Just to complicate matters, would the McCormack DNA 500 be any better than the Halo's with the 803d's?
Since you have not had much luck with responses to this thread I will chime in. I have no experience with B&W 803d. I do own the JC 1s. Based solely on what Ive read about B&W I dont think they would be a good match with JC 1s. To my ear the JC 1s are a little bright. Im using vandersteen 3Asigs and subs. The vandys are not bright yet sometimes things still sound a little out of whack. I gravitate toward a very live sound so I do not like the rolled off flat "hi fi" sound. With B&Ws reputation for being bright I would not put them together but until you have heard the combination in your room with your associated gear you just cant tell for sure. Ive heard the Belles 350A monos paired with similar gear to mine in a different room with Vanersteen 5As. The sound was not quite lively enough for me. All other aspect were very good. Its possible the Belles would be a good choice. Lots of power and in the same price range as the JC 1s. Good luck.
IMO, you have many options. Last Saturday I listened to the 802d and 803d with Classe 2200 and one of the new Classe pre's. Spent only about 30 minutes with each speaker. Both were very good with the Classe equipment and the music seemed pretty effortless. Very good dynamics and very musical. Driver integration was some of the best I've heard. My guess is that a Krell would be worth listening to and likely a Pass Labs. Oh, how about one the Blue Circles as they seem to work nicely with the B&W's. If I had my druthers, I'd try one of the larger VTL's, like an MB-450 with a VTL 5.5 pre. I've read that the new B&W's are easier to drive than the older ones. As always, it's best if you can listen in your own room. Good luck!
Braro, thanks for the email and hope you don't mind my posting thoughts here. I have no experience with the Supratek Chenin preamp and am curious how it works driving the JC-1s, nor am I familiar with the Audioquest Cheetah interconnects from Wadia 861 to preamp. Is the sound still bright going direct from CD player to amps, using the digital volume control? You might try something in place of the Alphacore MI2 speaker cables - some amps don't like them.
Not at all Brian. I just didnt want to hijack this thread. I have tried many different spk cables from,audioquest, kimber, and alpha core. The alpha core has been the best by far. I have run direct from the Wadia and I get a similar character but less PRAT, smaller and shallower stage. I suppose it could be the Wadia that is the problem. It is about 5 or 6 years old with no updates. When I drop a good 6550 tube amp in things mellow out in a good way. I may switch to something like VTL 450s. The JC 1s are my first upper end solid state amps so I suppose it could be that I just dont prefer the the solid state sound. Dont get me wrong, I think the JC 1s are fantastic amps and I am getting great sound. The best Ive heard on 3Asigs. Its just this audiophilia can really make us obsess over the most infinitesimal shortcomings of our systems. Take it easy Brian.
Having owned the JC-1's and a few other solid state amps, I'll chime in here. I second Braro's view that JC-1's can be bright, they were in my system. I use Avalon Eidolons, and quite frankly I was dissapointed with the JC-1's. I have recently been using the Gilmore Raptor, which is a new Class D mono block amp made by Mark Gilmore. I have found this amp to be far superior to the JC-1s in my system. The Ratpor has plenty of power, 250 watts into 8 ohms per channel. These amps blow the JC-1's away, period. The Raptor overall sound fabulous, and especially excel at soundstaging, with just fabulous width and depth, like the musicians are in my living room! Tonally, the Raptor are also outstanding, with the instruments and music sounding so real. The Raptor have a great high end, in fact I marvel at how clear the highs come through on them, without any grain or glare. Also, you'll get great bass slam with these amps. Basically, they are very well balanced across the frequency specturm. I always found I was getting a lot of grain and glare to the sound with the JC-1's, which meant listening fatigue. I don't get that on the Raptor, which is great. This amp is also very musical, and fun to listen to, I do not ever feel like I am missing anything when listening with them. On balance, the Raptor are by far the best solid state amp I have ever owned, and they offer great value for the $$$. They retail for about $5000. Do a search on Google for Gilmore Raptor, and you'll find them. I encourage you to check them out. I am just very pleased with these amps.
I find it disturbing to read comments saying the JC-1s are bright and, now have grain and glare. These amps don't have a bright bone in their body, and they don't have glare or grain. No. No. It seems there is always some new amp that is touted as the latest darling.
I'm very sensitive to hearing flaws and characteristics of products. If the JC-1s had the flaws claimed, I'd be the first to have named them. One of their fine points is that you can play them very loud without getting the glare and brightness that is common to many amps. They are highly listenable at loud volumes. A bright or grainy amp wouldn't sound good loud. My experience, and that of other audiophiles I speak to, is that Class D amps have an unnatural, incoherent sound. I can't speak of the Raptor, but I certainly can speak of the JC-1, and, I repeat, it is not bright.
I have heard some earlier Class D amps that I found unnatural and incoherent, and I heard those on the Avalon Eidolons speakers as well. However, I do not hear any of that with the Raptors, they sound very natural and coherent to my ears. I think the implementation of Class D has improved over time. You will note that you are seeing more and more favorable reviews of Class D amps in the audio press.
Will have to side with Kevziek on the issue of JC 1s being bright.Before purchasing them I had lived with SET amps for 8 years and before that PP tube amps for 10.I was therefore pretty much biased against SS amps.
Now mind you I'm not saying that jc 1s sound like tube amps,but they definitely don't sound at all like most of the other powerful expensive big name SS amps.IMO they sound pretty neutral.Neither bright,nor glary and not grainy for sure.These problems other posters are reporting
may be due to the amps not getting enough juice from socket,associated equipment or possibly the issue of the long break-in period(60 days playing music 24/7).
As for synergy with BW can't say.But don't do yourself a disservice into believing everthing that is said here,by doing so you may be missing out on some awesome amplifiers.Also check out the PASS X.5 and XA series.A bit sweeter than JC 1s.
I am driving my 803D's with McCormack's DNA-500 and am fairly content with it. My source is a Wadia 581SE. I originally found this combination somewhat on the bright side. I believe the source and speakers lean toward the bright side and the Amp is fairly neutral. I added a Marantz SC7S1 pre and am now very pleased with the overall balance. I would like to try a big Pass Labs amp but don't have the opportunity to audition one very easily.
I believe that any system will need some balancing. The JC1's may work very well with the rest of your equipment. I very nearly purchased a JC2 preamp but the dealer wouldn't ship to Canada.
I like the concept of a monoblock as well. The JC1 might do the trick for you. At this point the only piece I would consider changing is the McCormack. Not that there is anything wrong with it. It just may be getting long in the tooth and I wonder what if something else sounds better...