Well, I can't speak for the components listed above, but I did once own a Musical Fidelity A308 integarted with some B&W Signature 805's. So we are almost talking apples to apples. I absolutely loved this combination. I found no need for a sub, and did not find any listener fatigue. In fact, that thought never once crossed my mind as I listened to the system. I have not own Sonus Faber, nor have I ever heard any of them, so I can't comment.
Will the brighter 805s be tamed by the A5 and actually provide a nice balance of relaxed presentation and better detail?
Having owned the Signature 805's, which the new 805S shares the same tweeter, I don't think they need "tamed"; if there is a problem I would look elsewhere in the chain, just my opinion.
I would expect the MF gear to be more neutral than relaxed. As for speakers, that comes down to what you like; I am guessing the SF's to be more laid back than the B&W's.
Like S7Horton, I have the A308, not the integrated though, I have the power amp. I'm running B&W Silver Signature's, the 805's grandfather, and the combination sounds great.
I have heard the Sonus Faber Cremora Auditor's with the A308 integrated at a shop in Knoxville, Tn. They sounded great too.
I think, if you can listen to them together, on whatever system is around, just pick the one that you like better. I think that both are a good match for the MF gear.
You say -
"My music collection is 90% acoustic music, especially "early" music with plenty of plucked and bowed strings, and often with baroque singing (Rameau operas for example)."
I say -
Given your taste in music, I feel with near certainty that you will be much happier with the GPH.
If You listened to 90% rock it would be the B&W.
My amp is different but I do have the 805s and Cremonas. I find myself tapping my foot and really getting into the music, listening to the 805s.
Thanks for your response (and to everyone else for their responses too).
I bought the new 805s. They've been playing only a few hours, but straight from the box and working with the A5 electronics, they are mightily impressive. Judging by the first day of listening, it will be no chore breaking these in because they sound so good already.
For those wondering if the difference between the N805 and the 805s is substantial enough to investigate the upgrade, I can already say that even a swift audition should confirm the very worthwhile benefits of the new version.
Right now, the prospect of even better performance with break-in is very exciting.
I bought the new 805s just last week. They are great speakers out of the box. Compared to a pair of broken in N805s, the high is already smoother and bass is MUCH tighter and deeper. The first impression was new 805s have more impact than N805.
I went the other way. I had the Sonus Faber GP Homes and bought the A5 integrated and CD. I am very happy with this gear. This combination has a very relaxed non-fatiguing presentation which excels on the acoustic and rock that I listen to. I had the new 805s in for a demo and was wanting more bottom end which could have been solved with a sub. Either way is a fine choice because you have quality gear upstream. Enjoy.
Interesting thread. I have a pair of CDM 9NTs and have had an A5 amp since March. I am considering "upgrading" the speakers and admit that I am partial to B&W. But, not opposed to new things either. Anyway, I have been thinking about the 803D (MSRP $8K/pair), 803S (MSRP $5.5K/pair), and 804S (MSRP $4K/pair). Not sure if moving to the 803S/804S would be a "significant" upgrade though, but I'm probably fooling myself.
I see that JM Lab has a relatively new 1027 Electra Be that I want to listen to as well, which is more in my price range (I really want to keep it to $5K). Is B&W's diamond tweeter really worth the extra $$$, listening aside? Maybe I should really consider a used B&W pair from Audiogon?!
Given my price range, any thoughts? Thanks!
You can check out my system and system thread. I upgraded from the CDM9NT to the B&W N803. Worth every penny and the 803S is an even better speaker. The diamond tweeter is definatly worth the extra bucks.
b and w goes very well with MF!!! i have owned all of the gear your speaking of, and i think you should upgrade your speaker selection to the 803 nautilus, the A5 is very powerful, and for acoustic/classical the 803's are unreal...