Matching an amp to your speakers....

R

RichS

Audiophyte
I never really cared about audio equipment until the last year. My first purchase didn't go well. I bought a pair of Bower and Wilkins 683's (89db, 8 ohm) and a Marantz HD1 Amp (35 w-8ohm 70w-4ohm). It didn' t take long to hear the problems. The Marantz couldn't drive the speakers. Distortion was present. Fearing that such a weak amp might damage the speakers, I stopped listening to the speakers and went back to the headphones. Now I'm looking at the Yamaha as801 with a little more than 100 watts at 8 ohms...but some people tell me that for these particular speakers that even that is too weak.... Makes me wish I bought a speaker with a higher sensitivity rating.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Sound quality is mostly in the speakers. You would need a sufficient amp to hit your desired spl. Just what is that? Try using this http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html to get an idea. 100wpc isn't a huge increase but should net you about 4-5 dB more spl (takes a doubling power to gain 3dB spl). Then again you might find different speakers a better fit than those....
 
B

Beave

Senior Audioholic
Are they the Bowers 683 S2? Measured here by Stereophile, shows a sensitivity of about 88dB, which is fine, but the impedance is rather low-ish and with significant phase angles, meaning they're a tough load on an amplifier.

Is the Marantz the HD-Amp1 like this one at Crutchfield?

At what volume/loudness do you start hearing distortion? Is the distortion in the bass, mids, or treble? How big is your room and how far away are you sitting?
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I never really cared about audio equipment until the last year. My first purchase didn't go well. I bought a pair of Bower and Wilkins 683's (89db, 8 ohm) and a Marantz HD1 Amp (35 w-8ohm 70w-4ohm). It didn' t take long to hear the problems. The Marantz couldn't drive the speakers. Distortion was present. Fearing that such a weak amp might damage the speakers, I stopped listening to the speakers and went back to the headphones. Now I'm looking at the Yamaha as801 with a little more than 100 watts at 8 ohms...but some people tell me that for these particular speakers that even that is too weak.... Makes me wish I bought a speaker with a higher sensitivity rating.
Unfortunately B & W speakers often present difficult loads. Your speakers are no exception, as they have an impedance dip to 3 ohms. So it means you need an amp that has a robust four ohm rating. The Yamaha will be a much better amp for you. Although it does not have a four ohm spec, it has been tested by audioholics and van deliver 180 watts into four ohms both channels driven. That marantz amp is not adequate for those speakers.
 
R

RichS

Audiophyte
Are they the Bowers 683 S2? Measured here by Stereophile, shows a sensitivity of about 88dB, which is fine, but the impedance is rather low-ish and with significant phase angles, meaning they're a tough load on an amplifier.

Is the Marantz the HD-Amp1 like this one at Crutchfield?

At what volume/loudness do you start hearing distortion? Is the distortion in the bass, mids, or treble? How big is your room and how far away are you sitting?
No they are the B&W 683, an earlier model I think. The amp is the one on Crutchfield. The amp produced no base and the highs were distorted. One could get away with a piano recording played at a lower volume. I bought this mismatch at a high-end audio store. I had asked if this combination would work and they said yes.
 
R

RichS

Audiophyte
Unfortunately B & W speakers often present difficult loads. Your speakers are no exception, as they have an impedance dip to 3 ohms. So it means you need an amp that has a robust four ohm rating. The Yamaha will be a much better amp for you. Although it does not have a four ohm spec, it has been tested by audioholics and van deliver 180 watts into four ohms both channels driven. That marantz amp is not adequate for those speakers.
Like any learning experience, some pain is involved. I ordered the Yamaha and am anxious to hook it up. Looking back on my first buying experience , I should have purchased a horn speaker, with a much higher sensitivity rating. Then the Marantz amp would have worked Since I listen to classical music, I thought the B&W's would be a better speaker than say a Klipsch. Live and learn. I chose the Yamaha 801 after reading the audioholic review. I want to thank the people in this forum for responding promptly. This has not been my experience in other forums.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
No they are the B&W 683, an earlier model I think. The amp is the one on Crutchfield. The amp produced no base and the highs were distorted. One could get away with a piano recording played at a lower volume. I bought this mismatch at a high-end audio store. I had asked if this combination would work and they said yes.
If you hear no bass, turn the balance control to one side- if the bass returns, check the speaker connections because that would indicate one speaker's wires are crossed.
 
nathan_h

nathan_h

Audioholic
Agreed. While this combo may not be the perfect one that one would choose, it should still sound good at any reasonable volume. If it doesn't, that is a setup issue, broken gear, or similar.
 

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