Do Any High End Speakers Boogie/Rock? BW 804 Blues

Hello Fellow Audiogoners: I am interested in hearing if any audiophile sytems (speaker plus amplification) that can boogie and rock! What I mean here is a detailed but coherent and rich sound, not like a bunch of separate instruments that don't gell together. And not biased so brightly that symbols and highs dominate, making a thin and grating sound. I wonder if it is possible in what appears to be the analytical world of high end audio.

I'm a frustrated B&W Nautilis 804 owner that likes rock/blues/ok recorded cds in addition to jazz, classical, vocal etc, and I'm not interested in endless tweaking of cables/amplifiers/source to try to get these revealing speakers to sound good on a majority of my music collection.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Jeffsel..I know how you feel, I too was a frustrated rocker only after good sound quality. I then found ATC speakers and haven't looked back. Can rock without pulling the sound apart. Always cohesive and can play LOUD!
I have alway thought that the B&W 801 series 2 or 3 matrix was a tremendous speaker,wich should fit your music types.
I owned 801 series2 for about 8 years and must say it did rock,jazz and classical very well. If you check feedback on customer satisfaction ,the 801/802 "Matrix" series speakers for B&W was probably the must satisfying speaker they have ever produced....
My Merlin VSM-MM speakers does all music types very well,the best of all the speakers I've had.Amp:Pathos Logos.
I know exactly what you mean with your question,I am a previous B&W owner...

Von Schweikert's play all music really well and can rock with the best.Many different models to choose from also
If you want to rock, get a pair of Aerial Model 10ts, or a pair of PMC IB1s. They will get your freak on for sure.
for me the mcintosh xrt 22's are the end but since i own them i wont give the big speel.

i recently listened to the vmps line & was mighty impressed.
Why are you a frustrated B&W Nautilis 804 owner?
What is the rest of your system?
I have the following system:
Musical Fidelity A3 Pre Amp
Rotel 1080 Power Amp
Cary 202/200 CD
Harmonic Tech Truthlink Cables

This system sounds good for Classical, Jazz Ensemble, Vocals, but not 80% of my rock and blues collection.
I'm a blues/rock and roll guy. I finally found happiness (and believe it or not contentment) with Dynaudio confidence 3's, a rogue magnum 99 pre and a rogue zeus. However, you might listen to my system and think that it stinks, it is a preference thing and the source you choose has got to work with the rest of the chain. But anyway, fwiw, one persons path to air guitar/foot stomping happiness without the grainy fatigue.
Good Luck!
You need a couple of subs Jeff...bass is the foundation upon which rock is built, No boogie without the slam factor.

Sogood, my reason for having floor standers with two woofers is so that I don't have to get a sub. Before the 804s I had Avid two ways for fifteen years and never felt the need for a sub--artifical mid bass hump? Also, my concern with a Sub and the 804s is that the highs will still be unforgiving.
Get a sub.
Von Schweikert VR4 Gen III HSE go down to 16Hz (per Von Schweikert). No need for a sub.
I second the Von Schweikert line. Size wise the VR2 is pretty close to your 804 yet excels in regards to bass.
Right now I boogie and rock with Klipsch Cornwalls, they are GREAT speakers, but I want more full range, and I found out about Reimer speakers here on audiogon. I am waiting for my Tetons to be finished next week, They ROCK like you only dream of. They are killer speakers, at a REAL world price, made right here in the US of A.
Without going on too much, I'll just say that I second the ATC recommendation. Can play a delicate piano & bass duo before turning around to crank out your grainiest garage rockin' bootleg record with equal satisfaction.
>>I'm not interested in endless tweaking of cables/amplifiers/source to try to get these revealing speakers to sound good on a majority of my music collection>>

You haven't told us anything about your amp, pre-amp, source, etc. What other components are you using with your N804's? No speaker is going to sound good with any, or every, upstream component.........which doesn't necessarily equal "endless tweaking". System & component matching is like audiophile 101, frustrating tho it may be.
Sorry I was dealing with snow clean-up. Jeff, Forget the Subs, you need to get some serious wattage on those 804's! I'm playing with a took-in-trade pair of Sig 805's with Bryston 7b-st's. They Boogie with Classical, Jazz, Female Vocals, & do the ever rock w/ Rock! I used to own the Cdm-9nt's which I ran them with a Bryston 4b-st with 2 Rel Stratas. Then added the 7b-st's & sold the Rels. Bowers & Wilkins speaker like power, & 300 or more watts of clean SS power they will move to any groove!
Steveaudio, Jeff did mention his system =

Musical Fidelity A3 Pre Amp
Rotel 1080 Power Amp
Cary 202/200 CD
Harmonic Tech Truthlink Cables
You may want to add Legacy Audio speakers to your audition list. Both the Signature IIIs and the Focus 20/20 are excellent rock speakers.

