What's best for Tannoy D-700s?

I finally have the opportunity to upgrade my system. I have been lugging around the extremely heavy Tannoy D-700s with me for years now, and have read that many audiophiles think they are guite good. I have not been happy with the sound I've gotten out of them, and suspect that this is due to not having the right amp, wiring and wall positioning.

So to all you marvelous audiophiles: please help me select an integrated amp, used or new, that would pair well with my Tannoys. Also, please let me know if it is really important to bi-wire them or do exotic things with their cross-overs.

I would like to spend less than $1500 on the amp (used). The ideal for me would be that the amp also supports 5 channel surround sound for a yet-to-be-purchased surround system, but I understand that in most cases, 5 or 7 channel amps in a range I can afford will not do both jobs well. So I'd also appreciate any advice as to whether having, for example, a 7 channel amp would work or if I should stick to 2 channel.

For those unfamiliar with the Tannoys, here are the specs from the manufacturer:

Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
Minimum Impedance: 3 ohms
Sensitivity: 93dB/w
Frequency Response: 30Hz to 30KHz (=/- 3dB)
Maximum Input Power: 150watts
Tannoy & tubes is a must hear. My Churchills love them .

Our M520 Integrated amp sounds lovely with the Tannoy's. I am the North American distributor for Eastern Electric so my opinion is biased but tubes & tannoys are the way to go.Whether it be our amp or somebody elses.
the D500's and D700's work well with any quality integrated. Audioclassics.com may have some suggestions, but on more than one occasion i have heard them paired with a bryston b60 and they were really dynamic. a creek or tandberg integrated would be a reliable choice as well
Your D-700's are indeed quite good and if you're not getting great sound from them, it's not the fault of the speakers. The big Tannoy's do extremely well with tube amps and quality integrateds, but they will really open up with a high current ss amp that's at least 200 wpc. McIntosh and Tannoy are a classic combination, there is great synergy between the brands, but MAC gear might be out of your price range. Here's some suggestions that might be in your price range: Classe CA-200 or CA-201; Audio research 100.2; Audio research D400 Mk2; Gamut D-200; Plinius 9100 or 9200 (integrateds).

I think your D-700's will do better with the best 2 channel amp your budget will allow, rather than trying to get a 5 or 7 channel amp and stay in your budget, as you will again be making sonic sacrifices and again, not getting as much as you can out of the speakers. You'll just be in the same situation as you started with. You can always add a 3 channel amp later on for HT as your budget allows.

Good Luck to you,

Thanks for your help. Many have said that the Tannoy's are juice hungry, and I've been assuming (perhaps wrongly) that means I should go with a solid state amp.

If I can ask a follow up question, would I be able to get better performance at roughly the same price range with separate components, or at the price I am considering will an integrated amp always be the right solution?

Thanks is particular for the range of models you suggested, Mike. I took a look at your own system - impressive!
the ss amps i listed are powerful enough to open up the tannoys but sweet enough to listen to for hours at a time. you don't need to go with separates unless you choose to. though mac and tannoy are a classic pairing, the bryston and creek offer big league sound, and historically these companies have pleased many discerning music lovers who aren't looking to break the bank....as have the tannoys
Beranrose: At your current budget, an integrated would seem to be a sensible solution and should yield very good results. I haven't heard the models that Jaybo has suggested so I can't comment there, but in time I would look to separates, only as your budget allows. Jaybo is correct in that a quality ss integrated will be powerful enough to give you tons of musical enjoyment from your speakers, although it's been my experience that when you add a powerful high current seperate amp, it will take control of the speaker, the bass will really firm up and the Tannoy's will show you what they are capable of. Good luck,

Thanks to both of you! I think I'll start with one of the integrateds Jaybo suggests, such as the Bryston 60, then maybe add a more powerful amp in the future and use the Bryston B60 as a preamp. This leaves some money for a squeezebox ....
I have the similar but larger D900's. I found that positioning the speakers correctly and damping the room reflections had a much bigger influence on the sound than changing the amplifier. After damping the room reflections with wall hangings or whatever suits you, carefully adjust the distance of the speakers from the back wall to balance the bass with the midrange. Removing the foam plugs from the ports may also be required. Also toe the speakers in towards the listening position. I suspect that until you take care of this no amplifier will sound right.

