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B&W 704 with Accuphase or Marantz

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  • B&W 704 with Accuphase or Marantz

    Hello to all,

    I am new here and need little help. I am in process to upgrade my stereos.
    I have B&W 704 speakers and would like to hear your oppinion about these combos. I can't audit them (different dealers)

    Marantz PM-15S1 integrated (8/4ohm - 90/140W), SA-15S1 CD/SACD player
    Accuphase E-308 integrated (8/4ohm - 100/140W), DP-57 CD player

    Which one will be more suitable and musical?


  • #2
    I currently own 2 x PM15S1 driving B&W804S, vertical bi-amping (one amp per side).
    I have no experience with the Accuphase amplifiers, but hopefully my comments on the PM15S1 will help.

    The PM15S1 is well built with a beautiful balanced visual design. Ergonomics are great with useful features, including ability to hook up multiple PM15 and sync up the volumes for bi-amping or multi-channel solutions.

    In terms of sound quality, the PM15 has neutral sound, clear mids and sweet treble. This complements the 804S midrange, resulting in a nice pleasant sound, expecially on female vocals.
    But negatives include a lack of authority and pace in bass resulting in a slightly sterile sound. The lack of pace manifests as slight blurring of leading edges on percussion, and unfortunately robs some music (e.g. rock) of it's musicality.

    BTW, bi-amping brought improvements to soundstage width and stability of the stereo image, but no improvement to overall bass quality.

    Also a warning about run-in (whether you believe in such a thing or not), it took a few weeks of continously running in before the overall sound smoothed and filled out.

    My advice with the PM15S1 is proceed with caution; make direct comparisons to other amplifiers if at all possible before making a decision.


    • #3
      I have a PM11 S1 on loan which I am using with 804 (original model).

      I have to agree with the above comments - bass is shy. Personally, I feel Marantz amps are very good for female vocal / jazz but anything more uptempo is not so good. Imaging is nice though.


      • #4
        Thanks Mark,

        Is it worth for bi-wiring?
        What brand speaker cables and interconnect you are using?
        Somewhere was read that Kimber match very well

        Thanks again


        • #5
          Hi Rado,

          I have always bi-wired - results in better image focus and separation.
          I currently use two runs of Kimber 4TC for speaker cable. Made my own interconnects using 3 braided cables from 4TC. All connections are WBT. Works well, but then again haven't compared these extensively to other cables.



          • #6
            Originally posted by Edgeyboy
            I have to agree with the above comments - bass is shy. Personally, I feel Marantz amps are very good for female vocal / jazz but anything more uptempo is not so good. Imaging is nice though.
            This is supports the review on the PM11S1 in Hifi World May 2005.

            BTW, not all Marantz amplifiers are bass shy, for example my Marantz SR9300 AV amplifier has great bass authority and impact, but is not quite as refined as the PM15S1 in the midrange and treble. Also the Marantz SM17SA amplifiers have decent bass, if overall slightly light-weight tonal balance, when driven by a decent preamplifier.


            • #7
              Hi Rado

              I don't have much experience with the Marantz model you mention, but I used to own a PM 7200 with my 704's. I can basically agree with what other members have said about the character of Marantz amps, which is not to say that they're bad products, in fact as other's have already pointed out depending on your music taste, size of room and prefered volume level they may do quite well, but ultimately lack the guts to really satisfy if you want your system to "get up and go" from time to time.

              At present I'm using a Consonance "Calaf" integrated which is (to my ears anyway) an excellent partnership (retails around 2000 GBP, not sure of US$ price)... the 704's have opened up dramatically (they actually sound like bigger speakers than they are) and there is an utterly effortless quality to the way music is presented (no puffing and panting on the part of the amp to produce on demand) and they are delivering a fullness of (very articulate) bass I didn't know they were capable of.

              Clearly there are other amp partnerships that will work also, but this synergy is so good it goes well beyond a mere "on paper" match.


              • #8
                Hello Rado,

                I might be able to help you a bit. I own a Marantz SA-14v2 cd/sacd player and an Accuphase E-308 both of which are partnered with my 802Ds through Audioquest cables. It sounds very, very good, very musical. Not the most dinamic or bassy system, but a very natural and pleasing sound all across the audio spectrum.

                I haven't heard the Marantz integrated and cd player you've mentioned, but I had the opportunity to listen to the Accuphase DP-57 on my system and it was better than my player a bit.

                Anyway, if price is similar, I would go with the Accuphase combo, I think that the E-308 is one of the best integrated amplifiers out there on the still not insane pricing levels.

                Good luck!



                • #9
                  Do have some of you any experience with Unison Research, Pathos?
                  I almost chaged my direction and think to go with hybrid amps, with valve in pre and transistors at end.



                  • #10

                    I think I read a review of that amp once (the Pathos integrated) , but I've never heard it and the reviewer thought it was very good. I seem to remember that the power output was quite modest, but I could be remembering wrong.

                    While it does go against the grain a bit (for me anyway) to make any kind of statement based on paper specs alone (esp. considering the doubtless quality of the product in question), if that amp puts out anything less than a rated 100w/8ohms per channel I'd look elsewhere... in fact (from personal experience) I'd want to have more in reserve anyway if you really want the speakers to produce what they are capable of.

                    But, as I said... I cannot speak from direct experience with the product in question, just an observation based on ownership of B&W's and knowing the sort of "drive" they require to give of their best. Of course, brute power without refinement is also no good, so take my comment as having taken account of that fact.

                    BTW, for my money, hybrids are the way to go if they are done right; you really can get close to the best of both worlds, esp. the relatively grain free HF reproduction you just don't get with all but the most expensive pure solid state equipment.


                    • #11
                      I assume PM-11S1 is similar to PM-15S1 when it comes to bass? I already have a SA-11S1 CD player and are curious about the PM-11S1. My speakers are 703.
                      Maybe together with a nice musical subwoofer (f.ex.REL) it would be great.


                      • #12
                        Hey Edgeboy, Mark_NZ,

                        My Marantz PM-15S1 and SA-15S1 are on the way.
                        Could some of you tell me is it worth to change power cords, as I think these are reference series and additional filtering may take wrong effect.
                        Now I think of speaker cable for bi-wire and IC.
                        Do some of you have experience with Van Den Hul?


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