How to make a 20th Century Nakamichi rig sing...?


Hello, It's my first post, so thanks in advance for any thoughts... I've recently come into a very handsome pair - Nakamichi 630 receiver/preamp and 610 stereo control preamp, both from the late 70's. I'm told they're in great condition. So... now, onto a power amp and speakers... Not very audiophonically cool or quality conscious of me to admit that space is an issue, but it really is for reasons i won't get into. And I might as well add here that while I'm willing to make smart investments, money is a consideration as well.

If the amp is to sit with the Nakamichis (again, it should for space reasons), it needs to be compact. I've been looking at Parasound's Zamp Quattro, which I like because it fits perfectly next to the Naks and has four channels. Would that be a quality match here? ("The rated output of 50W per channel x4 into an 8 ohm load and 90W per channel x2 into a 4 ohm load - 20Hz-20kHz - is quite impressive given the size of the chassis it's shoehorned into")

The room has wood floors and bookshelves, plaster walls, and is about 22 x 15' with 9' ceiling, not huge, not tiny. I'd like to fill it with a warm bright sound with plenty of beautiful bass. I listen to music and watch films at a fairly low to medium volume, but occasionally have friends over to tear up the floorboards, so it would be nice to have the ability to crank it now and again.

I'd like to put four small speakers in the room because I project video on to one wall and listen to music all over the room, so essentially I'm trying to create a four speaker "sound bath" effect that fills the room and also makes sense when you're sitting and watching a movie. Using the corners, I imagine two would sit on top of built in bookshelf at about 8 feet and two would get mounted high on the wall at same height. That seems like logical placement, but I'm no expert. Again major space concerns. Small is key. A friend tells me to consider old school KEF 101/2 and/or 102/2... both have an impedance of 4ohms.

Feeling unsure about what to do here... Could use wise words from people smarter than I in these matters. Many thanks...
gazpachot
Those Nakamichis are very cool and unique pieces!

I have never heard those but most Nakamichi gear through the 1980's or so at least was very good indeed and worth holding on to if in good working order. One of teh best value lines ever!

FOr the speakers, if wanting to listen from all locations in the room, I can easily recommend a pair of OHM Micro Walsh speakers or something similar. Two alone rather than 4 might do. See my system pics for an example. I have slightly larger OHMs running off a mix of vintage and new gear in my 2 channel A/V system.
The amp to buy will depend on what speakers you decide to go with. I'd decide on speakers first and then look for the best amp to match.

The Parasound is probably a very good choice. Might be just a bit short on power though to really drive some speakers to their maximum potential. That's why you should pick the speakers first so as to be able to find teh right amp that can max them out. Many people buy good speakers then skimp on the amp and end up with a decent sounding system but one that is not reaching its full potential.

Or just go with a similar vintage Nakamichi amp if you can find one in good working order and you will be sitting pretty for not very much these days I would say.

If you need max bang from an amp but small size, consider a newer Class D amp, which is much higher efficiency and smaller than others generally and also sounds great these days. Wyred4sound and Dsonic are two place to start looking for those.

I use Bel CAnto ref1000m Class D amps in my main rig. See my system pics for how small these 500w/ch gems are. These amps are teh bomb IMHO but there are other Class D amps like those I mentioned that are also big hitters and might cost less.
I'm trying an amp from Class D Audio, they are very compact and powerful. If you assemble it yourself, you can save money that way.

A CDA 224 (120 wpc) kit is $365.50. The same amp assembled for you is $445.00. The CDA 250C (250 Wpc) is $495.00 assembled.

I have high hopes for this amp, but for you, it's something to think about, and maybe look into.

Regards,
Dan
Thank you Mapman and Dan,

Actually the SDS-400C Class D Audio Stereo Power Amplifier looks pretty great. I was just looking at the Essence Digital Power Amp, which appears to be essentially the same thing for 3x the price.

If the goal is to fill the room "sound bath" style (i.e. sound not feeling weighted from one direction) and it can be done with two small speakers, great! Ideal, since I'd only need one stereo power amp. Which speakers will fit and fill the room is the question...

The MicroWalsh Shorts are nice looking (girlfriend's cat will definitely enjoy shredding them), but can't figure out where I would place two of them for optimal sound bath effect. I could use a primer course in speaker placement actually! I'm going on intuition here, which probably isn't a great idea.

With 4 speakers, one idea would be to get a pair of KEF 102/2's for on the ground on either side of the wall that gets the projection, and a pair of 101/2's for high up on the opposite wall. Even at only 10.3" deep those 102/2's will be sticking out quite a bit and get in the way because of couch seating arrangement. Another ideas is to get four 101/2's high up in all four ceiling corners, but I'm a little concerned about losing bass feel, with all that sound coming from up high. And of course four speakers means getting two amps, or some multichannel thing in a compact size which is seemingly impossible to find (other than the slightly underpowered Parasound Quattro).

The Nak 620 amp that goes with this system is hard to find, is big, and would need to get recapped. It's nice to complete the system, but I'm thinking I'm better off with something more up to date and more compact.

If the goal is to start with speakers, then my ideal is very small, very narrow depth (<10"), warm, quality bass pair that will fill the room. 4 Ohms. Sensitivity in high 80s... Am I dreaming? Open to all ideas.

Many thanks again.

Paul
I should add that speakers will have to go on the walls or on top of a full wall book shelf (8 feet high with a 9 foot ceiling - 1 ft clearance) or some combo thereof. Unfortunately, putting speakers away from the walls out into the open room won't work. You'd have to see the configuration, but essentially I'm relegated to walls and/or top of bookshelf... Thanks again. Paul
perhaps i should move this to conversation the speakers forum?
Gazpachot,

Class D has a four-channel amp that would work, though it'd quite a bit more money, around $1200 or so.

I've been using some very inexpensive KEF speakers for center and surrounds for around 12-13 years. They are easy to drive, have wide dispersion characteristics, take a beating, and sound good.

The old model I have is the Uni-Q Q15.2 that I use for surrounds, and Q-200 center channel. There is a mind-boggling amount of small speakers to chose from these days, so good luck to you.

Regards,
Dan
Thanks Dan.

I'll definitely look into that Class D 4 channel amp. People love their KEF speakers.

I've reposted a version of this conversation over at the speakers forum to see what people there think. Thanks for your good words!

Paul