Question Room size, 89 db speakers and amp power rating...

Drew2

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Sep 1, 2020
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I own a 20 year old pair of B&W 804 Nautilus speakers which are rated at 89db and 50-200 watt power range. My question - will a high quality 50w integrated amp in a small room be strong enough to make these speakers perform to their intended potential? Amp suggested is the REGA Brio (current model @ 50watt spec). My room is small (about 12 x 14 ') and I no longer can play at sound breaking levels due to neighbors (and others). I have read that the B&Ws are a power hungry and have read some to say they need most of their upper rated range to sound good. Will the Brio be able to work with my speakers at nominal but not crazy loud sound levels? I like it for it's simple layout and small footprint. I know other amps in its price range like the CA and Marantz will provide more power/push. Has anyone used this amp and speaker set up? Thanks for any input.
 
This amp will drive these speakers but not to the best of their ability.
It may have 50wpc but it has to be able to handle the speakers low dips in impedance which can dip to 3 ohms.
Although I have not heard this combination I would say you're going to be better off with a 'beefier' amplifier.
Playing volume has little to do with it.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
I own a 20 year old pair of B&W 804 Nautilus speakers which are rated at 89db and 50-200 watt power range. My question - will a high quality 50w integrated amp in a small room be strong enough to make these speakers perform to their intended potential? Amp suggested is the REGA Brio (current model @ 50watt spec). My room is small (about 12 x 14 ') and I no longer can play at sound breaking levels due to neighbors (and others). I have read that the B&Ws are a power hungry and have read some to say they need most of their upper rated range to sound good. Will the Brio be able to work with my speakers at nominal but not crazy loud sound levels? I like it for it's simple layout and small footprint. I know other amps in its price range like the CA and Marantz will provide more power/push. Has anyone used this amp and speaker set up? Thanks for any input.
Mmm... I tend to agree with @Al ears. The Rega is a good amp but you won't make the most of those big B&Ws with a Brio-R.

IIRC those speakers major in deep bass, and the ideal amp should have sufficient quality to really grip the LFs, otherwise you could end up with a welter of wall-shaking bass.

First on my audition list would be Rotel A14, as both brands are voiced to work with each other. I would also consider Creek Evo 50 or 100 if budget allows or perhaps a Cyrus of some description. I'm not a big fan of Cyrus but they do major in taut LFs.
 
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As above I cannot think on any 'small footprint' amps at reasonable cost that would drive these speakers to the best of their ability.
The Rega Brio is around £600, what is your maximum budget?
For a couple of hundred more you might like to consider the PS Audio Sprout 100.
This is smallish (a couple of inches wider and taller than Brio) and offers more clout than the Brio into a 4 ohm load, it is also rated at 50wpc into 8 ohm but this doubles at 4 ohm.
 

record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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89db isn't a difficult push, but that's not the whole story. Check the damping factor for the amp and if it's a high current design. Damping factor is the measure by which the amp controls the excursion of the speaker's drivers. The bigger the number the better, but 70-100 is a not unreasonable place to start. You'll find that in the tech spec for any decent amp.

If you're in a small room however, then those 804s will have a lot of bass so it might be better to consider more suitable speakers, especially if you have neighbours downstairs.
 

Drew2

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Sep 1, 2020
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per REGA's specs for Brio, it will go to 72 watts (Both channels driven) at 4 ohms so this should help with the 804s dipping down in impedance. They do not list Damping Factor although some reviews touch on that and it seems its less than 200.
 
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You don't hear damping factor mentioned often, and looking at a few amps I've had the figure is absent from the manufacturer's specs. The 308 quotes 180.

You don't but there other things that point to high damping factor, such as high current transformers and large capacitor reservoirs and so on. Kind of have to read between the lines. Not many manufactures mention it as it can also be a bad thing Paul from PS audio talks about it one of videos and explains it quite well
 

Drew2

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Sep 1, 2020
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Talking about high damping factor and high current/large cap reservoirs, etc.... how can amp that weighs < 3 lbs like the PS Audio meet those criteria ? Don't get me wrong, I am intrigued by the PS Sprout 100 for its size and price. Just wondering if it would have enough juice under the hood..
 
