If you've only had the gear for 6 months (which I'm assuming because of your comment about being into high end for 6 months) and you're happy with the 803s then why change?
If your priority is stereo (by which I assume you mean 2 channel) reproduction, then you might want to ditch or sideline the Rotel 1098 and leave it for HT processing, and bring in a dedicated 2 channel preamp or integrated that has a HT Bypass or pre outs.
I don't love the 803s, but if you want to attain some accurary and better sound, then I think the rotel is holding you back(BTW, I've never heard of a speaker loosing accuracy if you play it loudly for an extended time. A speaker is either accurate or not, depending on the associated gear). Also, you never mentioned what your amplification is, but in another post you said you were using Krell, which if assuming it a 2 chnl amp or monos should be fine.
I wouldn't spend the money on speakers until you deal with the pre/pro seciton, but there are a pair of Verity Audio Parsifal Encores for 8500, which is an amazing price for these speakers. They're not wood finished (piano black) but these speakers are 20 grand new, and sound every penny of it. Some like the Sonus Faber Cremonas, which are a step up from the 803s, but they're pretty big. There's a pair of ProAc Response 5 in the optional ebony finish 8000 and that's a pretty great price for these lovely speakers.
My recommendation: get a real preamp first, then see if you still want to change the speakers
I would try to listen to some JM labs if I were you. Before you do that, though, have a listen to the new B&W line. I think you'll find that the 803 Diamond is quite a bit better than your current speakers.
You say you want to build your system around great speakers, and that's your choice. A lot of people do that. It's great when your refined, revealing, transparent speakers show you everything your source can do. But if you can hear everything your source can do and you're still not satisfied with your great speakers, well, it could be time to look at your source.
Personally I would be happy with any of the speakers Mimberman suggests, especially the Parsifal Encores (and that is a great price, wish I had it lying around). But not to dress it up too much, any of them would be slumming with a Rotel CD player. Sorry.
On the other hand, if you purchased the kind of CD player that made your 803s blush, THEN you would be ready for new gear downstream.
I only can echo what Mimberman and Tobias said. Your electronics are holding your speakers back. I believe in source first principle. If it ain't top notch from the beginning, it won't be at the end. Your speakers are only reproducing what they are fed, and they should be able to handle a significant upgrade on the fron end.
I'll chime in along with Mimberman, Tobias and Muzikat. I built a system around a Rega Planet (original) cdp. If you read the comments in my virtual system post, you'll see how the source-dollar-ratio was out of whack. I thought I had synergy, but I didn't. I regret having waited on upgrading my source last. I've gone through some great speakers looking for "the" sonic signature while it was my source holding me back all along.
Oh yeah...I hadn't even looked at your source. If what you want is to get good 2 channel sound, then you don't need to upgrade your speakers right now. I'd start by maybe getting a good integrated (there are a thousand threads on this, and I myself am looking, so you can check out my list of hopefuls on my system page if you want, or just poke around here) that way you don't have to commit so much money to seperates (not to mention the extra cables) and see how that works. You didn't list which model cd player you have, but I assume since the rest of your gear is HT that it's a dvd/cd player. I'd say concentrate on the cd and amplification sections and leave the speakers for last.
That being said if I had the loot right now I'd buy the proacs or fidelios (def. the fidelios, but bummer about the black finish).
Source or speakers, either can hold you back if not approx. the same level. I know that's quite a nebulous statement, but it's a big factor.
If you're bound for speakers, I am currently enjoying the Eminent Technology LFT-8A's. I have used Vandersteen and Magnepan speakers in past.
Try to audition whatever you will purchase; not always easy. You can always go to audioreview.com to see what others have to say. I have found it a good source from objective owners. You will be able to note their equipment, as well as discussions of their upgrades. Note especially the ratings; components with high ratings and numberous reviews are truly standout performers. Hint, hint, look at the Eminents!
