Liked the Nautilus 805 but found better?

I really, really like my 805s, but, alas, the bass. I'm looking for those that fell in love, and then found something better. Opinions on the 804's have been mixed. I cant see them being $1500 better than the 805. any and all suggestions appreciated.
For the best results the N805 need good stands. When you factor that in (say $500 more at least), there is only a $1000 or less difference in price with the N804. If I had $3500 to spend I would look for a used pair of N803. If I had only $2000 to spend I would look for a used pair of Matrix 803-2. (Assuming you want floor standers.)
Or a pair of Matrix 802-3 for around $2000 to $2500. I assume you want to stick with B&W.
Why not get a sub?
I would either get the 803's second hand, or do what I did, get a REL sub. It integrates perfectly and is every bit as musical as the B&W's, thanks to its Neutrik Speakon connector, which allows you to connect from the speaker outs instead of the sub out.
I audited both the N804 and N805 and agreed that the N804 does not worth the extra $1500. A good quality stand should help to improve the bass. I'm using a old pair of Foundation right now and am quite happy with the amount of bass (but that depends largely on the size of your room).
Subs are hard to integrate, and the good ones are too much. I heard the Sonus Faber Grand Piano,with some high priced Denon receiver, and despite the setup, I liked what I heard. I bet the Sonus Faber EA is nice, and they go low for the smaller speakers. The sound of the 805 is impossible to fault (in my system, anyway) above 60 hz. It's just the bass. IF I could get 10 hz lower, that's all I want. I'm not some bass junkie, it's just that some CDs are a little thin, and the B&W's REALLY show it. Like Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. Ouch. Where's the Bass?? Dire Straits' Dire Straits... same thing. I'm not married to the B&W name, I want flat bass to 40ish hz, and the same quality of driver integration that the 805 has, with the delicate treble and the air and the imaging. Crap. It's not going to happen, is it?
In which case you probably bought the wrong speaker, if you want bass.
Gthirteen: Try a set of Vibrapods between your speakers and stands for $48.00. If they do not do the trick then send them back. I just tried some Mapleshade brass cones under my Renauds that are stand mounted and the combo sounded great. It added bass and smoothed out the sound even more so on strings and such. I am undecided on the added smoothness but the LF's did sound good to me. I cannot leave them that way though because it is too precarious a set up with pets and other people around the speakers and stands. I tried a set of Vibrapods after the cones and they increased the bass as well.
I'm a not sure this will be helpful to you, but I can share several things that have enhanced my Nautilis 805's. Both Sugarbrie's stand rec's and Ohlala's sub rec's have worked well for me. I prefered the Sound Anchor 805 stands to the B&W 805 stands in my system, which is in a small room. It took a lot of placment experimentation to get the bottom-end right. Also, I have been using a REL Stadium II with the 805's, which blends well and makes quite an improvement in soundstaging. Marigo dot treatments seem to help this speaker in my system. I use one 3mm white dot on each tweeter flange (remove the wire screen to attach) at 12 o'clock and one 30 mm dot on the back center of each cabinet. The tweeter dots increase resolution/extension and the 30mm dots lower the overall noise-floor. Good luck in your search!
I have the Target R stands. Pretty serious.
A few things can help immensely: a) Vibration control devices betweenn speakers and stand. Walker Points I use are excellent. Marigo dots as explained above; b) increase current to your amp. The new copper FatBoys from Electraglide are bass "oriented" c) modify crossover; d) change speakers: e.g. Audio Vienna, "Mozart", Sonus Faber "Grand Piano" Impact new speakers (see their web site)
Gthirteen, what electronics are you using? This could be the source of your bass concerns. I have a pair of Nautilus 805s, and am using Bryston amp & preamp. I've been pretty happy with bass. The Bryston gear (particularly the power amps) are known for their bass authority. A change there could give you what you are looking for. Good luck.
Rega Planet CD, CJ PV11L preamp, McCormack DNA.5 amp, AQ Diamondx3, Lapisx3 ICs, and AQ SA-40/CV-4 Biwire (2 15 gauge cables, 1 silver 1 6 9s copper).
Ghirteen: You may be able to increase the bass by changing a few tubes in the preamp. I would discuss the possibility with Kevin at Upscale. And also Pods or whatever as mentioned before.
