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Shortlist of speakers to pair with NAD C541i and C320

Discussion in 'Home Cinema & Hi-Fi' started by Jimbo Mahoney, 28 May 2006.

  1. Jimbo Mahoney

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,607

    Current setup is NAD C541i and C320 (not the BEE) with Celestion F20 floorstanders. The speakers will be relegated to DVD duty when I upgrade the Stereo music system (I have the smaller F10 and F series centre speakers already).

    The question is, which speakers should be on my shortlist when I go and do some demoing? I'm leaning towards some Dynaudio bookshelf's, and being budget-conscious, 2nd hand.

    Budget is ~ £500.

    I did some listening tests with a mate who had the Audience 62's and a more expensive CD and amp than my NADs (snigger, I said NADs :D) and there wasn't much in it (I forget which amp and CD player he had, but they had some wood detailing and some name like Audio Fidelity or somesuch).

    Music is mainly alternative rock, but with a good blend of electronica (Orbital, Plaid etc).

    Cabling is DIY - solid core CAT5, 3 strands braided per speaker, inters are silver-core ****** jobs and thrashed the heck out of the CA Arctics I used to have and, satisfyingly, the crazy-priced snake oil variants my mate was using ;)

    Thanks for any tips.
     
  2. Matblack

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Jan 2004

    Posts: 15,627

    Location: On my Boat, Drinking

    KEF Ref 1.2s or 103/4s

    MB
     
  3. Liverpool-Lad

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,519

    Location: Liverpool - UK.

    Id keep an eye out for some Tannoy S8LRs, I found some on ebay a few months ago for £100, they were £800 new about 4-5 years ago. Awesome with an 8 inch dual concentric driver.
     
  4. Jimbo Mahoney

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,607

    Thanks guys.

    Anyone have any opinions on running 4 ohm Dynaudios on the NAD C320? It's autosensing, and seemed to work fine with my mate's Audience 62's...
     
  5. RussZS

    Hitman

    Joined: 23 Jan 2006

    Posts: 617

    The Kef Reference speakers are indeed very good - but you can't run them off a Nad amp!! :eek:

    Again, the Dynaudio's MAY struggle - try and find a dealer that will allow you to loan a set to take home, and try in your system.

    A couple of good choices would be:

    - B&W 600 Series
    - Kef Q Series


    Do you intend to add a power amp at any stage?
     
  6. DRZ

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

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    Location: In the top 1%

    The 320 simply does not have the power to deal with them. Anyone who thinks differently simply have not heard them on an amp that can truly drive them to their best!

    I have demed a pair of 62s and 82s on my NAD C272 - thanks to the huge banks of power they just about coped (especially so monoblocked!) but I wouldnt like to try them on lower powered integrated amps in general. NAD have tougher power supplies than most at their price range so tend to cope a bit better, but there is no substitute for a better amp with these speakers.

    EDIT:

    I assure you, you could. Not the 320, but you could run them off a higher spec NAD amp. They can be run from a (less powerful) Audiolab 8000A. I know power isnt everything but if both could drive them equally well then it is only presentation style that differs and then it is down to personal preference!
     
    Last edited: 29 May 2006
  7. Matblack

    Capodecina

    Joined: 23 Jan 2004

    Posts: 15,627

    Location: On my Boat, Drinking

    KEFs Reference range however are suprisingly easy to drive ;)

    91db on the 103/4s I think

    MB
     
  8. Liverpool-Lad

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,519

    Location: Liverpool - UK.

  9. RussZS

    Hitman

    Joined: 23 Jan 2006

    Posts: 617

    Indeed... I meant THAT NAD amp - the Silverline stuff would easily cope :cool:

    As would their higher end THX certified beasts, and probably a C370 at a push...

    104/2 is a very good speaker for the money
     
  10. Maverick24m1

    Associate

    Joined: 8 Sep 2005

    Posts: 20

    Location: Southampton

    I'd go for the B&W's any day... Frequency response is tight... Sensitivity is more than you can cope with in a home enviroment... and you can drive them with just about anything... WITHIN reason... so no worries accidently flat lining the amp for those pumping moments! :eek:
     
  11. Jimbo Mahoney

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,607

    I know the C320 isn't overly beefy, but that NAD amps are normally pretty powerful for their spec.

    The amp would be the next thing to be upgraded (after the speakers), and I'd rather not buy some speakers only for them to be a stopgap solution.

    I suppose the speakers I get must be able to be driven on the C320, but also benefit from a future amp upgrade. Shall I use the C320 as a pre, or just get a more powerful integrated? Or use the C320 to power the tweeters, and another integrated to do the bass?

    argh, too many questions in one thread...
     
  12. DRZ

    Soldato

    Joined: 2 Jun 2003

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    Umm, you do realise that, for at least a small duration of time at least, MOST amps are driven to distortion at nearly every peak? Every valve amp clips, every solid state amp clips and the cheaper ones 'clip' TWICE for any given peak at full scale. It might only be for a tiny amount of the time, but its there and its adding harmonics. This is the predominant reason why valves "sound better" than transistors, because of how this regular clipping occurs.

    Anyway, thats irrelevant. Your speaker choice "any day" is also irrelevant - to me, Bowers and Wilkins have a very harsh sound, something which I (and many others) simply cannot bear for any duration. I find the same with modern era Rotel amplification!

    The only way the OP can make a choice is to arm himself with what we have said and then go and LISTEN. Thats a key point. Dont hear them, dont take on board "key words" or "catchphrases" they might slip in to tempt you towards higher profit lines but listen to the speakers. Take a moment to reflect - you should have an idea after a 20-30 minute session which ones you dont like and which ones you want to hear again. Change the order you listened to them in for the final test and when you are about to decide on a speaker, change the amps.

    Any good shop will allow you to do this no issues - anyone that wont doesnt deserve your business. You have to love them day in day out for a good number of years, not the salesman nor me nor anyone else on here!

    EDIT:

    Oh and I have ran some B&W DM602 S2s at a couple of watts below their rated power for a sustained period of time - they caught fire after about 25 minutes. Power handling quoted by manufacturers, regardless of their stature, is often a lie in the real world.

    EDIT 2:

    I would stick with the C320 and then totally upgrade rather than adding power amps or other integrateds :eek:

    There are better preamps about, even if you like the NAD sound you can get NAD power amps for a reasonable prices and coupled with a better pre stage than the NADs. Power stages in them are very respectable but the pre stages are (in my opinion) not worth the money when for not much more there is a LOT better available second hand :)
     
    Last edited: 5 Jun 2006
  13. Liverpool-Lad

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,519

    Location: Liverpool - UK.

    Did you buy the Tannoys? They went for 60 odd quid! :eek:
     
  14. Jimbo Mahoney

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 6,607

    Nope, but I'm guessing by your tone that's a bit of a bargain?

    :(
     
  15. Liverpool-Lad

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 1,519

    Location: Liverpool - UK.

    Considering the RRP was 800 notes a few years ago...

    I did try!