Of course, now that you've gotten good advice from our other posters, you'll have to eventually upgrade the source too. It never ends. The best you can hope for is a remission in the disease's progression.
If you like a great wood cabinet and a speaker that loves to be drove, get a pair of Legacy Focus 20/20, they are beautiful speakers and sound fantastic for rock, classical and also very good for HT.....atleast check them out!
The krell thread must of been my brother when he was over. He likes assuming he can go on my comp. The cd player is actually a dvd, Its the 1040. I figured that my speakers are the 1st to go. Cause I think theyre pretty properly matched with the amp? When I turn it up the speakers arent being overdriven but I wouldnt be comfortable sending them more power. Like I said they never disapointed me Im just ready for a move up and I figured Id start with the speakers. I know theyre is room for improvement in the speakers the 803s cant be the ultimate option. Im intrested in lookin in to the B&W 802d totem legacy jmlab. I have to wait till xmas bonus to upgrade amps and dvd. I wana see where the speakers get placed how much room I have exc.. I may look in to mono blocks. But I already know I will definetly go with Mcintosh. Always loved them. DVD wise Id be intrested in looking into something new I could get for around 2000.00 but have not researched DVD players yet. And know very little when it comes to DVD players. Thanks Matt
Oh and Id also like to hear a pair of dynaudios. But am not sure if they would be well matched with the Mcintosh Ill end up with? Does any one know what speaker really blows the 803s out of the water for 10000.00 new? Or am I kind of at the plateu for this price range?
Not to harp on this point, but I think you're possibly approaching this from the wrong perspective. If you know you're going to go with McIntosh (not a bad decision, but curious why you it's def. mc gear?) then you should get the amplification section worked out and then deal with the source. Why spend 10000 on speakers and drive them with a rotel HT system? If you're not getting the full sound of your 803s, then you'll be spending a lot of money to get very little improvement. It would seem to make more sense to get the sound of your source/amp right, and then see how the 803s fair. If you're not sure what speaker you want to mate with the mac gear, then you're going to need to play around anyway, so I say wait on the speakers.
Why would you use a pair of $5,000 Class A (Stereophile) Rated Speakers with a $500 DVD Player? And how could you even think about useing the same low-fi source with $12,000 Reference Speakers? If there's ever been a case of mixing Apples with Oranges this is it! My first suggestion is to buy a HI-FI source with an A+ or A (Stereophile) Rating. Then buy an Amplifier worthy of driving those wonderful Nautilus 803s, try Classe, Krell or Mark Levinson (to name a few). These Speakers that you own and others that your considering, were not designed to partner with components that most professionals consider to be barely mid-fi. Reference/Statement Speakers are designed around state-of-the-art components, without these partner components these Speakers are nothing more than very expensive room furnishings. Once your Speakers are fully optimized then you should start to consider upgrading them, right now, as you will see if you take my advice, they are grossly under-utilized. Get real electronics and those Nautilus Speakers will blow your mind!
I would get rid of the Rotel and opt for something better that the B&Ws deserve.....
Everyone tells me the direction they would take after I wrote that I was going speakers first? The dvd player was brought up I replied can I get something for 2000. No one answered that. But kept telling me what I should do instead. Obviously I understand those components need to be replaced I told all of you Ill be going mcintosh. But not at this time.So I appreciate everyone telling me what they would do and thank everyone that actually answered a question that I asked. LOL Can any one tell me what (class A)DVD players to look into? Or is this going to go back to what I should do instead? Id like to stay around 2000.00 but would like all suggestions.Thanks
The Classe CD/DVD-1 and Marantz DV-9500 are both "A" rated DVD/CD Players, Both retail(ed) new for around $2,000 and sell used for around $1,500 (or less). The Marantz is newer and plays SACD. The Classe, I believe, offers better CD sound along with balanced outputs. In this price range, I don't think you can go wrong with either player.
Thank you jms. Its about time someone answered a question that I asked.Does Marantz make any class A amplifiers?