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StevenM

Best Amplifier for Cornwall III's

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After purchasing a pair of Cornwall III's, I decided to upgrade my amplifier. I have always wanted a McIntosh and though this would be a great pairing. I bought the MA6600 with the HD FM radio option (first "receiver" MAC has produced in twenty years) Rated at 200 watts into 8 ohms, transformer-coupled, I thought this would be the last amplifier I'll ever buy. Well... It sounds great at low volumes, as soon I crank up the volume, it starts getting "dirty". Using the MAC just as the pre-amp, I swapped the output to my old Luxman MB3045 monoblock tube amp (@50 watts/chan.); sounds great with the exception it's a little under-powered. Back to the MAC, I swapped speakers to my old Infinity RS6; sounds fine up loud. I'm thinking the MAC is overdriving the Cornwall horns to the point that the diaphragms are slapping against their physical stops.

Hindsight tells me I should have sprung for the tube-type MAC, but that price is a bridge too far, and I'd lose my shirt selling this one at less than a year-old.

What I ended up doing is keeping the MA6600 as the pre-amp to drive the Luxman MB3045 monblocks.

I'm wondering what tube amps people like paired up with Cornwall's, La Scala's, La Belles & K-Horns?

Any thoughts?

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How loudly are you listening that the 50 wpc Luxmans aren't enough? In my experience, 5 wpc into a pair of Cornwalls produces sound pressure levels which drive most people out of the room. Can you describe your listening room in terms of size, carpeting, drapes, book cases, etc? That may help to clarify your power needs.

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Yes, most people don't even like being in the same house as me when I'm rocking out. That and hundred of concerts goes a long way in explaining my tinnitus.

The room is very bright, bordering on extremely bright: hardwood floors, wire-lath plaster walls, leather furniture, minimal window dressing, one small scatter rug under the coffee table, no wall hangings, four 5' X 3' book cases.

I guess what I'm looking for is better bass extension, without over-driving the horns. Mid-range and up seems fine driven by the tube amp. For a while I bi-amp the system, using a McIntosh MA6600 to drive the woofer, and the Luxman to drive the horns, but the synergy isn't quite right, I have to attenuate the Luxman's quite a bit, for lower volume levels, than as the sound level goes up, I have to re calibrate (turn up) the mid-high range levels.

It could be time to re-tube the Luxman's, it's been almost five years.

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How large is the room itself? Also, what kind of speaker placement are you using, and where is your listening position? Bass response can be greatly altered by something as simple as moving the speakers a few inches or less, or changing your listening position by the same amount. Any possibility of posting a picture of the room showing the layout, etc?

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You say you have a difficult room but it sounds like you are unwilling to make any adjustments to the sound like EQ (tone controls, etc.)........because "I am not there yet." What do you mean?

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You say you have a difficult room but it sounds like you are unwilling to make any adjustments to the sound like EQ (tone controls, etc.)........because "I am not there yet." What do you mean?

I think he means he wants the synergy of his components to make the sound he's looking for and not add any EQ into the mix.

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Yes, most people don't even like being in the same house as me when I'm rocking out.

You and I are cut from the same cloth, my brother. Even my family can't stand being in the same room as I. And it doesn't matter what genre I'm playing, or how loud it is.

Come to think of it, it doesn't even make any difference if the music is playing at all. Hey, wait a minute...

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My feeling about tone controls: If you have to adjust bass or treble, something more fundamental is not right with the system, either room acoustics, or mis-matched components... I've never had a situation where I was able to be satiated with manipulating tone controls, other than to identify what needed to be corrected. My Audio Research SP-5 pre-amp (used in trade for the MAC) didn't even have tone controls. This is why most high-end pre-amps have an EQ by-pass setting, many people playing in this end of the game, don't even want the signal to pass through all those caps and switches, even set on a "flat" EQ setting. I count myself in this camp.

