• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Question Need advice on stereo amplifier please.

musicnewbie

Member
May 13, 2021
2
0
20
I am looking to finalise my turntable set up but would really appreciate some advice please. I'm quite new this so if you could advise me on what you think.

This is the current set up that I am hoping to purchase based on what was suggested and what I liked the sound of.

Bowers and Wilkins 704 Series 2 Floorstanding loudspeakers - £1,999.00
Naim Audio Nait 5si Integrated stereo amplifier - £1,149.00
Project Tube Box DS2 phonostage - £625.00
Clear Audio Concept Moving Magnet turntable - £1,390.00

But I wanted advice on whether there is a better amplifier that will fit into this combination than the NAIM 5si. I am open to ideas and have a budget of around £1000-1500. I was also considering the Camebridge Audi CXA81 based on reviews and was wondering if this was a better overall amplifier (also slightly cheaper).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
850
527
19,770
Welcome to the forum!

Can you visit a dealer, say Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, to hear the speakers with a couple of different amplifiers? Naim tends to be quite forward and exciting, and might be too much of a good thing with the B&W. On the other hand it may be exactly what you’re after! Rotel are often suggested with B&W as the electronics were imported by them.

It’s too large an investment to take any notice of a random bunch of complete strangers, however much we’d like to help.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DougK

musicnewbie

Member
May 13, 2021
2
0
20
Welcome to the forum!

Can you visit a dealer, say Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, to hear the speakers with a couple of different amplifiers? Naim tends to be quite forward and exciting, and might be too much of a good thing with the B&W. On the other hand it may be exactly what you’re after! Rotel are often suggested with B&W as the electronics were imported by them.

It’s too large an investment to take any notice of a random bunch of complete strangers, however much we’d like to help.

Thank you for that, I will definitely listen to them before i proceed but just wanted to get advice from other people so see if there any particular combinations or models I should consider.

I will definitely have to try Rotel with my B&W speakers, thanks.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
969
235
19,270
Welcome to the forum!

Can you visit a dealer, say Sevenoaks Sound and Vision, to hear the speakers with a couple of different amplifiers? Naim tends to be quite forward and exciting, and might be too much of a good thing with the B&W. On the other hand it may be exactly what you’re after! Rotel are often suggested with B&W as the electronics were imported by them.

It’s too large an investment to take any notice of a random bunch of complete strangers, however much we’d like to help.
The B&W 7 series is more laid back than the 6, and the Naim will actually complement it.

I’m only concerned if the Naim will satisfy the 704’s power hungry nature in the long term. Price wise too it’s a bit ambitious for the Naim.

To the OP - the 704 is expensive and demanding, so don’t skimp on amplification budget, or lower your amp/speaker ambition slightly.
 
Last edited:

Oxfordian

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2021
169
123
270
I’ll throw in my 2p’s worth albeit I am not experienced in any of the items you have listed.

Have you been able to have the kit you are planning to buy on demo in your listening room or have all listening sessions been in the shop?

If shop then a home demo would be worth having, my local dealer has been brilliant letting me have kit on demo, it has really helped me with sorting out what I want to buy.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,941
269
20,070
I am looking to finalise my turntable set up but would really appreciate some advice please. I'm quite new this so if you could advise me on what you think.

This is the current set up that I am hoping to purchase based on what was suggested and what I liked the sound of.

Bowers and Wilkins 704 Series 2 Floorstanding loudspeakers - £1,999.00
Naim Audio Nait 5si Integrated stereo amplifier - £1,149.00
Project Tube Box DS2 phonostage - £625.00
Clear Audio Concept Moving Magnet turntable - £1,390.00

But I wanted advice on whether there is a better amplifier that will fit into this combination than the NAIM 5si. I am open to ideas and have a budget of around £1000-1500. I was also considering the Camebridge Audi CXA81 based on reviews and was wondering if this was a better overall amplifier (also slightly cheaper).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
The major area of concern is the amp/speaker partnership. Naim are tricky when it comes to ideal speakers.

As @nopiano suggested a lot of people, including yours truly, recommend B&W with Rotel, or if you go with Naim look at perhaps something like Dynaudio or Neat.
Years ago I heard B&W 805S with Naim 5i, and wasn't overly impressed.

What region do you live in, as demoing is important.,
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Al ears

millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
840
404
11,270
If it were me (and its not) id cut the speaker budget in half and put it in to the amp, those BW wouldn't be out of place with 5-6k of amp there back sides.

I'd add musical fidelity to the list M6si maybe, gobs of power and has a phono stage built in which should equal the project box and be one less box on the rack.

Do not under estimate the importance of properly driven speakers you'd very suppised what 1k speakers can sound like when given the chance to shine . Better for you in the long run as it will stop you spending more money.

As stated audition, all we'll do is add to the confussion.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
390
178
19,070
I can tell you there's a Sony amp, 100 watts per channel with remote control and mm phono, from Richer Sounds for £200. I would go with that.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
663
289
19,270
I am looking to finalise my turntable set up but would really appreciate some advice please. I'm quite new this so if you could advise me on what you think.