I have taken the extreme position of having curtains round three sides of the room. With Musical Fidelity 308CR amplifiers and preamps the sound is pretty good.

A good surround affect can be achieved with relatively inexpensive amplification for the rear channels, so I would focus on the best two channel amplifier I could find.

I have never found bi-wiring or exotic cables to make any difference, and most valve amplifiers just sound cheesy to me. However if you are up to getting the additional equipment, the Tannoys respond amazingly to bi-amplification.
Thanks, Erasmusj. Your advice about toeing in the speakers made a big difference when I tried it last night. Funny how things so simple can make such a big difference. Unfortunately, our new living room basically has one open wall and two walls willed with windows, so I'm not sure what to do about the reflections (I think the wife might strangle me if I went with heavy drapes all over the place), but I'm sure it will sound good nonetheless at lower volumes.

Good to know I don't need to bother with bi-wiring; I may do the biamping in the future.

Two follow up questions:
I've found that the Tannoy's sound stage is limited vertically (I'm over 2m tall, so it makes a difference when I am standfing or sitting). Have you tried aiming them upwards by shortening the back points or anything else to expand the stage upwards? We live in a Boston brownstone, so moving them farther away is not an option.

Could you tell me more about how you worked the rear and center channels? What speaker types and amplification do you use/ recommend?
Thanks Beranrose for your response.

The main concentric driver on the D900 comes in at about my head height when sitting down so I don't have the same problem. The D700 is a few inches shorter than the D900 so I can see where the problem is coming from. My first instict would be to try and find some stands to increase the height of the speakers, but I could be wrong. Best experiment a bit and see what works.

I kept my previous ESS AMT Monitors for the two back speakers, along with the SAE Two A14 amplifier that used to be my main system starting 25 years ago. These are completely unmatched with the Tannoys, so I reduced their high range a bit and keep the volume lower than the Tannoys. I would love to use a pair of D500s or D700s at the back but could not justify the cost at the time. Now the newer models are much more expensive. The SAE amplifier blew up recently and I had to use a junk Pioneer amplifier for a while. This is how I know that the rear channels are not that critical for amplifier quality.

Since December I have been working up a biamplification system for the Tannoys using a Behringer DCX 2496 digital crossover and a second Musical Fidelity A308CR amplifier. It works extremely well but have not yet managed a good solution for a post crossover volume control (I have to adjust two different controls together). The Tannoys seem to come alive with bi-amplification so I will persevere. The expense of this experiment, which also involves a solution for DVD-A and SACD playback has delayed other aspects of the system.

The centre channel has stumped me so far. I had hoped to pick up a D750 but missed out on this. Unlike the rear channels, the centre has to match the front channels properly. I tried one of the ESS speakers and also a Tannoy Saturn speaker. Neither worked. (A borrowed D500 worked well.) For now I have moved the two front speakers slightly closer together and this seems to work OK. I have to sort the bi-amplification before I spend more money on anything else. Incedentally the Behringer has enough channels to bi-amplify the centre once I finally get it.

I am reluctant to make recommendations as I tend to go out and see whats available once every ten or fifteen years but don't constantly stay in touch. I have been very happy with Musical Fidelity amplifiers, preamps, and CD players, both 3.2 and 308. I also use a A3 24 DAC to play music from my PC. I spent enough money at a nearby hifi place that they don't mind letting me audition equipment for extended periods. The one piece of equipment that really made a difference for me is an Arcam FMJ AV8 (multichannel preamp). Beyond the budget for now.

I am indeed fortunate that my wife understands that music is important to me and is willing to go the extra mile. I fitted curtain rails close to the ceiling on three sides of the living room. One side does actually cover large windows. The other two unlined sections can be drawn into the corners where they are relatively unobtrusive. Even when drawn into the corners they do make a difference to the sound. No-one quibbles about the appearance once they hear the difference the curtains make.

Hope this is of some value.
Definitely Bi-wiring. Investigate bi-amping as well. There are articles on vertical bi-amping that you should investigate.

Secondly, add some of the Tannoy Super-tweeters. They add a sense of presence that the D-700's alone do not posess.

Better speaker wires. Try the "tmc" brand from Australia. Inexpensive (relatively) and very very good.

Good luck.