A budget of no more then $5K, which seems to be the 'tipping' point where spending more gets little if any improvement in sound. Check out some of the Caying products, used of course. They give great value and great sound.
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I would actually consider a Quality Tube type intergrated amp and a different speaker ( other than B&W )..Something more tube freindly..or possibly throw in a Tube linestage..It depends on the amount of money you can afford and how far you are willing to go to change what you have..You could also sell all of what you have and start for the Ground floor ( which could be your best bet in the long run ) ..Personally I don't think one item will solve your problem..Its more of putting together a group of pieces that require more time and experience...Not sure if that answers your question or not.....
This is my personal opinion so please don't knock me for it. I just sold a brand new Rotel amp and preamp because it was so bright I couldn't listen to it for more than 10 minutes without losing my mind. I realize this was brand new and the older stuff probably sounds a lot better, I hope. I would check out Salk Songtowers, a Rogue Cronus Magnum, and what ever source you're into. The Rogue and Songtowers will run you 4k. Both made in the good old USA and you will not find better customer service anywhere hands down. It's nice to be able to speak with the owner of the company when you have questions. Rotel's warranty is non transferable and they could care less if you live or die.
Ok got my new speakers at first thought they lacked bass but have come around to the idea that they are right and the b&w has to much bass. The new speakers are 91 db. The rotel sounds fine with the speakers and everything is much more listenable since the juicy music peach arrived ,however I want more control and heft the rotel doesn't seem to push the speakers very well at low volume.will more watts do that or should I look in a different direction? I was thinking about a used Ayer v3? Not more watts but would probably control the speakers better. What are your opinions? Thanks,Scott
the rotel doesn't seem to push the speakers very well at low volumeKeep in mind that at low volumes your ears are MUCH less sensitive to bass frequencies, relative to their sensitivity to mid-range frequencies, than they are at higher volumes.
I don't know your speakers but speaker efficiency needs to be considered if you are looking for low volume performance . By low volume I mean a level that does not require one to raise their voice for normal conversation in the listening area .
At first glance your 91db. speakers would look like decent candidates for low volume listening . But , a couple of other things need to be considered here .
1.) What does the impedance curve look like ? Does it dip way down in the bass region or have other wild swings ? You want a curve that is fairly flat near and above 8 ohms .
2.) What does the crossover network look like ? You need something that will use a minimum amount of power to operate it .
A single driver speaker would be ideal but a two way isn't bad if there is not a complicated network doing the division . Something like mine , which only have a capacitor , would be nice .
3.) What size is your bass driver ? It takes more power to drive a 15" woofer as opposed to a 5" one .
When considering low level listening it is important to get as much use out of the first watt of your amp as possible . If much or all of that first watt is used to operate your crossover network and/or drive a big woofer then you will need to increase the wattage , turn it up , to get good sound characteristics .
I hope that this helps you .
Good luck .
Saki70, please explain why sensitivity has any impact on low volume listening? It only determines the amount of voltage necessary to produce a certain SPL.
Also, why does the impedance curve of the speaker make any difference to a solid state (low output impedance) amplifier?
I don't see why how much insertion loss the crossover contributes has any impact either other than requiring a higher voltage to achieve a certain SPL.
I don't understand the first watt comment. It seems to be common for solid state amps to have worse distortion characteristics at very low power levels than at much higher levels.
Inituitively it seems to me that the volume level created by the speakers has to reach some value greater than the room ambient noise before we perceive it as being high fidelity. Too low of a level and the low level musical details will get lost in the room ambient noise. Too high of a level and the high level musical details dulls our hearing and we lose detail perception again. I suspect the optimum level above room ambient noise is uniquely individual.
If the music has a wide dynamic range and the room ambient noise is relatively high, there may be no way to achieve good quality low level listening.
When you set the volume control to the desired listening level, you are causing the amplifier to deliver whatever amount of power is required by the particular speaker to create that listening level. Assuming, of course, that the required amount of power does not exceed the amplifier's maximum power capability, which is not an issue here, and will certainly not be an issue if higher volumes can be played cleanly.
I second Bob's comments and questions.
The amount of displacement in either direction of the driver's cone is directly proportional to the voltage across its motor. The sensitivity of the speaker is determined by applying 2.83 volts. Increase the voltage by turning up the volume and you increase the displacement of the cone and it moves more air and a greater sound pressure is created in the room. Likewise, decreasing the voltage by turning down the volume and you decrease the displacement of the cone and it moves less air and a smaller sound pressure is created in the room.
No, a 1000 watt amp will not cause the speakers to sound any differently than a 50 watt amp, if only say 5 watts is necessary to produce the SPL you desire. The speaker is consuming less power at lower volume levels -- the voltage is less because you turned down the volume.
The obvious solution to having warmer fuller sound bass is to add a subwoofer. Having the additional bass weight sounds warmer and more full bodied to me. I can turn off the sub and the entire soundfield seems to collapse. It becomes more two dimensional, less life like.
No Bob , I can't explain it . That sort of stuff makes my head hurt !
I just talk about the things that I have found to work for me .
I haven't seen any size or characteristics listed for your room . I would assume that ,if you are using a 7" driver for a woofer , you are in a fairly small room and sitting rather close to the speakers .
Check here on what others have written about in regards to subwoofer use for 2 channel music . It can be quite nice but it can be very difficult to get right . I was not able to get it right and I have heard a few audio salons miss the mark as well .
Thorman's advice may get you closer to where you want to be . I have found more body/presence with tubes , in my price range , than any of the solid state that I have owned or auditioned .
Good luck .