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Old 10-07-2007   #1
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Cool Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

Hi there.

I recently ordered a pair of Wilson Duette speakers and am looking for an amp, pre-amp and dac to pair with them.

My dealer is recommending a Naim system. Either Naim SuperNait (which is an 80Wpc integrated amplifier with a DAC) or separate components (Naim NAP 250 amp, also 80wpc and NAC 282 pre-amp) that are roughly double the price of the integrated solution.

The cost comparison is roughly double when comparing the integrated solution (SuperNait $5k) and separates (NAP 250, NAC 252 $12k).

Here's my question.

How does an 80Wpc amp like Naim compare to something like the Bel Canto REF1000 at 500Wpc coupled with the Bel Canto DAC3? The full system price points are comparable so I'm wondering what is the value difference between the two systems.

How does Naim stack up against comparably priced components that offer 150wpc or even 200wpc?

I realize it's down to my ear but it's difficult to hear all combinations of components with the Wilsons because that ultimately depends on what the Wilson dealers actually sell.

Any advice appreciated as well as helping me understand how much wpc matters in terms of evaluating amplifiers.
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Old 10-09-2007   #2
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Default Re: Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

I would recommend you try some of the new switching amps (Bel Canto/NuForce/etc) before you buy anything. They are very good.

Most of these companies offer in-home demo's or at least a generous return policy.

I don't have direct experience with Naim but $12k can get you one helluva nice system.

Don't get fixated on the wpc rating - it tells very little about how the amp will work with your particular speakers and ultimately sound.

I would start by calling Wilson and asking them for some recomendations.
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Old 10-09-2007   #3
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Thumbs up Re: Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

GREAT to see you posting on AVRevForum.com!

I have owned MANY pairs of wilson including the WATT PUPPY v7's I currently have. I have also owned a Naim NAIT from WAY back in the day. If you say it is 80 Watts now - that is a HUGE improvment over the 8 Watts I had 15 years ago. Its a sweet sounding unit as I remember but Wilson's, while able to run on low wattage, like more smack behind them as I learned in my review of the Krell Evolution equipment.

Some of my recomendations include:
- Bel Canto's integrated amp - very inexpensive (RAVE review pending on AVRev.com)
- Krell's integrated amp - this is what I have on my Dad's Watt Puppies.
- Mark Levinson's Integrated amp = Wilson and Levinson is a CLASSIC combo.

Also recomend Transparent cables for this system as i belive the Wilson speakers are wired with Transparent at the factory. The truth is, Wilsons just sound pain GREAT with Transparent.

Sleeper recomendation:
- Get a Logitch Transporter media server and download HIGH RES music from Music Giants as a high res audio source. Be sure to pick up some stuff from AIX records!!!!
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Old 10-09-2007   #4
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Default Re: Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Supra View Post
I would recommend you try some of the new switching amps (Bel Canto/NuForce/etc) before you buy anything. They are very good.

Most of these companies offer in-home demo's or at least a generous return policy.

I don't have direct experience with Naim but $12k can get you one helluva nice system.

Don't get fixated on the wpc rating - it tells very little about how the amp will work with your particular speakers and ultimately sound.

I would start by calling Wilson and asking them for some recomendations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryDelColliano View Post
GREAT to see you posting on AVRevForum.com!

I have owned MANY pairs of wilson including the WATT PUPPY v7's I currently have. I have also owned a Naim NAIT from WAY back in the day. If you say it is 80 Watts now - that is a HUGE improvment over the 8 Watts I had 15 years ago. Its a sweet sounding unit as I remember but Wilson's, while able to run on low wattage, like more smack behind them as I learned in my review of the Krell Evolution equipment.

Some of my recomendations include:
- Bel Canto's integrated amp - very inexpensive (RAVE review pending on AVRev.com)
- Krell's integrated amp - this is what I have on my Dad's Watt Puppies.
- Mark Levinson's Integrated amp = Wilson and Levinson is a CLASSIC combo.

