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Amp for Nautilus 805

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hello folks,

I am looking for an amp for an old set of Nautilus 805.

I am building a system for a new small office: 9ft x 12ft with 8ft ceiling, wooden floor. Here are a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the layout:

I now have the B&W Nautilus 805’s from another room to save some money from buying new speakers and got some Energy 5.1’s for there temporarily. So, now I have the 805’s, a Schiit Mjolnir headphone amp (which is all balanced and has Pre outs as well) and the Audeze LCD-X headphones. I have a Marantz NA7004, which I mainly use as a DAC, that I got at a really nice price. I use a MacBook Pro for source (24/192 usually). I’m currently powering the 805’s from an old Pioneer Elite VSX-36TX I had laying around. That’s 100W @ 8Ω. The 805’s have a recommendation for 50W-120W amp. This is a fine amp and the speakers sound great, but it’s really a receiver, not a dedicated audio amp and I’ll eventually use it for a patio setup in the summer. So, I’m looking to buy a stereo amp for this room, which will be used more around the year, rather than buy something for the patio.

Here are a couple of options I’m considering:

1. Emotiva monoblocks like the XPA-1 and use the Mjolnir as a preamp - all balanced. This will give me 60W of pure class A, if I switch it to that.

2. Marantz PM8005. This has an output of 70W.

Since I’ve never heard a class A amp on speakers, I wanted to ask your opinion on what difference that would make in my case. And is it worth going the monoblock route, separates or integrated? Whatever else you may want to suggest, I’m all ears (and eyes).

Thanks for any advice you can provide.


post #2 of 4

Honestly, the Emotiva monoblocks are overkill for your space - not that that's a problem, but they probably won't be leaving class A operation, even on dynamic transients. One thing to consider - they'll run hot. If you do purchase them, make sure they're well ventilated. That being said the stereo power amp / monoblock route will probably net you the biggest bang for your buck since using the Mjolnir as a pre is the most straightforward setup and you can concentrate all your funds on buying quality amplification.


I've read that class A amps tend to sound fairly sweet overall - with a bit less control in the bass, however take that with a grain of salt since I've never listened to one in person. If you're sold on class A, other amps I would consider are any of Nelson Pass' designs - you might find an awesome deal on a used Threshold amp or a pair of Pass XA-30.5 monoblocks on eBay, Agon, etc.


For comparison, you might also want to consider Bryston power amplifiers. These are class A/B stereo designs that are fairly neutral and revealing of upstream electronics. They can be bridged to work as monoblocks. On the used market you can fetch a stereo amp with plenty of power around the same cost as a pair of the XPA-1's.

Edited by yage - 2/28/14 at 7:42am
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks, yage. I am leaning toward the separates route, because like you said I will maximize my investment in the Mjolnir as a preamp. I got a recommendation for the Parasound Halo A23 and I'm looking into that one now. I'll try to find the best amp I can around $1k and 100W per channel.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Found a "factory refreshed" silver A23 on Audio Advisor for $712 and pulled the trigger. Comparison with the Pio coming up next week :)

Thank you to everyone for their feedback!

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