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Old 25.01.2018, 16:46
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Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

Hi,
I am planning to built a cheapish stereo setup for listening to music & movies. Cheapish means all used parts from anibis/ricardo/here/wherever.

I started with used B&W DM 603 S2 speakers (max 150W 8 ohm), did some listening of them before buying. Not true audiophile experience, but they were able to deliver all I could throw at them with dignity, i don't expect more.

Now for the rest of the setup - DAC, amplifier or integrated (anything else?). I admit I am a bit clueless here.
Goal is to have it connected to PC, not in cheapish analog way. The thing is, I already use HDMI from graphic card for TV, not sure if it has second HDMI out (need to check at home). I guess USB DACs are OK too, not sure how future-proof they are though (USB drivers stop working, good bye).

Can anybody recommend good enough complement(s) to them? What should I be looking for in ads? Market here is very small though, and buying on ebay with sending & import taxes increases prices quite a bit.
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Old 25.01.2018, 17:06
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

I also have B&W DM603 speakers, connected to a Rotel A/V receiver with built-in DAC. I basically stream all my music via the digital input of the receiver and this sounds great. very happy with it.
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Old 25.01.2018, 17:08
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

Does your PC have Optical Out from the sound card?
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Old 25.01.2018, 17:08
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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Hi,
I am planning to built a cheapish stereo setup for listening to music & movies. Cheapish means all used parts from anibis/ricardo/here/wherever.

I started with used B&W DM 603 S2 speakers (max 150W 8 ohm), did some listening of them before buying. Not true audiophile experience, but they were able to deliver all I could throw at them with dignity, i don't expect more.

Now for the rest of the setup - DAC, amplifier or integrated (anything else?). I admit I am a bit clueless here.
Goal is to have it connected to PC, not in cheapish analog way. The thing is, I already use HDMI from graphic card for TV, not sure if it has second HDMI out (need to check at home). I guess USB DACs are OK too, not sure how future-proof they are though (USB drivers stop working, good bye).

Can anybody recommend good enough complement(s) to them? What should I be looking for in ads? Market here is very small though, and buying on ebay with sending & import taxes increases prices quite a bit.
Rotel amps (pre-amps, power amps) work very well with B&W (as it's essentially the same company).
Marantz amps are not a bad idea either.


Do note, B&W DM 603 S2 speakers are beginning to venture into the high quality regime, so components could be pricey, but going cheap will really limit their true ability.


I have shelf top B&Ws, stream everything from the PC, optical cable to CD/DAC (audiolab), then analog to preamp which outputs to sub and power amp. I have more power than the speakers and sub need....but even on 10 or 15 %. The neighbors are not happy
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Old 25.01.2018, 17:31
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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Does your PC have Optical Out from the sound card?
You mean SPDIF? Yes have that one
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Old 25.01.2018, 17:38
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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Rotel amps (pre-amps, power amps) work very well with B&W (as it's essentially the same company).
Marantz amps are not a bad idea either.


Do note, B&W DM 603 S2 speakers are beginning to venture into the high quality regime, so components could be pricey, but going cheap will really limit their true ability.


I have shelf top B&Ws, stream everything from the PC, optical cable to CD/DAC (audiolab), then analog to preamp which outputs to sub and power amp. I have more power than the speakers and sub need....but even on 10 or 15 %. The neighbors are not happy
Hmm, this is probably too complicated setup for my simpleton use case. Integrated-everything or 2 pieces (ie DAC -> AMP). I will never plug more than those 2 speakers into this system.

I noticed on the web they recommend to +- stick to the wattage of the speakers. Many fine solutions work with much lower wattage, mostly in 60-90W range. It was mentioned that underperforming system will mean I will have to go for >50% of the volume, which can bring distortions.

No real clue, just repeating what I read recently on forums.
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Old 14.03.2018, 12:51
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

Can you say what you have seen about specs of an amp matching the speaker?
I am looking to buy an amp rated at over 250w per Channel. This is both for future proofing and that I do not intend on going crazy with volume. Is there something you have seen to say otherwise? I too have 603s

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Hmm, this is probably too complicated setup for my simpleton use case. Integrated-everything or 2 pieces (ie DAC -> AMP). I will never plug more than those 2 speakers into this system.

I noticed on the web they recommend to +- stick to the wattage of the speakers. Many fine solutions work with much lower wattage, mostly in 60-90W range. It was mentioned that underperforming system will mean I will have to go for >50% of the volume, which can bring distortions.