Also, I like the McIntosh recommendation. I love their XRT-28s in particular, but they are bank breakers to most...

I second the B&w`s like power,and lots of it.I had matrix 801`s for a while and they really seemed to open up with a krell ksa 300s compared to lower powered rowlands.
Yep Right on Tim, As those Driver like to Dance Boogie, & Move some Air. Till then Jeff you haven't even really heard what the 804's sound like till you ad the juice!
Tim and Audiobugged: What's wrong with 200 watts. it's at the top of B&Ws recommended amp power rating. My problem is that I get fine sound on a few of my recordings top to bottom, but on many the sound is tilted up. I don't see how more power is going to solve this problem. Thx, Jeff
Jeff, Not to bash your Rotel which is great for H/T. But with the 804's for 2 channel, but it's like running a pair of Wilson Audio Watt/Puppy 7.1's with a Denon A/V Receiver. I would audition other amps, as the rest of your rig is fine. Prior to abandoning hope on the 804's, & selling them prior to ever hearing them breathe. Many B&W users make the mistake to jump, then dump, before the juice was ever pumped!
I would like to stay with something in the size and shape range as the 804 ie the aerial 94 or Van schw 2vr, due to my wife and room constraints. Any other suggestions in this direction? thx jeff
Audiobugged: The problem is too may variables. How much of this is the preamp vs the amp vs the cables? I live in a remote area (Aspen, co) and even if I drove 3 hrs to the big city, the dealers all cary narrow lines, so I dont have a good way to demo all of these changes.
The British 804 love Canadian Solid State Bryston, Classe, Sim Audio, etc. Which are less expensive then, ML, Krell, & Pass, etc. If you could squeeze a Classe CA-300/301 or CA400/401 it would open your ears! A McIntosh MC352 power amplifier, would do the trick too! Your pre-amp can be upgraded later as it isn't the boo boo that needs a bandaid, the priority is the amp I.M.H.O. There is nothing wrong with the Harmonic Tech. I.C.'s, & Classe along with Rotel is now owned by B&W. No need to drive anywhere, as your issues could all end with one carefully researched Audiogon amp purchase, & one swift Audiogon Rotel amp sale.

And yes Stamp, & Butterfly collecting would be less stressful alternatives to this hobby! But the journey to reproduce the sound of live music in your listening area, are worth the efforts of swaping, changing, & playing around till your find your a sound that comforts you after all your endeavors.

Lastly, Even if you spend 15G, or 200G on a system?
If the recording is poor on a cd to begin with, nothing will help!
804's like the other Nautilus speakers are too bright and that brightness makes them very unforgiving which means 90% of your CD's don't sound good. Just measure one sometime and you'll understand why your ears are getting sawed off with heavy rock and roll. Rotel is a fine amplifier if you have a balanced Sounding speaker. As some have assessed a bright speaker with raucous music and the rotel will give you a headache.

ATC SCM20 A2, no amp needed and will peel the semi gloss off your listening room wall.

SCM35 redefines midrange dynamics in its price class, tears the VSR's a new one in every area but the bass.

Dynaudio Contour(any) & Audience 82, instant gratification

Dali Evidence 870 will work great with your Rotel

Meyersound HD1 (little pricey but WOW super dynamic--powered also)

Eton 11.2 DIY kit (if you're on a tighter budget, under $2K with local guy building the box) If you want an active Cinematic 11.2, $4500

VSR 2000 also good choice.

There's some variety, choices that will play Megadeth to SRV to Patti Smith. I feel your pain with the musical "flexibility" issue. B&W's are not flexible, trying to fix a problem that requires an equalizer with an amplifier is not a good idea.

have fun shopping.
So your solution was to spend more on your electronics than on your speakers?