I must be screwed. Kevin suggested that the PV-11 is one of the most "ornery" preamps re: "tube finnickyness". I'm using rubber pads with foam rubber pads on top of them (about .5 inches in diameter) to couple speakers to the stands. The Rega sits on a granite slab/innertube/granite slab/tiptoes/concrete slab floor(carpeted, of course) setup. The preamp has tiptoes pointing down into foam ruber pads/granite/tiptoes/floor, and the amp makes use of it's soft-shoe/coupling spike combo that is stock to the McCormack, sitting on granite slab and you guessed it, tiptoes. McCormack has Synergystic Research Masta Coupla, and the other PC are captive, stock. All cables are elevated from the floor.
Gthirteen: I think you know deep down that there is no moniter in the world that's going to give you the deep bass your looking for. Let's face it, physics don't allow. I own a pair of Sonus Faber Electa Amatours. Although they go as low as just about any moniter can, it still not enough. I wound up getting a REL Stadium II which integrates perfectly & allows my system to produce a full range sound. They can be had used for around $1700, but are hard to find. If that's too much you may want try the model below.
But the EAs go lower than 40 hz, right?? I don't need the lowest octave at all. If I could get flat at 40, (like the SF Grand Pianos) I would be happy. I know Paolo_Italy can supply the old GPs at around the $ that I could get for my N805's, and I might float them so that I could try them, as there's no SF dealer anywhere around. BUT I wish I knew more about them. I really, really think that what the 805 plays can't be beat for twice the price. Ho Hum..... Maybe I need some monster
Gthirteen: Your problem may be your room. I don't remember seeing your room dimensions posted, but it takes a BIG room to get deep bass. It has to do with wave travel time and having the room to allow the long waves (deep bass) to develop. There are a couple of articles on the stereophile website in the archives that can help you with this. The other thing to keep in mind is that B & W's are "kick in the seat of the pants bass" speakers. The 800 series are all designed based on the 801. The 801 was originally designed as a no compromise studio moniter for studios producing classical music. It is a very flat response speaker. Good Luck, Doug
OOPS goofed, sorry gang. I meant to say: the 801's are NOT "kick in the seat of the pants bass" speakers. Doug
Gthirteen: Doug may be on to the problem. But, if you do not want to spend a lot of money right now experiment with "removing" or switching some of your isolation components. You may end up with a slightly more wooley bass which may be the ticket. I have been experimenting with different combinations of isolation components and everything is always different but not always what I am looking/hearing for. Many of the things that I have tried improved the mids and the highs to a great extent but have depleted much of the "wool" in the bass. I like some wool in my bass:-) It's all about balance, IMO. Most clubs and venues that I have listened and played music in over the years have had less than ideal bass characteristics, and this is what I attribute to "real" sound. And please try something different between your speakers and stands. Ask Sam, he knows what effect the Vibrapods have on bass in this application as I have seen him post as such. Not to nag I will not bring it up again. David
GET THE 802s nice speaker and good bass.Make sure you get them with the Sound Anchors.
Gthirteen, When I was shopping for speakers I prefered the Audiophysic Tempo, and the Aeriel Model 6 to the 805's, but they were $800-1400 more expensive and they did not have enough bass either. I would not be happy with those speakers without a sub, which would have raised the price again. I settled on the 805's, and bought a REL Strata III through Audiogon at a fair price. I have not heard any speaker that has the bass authority of a great sounding, well designed speaker (like Avalon for instance) that was not quite expensive. I recommend saving a few extra dollars and get a second hand REL. It will get you as close as you can get without a significantly higher cash outlay. I have heard the Grand Pianos on several accasions and thought they looked great, I wanted very much to like them, but they were annoyingly bright and became tiresome. It may have been the electronics, but I don't think so. As to being satisfied at 40 hertz, I think you may be mistaken. The frequencies below that affect the mids, and the soundstage greatly.
I have owned the Nautilus 804 and 803 and found that they were both good, but there were better stuff out there for less money. Try the Sonus Faber Concerto Home which goes for $1895 plus the matching $450 stands. It goes down to 45hx, the Electa Amator II which I've owned is rated to 35hz at -3db, and for a mini-monitor its impressive.
get the diapason adamantes adwertised on audioweb for $1400 - i heard these at a s'phile show, & they flat-out disappeared, went down to 40hz easily, & are georgeous to boot!
oops - the adamantes' are adwertized here, too...
