If not Ovator or SBL then ?

I am looking for some starting points from the collective wisdom !

Having got the electronics on Fraim and hopefully upgrading the ND5 to NDX soon i am in a place where new boxes will be a while away. With this in mind my attention turned to speakers - Where the SBL the next limiting factor was the question ?

A friend was interested in a s/h pair of S400 so we did a deal and i have had them in the listening room for the last week. Safe to say they outperformed the SBL in almost all ways in my room. This answered the question - Yes the SBL are the limiting factor right now. Problem is the boss does not like any of the standard finishes so S400 cannot stay and finding a rosewood pair would take a very long time.

Having decided that Active was not on the cards for now (cost/space) i realized i would need to start the long journey to find what the replacement would be! I also realised that i had not even considered the speaker world for over 10 years and as such had no idea where to start.

I totally understand that speakers are very personnel to the listener and that room interaction is key so home demo will need to occur. This said I cannot demo 10’s of options at home so i want to work in 3 stages. 

1. Research and shortlist a selection of options.

2. Demo said options at dealers as required and refine list.

3. Home demo 1-3 options as needed.

 

So given the following parameters

  • boxes - NDX/XPSDR > 52/SuperCap > 135’s all serviced
  • Room 3.6 x 4.5
  • Like the sound of Ovators
  • Ovator Size is ok
  • Rear wall 6” is ok.
  • Budget upto 10K (absolute max)

I attended the Audiobarn event the other week showing Kudos. I liked the sound of the 707 (to big and pricey for me) and the S20 sounds good . I am interested to heart he 606 when I can so that at least 1 on the list. Looks are key for the boss so nothing wacky looking

What options should be on my Dealer dem list ?

Thanks 

Rob

Please no suggestions to do cables, active, boxes or SL2

“Mort” said Mort automatically

Terry Pratchett - Discworld

Original Post
The Strat (Fender) posted:

Had S20s now for 10 months and frankly every day they impress me more and more.  About 10” from the rear wall but the downward porting helps - I reckon they could go closer. 

Will Jack home dem you a pair?

Regards,

Lindsay

Thanks I was impressed with the s20 at the Audiobarn event even not setup fully. They will be on my list for sure. I am up north so it’s a long trip ! 

10” from back wall could be a problem 

 

Rob 

While you were at the Audiobarn did you get to hear the Larsen 8? 

Is 6” the maximum you can come out from the wall?

Shahinian as you have 135s.

If you get flack counter with the suggestion of a pair of Eclipse TD712zMK2, she’ll either love the style or the’ll put the wooden boxes in perspective. Ivan at Cool Gales is a very accomodating fellow if you end up wanting to hear a pair.

Christopher_M posted:

My understanding is those amps are legendary. With this in mind is NDX a good enough front end? How about NDS and spec the speakers down a bit?

While the OP does not want other recommendations, I’d echo what Chris suggests here. The SBLs are not the limiting factor. The S400 is just different. With the 52/135s and SBLs, an NDS/555PS would not be out of order. 

The room is not very big, so something modestly sized, such as the Kudos S20 might work well. The key is to try them at home. 

But most electrostatic speakers don't do bass well. And if they do bass, it is not nicely integrated. I recently listened to some Martin Logans and it was terrible. Very nice midrange and high, but wooly bass.

The Ovators have that nice, quite well integrated, dry and tuneful bass which makes them so nice.

To the OP: why not buy the Ovators and have them painted by a good painter? I consider this possible. I have the zebrano black's and I think the zebrano is just a print. Piano Black, or even Pink if SWMBO likes that ...

If you don't think Quads do bass you should hear my mates 2905's on the end of his full 555/552/500 system. They get very close to my DBL's. Also remember that Naim always wanted to build electrostatics but they couldn't build them to the scale and price needed.

One thing to mention is that Naim adjusted his 500 so that he didn't have an involuntary indoor firework display, which is what Quads do when you introduce a 500 amp at full chat - apparently it becomes a mini arc welder!

Innocent Bystander posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:

Have a listen to QUAD electrostatic speakers. 

Ovators were also modelled on them (which I can confirm in a way, as I own and run Ovators S400 and QUAD ESL 63)

Don't the Quad ESLs have to be well out in the room as they are dipoles?

Around 60 cm from a back wall, but happy in corners. 

Ovators need at least 25 cm from a back wall to work well. 