Also recomend Transparent cables for this system as i belive the Wilson speakers are wired with Transparent at the factory. The truth is, Wilsons just sound pain GREAT with Transparent.

Sleeper recomendation:
- Get a Logitch Transporter media server and download HIGH RES music from Music Giants as a high res audio source. Be sure to pick up some stuff from AIX records!!!!
Thanks for the tips. I'm planning to demo the NuForce amp with a local dealer. I already have the Bel Canto (REF 1000 and DAC3) on another system and have been very pleased; however, I want to try something else for my new system.

For the Krell I assume you mean the KAV-400xi. I didn't know Mark Levinson made an integrated amp.

Took your advice and contacted Wilson for recommendations; will post my findings here.

Regarding the Logitech Transporter Media Server, how does this stack up against the Apple TV? I suppose the DAC is better, but how does it compare to something like the Bel Canto DAC3?

My music collection is entirely Apple Lossless on a MacPro. I have an Apple TV connected via optical to DAC3 and then XLR into REF 1000. Great sound!

Last edited by xyclo; 10-09-2007 at 04:29 PM.. Reason: Cleaned up the quoting
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Old 10-10-2007   #5
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Thumbs up Re: Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

Quote:
Originally Posted by xyclo View Post
Hi there.

I recently ordered a pair of Wilson Duette speakers and am looking for an amp, pre-amp and dac to pair with them.

My dealer is recommending a Naim system. Either Naim SuperNait (which is an 80Wpc integrated amplifier with a DAC) or separate components (Naim NAP 250 amp, also 80wpc and NAC 282 pre-amp) that are roughly double the price of the integrated solution.

The cost comparison is roughly double when comparing the integrated solution (SuperNait $5k) and separates (NAP 250, NAC 252 $12k).

Here's my question.

How does an 80Wpc amp like Naim compare to something like the Bel Canto REF1000 at 500Wpc coupled with the Bel Canto DAC3? The full system price points are comparable so I'm wondering what is the value difference between the two systems.

How does Naim stack up against comparably priced components that offer 150wpc or even 200wpc?

I realize it's down to my ear but it's difficult to hear all combinations of components with the Wilsons because that ultimately depends on what the Wilson dealers actually sell.

Any advice appreciated as well as helping me understand how much wpc matters in terms of evaluating amplifiers.
All of Jerry`s recommendations are superb. And, fortunately I`ve heard all of these companies amps. But, if we are talking about price, performance ratio here, then the Bel Canto`s are hard to beat.
I had the opportunity and pleasure to hear the Bel Cantos first hand at HE2007 and came away very impressed. Plus, if you do decide to use a computer or labtop for music as a source, the Bel Cantos having the USB is a huge advantage. Not to mention space considerations.
But, since your already have a Bel, why change? Are you not pleased.
They are very good amplifiers.
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Old 10-11-2007   #6
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Default Re: Best Amp/Pre-Amp for Wilson Duettes

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Originally Posted by deacongreg View Post
All of Jerry`s recommendations are superb. And, fortunately I`ve heard all of these companies amps. But, if we are talking about price, performance ratio here, then the Bel Canto`s are hard to beat.
I had the opportunity and pleasure to hear the Bel Cantos first hand at HE2007 and came away very impressed. Plus, if you do decide to use a computer or labtop for music as a source, the Bel Cantos having the USB is a huge advantage. Not to mention space considerations.
But, since your already have a Bel, why change? Are you not pleased.
They are very good amplifiers.
Agree on the price performance. I'm happy with the Bel Cantos and they are part of another system in my home. Wanted to try a different company's components with the Duettes, not because I don't like the Bel Cantos, I just want to explore and enjoy the sound of another brand.

I'm trying to get a demo of the NuForce Ref 9V2SE, will be demoing SuperNait+HiCap this weekend and will explore integrated solutions from BAT, Burmester, Krell or McIntosh (e.g. MA 6900). Will post the feedback on the Naim products because I'm finding there's not much out there as a point of comparison.
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