Gthirteen, the EA's will go lower than the 805's. Although they are rated to go down to 40hz, they still are not going to give you that true full range sound your looking for. No moniter will except for maybe perhaps the Extrema. Trust me, your gonna want a sub with the EA's. If you don't want a sub, get a larger full range speaker with perhaps a small footprint if size is a concern. A sub actually worked better in my situation. It eliminated an annoying mid bass hump I was experiencing with other full range speakers.
I added a NHT SW2pi last night, just to try. It mates very well, actually. Using a low pass x-over point of about 75hz on the sub, I got good sound with very little fiddling about. This is a tough one, guys. I get to keep the 805s, but have to shell out more $$$ for a sub. I'm going to try a couple of other local subs, but was thinking about the Meadowlark Audio Shearwater. Any thoughts?
c'mon these posts. How many times have the REL's been mentioned? There's a reason for that. They are really one of the very best subs out there. They will integrate seemlessly & have many models in all price ranges. REL will even provide a recommended setting for the 805's specifically. NHT sub??? Do the 805's justice. Get a REL.
Yeah yeah, Sagger, you want to buy it for me? Listen before thrashing a company's products. I'm sure REL is great, but with the products being nonexistant on the used market, and the least expensive current model being $1500, it will be several years before I'm in a position to shell out this knid of green again. Unless you want to buy it for me, Sag?
i tried the *least expensive* rel, & i'd rather have *no* sub. sounded like one-note-thump, to me. for the same money, (and even if they cost more), i'd rather have my *two* vmps larger subs. of course, my sub system cost ~$2.4k, but this was buying the subs brand-gnu, the marchand x-over brand-gnu, the tara labs cabling brand-gnu, & the adcom 555 amps for $400 each - one brand-gnu back in '85, the other used a couple years ago. more careful shopping &/or getting a pair of vmps original subs, if your room isn't huge, would lower the price quite a bit.
Sure Gthirteen...maybe you would like to buy you Porche & perhaps a vacation home. Lighten up for gods sakes. I'm just trying to help you out here. Look, I'm not trashing NHT. I think some of there products are pretty nice (in particular the 3.3's) However, IMHO I don't think the NHT2pi is up to the 805's standard. That's a complement to your speakers. IMHO the SF GP's are more for home theator than 2 channel. I happen to think your preamp is excellent & don't understand why Steve (whoever he is) would say they are finicky with tubes & ornery. I happen to use the PV8 in a second system with no problems at all. In addition I know two guys that have & love the PV11, again no problems of orneryness or finickyness. You never did say... so how about letting us know how much you want to shell out. Than maybe we could be of more help.
I actually sold my N804 and bought a pair of N805's and Sound Anchor stands. I like them MUCH Better. They are a little less forward in the midrange and believe it or not have more bass (quantity) and just overall sound more right. Add a decent subwoofer and they are way better than the N804. I personally found the FST midrange a tad dry in its presentation and very forward which is not to my taste. One can certainly justify either based on $$$ but my reaction is based soley on sound. This is by the way in the same room dedicated to audio only within my house. Also keep in mind the 805's are a little friendlier of a load and will play very well on some sweet sounding tub amplifiers where the 804's will have some trouble.
Hey Sagger, no offence intended, buddy. I don't know how much money, I've not had much luck getting subs to work seamlessly, in any system I've ever heard. Krellnot taps into an opinion that I've heard before. Perhaps the B&W subs might match well. I've never heard anything bas about REL products, I'm just trying to do this on the cheap. I'd rather live with what I have than accept less then par performance. I'm returning my NHT Audition today, as Sagger prophesized, it just didn't cut it. Thanks again for all the help guys. Anyone heard of Newform Research?? Check out the 645 speaker on AUdioreview. It's hard to imagine 30 -odd reviews with nothing less then a "5" rating...
O.K. I'm with ya Gthirteen...Your gonna think I'm crazy, but I actually like the way the CDM1SE's sound over the 805's. Of course even though I did listen to them the same day, they were in two different systems & rooms. 805's with Krell separates, cdm's with a Mcintosh intergrated. So I would say the 805's had the advantage in electronics. Anyway, maybe the CDM's with a REL sub??? Just thought I'd throw it out there for ya.