No real clue, just repeating what I read recently on forums.
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Old 14.03.2018, 14:35
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

You are far more likely to destroy the speakers with an under-powered amp, rather than with an over powered one.

Tom
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Old 14.03.2018, 20:34
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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You are far more likely to destroy the speakers with an under-powered amp, rather than with an over powered one.

Tom
Dear Tom

Please explain... ?

(Even though it sounds counter-intuitive, I KNOW you will know why)

Regards

Ian
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Old 14.03.2018, 21:00
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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Dear Tom
Please explain... ?
If you turn up the gain (volume) too high for the amp, it will often start to clip, which effectively adds a lot of high frequency power to the signal that the speakers might not be able to deal with. Certainly it is harder on the speakers than a similar amount of power constrained to a more normal audio frequency distribution.

Some amps have circuits to smooth clipped waveforms, and/or flash a warning light. I considered adding a warning light to my Modulous-86 build but decided that the distortion caused by clipping would probably be obvious (and unpleasant) enough that I'd just trust myself not to turn it up too high.
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Old 14.03.2018, 21:15
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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If you turn up the gain (volume) too high for the amp, it will often start to clip, which effectively adds a lot of high frequency power to the signal that the speakers might not be able to deal with.
Exactly this!

Thank you for saving me having to post it!

Tom
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Old 15.03.2018, 20:41
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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Exactly this!

Thank you for saving me having to post it!

Tom
Ahahaha... thank you both Tom and Thomas.

My PA amps all have clipping circuits/lights so hence the speakers have not died...

Now for bonus points. I have a 30w Selmer valve amp that is THE LOUDEST COMBO AMP IN THE WORLD. My guitarist friend had a Peavey 60w MOSFET amp that was almost as loud. But another guitarist had a handbuilt Matamp valve beast with a 5w rating and a half power switch. At half power is was plenty loud enough for pub gigs with our "Animal" of a drummer. (Even on his Tom Toms).

All ratings were RMS.

???

Regards

Ian
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Old 15.03.2018, 21:21
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

5W is Single Ended Triode teritory and usually not a thing done in guitar amps, as this kind of operation is a huge waste of power and hardly any advantage in this application.

That being said, my 18W tubes are lound enough to get me in serious trouble with neighbors 2 floors up.

Adding to perceived loundess of some tube amps is the second harmonic distortion, which happens to be the same type of distortion as our ears generate when hearing loud sounds. In other words, tubes appear to sound louder than actual pressure levels would indicate.
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Old 15.03.2018, 21:57
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

Also, depends on the speaker.

I am rather fond of JBL E120s, which will often put out 14 dB more SPL than your average speaker for the same power input. A single E120, in my experience, is louder than the same amp feeding 2 4x12 Marshall cabinets.

(and yes, I used to use a single E120 with my Marshall 100W head)

Keep that in mind.

Tom

P.S. I did once destroy a K120, but never an E120.
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Old 16.03.2018, 10:04
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

How does one match up the speakers and amp so speakers don't get destroyed?
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Old 16.03.2018, 10:25
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Re: Advice from audiophiles - amplifier for B&W 603 S2

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How does one match up the speakers and amp so speakers don't get destroyed?
Amp too powerful - you burn the woofers (majority of music power is in the bass, speakers can't take the heat)

Amp too weak - you burn the tweeters (clipping generates harmonic which generates an unusual amount of energy in high frequencies).

Common sense = no damage. Stronger amplifier is usually the safer solution and will also sound better.

Another smart approach is to match speaker efficiency with amp power. Let's take 110 dB Sound Pressure Level (SPL) as our peak average power which is REALLY LOUD.

90db/W efficiency speakers need:
1 W amp for 90dB SPL
2 W amp for 93dB SPL
4 W amp for 96dB SPL
8 W amp for 99dB SPL
16 W amp for 102dB SPL
32 W amp for 105 dB SPL
64 W amp for 108 dB SPL
128 W amp for 111 dB SPL.

A 120W per channel amp is a smart choice in this case, but even 60W will be loud enough. Extra power will usually guarantee the amplifier will deliver enough power through complex signals and speaker loads. If you want rock concert loudness levels at home, you need to go all the way up to 120dB and have speakers which can actually deliver this kind of SPL.
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