This is the current set up that I am hoping to purchase based on what was suggested and what I liked the sound of.

Bowers and Wilkins 704 Series 2 Floorstanding loudspeakers - £1,999.00
Naim Audio Nait 5si Integrated stereo amplifier - £1,149.00
Project Tube Box DS2 phonostage - £625.00
Clear Audio Concept Moving Magnet turntable - £1,390.00

But I wanted advice on whether there is a better amplifier that will fit into this combination than the NAIM 5si. I am open to ideas and have a budget of around £1000-1500. I was also considering the Camebridge Audi CXA81 based on reviews and was wondering if this was a better overall amplifier (also slightly cheaper).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Imo, the CA is definitely not a better overall amplifier, but of course you might think otherwise.

First of all, B&W speakers are more demanding as they seem, and imo you need the likes of Supernait 3 or 2 (or a Nait XS3 at the very least) to control them, or other high current beasts like a Musical Fidelity M5si. Arcam also work well with BW, maybe you can find a used Arcam fmj A49.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
160
42
10,620
Well having heard a Rega and B&W setup, there was nothing there that seemed out of place. If the B&W sound is your thing, which I assume it is.

So how about losing the phono stage, and using a Rega Elicit R as the amp?
It already has a good MM phono stage included.

I've no doubt there will be much better possiblities, but you could be searching for ages.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
663
289
19,270
It's Sony, so it will sound as good as your suggestions.
To reply to your original response, first of all there's no "need" for Pepsi either, but it sure is tasty. And the reason I'm being snarky is that I don't think you would go for the Sony at all. Didn't you have a Yamaha of recent vintage or something?

Also, I would let OP be the judge of the amplifier's sound. Last (and first) Sony amp I owned was a fuzzy mess in the bass department, and ran out of steam really quickly when turning the volume up, to the point where all sound would go to the left channel.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
390
178
19,070
Pepsi is revolting IMO and I am using a Sony at the moment. It's not faulty like yours was, and it has remote control, which is why I like it. Better than the MF A1 I used to use. It's true I have suggested Yamaha in the past based on value and reputation and lets face it, nobody will be able to tell the difference between one SS amp and another if the specs are good.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
390
178
19,070
Imo, the CA is definitely not a better overall amplifier, but of course you might think otherwise.

First of all, B&W speakers are more demanding as they seem, and imo you need the likes of Supernait 3 or 2 (or a Nait XS3 at the very least) to control them, or other high current beasts like a Musical Fidelity M5si. Arcam also work well with BW, maybe you can find a used Arcam fmj A49.
Utter cobblers. Any modern amplifier of sufficient power will work well with B&W speakers. What does "more demanding as they seem" even mean?
 
  • Like
Reactions: RoA

muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
332
88
4,970
Utter cobblers. Any modern amplifier of sufficient power will work well with B&W speakers. What does "more demanding as they seem" even mean?
I am not disagreeing with your experience with gear and suggestions. I do not have experience with expensive gear. I recently though bought a denon amplifier and ordered a set of speakers online because I had a set of tdl rtl 2s that imo never sounded great. I hooked them up to the amp I bought while awaiting for the new set to arrive.

I cancelled the ordered speakers the next morning (before they were dispatched). The tdl speakers sounded excellent to me. My point is certain speaker/amp combinations sound better than others. I don't know about demanding speakers etc but I'd have binned the tdls had I not heard them with an amp that got the good out of them
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
663
289
19,270
Utter cobblers. Any modern amplifier of sufficient power will work well with B&W speakers. What does "more demanding as they seem" even mean?
The"as they seem" bit refers to their 88db sensitivity, and the "more demanding" refers to their 3.1 ohm (!) impedance drops. One of these problems needs power to be solved, the other one needs current.

Besides this, the op already has a "modern amplifier with enough power" (b&w recommends 30-150 w/ch) AND remote control, which is in the exact same price range as the CA he's considering, and which also is, imo, a better sounding amp. So, as you're usually advocating for not spending money when you don't need to, I really don't understand your recommendation.
 
To be fair 88dB is pretty good and most modern amps should cope well.
so should the drop to 3.1 ohm to all intents and purposes
the quality of the CA is unknown to me so cannot comment there.
 

CheshirePete

Active member
Oct 12, 2020
21
19
25
I am looking to finalise my turntable set up but would really appreciate some advice please. I'm quite new this so if you could advise me on what you think.

This is the current set up that I am hoping to purchase based on what was suggested and what I liked the sound of.

Bowers and Wilkins 704 Series 2 Floorstanding loudspeakers - £1,999.00
Naim Audio Nait 5si Integrated stereo amplifier - £1,149.00
Project Tube Box DS2 phonostage - £625.00
Clear Audio Concept Moving Magnet turntable - £1,390.00

But I wanted advice on whether there is a better amplifier that will fit into this combination than the NAIM 5si. I am open to ideas and have a budget of around £1000-1500. I was also considering the Camebridge Audi CXA81 based on reviews and was wondering if this was a better overall amplifier (also slightly cheaper).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
I had B&W 704 s2's and they were a nightmare for me, they induced incredible levels of listening fatigue.

