should have no problem driving your speakers. whether you like them or not, that depends on your tastes. the vtl controls the low end nicely for a tube amp and has a lot of balls. the high end might be a little closed in, and overall isn't as refined as i've heard, but i loved the midrange, which was a little more forward and prominent, which is nice for most vocal music.
Thanks Dennis...I am moving away from being worried about losing bass, the magic you get from tubes in other areas is just totally worth it. The single most important attribute to me at this point in my audio career is undoubtedly midrange. I like it liquid, wet and delicious. : )
The 5.5 I have gave me my first taste of what tubes are capable of doing and I am glad I got infected. Its special. Anyway, I just want to make sure to get the most out of the amp and want to speaker match it properly.
Do you have any VTL equipment?
Personally, i prefer using a hybrid (tube pre with solid state amp) or a pure s/s system for BW. Thats my taste, YMMV.
I have heard the VTL with the 804 and there is no problem at all. Even in triod the amp had pleanty of muscle. It can also drive the 803d fine, though the VTL 185monobloc sounded better, the stereo 150 is also a resonable choice for the 803d.
davt-what about the st 150 for the 805s?
What were you impressions of the 185s?
I have not heard the new 805's, previously I thought the B&W were a bit bright. This is a matter of taste of course but I did listen a lot to the older 804 and the new 804 and I found a nice improvement, less bright, cleaner midrange with more depth, more musical and easier to listen to. I liked the new 804 and 803D. I listened to the 185 VTL's a lot with the 802D, wonderful, and the Verity Audio Parsifal, truly magical. In triod, huge coherent sound stage, seemless, incredible detail, depth of soundstage and clear possitioning of instruments was superb. I do think however that a system should be well balanced and I think that money could be better spent than going the 185MB and B&W 804 or 805. I would even consider their IT 85 integrated a good match for the 805's. Now, the 185 with the Verity's, or 802D, that would be really nice. (And may find a home in my house in a few years)
Verity's are very special, especially the Parsifal. What I am trying to accomplish is a simple system, so your suggestion of an integrated is a good one and has been explored. But I want as much power as I can afford on whatever speaker I choose, so the st-150 seemed like a neat match up to the 805s. No getting much bass out of the speaker anyway, so why not tube it anyway. Otherwise I feel like I would always expect more.
I would love a monitor that is able to reveal as much information as possible, not sure if the B&W is the best choice. Although it is a great little monitor.
So based on what you have said the st-150 would be a great middle ground between the IT85 and MB185?
i've owned both the it 85 and the st 150. the 150 is undoubtedly better, especially in triode. you'll have enough power, and the midrange is definitely it's strength. that, and the overall amp's jump and excitement factor. definitely a great value.
Going today to listen to it on both sets of speakers...I brought my DAC with me so I can get an authentic feel for it. Considering I have the 5.5 and they have that I will basically be listening to exactly what I would potentially buy.
I will post my thoughts.
Yes, please don't forget to post your thoughts, I'm very interested as I'm looking for a good tube amp for my 804s. Thanks.
Ordered an st-150 today with upgraded MIT Multicaps right out of the gate. Dealer gave me an st-85 until the 150 comes in. I gotta tell ya, I don't know what took me sooooo long to realize that it was tubes I was looking for. I am absolutely thrilled with the sound character I am getting out of this combination, and it is fufilling everything SS gear always left me longing for. If this little 85 is any indication as to what I am in for with the st-150 I am just tickled pink.
Thanks for sharing your first impressions with us. Could you please be a little more specific, what do you like about the st85 versus the SS gear you have tried? Does the ampli drive the 805s with ease? how is the sound in terms os bass slam and dynamics?
Jdec- I would say without a doubt the st-85 drives these speakers with ease. I have been listening for two days straight now and I don't see it caving in on any of the different music I play through it.
The differences I hear from the SS gear is basically..The sterility is completely gone, and ANY sibilance I experienced is also completely gone. The tube combination just sounds smooth, relaxed, with excellent dynamic peaks, and the sound stage to be quite honest is wider on this st-85 than my Full Peanut Butter Krell 400cx. Bold statement? Yes, but true, and this st-85 costs thousands less. Bass representation to me excellent, and I mean excellent. Does it SLAM? Not really, a little chubbier than slammer-type bass, but very tight, not rolled off, and IMO properly represented. It makes these speakers sound bigger than they are thats for sure.
If I had to characterize one single thing that is different from SS I would say speed (which could also be referred to as PACE RHYTHM and TIMING) are different. Being overall slower with tubes, allowing the listener a chance to follow the performance better, and thus get involved in it more.
I have Madonna La Isla Bonita (not what I usually listen to) cranked right now, and it sounds the best I have ever heard it sound tonally.
I would say for me, it was about realizing that you will never find a SS piece of gear that is a musically satisfying as equiv. tube gear, and you will never find a piece of tube gear that satisfies like SS can in Bass and accuracy etc. In the end I made a decision to let go of chasing the SS dream, and worrying about 'loss of bass' like some will claim with Tubes. I personally don't hear it, I think the bass is better actually. But I am glad I made the switch, and this little amp with 805s is an excellent combination, I wait to hear the difference with the st-150 and upgraded caps.
Thanks for the detailed response. Good to hear your change turned out to be that satisfaying.
bass w/ VTLs is usually a strong point, at least for tube amps. they definitely have "drive". i think their weak points are in transparency and dynamics, but these improve a lot as you move up the line.
Dennis, I agree the bass is good to excellent with VTL, very satisfying for me personally. And I am coming from Krell, so that should mean alot.
I find he dynamics and transparency to be very good though. Granted this is my first tubed system, so maybe there is better. But it is certainly better than the equipment I had prioir to this.
If you put B&W 805s at or near the side walls of your listening room around the 10:00 and 2:00 position and tilt them inward toward the center of the listening area you will get close to the bass of a floorstanding 804 and increase the midrange while cuting back a bit on the overly bright B&W treble. Another great adjustment is an equalizer. The Behringer Ultracurve Pro is an excellent current choice and several older models can be had on Audiogon or Ebay made by Luxman, Audio Control, Soundcraftsmen, or the lower priced but good Yamaha and Harman Kardon EQs.
Two sets of speakers with one pair put on the side walls of the listening room described above and another set straight ahead in the standard position (if only one set use on sides first) will cause a quantum sonic increase in the quality of the perceived sound because of the synergistic merging of tonalities intrinsic in each location and obvious improvement in imaging. This setup will actually cause your amp to perform better also and give you higher quality sound at lower levels if needed and true concert hall sound effects.
I wouldn't put an EQ anywhere near my system.
Asked a question on another post of yours. This one answered my questions on your thoughts on the VTL gear. Thanks. Glen