If you wait, there are REL's which show up for around $750. If that is within your budget, you won't be sorry. The 805's run around 2 grand, so $750 for a sub sounds like a reasonable amount. I agree with you Gthitreen, don't settle for something less than par, patience will be rewarded in this case. Try reading the Robert Harley review of the REL Strata II through, everything said about it is true of the Strata III and more (tighter bass). Good luck.
Hey Gthirteen: Did see the Merlin VSM's for $1500 on this sight? I think that will give you everything your looking for at a great price. No sub needed & in IMHO betters the 805's by far.
Gthirteen, I love the N805s, too, and ran the same amp you're using. I would try a fuller balanced speaker cable than the quite lean sounding Audioquest CV-4. I used the Goertz MI-2 biwired, which sounded smooth and full-bodied. If you'd like to stay with AQ, try the older Midnight cable; very rich and powerful bass. I also ran side wall diffusor/absorbers to prevent the tweeter's wide dispersion from tipping the balance towards the highs. For a good(and cheap) subwoofer, try a Definitive ProSub 80 crossed at 50 hz and turned down low.
I also sold my N804's to upgrade to N805's. Yes, this is not a typo. The sound of the N804's seemed to lack the dynamics that make pop and rock recordings enjoyable. I agree with Krellnot regarding the midrange, it did seem to be a bit agressive which made Diana Krall sound like she needed some Dristan. The N805's on the other hand have everything I could hope for. The sound is dynamic, transparent and highly detailed. The bass is excellent for such a compact speaker but that last ounce of weight is missing. I solved this problem by adding the associated subwoofer that Stereophile used when reviewing the N805's; the Paradigm Reference Servo 15. The amplification is a Bryston 4B-ST and BP25. The result is gorgeous. Other B&W Nautilus 805 owners take note, system synergy is extremely important otherwise you may be shortchanging these little gems.
When looking earlier this year, I auditioned the 804s, 805s, and Linn 5140s. Found that the Linns had more, smoother bass than the 804s and 805s. Agree that 804s didn't seem worth the extra money, but I do have a friend who has them & swears by them. I also agree that the B&Ws in general might provide a little more clarity than the 5140s (which are very smooth compared to the slightly harsh lower-end Ninkas).

At the end of the day, I got the store demo set of the 5140s because I didn't want to shell out the extra $1000 for the 804s and didn't like the lack of bass in the 805s. Also, I like the fact that the Linns could be placed pretty close to the wall -- I live in NYC. I felt I would have had to spend a lot more to do better than the 5140s or 804s. I'm very happy with my purchase. The same friend, who heard the 5140s with my very modest power behind them recently, thought again about his B&W stuff -- he figured he could have saved himself the extra money for the 804s *and* the B&W woofer he bought to boost their bass by going Linn. When he gets home to Seattle, though, he listens to the greater clarity of the B&Ws and changes his mind. It's only money, right? You can't go wrong. Good luck.
I am lucky enough to have N804 main, and N805 as surrounds. I liked the N804s rich midrange more than the N805s. Now I have the best of both worlds.
I used to work for a dealer who carried B&W and I also liked the 805s, but no matter what we did they just don't have much by way of bass--not bad, just not much.

Then we picked up Soliloquy, and although there are trade-offs(as always) overall I preferred the Soliloquy 5.0, which also provided enough bass to consider not adding a sub if you're not a bass freak. Oh, and they only cost around $1300 which includes extremely attractive and solid matching stands that are sand fillable. They are also not nearly as picky with amplification as the B&Ws, although they will reveal differences. You've got nothing to lose by listening and potentially over $1000 to gain(assuming you need stands for the 805s).

You asked for any and all suggestions, so I'll add Tyler and Coincident Technology X1(I think) monitors and the Triangle Antal floorstanders which will all give the 805s a run for the money and then some, depending on your tastes.

Don't know what you've already heard, but there are certainly a boatload of competitive options in this price range so I'd highly recommend you give some of them a listen if you haven't already to make sure B&Ws are the right choice. Best of luck.


Look out for a pair of Totem Mani-2's. These speakers will do exactly what you want. I see them used for as low as $1700.00. I see them every once in awhile on the used market.