Room acoustics: I'm married to a (fine arts) painter. Translation: She is very opinionated about how the "look and feel" of her "space" .... Walls are viewed as another canvas in which to hang work (that, changing almost weekly). The suggestion I slap up some acoustic tiles makes her grimace. The Cornwalls actually caused quite a rift when they arrived, I'm pretty sure she cried when she realized how big they really where... The dealer I bought them from delivered them: We were un-creating the first one, and she cries "that create better hold both of them!" nay poor child, only one. Tears & explicatives follow... She remains an unhappy camper, viewing the Cornwalls as one would an unwelcome, over-stayed in-law or a visit from the tax-man. As much as I would love to acoustically taylor the room, I know when to stop pushing my luck.

So when I say "I'm not there yet" what I mean to say is: A) I don't have the components closely matched to the point (where EQ is moot) or B) I don't have the room acoustics close enough to neutral.

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StevenM, I can respect the opinion of no EQ or one controls. Lots of folks go this way. I am completely opposite since my system depends on EQ. Specific EQ settings are specified by Klipsch for my MCM speakers. It's part of the game. However, doesn't matter.



Let's look at your issue. You may have a "mismatch" of amp for your conrmwalls. Some amps mate well, others do not. This might sound dumb but can you take your speakers outdoors? Carry them out onto the porch or patio or driveway......whatever. Get them out of that room for an afternoon and listen to them outside. Change some equipment around (amp).........this could help a lot with determining what sounds best. It sounds like you have a difficult room and given the constraints of no room treatments nor EQ will require a very "gentle" match...........probably tubes or a very tube sounding solid state amp (like a vintage Mac I.E. MC-250/2100). Otherwise you are describing a fatuiging sound.



Another point you make is how the horns "run away" from the bass when you turn it loud. Obviously you know your room is very bright, and if you have an analytical sounding s/s amp, the run away and harsh top end is almost assured. It sounds like you know your problems. I would reccomend a softer sounding s/s or tube amp but not until you hear what you have now outside your room to understand if you like it or not.

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Good insight.

I have in-fact, performed this exercise with this and other speakers. In infinite space (outdoors) the MAC (MA6600) is indeed a good match, the tube-type Luxman, better still.

As we discuss this, it is becoming increasingly apparent to me, I am dealing with, primarily, room acoustics issues, specifically: reflections.

The wife did, at one point, offer to mount a tapestry or quilt on the wall opposite the speakers, this may be the key to peaceful cohabitation between artist and audiophile.

Thanks for the banter Mark; it's always instructional to toss about broad concepts when dealing with nebulous problems.

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The wife did, at one point, offer to mount a tapestry or quilt on the wall opposite the speakers, this may be the key to peaceful cohabitation between artist and audiophile.

Thanks for the banter Mark; it's always instructional to toss about broad concepts when dealing with nebulous problems.

Although it's commendable you are considering your wife's ideas, I think refering to her as a "broad" might be a little counter-productive.

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Hi,

I got the best results using an Aaron amp for my Cornscala - when I bought it I also listened with an Cornwall III hooked up.

Maybe thats what you're looking for - live like sound without all the eq stuff.

You can find reviews of the integrated amp here:
http://enjoythemusic.com/superioraudio/equipment/1008/aaron_no_1a.htm

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/aaron/aaron.html

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I'm wondering what tube amps people like paired up with Cornwall's, La Scala's, La Belles & K-Horns? Any thoughts?

I have used Dyna, Scott and McIntosh, all in the 20-30 wpc range and all matched well to the Cornwall IIIs. Right now I am using a McIntosh 225 (25 wpc) and I love the match with the Corns.

Frank

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All Golden oldies. At one point, I've owned every manufacture you've mentioned, but I didn't own the CW3's at the time.

My research (in this forum) has so far came down to a pair of McIntosh MA-75's or MA-275 as the ultimate mach-up.

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I haven't seen that brand here in The States. At 100w/ch it's a good match, if it has a "soft-clipping" feature, all the better.

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Hi,

i am a happy owner of a Cornwall III and try different amps at the CW.

My first and best amp for the special houers is the cayin a88t (modifired)

My everyday-amp for some years was the old Harman Kardon hk 660. Sounds beautyful with the CW - realy. Now he is broken and i looked for a new evryday-amp and chose the Magnat MA 800. He is a realy good parner for the CW but you have to chance the 2 tubes. Give him the psvane 12AU7-T and you will be very happy.

Greetings from Germany

Lucky

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