Naim Ovator S400

nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Usually, not always, when supplied by dealers the cables are terminated with Naim recommended own plugs. If not, this might help:

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...r-naim-speaker-plugs

Tony2011 posted:
Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Usually, not always, when supplied by dealers the cables are terminated with Naim recommended own plugs. If not, this might help:

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...r-naim-speaker-plugs

This was the case with my cables: they were terminated with the original Naim connectors. The soldering was done by my dealer and, as far as I can say, it was and still is flawless. The problem that I have reported is one of the S-400 connectors. I am a mechanical engineer and I have some basic understanding of how forces act on bodies. To me it is incomprehensible that a 5 cent socket can make a 6000 EUR speaker completely unusable. This is crap design beyond good and evil. The S-400 is otherwise fine, I believe.  

Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Right. The socket on the back of the Ovator speakers is the weak point. It consists of an inner and of an outer plastic shells. The two shells are connected by two tiny metal screws. The inner shell and the two screws are not visible from the outside. If the connection loosens (which can happen very easily because the two screws only grip in about 1mm of plastic and the socket is very poorly engineered) the speaker becomes unusable. When it happened the first time to me, my speaker was almost new. My first impulse was to throw the speaker into the window of my Naim dealer. Good that my dealer was about 500 miles away from my place. It is hard to believe it but Naim really screwed it up with the Ovator sockets. Apart from this, the speaker is fine.

nbpf posted:
Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Right. The socket on the back of the Ovator speakers is the weak point. It consists of an inner and of an outer plastic shells. The two shells are connected by two tiny metal screws. The inner shell and the two screws are not visible from the outside. If the connection loosens (which can happen very easily because the two screws only grip in about 1mm of plastic and the socket is very poorly engineered) the speaker becomes unusable. When it happened the first time to me, my speaker was almost new. My first impulse was to throw the speaker into the window of my Naim dealer. Good that my dealer was about 500 miles away from my place. It is hard to believe it but Naim really screwed it up with the Ovator sockets. Apart from this, the speaker is fine.

Can you use the right pins which have been designed by Naim's mechanical engineers?

I have to agree with nbpf. I'm a mechanical design engineer (working for Siemens) and frankly it sounds like the guys that signed this design of this socket off (so the chief engineer and the project manager) really need their arses kicked. Presumably this is a piece of classic naim flat earth design. Let's incorporate a fancy (non microphonic) socket into the loudspeaker to gain 0.0001% in performance at the cost of reliability! If this is a problem they should have come up with a robust solution and offer a free refit under a product recall. I can promise you, if one of my Ovators stops working due to a deficient speaker socket it will be loaded into my car and driven seventy miles to nains factory!!! They have obviously never heard of failure mode effects analysis (FMEA) as practiced by more or less every (good) design department around the globe!

Drewy posted:

This is the first time I’ve heard of this

Perhaps it's not a common issue and thus not a design flaw as such. It sounds like (as with the Hi-Line) you just need to take a bit of care but i realise it must be a royal PITA if it happens. 

From the manual :-

The Ovator connection terminals are intended to accept the custom-designed Ovator speaker connector. This connector is designed to provide the best possible performance. Other 4mm plugs can be used, however the results will be unpredictable. 

It is important that loudspeaker cables are arranged and dressed so that mechanical stress is minimised and that no undue force is applied to the connectors either during or after connection.

Drewy posted:

This is the first time I’ve heard of this

That's what my Naim dealer told me and I certainly believe him! He managed to get me a replacement for the plinth connector for the case the issue happens again. I am not saying that the S-400 is in any way flawed and, in retrospect, I would buy the speaker again. But the S-400 plinth connector is a faulty design and having to fish the internal part of the connector from the inside of the plinth a pain in the arse. This is a point that one might want to consider when buying a second hand speaker.

Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:
Christopher_M posted:
nbpf posted:

If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

I understood that Ovator speakers come with Ovator speaker pins (for want of a better phrase) which are to be soldered to speaker cables, and which have been designed specifically to fit the sockets on the back of the Ovator speakers.