That makes a good deal of sense.

Measure your speakers sometime than explain to me how its response makes it a rock and roll speaker. If your explanation is convincing then I will concede. But something you are not aware of is that many people have Jeffsel's complaints and rightfully so.

You on the other hand you seem to benefit from the boost in the high frequencies which is why it is there. So Audiobugged if you look at the facts, you have every right to like these speaker as they have been contoured to your preferences, just as Jeffsel dislikes the speakers for the same reason you like them so much.

But when you "customize" the response like B&W has then you will create love & hate. Measure you speakers and "see" what you like to hear so when you upgrade you know what you like and you won't be starting from a blank slate.

With 300 watts on the 804's you are on the cusp of their destruction.
Jeffael, listen to the reimer windrivers, 3800 for musical bliss.....same size app. as the B&W's, only Mucho better INHO.
I listened to the 804s several times before getting the Von Scweikert 4JRs. I couldn't believe how bright the 804s sounded each time, but I wanted to think that B&W was the solution. I have found the VSA speakers to be great all around including bass. Source is also critical for you though since many of rock recordings are so terrible.
Jeff, Here is my offer as I am a man of my word, & have the disposible income to conquer. You purchased the N804's because you wanted them, no one twisted your arm. Yet now everyone if offering other speaker solutions, & not really helping the current situation. If you want to take the B&W wattage guide lines to heart, feeling that you might overdrive them sending them into an early grave.... fine? You do some web searching, & find an amp. Contact me with your choices, as I have been a B&W listener for over 17 years. Never clipped, or sent one on it's path to destruction. Again if the final amp of selection does not improve your satisfaction level on all parts. I will purchase the amp, along with both the shipping cost to you, & me, dollar for dollar!!! Genuinely, Frank
Possibly I am missing something here as to B&W and power.
Having a pair of 805 Signatures they only came alive when I put a McIntosh 352 amp to them. It is not that you are using all this but like a V8 over a 6 cylinder it just works and preforms better with more power behind it.
Plus at the same time B&W likes more power with less effort to drive them.
My opinion,for what it is worth.B&W speakers are "needy"It is very easy for B&W speakers to come off as bright or nasal sounding(at least the matrix series,havent heard the nautilus). So much care is needed in choosing the associated gear for the B&W speakers to sound right because it is too easy to make them sound bad.When you got it right,its a beautiful thing when you dont,grab the earplugs.I am sure you can find speakers that arent quite as "needy" when it comes to the associated equipment.If you want to do your 804`s justice and get everything you can out of them, I think you need to pony up in the amp department.With your comment of not being interested in endless tweaking,maybe its time or past time to move on to more user friendly speakers.Enjoyment is what matters most
No. Cerwin-Vegas or Kenwoods used with a graphic equalizer rock. Don't we remember anything we learned in junior high school here people?!
Vintage Snell B, B Minor or CV.
jeffsel,i agree with you on the no sub deal,you shouldnt & dont need a sub.

two very good points have been made here,the first being from audiobugged when he suggested a bigger amp.

speaker ratings are for reference only & should not be looked at as if they were cut in stone,your rotel is struggling to supply power to the b&w's & with that struggle within the amp comes a poor quality of power.

the second good point was from valleyplastic(hi dave)in the fact that just because you have more wattage dose not mean you need to use it & by having a bigger amp you will increase overall performance in your speakers 10 fold.

take no offense to this as its not meant that way but the rest of your rig far out classes your amp & the b&w's being at the end of the line are exposing all its weaknesses.

im not a b&w owner but before i settled on my current speakers i auditioned 804's several times & they sounded fantastic with a huge sound stage & slammin bass but each time they were matched with an amp with big balls!

the bigger amp vs reccomended ratings was drove home to me as soon as i doubled power to my xrt 22's & as soon as i did man oh man did they come to life & i believe that will happen for you also.

my speakers are rated for 250 wpc & im running 500 wpc with outstanding results.

of the 2 auditions i did with the 804's one was with a mcintosh mc402 & the b&w's were slammin! & the mc352 that was reccomended should bring your speakers to life.

Thanks everyone for such a great response. I appreciate the diversity of opinions here and I'm getting some good ideas.

