Invitation to Listen to the Original B & W Nautilus Speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mark B, Mar 31, 2005.

  1. dingus

    dingus Super Member

    Messages:
    2,089
    Location:
    Graham, WA
    we get the store to ourselves from 11:00am till noon when the store opens. i would think the parking situation would be less of a problem on Saturday?
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. ByrdWyngs

    ByrdWyngs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    Well it wasn't the case last Saturday, at least not for me. I'm mostly used to parking a couple of blocks from where I want to be every time I need to go downtown, and expect to do some walking. It was just more frustrating than usual because of the particularly bad weather and the fact that I really planned on leaving with the Vandys. Just wasn't meant to be I guess.
     
  3. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,504
    Location:
    usa
    The parking garage on the East side of 10th is the easiest place to park your car - street parking in downtown Portland can be hard to get.

    There is a loading zone immediately in front of Echo Audio which you can use for pick up or drop off.
     
  4. john_w

    john_w Miscreant

    Messages:
    2,094
    Location:
    Englewood, Colorado
    IIRC, the last price I heard for the Signature Nautilus was "only" $40k.

    But then, they also have to be quad-amped with at least 200 W per channel, per driver. (Except the bass drivers, which I think need something like 500W.) That aught to eat up a lot of the other 30K, if you get comperable equipment.

    Being a Naughty-less 805 and 803 owner (though I haven't picked up the 803's yet), I'd love to hear those!

    Lucasfilm's Skywalker Studios use Nautilus 802's. One step up from what I have, and three steps down from the Signatures on display there. (If you include the Signature 801's as a "step") I wonder how many recordings are actually worthy of these?
     
  5. john_w

    john_w Miscreant

    Messages:
    2,094
    Location:
    Englewood, Colorado
    I might go if Brainsmasher is driving.

    Then again, maybe not. Are you a safe driver, Brainsmasher? Somehow, your handle just doesn't put me at ease.
     
  6. VinylHanger

    VinylHanger Navigaret ex ironia

    Messages:
    11,182
    Location:
    Oregon
    I would most definetly cruise up if I wasn't three weeks behind on my latest project. Dang it, why do I have to work for a living. :cry:
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. dingus

    dingus Super Member

    Messages:
    2,089
    Location:
    Graham, WA
    i'll be on the road in a few minutes, see you guys there.
     
  8. polemos

    polemos New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    Oregon
    SE Hawthorn?

    Bought my Paradigm Studio 60's at Fred's sound of Music there on a miserable rainy day 8 years ago.
     
  9. russkish

    russkish Active Member

    Messages:
    368
    Nor surpising that Echo Audio would be the site of such a demonstration. I have enjoyed looking through their website with regularity. I especially enjoy checking their used and demo list. On a regular basis, the Echo Audio used list represents some of the best buys in used audio around.
     
  10. Mike Gibson

    Mike Gibson Modulator Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,996
    Location:
    Dufur Oregon
    The folks at Echo Audio were more than gracious to us and it was a very interesting experience. Also meeting several members was a treat in it'self. I'll let Dingus and Mark B fill in the details. I can't find words for what I heard :D
     
  11. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,504
    Location:
    usa
    Nautilus Listening Session

    The listeners: Byrdwyngs, Mike Gibson, Dingus, and Mark B.

    The set up: The Nautilus's were placed about 15 feet apart, toed in about 30 degrees, about 12 feet from our listening positition.

    The listening session started with the 1st & 4th tracks from disc 1 of Jeff Waynes musical version of "The War of the Worlds". The 1st track features story narrative by Richard Burton, and the 4th track is a combination of story narrative and the song "Forever Autumn" with vocals by Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. After adjusting the volumn to a comfortably loud listening level, it was soon apparent that we were listening to an amazing pair of speakers. Over the course of the next hour we listened to selections from Emerson Lake & Palmer, Midnight Oil, Elton John, and Jethro Tull.

    My overall impression of the speakers was that they were very accurate and controlled, and reproduced the music effortlessly. The bass response was visceral without being exaggerated, the mid-range was natural sounding on spoken voice, and the upper frequencies were forward without any hint of being too bright.