Talking about high damping factor and high current/large cap reservoirs, etc.... how can amp that weighs < 3 lbs like the PS Audio meet those criteria ? Don't get me wrong, I am intrigued by the PS Sprout 100 for its size and price. Just wondering if it would have enough juice under the hood..
Yes. The Sprout is able to do this because of the nature of its amplification circuit. It is what is known as Class D and uses ICEPower modules.
There are very few amps that are not class D that can double the output into a 4 ohm load.
As P.S. Audio quote:-
And with Sprout100’s universal internal power supply (100 – 240VAC @ 50/60Hz with auto-detect) you can take your new integrated amplifier abroad for maximum flexibility. By adapting new high-resolution/low-distortion topologies, a beefy 240-watt power supply, and bleeding-edge ICEpower amplifier technology, Sprout100 offers increased headroom, lower noise floor, and extended and nuanced frequency response. Z-feedback innovations reveal temporal accuracy and increased transient impulse response.

I don't think you will have any issues with it driving those speakers and worth looking into, both spec and reviews.
 
Just remember to turn off the bass boost on the ps audio sprout when listening to the amp or else they might not sound at there best
I think it's sad that the bass boost is on by default. To quote Stereophile magazine:-
"A few days of happy listening later, I began reading the Sprout100's owner's manual and discovered that, like the original Sprout, the Sprout100's bass boost is automatically engaged at turn-on—it's the default setting. Whose idea was that? If the user ever discovers this (who reads product manuals?) and wants to make it go away, said user must push in the Volume/On/Off knob and hold it there a few seconds, until the teeny-tiny indicator light turns from white to blue."


Crazy!
 

gasolin

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Mar 17, 2013
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Im not shure if it's on by default every time you turn it on and if you have to turn it off every f...... time you turn on the amp

https://hifitrends.com/2019/05/22/ps-audio-sprout100-integrated-amplifier-review-simple-and-elegant-hi-fi/ (just a little before the pictures)


There is one thing I missed since I was being a typical male and didn’t read the manual all the way through the first time. I’m referring to the Bass Boost feature which is there to give the sound a little more oomph in the low end. When I first plugged the Elac Debut 2.0 speakers into the Sprout100 and fired it up, I was thrown off because they seemed to be a lot more lively in the bottom end than I’m used to. It was distracting on some of my jazz tracks where I look for a more balanced sound.

Little did I know the Bass Boost (indicated by the white led by the volume knob) was engaged by default,
and to turn it off you have to long press the volume knob (shown by the White LED turning blue). If you give the Sprout100 an audition, this is something you may want to look out for so you can choose the mode that suits your preference.
 
Im not shure if it's on by default every time you turn it on and if you have to turn it off every f...... time you turn on the amp

https://hifitrends.com/2019/05/22/ps-audio-sprout100-integrated-amplifier-review-simple-and-elegant-hi-fi/ (just a little before the pictures)


There is one thing I missed since I was being a typical male and didn’t read the manual all the way through the first time. I’m referring to the Bass Boost feature which is there to give the sound a little more oomph in the low end. When I first plugged the Elac Debut 2.0 speakers into the Sprout100 and fired it up, I was thrown off because they seemed to be a lot more lively in the bottom end than I’m used to. It was distracting on some of my jazz tracks where I look for a more balanced sound.

Little did I know the Bass Boost (indicated by the white led by the volume knob) was engaged by default,
and to turn it off you have to long press the volume knob (shown by the White LED turning blue). If you give the Sprout100 an audition, this is something you may want to look out for so you can choose the mode that suits your preference.
I presumed that once you had turned it ooff once you then put amplifier into standby mode rather than powering it off completely.
 

Drew2

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2020
12
0
520
The MI looks good from a pure amp POV but the lack of vinyl and phones inputs would be a deal breaker for me.
 

Drew2

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2020
12
0
520
Another amp in the approx same price range - the Cambridge Audio CXA81. It has 80 watts into 8 ohms and has received very high reviews. Has anyone heard,owned, or auditioned this amp? It seems to check all the boxes for Integrated amps in this price point.
 

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