensive preamp developed a problem, and I found it to be remarkably transparent. Also, the one tube it uses (a 12AU7) is fairly inexpensive, and if you chose to do so you would have the ability to fine tune the sound by substituting currently produced or vintage equivalents. I was happy with the Line One even with its stock tube, though.

Its relatively high output impedance and relatively high gain would be suitable matches for your Stasis 2 amplifier, and for many other amplifiers, but if you were to eventually replace the Stasis 2 you would want to avoid models having low input impedance (e.g., 30K ohms or less) and relatively high gain (e.g., significantly more than 30 db).

I’ll leave it to others to suggest a phono stage, hopefully costing in the vicinity of $500. Given your budget, the phono cartridge you choose would most likely be a moving magnet or other high output type, so the phono stage needn’t provide the capability of supporting low output moving coil cartridges.

Best regards,
-- Al

So many great suggestions - thank you. I'm going to enjoy getting to know new products and ferreting out what works.  I appreciate the resources.