Might look at some modshops that maybe still work on the 3910 (maybe APL or Modwright) as I think they can handle your needs.
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the 800n are a big part of your problem. the nautilus line is tipped on the top end. this was one big change in their new D series design of the crossovers as well as tweeter location. i had n802,n803. i know what you mean. tyler acoustic woodmere's did it for me getting rid of the nautilus line. sitting and speaker location can increase brightness and reduce bass. thats why i like a d'appolito design. as you move your sitting location towards the speaker you will hit a spot where everything just clicks. d'appolito designs have a fast off axis drop which helps with side wall reflextions.i would highly adjust speaker location and sitting closer to the speakers if not already doing so. a good starting point is have the speakers at least 3 ft measured from the center of the tweeter from the sidewalls. you can than later adjust the distance of the speakers from the front wall. dont be over concerned if the speakers are closer to the front wall . each room tells you where they should go. sit as far from the speakers as they are apart. then angle the speakers towards your sitting chair. you will find more toe in will help ease the brightness. you will eventually find something that sounds right. you have to work with stereo. if your hearing sound imaging in front of the speakers its wrong. you should be hearing really nothing from the speakers. this tells you are getting inside the first reflection point of the side walls and getting better imaging. once you get that it depends on distance from the front wall for bass and then adjusting your sitting chair again.remeber if you adjust the speakers distance from the front wall you have to adjust the toe in again and sitting location. from there small adjustments should fine tune your sound with minor speaker movements. a front port or downward firing port can be closer to the front wall than rear port designs. they have less flexability especially if you have room limitations. the first place to start without getting new gear is to make sure speaker setup is optimized. new gear cannot adjust for less optimum speaker location. the next best step after that is a room correction device to eliminate the room as much as possible.
By reading your previous post I think I have an idea what you are trying to achieve. However, I would suggest getting a dedicated tube pre-amp first along with a new set of analog interconnects that will go from Denon dvd player to your pre-amp and then from pre-amp to power amp. Pre-amps to consider on used market, I would suggest something in the league of Audio Research LS-25 MkII. I think you may be able to live with the Denon as a cd player if you start from dedicated line stage. And please, get rid of your radioshack cables before you get a new cd player. Just my opinion, but of course you decide.
Velo62 blams your B&W 800Ns for the grainy & weak bass, Although, I don't remember you complaining about weak bass. I have B&W 801Ns and I have never experienced weak bass. Notwithstanding, I suspect it is the synergy between your components that is causing your complaints.
I originally had the 801Ns coupled with a Parasound Halo C2 (which I still use for HT)& a Mac MC402. Perhaps, a bit bright but never grainy. This was corrected by changing my speaker cables to PS Audio Biwire Xtreme Statements. I have found that my 801s like copper in the mix. The mid and upper range further improved with the addition of a Mac C2200. The addition of a Hydra 8 made it near perfect for me. I have also done some tweaking with power cords. After trying several, I now have a mix of the Shunyata Anaconda Helix, Nordost Valhalla & Vishnu and Electraglide Epiphany X & Epiphany.
For wires that work best for your system, I would suggest, The Cable Company 1 800 FAT-WYRE. They are very helpful and have a "lending library." You can actually try several for the cost of mailing, which I believe is credited to a purchase, if you decide to purchase.
As far as an SACD player, I can't help. I use the Krell SACD Standard. I am very happy with it but it does not have tubes nor a volumn control. I have found that you can get many of the tube benefits from a good tube pre-amp in the system and still maintain much of the benefits of solid state. I have heard many good things about the CARY 306 but have not had the opportunity to audition it.
I hope you find something in my journey useful. Enjoy the trip and treasure the good sounds, Bill
Based on lots of advice here and from lots of reading it seems that I need a new two channel preamp instead of connecting the CDP directly to the amps. I am going to keep two channel and H/T seperate, so modifying the Denon is not the answer. The Denon is going to stay in the H/T setup. Also, I will not be changing speakers until I hear what the 800N's will do with a good front end and decent cables in place. What CDP would be a good choice with SACD, upsampling, and balanced outputs? I am going with a tube preamp, so I do not think having tubes in the CDP needs to be a priority any longer.
Baffled, you are on the right path with the tube pre. SACD I don't know about. Personally, I would go for dedicated redbook player or a good external dac. I am willing to bet you will have more redbook discs than SACDs to listen to. And please do not disregard suggestions with cables. They make a huge difference!!!
You don't HAVE to keep H/T and 2-channel seperate at all(unless you just want to) I have successfully integrated both, as have many others, without compromises being necessary. You can also actually connect an APL-modded Denon 3910 directly to your amp if you wish - in fact Alex Peychev, the owner, recommends this. Purchasers have actually sold their preamps after connecting their 3910 directly to their amps!! You might check the APL website and forums for more info on this.
When APL-modded, the 3910 plays CDs, DVDs and SACDs like nothing you will have heard before under $10K, and you can still retain multi-channel and movies. Incidentally, with the modification, you have your choice of solid state or TUBED and yes, it DOES make a big difference.
ALso do not overlook good quality cables - the 800N is a very good speaker and you might even call B&W and ask them for speaker/ic cable suggestions in your price range.
If you are not doing vinyl, there's really not a compelling reason to get a tubed pre-amp if you take the APL suggestion I outlined above. Hope this helps a little - just another possible path.
I purchased a McIntosh MCD201 about a month ago. I compared it to Cary Audio's $4,000 CD player that was tube and had upsampling. I was sure I was going to buy the Cary until I heard the MCD201. I am using a C2200 preamp with MC402 amp and Martin Logan Ascent i speakers. It sounds great. I have hooked the MCD201 straight to the amp but I couldn't tell a difference.