Re-finishing speakers is not too hard. The grill of the S400 is especially friendly to this concept.

I have done this for clients a lot, and as an owner of white s400s have been playing with the idea of making them pillar box red.

If doing woodgrain, you can go darker. Walnut to Rosewood would work find a decent French polisher.

Mort2k posted:
The Strat (Fender) posted:

Had S20s now for 10 months and frankly every day they impress me more and more.  About 10” from the rear wall but the downward porting helps - I reckon they could go closer. 

Will Jack home dem you a pair?

Regards,

Lindsay

Thanks I was impressed with the s20 at the Audiobarn event even not setup fully. They will be on my list for sure. I am up north so it’s a long trip ! 

10” from back wall could be a problem 

 

Rob 

Rob - can you get to Leicester?  Peter and the guys at Cymbiosis are excellent with Kudos.

Regards,

Lindsay

yeti42 posted:

While you were at the Audiobarn did you get to hear the Larsen 8? 

Is 6” the maximum you can come out from the wall?

Shahinian as you have 135s.

If you get flack counter with the suggestion of a pair of Eclipse TD712zMK2, she’ll either love the style or the’ll put the wooden boxes in perspective. Ivan at Cool Gales is a very accomodating fellow if you end up wanting to hear a pair.

Thanks for the response. I did not hear the Larsen 8, it was just Kudos. Just had a look online and they could be an interesting option to Dem.

As for Shahinian they are on the list as a mate has Obs and they do sound nice. Looks could be an issue though - I like your suggestion on dealing with looks !

 

Rob

 

Hungryhalibut posted:
Christopher_M posted:

My understanding is those amps are legendary. With this in mind is NDX a good enough front end? How about NDS and spec the speakers down a bit?

While the OP does not want other recommendations, I’d echo what Chris suggests here. The SBLs are not the limiting factor. The S400 is just different. With the 52/135s and SBLs, an NDS/555PS would not be out of order. 

The room is not very big, so something modestly sized, such as the Kudos S20 might work well. The key is to try them at home. 

Chris and HH

I hear you on the NDS its in the plans... the NDX is a 'cheap' step up as i can do a deal with a mate who is looking to downsize so its a long way off the price of a New NDS and the 555 upgrade from XPS!

HH thanks for the suggestions , i do need to listen to the S20A again.  Totaly agree on the home demo requirements. 

I guess my terminology may be off, not limiting factor as in the speakers capabilities but more the limiting factor in my ability to enjoy longer listening sessions. The SBL (and i have heard quite a few pairs in different rooms etc) tend to have a harsh top end that (in my system) causes fatigue when listening. The S400 (in my system/room) dont give me the same issue, they also provide more separation and detail from the listening so far. The big test will be tomorrow when the S400 go and the SBL come back in place

Will update on how the SBL go tomorrow.

Thanks

Rob

 

Adam Zielinski posted:

Have a listen to QUAD electrostatic speakers. 

Ovators were also modelled on them (which I can confirm in a way, as I own and run Ovators S400 and QUAD ESL 63)

Adam

Thanks for the suggestion, they got a very 'Not a Chance' look from the other half

Rob 

Ardbeg10y posted:

The Ovators have that nice, quite well integrated, dry and tuneful bass which makes them so nice.

To the OP: why not buy the Ovators and have them painted by a good painter? I consider this possible. I have the zebrano black's and I think the zebrano is just a print. Piano Black, or even Pink if SWMBO likes that ...

Interesting suggestion will have to ponder and explore that. Would almost certainly ruin any resale value.

Rob

Innocent Bystander posted:

PMC Fact 12 crop up from time to time ex-dem within that budget, but I've no idea how they compare in sound, and I don't think they do rosewood...  They are very skinny and elegant looking, and the sound can be tailored slightly to the room.

I was looking at the PMC range the other day but the Twenty5 Range, they fit the size and looks test, just need to listen. Will consider the FACT range as well - they very different in sound ? 

Rosewood is not a requirements, just the only option in s400 that may be acceptable. More Oak colours are best for the room.. 

rob

Mort2k posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

PMC Fact 12 crop up from time to time ex-dem within that budget, but I've no idea how they compare in sound, and I don't think they do rosewood...  They are very skinny and elegant looking, and the sound can be tailored slightly to the room.

I was looking at the PMC range the other day but the Twenty5 Range, they fit the size and looks test, just need to listen. Will consider the FACT range as well - they very different in sound ? 