Apparently they have a frequency bump in the upper mid range / lower treble, I ended up having to sell mine and took a £300 hit.

Maybe you will ok and perhaps I just have sensitive ears, but trawling the forums I read other people had a similar issue.

Just my tuppence worth.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tinman1952

gasolin

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2013
1,000
184
19,370
I had B&W 704 s2's and they were a nightmare for me, they induced incredible levels of listening fatigue.

Apparently they have a frequency bump in the upper mid range / lower treble, I ended up having to sell mine and took a £300 hit.

Maybe you will ok and perhaps I just have sensitive ears, but trawling the forums I read other people had a similar issue.

Just my tuppence worth.
Yes they have https://www.soundstagenetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1804:nrc-measurements-bowers-wilkins-704-s2-loudspeakers&catid=77:loudspeaker-measurements&Itemid=153
 

RayP

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2012
42
3
18,545
Permit me to add my six penneth. Back in 2000 I bought B&W CM4s as part of a home cinema package. For years I drove them with first a Denon AVC-A10SE followed in 2012 by a Yamaha RX-A3010. Both these are £2K AVRs. But music was always lacking and of course the answer is because you can’t use AVRs for proper hi-fi.

Last year I discovered HT-Bypass and ended up buying a Naim XS3 for stereo music. My system was transformed. Bass returned and the Naim has a vice-like grip of the music. After 20 years I’ve got my hi-fi system back.

Put as much of your budget as you can into the source and amp. The B&W 704s are the modern equivalent of my CM4s. I paid £900 in 2000 for them so they’re quality speakers. If you can upgrade to a XS3 the B&W 704 should be a great combo.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
130
72
170
I am looking to finalise my turntable set up but would really appreciate some advice please. I'm quite new this so if you could advise me on what you think.

This is the current set up that I am hoping to purchase based on what was suggested and what I liked the sound of.

Bowers and Wilkins 704 Series 2 Floorstanding loudspeakers - £1,999.00
Naim Audio Nait 5si Integrated stereo amplifier - £1,149.00
Project Tube Box DS2 phonostage - £625.00
Clear Audio Concept Moving Magnet turntable - £1,390.00

But I wanted advice on whether there is a better amplifier that will fit into this combination than the NAIM 5si. I am open to ideas and have a budget of around £1000-1500. I was also considering the Camebridge Audi CXA81 based on reviews and was wondering if this was a better overall amplifier (also slightly cheaper).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Personally I would much prefer the CXA81 over the Naim. Having had a Nait XS2 for a couple of years I wouldn’t touch them again. Ground loops, thump at switch on and turn off, amp completely locking up (Naim said it was interference from a plasma TV but actually it couldn’t cope with a Harmony remote 🙄 ), must have 3.5 metres of speaker cables to avoid impedance problems on output (!) Much over priced and overrated….. Rotel, Marantz or Yamaha are proper HiFi manufacturers who get the electronics right!
Just my two cents…
 
  • Like
Reactions: DougK and Al ears

RayP

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2012
42
3
18,545
Having had a Nait XS2 for a couple of years I wouldn’t touch them again. Ground loops, thump at switch on and turn off, amp completely locking up (Naim said it was interference from a plasma TV but actually it couldn’t cope with a Harmony remote 🙄
Ground loops only occur if connections aren’t correct. I have my XS3 fed from my Yamaha AVR via pre-outs for home cinema. No hum and plugged in to a wall socket. My Bluesound Node 2i is connected to the XS3 via Chord Clearway RCA analogue cables.

It’s designed to be left on all the time. Uses a few milliamps. And it responds perfectly to my Harmony Elite remote. So much authority in the sound. My B&Ws love it.

Naim have been around since the 70s. Your last comment was a bit silly. 😉
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
130
72
170
Ground loops only occur if connections aren’t correct. I have my XS3 fed from my Yamaha AVR via pre-outs for home cinema. No hum and plugged in to a wall socket. My Bluesound Node 2i is connected to the XS3 via Chord Clearway RCA analogue cables.

It’s designed to be left on all the time. Uses a few milliamps. And it responds perfectly to my Harmony Elite remote. So much authority in the sound. My B&Ws love it.

Naim have been around since the 70s. Your last comment was a bit silly. 😉
You are correct about ground loops. The problem is Naim equipment is designed so that the signal ground and the earth ground are separate. This is part of the Naim sound philosophy. Only one item in a Naim set of equipment was designed so that these grounds are connected, usually the CD player. Thus having just an amp CAN cause (not will cause) ground loops.
I used mine with an AV amp in HT bypass mode and could not remove the ground loop without using an isolating transformer (which ruined the sound).
Gave up in the end and completely separated my two channel and multi channel equipment….
No other amplifier I have had (and I have had many…) gave that problem.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts