Do you mean the A3 integrated or the A3cr power amp? i have the 803's with the A3cr on top (trebble) and A300cr on the bottom, and the biamped combo sounds a lot better than just the A3, especially at higher volumes. I have heard the 308, and it also sounded very nice.
I believe it is the N803's, I just swapped them out and I am temporarily using Mirage M3's and the soundstage is much greater as well as separation. Until this swap, I would not have understood what you meant by 'jammed', but I believe I do now.
BTW, I do think the A3 is a bit under powered for the N803's, but IMO, another amp, though it may improve things as the 803's improve with a lot of power, will not help in the area you mention. Furthermore, you mention you like rock music, this isn't a strong point for the N803's.
IMO a MF A3 alone is *not* enough for Nautilus speakers. I've had an A300 (which is supposed to be more powerful than the A3) driving N805's and while the sound was nice, I could definitely feel an improvement when I traded up for a stronger amp. The B&W's need lots of juice to sound their best, so look for a bigger amp or perhaps bi-amping.
What about BAT VK 150SE's (150 watts per channel)it's ok with the N803's?I'm thinking to buy the 803's to use with my BAT's.
Thanks for your help in advance
I think that your lack of sufficient power may be your problem. B&W's need power! .. The more, the better!
I have way over 600 watts per channel on my B&W's and they are rated at 93db sensitivity. Although I have never passively biamped my speakers, I think that may be the way to go. When I actively biamped mine, I realized the biggest improvement that I have ever made to my system.
I agree with Drrdiamond, an 85 watt integrated will not properly drive 803's. Try the 150 wpc A300 integrated as a minimum. Separates would be even better with double the peak to peak current compared to integrated, even with the same rated wpc output. Check out Musical Fidelity and Jeff Roland specs on their integrated vs. separates and you'll see what I mean.
I wanted to follow up to my response in light of some recent responses. As I said in my first reply, I believe the A3 is underpowered for the N803's; as CDC says above, start with at least 150 watts, this makes quite an improvement in the N803'S. The original question is about soundstage though.
I used the N803's with the Mark Levinson No.383 for quite some time as well as using a BAT VK-200 amp (with VK-30 pre) for a few months, these are both rated at 100 watts; they sounded good with the N803's but not great. I switched to the Jeff Rowland Concentra II and the difference was jaw dropping, this combination made some wonderful sound. But as I said in my earlier reply, I am temporarily using Mirage M3's and this has opened my eyes to some things.
The original post asks about the soundstage (SS), we all agree that a more powerful amp will be best for the N803's, but IMO this still will not give the SS he desires. The Rowland improved things immensely, but not SS, changing to the M3s did, by a mile.
I have a friend that would come over occasionally to play some tunes and see/hear the latest and he would consistently say my system didn't image well, going to the Mirage M3's I can understand exactly what he is talking about.
With the N803's the music seems to come right at you, or 'jammed', as the poster put it; going to the M3's it opens up, greater SS, separation, transparency and imaging; but the M3s are warmer, less detailed in the mids, recessed and not as tight in the bass.
It seems to me, by the descriptions the poster gave, he has an accurate handle on the 803's, I haven't heard the 803's with a big amp like a Pass 250 but it would have to do a lot to equal what I hear going from the N803 to the M3 as far as SS, etc.
In re-reading my last post, I want to make it clear that the N803's are far better of the two, but my point was that the M3's have the greater soundfield.
Thanks for the tips.
In these days I'm evaluating a new amplification: pre-ampli with tubes, made by a local expert (japanese - $10.000), and a power unit NET, MK105M, (105W, Dual Mono, MOSFET, $1.500).
Well, the improvements are very impressive. The soundstage, the micro-contrast and the dynamic have been very improved. In comparison, the A3 field is very flat and far from listener. Its 85W are not sufficient. In the test I've also switched between the pre, A3 and tubes. I've understood two things:
1. The pre-ampli is very important: it gives the main characterization of sound.
2. For the power unit is not important the absolute power, but the "quality" of watts.
However, the weak of system is in the tonal balance: too low bass frequences and too much medium. The high frequency are not so "clear". I'm going to test the MF Tri-Vista 300. It can be the right trade-off?
I have the N802s and found that the placement of the speakers is critical for the best sound stage & imaging.
Currently, mine are at least 4 feet from the rear walls, about 8' apart, angled to face the listener (around 30 degrees from straight on) and I sit about 10 feet from each speaker ... needless to say it is a trial and error approach until you have them focussed.
It is best done by 2 people.
As to amplication, I drive them with 2 Belles 350A monos (800 watts) and a Belles 21A pre-amp.
My current room is too small (13 by 17)... they like a big room 16+ by 20+ ... and they love power ...
I'm continuing the experiments.
I've found the main cause of weak bass and poor soundstage: it is the source: the CD player, a Musical Fidelity A3.2!
I've tested it in another (excellent) hi-fi system and the result is very eloquent (the other system has MYST mechanic and Conrad-Jonhson P9 DAC). It seems that some harmonics are missing; the sound has little body and it is very poor in the bass part of spectrum. That disappointment!
I'm going to change this component first. After, will be the turn of the cables.
Finally I've a new cd source: the Teac DV-50, an universal player. It extracts from CDs al lot of information that before I never listen to. The bass estension is excellent, so the micro-detail and the dynamic. I have also new cables, Aircable, that improves details and dynamic.
Early I'm going to change the amp, probably the MF Tri-Vista.