 

 

Fact 12 is a significant step up in sound presentatio. from twenty26, while being more elegant (to my eyes) as a result of its slim front. But they are also significantly more expensive.

I have S600 in Zebrano and S400 in Rosewood. I like Zebrano very much albeit is not a real veneer. If you don't like the colour you found you could get them resprayed  in satin white or gloss black like original spec.

There also here a forum member owning S600, painted in Moonston Black. A sort of gloss black with metal flaking. I' ve been told by Mr, Steven Hopkins that was done like test bed for Focal.

For the record, i run S600 in a similar sized room like yours. Considering that 707s are smaller 600s the new 606 should work very well in your room.

Regards

Roberto

Innocent Bystander posted:
Mort2k posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

PMC Fact 12 crop up from time to time ex-dem within that budget, but I've no idea how they compare in sound, and I don't think they do rosewood...  They are very skinny and elegant looking, and the sound can be tailored slightly to the room.

I was looking at the PMC range the other day but the Twenty5 Range, they fit the size and looks test, just need to listen. Will consider the FACT range as well - they very different in sound ? 

 

 

Fact 12 is a significant step up in sound presentatio. from twenty26, while being more elegant (to my eyes) as a result of its slim front. But they are also significantly more expensive.

I seem to recall that the Fact 12s require a lot of driving. One member on here felt it took a 500. They look superb though.

MDS posted:
Chris Dolan posted:

The Fact 12s look stunning - and they have been known to seriously outperform Kudos Titan 88s, but in a rather  idiosyncratic room 

A pity we don't hear from Peter on here any more.

I also miss the Viking Dentist, and hope he is doing well. Ditto for Dr. Blues.

Adam Zielinski posted:

Have a listen to QUAD electrostatic speakers. 

Ovators were also modelled on them (which I can confirm in a way, as I own and run Ovators S400 and QUAD ESL 63)

Ovators modelled on Quad electrostatics????

Source for that claim, please.

analogmusic posted:

Surprised no one has yet mentioned the Dynaudio/Naim synergy.

If not a Naim speaker, then for me the speaker that is compatible with Naim values of Pace Rhythm and Timing is Dynaudio.

 

Even more surprised no one has yet, until now, mentioned ProAc! A match made in heaven. 

jon honeyball posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:

Have a listen to QUAD electrostatic speakers. 

Ovators were also modelled on them (which I can confirm in a way, as I own and run Ovators S400 and QUAD ESL 63)

Ovators modelled on Quad electrostatics????

Source for that claim, please.

I remember reading about the development of Ovators sometime early this year.  Quad ESL-63s were mentioned as one of the inspirations. (so use of a word 'modelled' is probably not the best one here).

Had Ovator S400s for a while and they certainly rock.  Switched to Kudos Super 20s which I never liked as much - in particular earpiercing brightness in the top end that I could never tame.  Now running Focal Sopra 1s and loving them - they have a totally sublime midrange and the sweetest, most open treble on the planet.  You need to like speakers that look like Daleks but on the upside they do a funky orange finish.

.

 

 

 

 

 

ova tots

Adam Zielinski posted:
jon honeyball posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:

Have a listen to QUAD electrostatic speakers. 

Ovators were also modelled on them (which I can confirm in a way, as I own and run Ovators S400 and QUAD ESL 63)

Ovators modelled on Quad electrostatics????

Source for that claim, please.

I remember reading about the development of Ovators sometime early this year.  Quad ESL-63s were mentioned as one of the inspirations. (so use of a word 'modelled' is probably not the best one here).

As a connoisseur of almost everything Naim ever done, I’m also quite curious about where you read that and who said it? Should we stop the press...

//Jonas

 

Hi Rob,

I was wondering.. when did your SBLs last received some tlc... You mentioned that you haven't looked at the speaker market for about 10 years. I've got a pair of '87 mark 1's which I've been running for years and whilst keeping everything else serviced, left them unattended. Inspired by others on various threads I had them spruced up about 18 months ago.. Darran from class A fitted new tweeters and supplied me with new crossovers from naim. They've been singing ever since like I've never heard before! I have an NDX/82/SC/250. From what I’ve read the SBLs are generally considered to work well with even best of the lasted naim electronics, but I guess they have to be at their best too.. Maybe I'm still be living the '80s from a speaker perspective, but it'll take a lot wean me off my SBLs. I just love what they do!

Rich.

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