Upgrading front 3 speakers to GoldenEar Triton Reference or B&W Nautilus 800?
I am an avid home theater guy and am looking to upgrade from my Triton Ones. Love movies and concert Blu-rays.
I have the XXL center channel and find it to be not as clean as I would like.
I have 2 choices, one to go from the Ones to the Reference
found some used B&W so wish to
Upgrade Mains from Golden Ear Triton One to B&W Nautilus 800
Upgrade Centre from Golden Ear Supercenter XXL to B&W HTM1D
The challenge, in my eyes, with the 2nd choice is that I am using the Classé 5300 and would bi-amp my front L & R but only have 1 channel left to bi-amp the centre, so would have to get another 3-channel amp to run my lower part of the centre + my 2 rears, as I did not bi-amp the GE Ones, but feel that I should do for the Reference.
The B&W may be a little large for my room (14.5' x 23'x8') but I will have front speakers that will be much more clean than the Ones that I have now.
Hope to hear from a few GE or B&W fans very soon so I can make a decision
Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of B&W speakers for 2-channel music as there are others I prefer. BUT, that said, if I were building a system mainly for HT B&W would be near the top of my list. Why? Their center channel speakers are fantastic! Especially since you’re less than thrilled with your current center speaker, to me this is a no-brainer choice if it’s just between these two manufacturers.
Many years ago a friend of mine had the B&W Matrix series speakers in a HT setup, and even that relatively lower-end center speaker in that system sounded awesome. Completely uncolored, not boxy, and with excellent dispersion and uniformity across the room. I think one of the most important reasons for this is that they mount the tweeter above the mids (or midwoof) instead of between them as most models do. Personally, I’d never buy a center channel unless the tweeter is mounted above the mids.
If I’m you, I’d buy the best B&W L/R/C you can afford that are of the same series so there’s a seamless match across the front. As for the amp situation, given your amp’s power I’m not sure you need to biamp at all, especially if you’re using a subwoofer (or hopefully 2). I’d just buy the speakers and try driving them all with a single channel each and see what you think (or perhaps even try bi-wiring your front speakers instead of biamping them to see what that does if anything). My hunch is you’ll be perfectly happy given the power reserves of your amp, but if not you can add a supplemental amp later. Anyway, hope this helps and best of luck!
You wouldn't need another amp to bi-wire the B&Ws. Just get internally bi-wired cables that have one connection on the amp side and two on the speaker end, or attach two cables to the same output on the amp if you're running a full shotgun pair.
And yes, I absolutely do think that highly of B&W center speakers. I have a feeling it'll sound much better than a ribbon tweeter sandwiched between midrange drivers as with your XXL center.
I have never bi-wired before, but if I do as you suggest, that seems to me that I will be using only 1 channel of the Classé (which is 5 x 300w) and send basically only 300 watts to each speaker, which, from what I have read, may not be enough power for those Natilus 800 speakers. If I actually use 300w for the top and another 300w for the bottom of each speaker, it may give the speaker that little extra to be a little smoother sound. What are your thoughts on this scenario?
ONLY 300 Watts??? That's a ton of power that should drive almost any speaker available. Just as an example, back in 2009 Kal Rubinson ran the 802Ds with the lower powered CA-5200 just fine (https://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/music_in_the_round_36/index.html), so I'd be shocked if your 5300 didn't have plenty of juice to fully drive 800s without biamping. The 800s are 90dB efficient but do drop below 4 Ohms through a good part of the midrange, which does make them more difficult to drive. But here's a quote from the Classe website regarding your amp:
"* Specifications for output into 4 ohms are omitted because the AC Mains/power supply cannot support all channels driven simultaneously at this level, which would require over 5,000W and only occur under a special test condition. The amplifier easily drives lower impedance loads."
Translation -- your house will run out of juice before your amp does. Suffice it to say I think you're worrying needlessly over the power issue. You have a beast of an amp.
'No Matter how you configure it, the center channel should the the anchor for dialogue, and should run 2 centers for a couple reason #1 directionality and #2 phase cancellations, So I would skip it.. As far as the biamping you should use the same amplifiers due to gain structure and level matching... Ditch the second center, especially moving up As for your biamping question, I run monoblocks on front left and right, mains, and a sigma amp5 on my center, surrounds, at one time was biamping my center channel with a Proceed amp5 before my Config Change. Would prefer to run 1 center and biamped mains if I had that option in your case.
Which speakers did you end up going with and what do you think?
I'm currently trying to decide b/w Goldenears, B&Ws, or Martin Logan ESLs. I'm thinkin going with Goldenears (T1 / T1+) for the L/R and possibly the Goldenear XXL (or Ref) or something else for the center (maybe the B&W, or maybe a ML ESL -- haven't decided which models)...
Which speakers did you get and what do you think of your setup?
@hoboboston - your front three speakers (left/center/right) should all be the exact same manufacturer / series. Otherwise, you will have noticable sonic signature difference across the front stage during movies. This is not a good thing. The surrounds are not as critical and can be different, as long as they are close in sonic signature.