    If I had a budget of $18,000 for speakers (which is what Kurt is asking for them) these would be the ones I would buy.

    Pics to follow.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. ByrdWyngs

    ByrdWyngs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    What Mark said and then some. A very impressive system indeed, as should be expected considering not just the price of the speakers but the 8 channels of amplification required and a very good preamp and source as well. To expand a little on Mark's comments the Nautilus speakers are truly full range in a way that very few other speakers are, with excellent extension both on the high and low ends without ever being tubby or loose on the bottom, or bright and harsh on the highs. The midrange was as clear, natural, and uncolored as anything I have ever heard. Amazing precision and detail while stopping just short of becoming dry or clinical and remaining very musical. We had them cranked up loud enough that it was difficult to talk to the guy sitting next to you but they were still very easy to listen to and I got the sense that we could have gone even louder and still listened all day without a hint of fatigue setting in. The only weakness if there was one was with the soundstage and imaging. Although they did a credible job of filling in the soundstage between them they weren't able to image as precisely as I would have expected. But that was almost certainly a result of their positioning in the room. If we'd been able to bring the speakers closer together by 4-6 feet and get rid of the other 3 pairs of speakers that were between them I'm sure that would have made a big difference.

    As impressive as the speakers were it should be mentioned that at least part of the credit for what we were hearing needs to go to the source that we were using which was a "highly modified" Music Hall CD player. If I didn't already have a Toshiba 4960 on the way which is scheduled for some serious modding of it's own I would have had a hard time leaving without that Music Hall deck. It at least was reasonably affordable, unlike the Nautilus speakers and the kind of amps it would take to feed them properly.
     
  13. john_w

    john_w Miscreant

    Messages:
    2,094
    Location:
    Englewood, Colorado
    Thanks for the reviews, guys!

    It's too bad there were other drivers between them. Even at the "bargain" price of $18k, something of that caliber should be set up in a dedicated sound room, especially for a one day audition set-up. I suppose that probably did effect the imaging quite a bit.

    Still, I noticed when I first auditioned N-803's in my home set-up, that the image seemed to float around a bit, compared to my older, cheaper speakers. However, that was the ONLY weekness I noticed in the 803's. A comparison between the Sig's and the lower priced Nautili would be interesting. I would expect smoother highs and more well-defined bass.

    So what did they use for amplification?
     
  14. ByrdWyngs

    ByrdWyngs Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    794
    Location:
    Vancouver, WA
    While it would have been nice to have a more optimal setup Kurt was already doing us a big favor letting us come in before the store opened to do this. And he sold a couple of the amps that he was using previously to run the Nautili the day before our get together so he had to scramble just to come up with decent amps for us to use at all. Besides the things weigh something like 400 pounds each and they aren't exactly easy to move around so I'm inclined to cut him more than a little slack on the less than ideal placement in the room. The imaging wasn't bad, it just wasn't on the same amazing level as the rest of the performance and I'm sure it could have been improved by better positioning.

    I'm afraid I lost track of all the amps that were in use. The only one I remember for sure was a Parasound Halo (A51?) that we were using 4 channels of, I think for the upper and lower mids. Hopefully one of the other guys will remember the other 2 amps. The original owner apparently had been using some monster Krell and Levinson amps in his setup.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
  15. Mark B

    Mark B Yamaha Fan Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,504
    Location:
    usa
    Equipment Details

    * Music Hall MMF cd-25 (modded).
    * McCormack Map-1 Pre-amp.
    * Audio Research D300, 2 channels at 160 wpc driving the woofers.
    * Parasound Halo A-52, 4 channels at 125 wpc driving upper & lower mid-range.
    * VTL Pure Tube ST-85, 2 channels at 85 wpc driving tweeters.
    _
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
  16. Thatch_Ear

    Thatch_Ear Addicted Member

    Messages:
    7,735
    I got to spend some time alone with a pair (805s?) that were driven by a wall of McIntosh gear. It was impressive, the guy had some serious toys in his house. These were snails, but didn't have the growths on them.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. Mike Gibson

