I have owned a pair of 801 for many years and enjoyed them very much. One thing I found is the 801 bass can also be a little round unless you put them on stands or spikes.Plenty of bass ,but need to be set up properly. The 801s tend to be a touch warm and work well with quality solid state amplification.Your McCormack should do well,becuase the fellow I eventually sold them to,is using your exact set up.
If you end up buying the the 801s feel free to e-mail if you feel a need.I'll be happy to help if I can...
I've always liked the 801's, however before you leap have you considered that the lack of clarity in the highs and muddy bass may be a result of improper set up and or room interface problems?
I agree with Newbee. Tell us more about your room and speaker placement. Speaker/room interface is 75% of the game IMO.
How long have you had the PSB's? Hours put on them?
What's the other system parts i.e. cabling, etc.?
What speakers did you have before the PSB's i.e. your previous reference ?
In room set up of speakers and dimensions will help evaluate your situation
Gold's do require break-in time..
Which Series are the M801's? I'd hold out for the S3's myself.
You might also consider Matrix 802-S3's. They look great in Walnut. Try to get them with the Sound Anchor stands.
1-The golds shouldn't need a sub. If the bass is getting muddy, I would guess that the amp isn't up to the task or like stated above it could be speaker placement.
2-By using the speaker level inputs to the sub and from the sub to the speakers should really tighten up the bass and alleviate the strain on the amp. This will give you a lot more power with the 801's.
3-I'd take the ugly 801's over golds any day.
I have the PSBs for over a year. I use Van Den Hul cabling, CS-122 and The Source. My source is a Pioneer 563a (i just wasnt willing to spend more). My previuos speaker was a Dynaudio Audience 120.
The speaker has been placed in my room, which is retangular and currently under construction. Now it is in my room, which is very big and tall. In both places, I noticed the bass muddiness and the lack of clarity with the PSBs. I hate the Sunfire subwoofer BTW. My main musical tastes are rock, pop and electronica (house and trance).
Since I realy didn't like any "part" of sound of PSB Golds(BTW not any better than Silver) i.e. mids, highs and bottom and pretty much enjoyed 801's except the price(realy killing!), I would say no matter how old 801's, they're substantially better than new PSBs.
My very humble opinion is like Marakanetz'--to me, your speaker change looks like a sidegrade. Different sound, yes. The PSBs I've heard had OK highs, though, and that makes me wonder about your source.
You don't mention your source. My second humble opinion is, garbage in, garbage out ( no I didn't make that up ). In other words, the things you feel are wrong may be coming from further upstream than you think. I don't mean your source is garbage, I have no idea what it is. But I have seen many systems here with pretty good electronics and speakers, all reproducing (quite well) the sound of an entry-level source.
I feel that, given a $3G budget, for example, if you spend 4 or 5 hundred on the source and the rest downstream you are not heading for great musical satisfaction. Turn that ratio around and now you're talking fun. Further upgrades will just let you hear how fine your source is.
If you already have EMM Labs, Ensemble or a decent Linn at the front end, of course, I didn't say anything.
To me, PSB's have always sounded a little thick in the warmth region and lacking in definition. If you wanted something that had better attack, definition and focus, i could easily see someone moving from PSB's to the B&W sound. Sean
PS... One of the worst pairings of gear that i've ever heard at an audio show was when a local dealer mated NAD electronics and PSB speakers. Most NAD gear has their typical "house sound" i.e. slightly warm and soft. This did not help with the PSB's elevated mid-bass bloat and lack of definition. Kind of a compounding of problems if you ask me. The sound came across as very thick and indistinct to say the least. Having said that, i think that McCormack electronics would be better suited to the house B&W sound than to the PSB's. That's just my opinion though : )
I use a Pioneer 563a as the source. Good for SACDs, but poor with Cds. I also produce music, so I use my M-Audio soundcard as source sometimes.
I feel exactly what Sean mentioned about the PSB, lacking in definition. I will try to get myself a B&W. But they are so expensive nowadays...
What about a Paragon Regent? It has Dynaudio Contour drivers, and it is supposed to be really good. Would that be a good replacement for my PSBs in your opinion?
If you can get you hands on a Paragon Regent, run, don't walk (assuming the price is right)! I've had the bigger model (Jubalee/Jem) for 6 years and wouldn't part with them for the world. They replaced my Quad 63's. The only difference between this combination and the Regent is that there is a slight improvement in the bass and mid range clarity, which in the Regent is not shabby to begin with. The Regent is a very neutral speaker in the best sense and given the right electronics will produce very natural sounds. The will make your PSB's sound like some Bose product. IMHO.
Oh, I see. So much enthusiasm. The problem is that I am negotiating with a freak, he wants my brand new PSB, plus my Sunfire sub, plus some cash for the Paragon Regent.
I also find it extremely odd looking. But if it sounds right, why not?
I've seen these on the internet for sale a couple of times a year and they seem to sell for about 1500 to 1800. They sold new for 3500 and at discount for about 2800. Sounds like his asking price is a bit stiff. Yeh, you've got to like the pinched waist look. By the way they got excellent write ups in Audiophile Voice (when it was still just a club rag), and in High Performance Review Winter 95-96. I based my purchase on these reviews and was not disappointed. You really aught to listen to them........
Hmmm, something just came up. The big plus according to the sales man were the Dynaudio drivers. How about that, another friend of mine offered me the Dynaudio Contour 3.0 for EXACTLY the same price. The B&W Matrix 801 v3 is also just a bit more.
Now, considering I will be driving these with a Mccormack DNA-1 and a Mccormack TLC-1, what would be the best choice?
A power hungry B&W, a funny looking Paragon or a classy Dynaudio (i've owned a Dynaudio Audience 120 and just about loved it, it just lacked the bass I needed).
If you have friends making all of these offers I would assume the speakers must be available for audition. At the risk of asking a dumb question, why don't you just listen to them with your stuff and buy the ones you like the most?
Yea, I would do that. But both the Dynaudio and the B&W are in another state, so it is impossible for me to audition them. I could check on the Paragon though.