On the larger amp side, I'm not just after more bass, but a fuller, more coherent sound. I'm sure bass would help but I'm not sure it would do the trick. Audiobugged: thx for such an amazing offer. To make it easier, first, I will call some of the dealers in Denver to see if they will let me borrow and ship me a larger amp.

On the speaker front, I would like to see something in the same size range as my 804s and the recommendations along that vein seem to be the Von Schw 2s and the Aerial 9s, among others. Any thoughts on PSB Golds, Paradigm Studios, Kef? Keep it coming. Best Regards, Jeff
Jeffsel, this is my direct experience with the "more power" issue. I once owned Aerial 7B loudpeakers and drove them with a Bryston 4B SST amplifier. The Aerials didn't "pop" with that amp which was rated at 250 w/ch. So, it was recommended to me that I switch to a Bryston 14B SST, which is 600 w/ch. Now, of course I never used the 600 watts available, but even at low listening levels it was obvious that the extra power made a difference. More bass at lower levels, and just more musicality overall. I'm not a techie, so I can't explain why this was true, but I know first hand that it is true.
A good buddy of mine has a pair of 804's. He's powering them w/ a cheap Denon receiver until he decides on an amp and preamp combo. I brought my Krell KAV-400xi integrated over and we rocked the house down! Pissed off the wives something fierce. The B&W's sounded great w/ my Krell. Wide open, detailed and dynamic, and we were using a crappy old Sony CD changer.

Stereophile just did a review on this unit. It was mixed on the technical side of the review but very positve on the subjective listening side.

I agree w/ all the posters regarding B&W and power. They love it and so will you.
Jeff, I figured I might as well put my money where my mouth, or fingers where. Since I WAS the only one who continuely mentioned your amp being the culprit of your disappointment. I am not buying into Cinematic_systems posts as far as B&W being non-flexible, & thought my offer would make you feel less pressured to take the amp upgrade path. You are going to want to search out the pre-owned/demo route on an amp. As otherwise just like the N804's Kevlar Fst driver needs 200-500 hours of break-in. A new in the box amp, would also require 100-300 hours to Burn-in to show it's true sonic qualities. The additional power will not just add additional low-end, but will aid the mids, & highs. As for as Brightness, the 804's are somewhat forward sounding but can be tamed with the right amp.

This offer was only extended to Jeff, so thanx for all the e-mails from my Agon friends to buy everyone a new amp! Last I checked I was not the Six Million Dollar Man, however I have built many systems, each being stronger, faster, tighter, & able to reach new heights!

Are your Truth-Links Copper, or the Silver variety?
Get more power. And a sub.

(VS as a replacement might work too, I don't know.)

Audiobugged: My truthlinks are copper and I have Tara Labs Prime 1000 speaker cables, also copper. What kind of amp are you thinking? I had a Musical Fidelity a3 that was very lean, and replaced with Rotel and things got somewhat better. Wondering if an integrated would make sense, that way I could try it without the a3 pre?
I have to agree with Audiobugged ... that Rotel has got to go. And on the Bryston, if you don't want to spend top dollar on the 7B's, the 4B SST would be an excellent match as well.
high current delivery perhaps more than the amount of watts might make an even bigger difference in the case of B&W speakers, even at half the watts your Rotel is capable of delivering. The type of power seems to make a difference, not just the quanity,important as a consideration as that remains. Also-really, checking out different speaker cables/interconnects certainly could not hurt in the process of determining where the problem might be in your system, and is perhaps not as extreme as getting a new set of speakers or new amp...much as I envy you that choice.And yes, there are a zillion and one speakers that boogie and rock! Godfrey! it makes you wonder why we ever had another choice.
I'm jumping in very late here, but you might want to check out the pair of Hales Revelation Two's for sale right now on the 'gon. The price is a steal for the quality. I might be a little biased because I own a pair myself. I bought the Hales when I worked for a dealer who also sold B&W. I will tell you this, I've demoed the 804's next to the Rev Two's on the same electronics for comparison and the Hales consistently played with more "boogie" and "depth" esp on blues and rock. The Hales have an uncanny way of getting the overall "tone" right so the music comes through. I'm driving mine with an Arcam Alpha 10 amp and it's a little slice of heaven.