    Mike Gibson Modulator Staff Member Super Mod Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,996
    Location:
    Dufur Oregon
    You have heard from Mark B & ByrdWyngs and they represent the informed side of the audio house so here is my take from the knob twiddler/tire kicker side :) I really liked the presence of those speakers and the clarity with which they reproduced the sound. The looks don't do a thing for me as I'm too old school to appreciate fine art. My hat is off to Kurt at Echo Audio for his generous hospitality and to Mark B & Dingus for setting things up.
    After listening to the Nautlilus went went to Mark's home and listened to his wonderful Energy speakers. After that we drove out into the hinterlands to listen to my aging Altecs :) I'm curious to know what Mark & Dingus actually thought after listening to two truly fine sets of speakers and then driving for 2 hours to hear what I have.
    If you ever get a chance to meet Mark B, Dingus go for it. Finer people you wont meet anywhere. It was one of those experiences I'll remember always. Thanks guys for making it so memorable.
     
  18. dingus

    dingus Super Member

    Messages:
    2,089
    Location:
    Graham, WA
    just got back from Portland, i had a great time all around, enjoyed meeting a couple of other AK'ers and even had the privilage of hearing some of their systems and enjoy their hospitality. i have to apologize because TTIUWP (this thread is useless without pictures), and i was handling this detail for the event. i forgot to bring the camera with me to Echo on Saturday morning and consequently didnt think to ask Kurt for permission to post pic's here on AK. Mark and i went back to Echo earlier today and i was able get several nice pic's but Kurt was not in and so posting them will have to wait for his approval.

    how did they sound to me? Mark and Birdwyngs said it better than i could. i will add that to me the imaging was a stark split between left and right. as BirdWyngs said, this due to the placement in the room and the surroundings. i did pick up a very forwardly placed center presence on a few tracks, but it was dominated by the left and right. also, we finished up the session with a few tracks from Rush - Retrospective II. i have always found Rush to have an almost forceful sound to their recordings. not so with the Nautilus, there was nothing lacking in impact or strength, but i got the sense of an almost laid back quality when compared to what i have become accustomed to with Rush. i found it odd that this impression was only evident with Rush, which makes me think that this is the way they truly are supposed to sound.

    after hearing the Nautilus, am i now disappointed with my AR-9's? after the session on Saturday, Mike and i went over to Marks and hooked up Mikes pair of KLH 17's. i thought the 17's sounded great. listening to the Nautilus an hour earlier did not in any way detract from enjoying the excellent sound the 17's put out. i think a good sounding speaker is always going to sound good, i'm more than happy with the AR-9's.

    lastly i want to thank Kurt from Echo Audio in Portland. he is a true audio fan and a gracious host. he went out of his way for our benefit, and i cannot express my gratitude adequately enough to him for making a dream of mine a reality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2005
  19. drz01

    drz01 Active Member

    Messages:
    379
    Location:
    Toronto ON Canada
    Reminds me of an audition I stumbled onto here in Toronto in the late 80's... I walked int a HI FI store the looked dingy at the entrance with lots of stuff all over the place amps on their sides stuff for repair and an old dog to greet you. but the owner took me upstairs to show me his newest arrivals and my jaw hit the floor when he show me the biggest speakers I ever saw actually made up of four pieces, and driving the main two pannels was a pair of Silver 7 tube amps a (four piece monster) i dont remember the preamp but the turntable was an oracle of some type. The guy is still around now and sell a lot of great HI FI but he has to make money so he sells a lot of mid fi and dj stuff now.

    here is a picture of the speakers
    [​IMG]
     
  20. dingus

    dingus Super Member

    Messages:
    2,089
    Location:
    Graham, WA
    your Altecs are amazing. i have never heard that kind of big sound from any speaker. as for the 17's i absolutely love the sweet sound they put out. they are an amazing speaker in their own right, having fared very well when compared to speakers of a much more imposing stature.
     

Share This Page