Right. The socket on the back of the Ovator speakers is the weak point. It consists of an inner and of an outer plastic shells. The two shells are connected by two tiny metal screws. The inner shell and the two screws are not visible from the outside. If the connection loosens (which can happen very easily because the two screws only grip in about 1mm of plastic and the socket is very poorly engineered) the speaker becomes unusable. When it happened the first time to me, my speaker was almost new. My first impulse was to throw the speaker into the window of my Naim dealer. Good that my dealer was about 500 miles away from my place. It is hard to believe it but Naim really screwed it up with the Ovator sockets. Apart from this, the speaker is fine.

Can you use the right pins which have been designed by Naim's mechanical engineers?

These are the only pins that I have used with my S-400: the Naim original Ovator termination for Ovator speakers.

Well I'm using standard banana plugs (gold plated mind) from maplin!! Working perfectly! Even (just) using 79 strand speaker cable from my local electrical wholesalers!!! 

I think there's an awful lot of rubbish swirling around over these speakers. As I say, they sound great! 

I'm also not paying £32/metre for NACA5.....that would cost me circa £300!! Next some idiot will recommend supporting said expensive cable on rosewood blocks, specially felled from Japanese mountain forests when the air humidity is precisely 80%!!!! 

Gonna do an A/B listening test between my G-plan cupboard and the Mana rack next week. I'll use my missus as the final judge and post the results!!

What this space!!

Kimbleman posted:

I'm also not paying £32/metre for NACA5.....that would cost me circa £300!! Next some idiot will recommend supporting said expensive cable on rosewood blocks, specially felled from Japanese mountain forests when the air humidity is precisely 80%!!!! 

Gonna do an A/B listening test between my G-plan cupboard and the Mana rack next week. I'll use my missus as the final judge and post the results!!

What this space!!

You’re gonna get yourself in a lot of trouble round here

james n posted:
Drewy posted:

This is the first time I’ve heard of this

Perhaps it's not a common issue and thus not a design flaw as such. It sounds like (as with the Hi-Line) you just need to take a bit of care but i realise it must be a royal PITA if it happens. 

...

That's it: you need some friction when inserting the spades of the Ovator cable connector into the holes of the Ovator plinth connector in order to realize a good contact. Such friction should not cause the two shells of the Ovator plinth connector to fall apart. This cannot be guaranteed by the current construction because the two tiny screws that keep the two shells of the Ovator plinth connector together bite into max. 1.5 millimeters of plastic. If you regularly (say, every 6 month) disconnect and reconnect your S-400 to the cables in order to keep the contacts clean, you will eventually run into the problem. At this point you can only hope that Naim still has spare plinth connectors. Alternatively, you can probably glue the two shells of the plinth connector together. If you are interested, I can post high resolution pictures of the two parts of the Ovator plinth connector. From the pictures one can immediately see that the construction is flawed. 

Mana rack findings

Well the new (old) Mana rack has been put into service replacing the G-plan cupboard that it was all sat upon before hand.

My other half and I did a bit of a listening test before and after. My missus (bless her) could hear no difference at all and I have tried very hard to notice some sort of difference (maybe £200 worth). I think there was a (slight) change but I am afraid it's a change which is hard to put into words. Certainly whatever happened was for the best. The Mana rack is quite small (four shelf) so hides behind the plant foliage even better than the G-Plan unit did (so there's a benefit straight off).

Which brings me to the issue of speaker cables. Lets put this out there straight away....Naca5 is off the menu....it simply will not fit in the small void in which some standard 79 strand cable is already running and I am not having ugly cables all over the floor. I can replace said £1.20/metre cable with a similar (possibly better) cable if anyone out there can recommend one (QED Silver XT perhaps) and it will be terminated with QED Banana plugs (or similar quality plugs). Please don't tell me I have to spend £50 on a pair of 'special' Ovator plugs, as the Maplin screwed plugs seem to be working fine at the moment. I certainly don't plan on removing them every five minutes to clean them either as I will coat them with some nifty conductive grease from work (we know a thing or two about protecting joints at Siemens magnets as we do superconducting joints daily for MR scanners) which also stops oxidisation.

Any cable ideas (non naim) would be welcomed.

Cheers all and merry Christmas

why not borrow a pair of naca5 from a dealer and have a listen against your current cables to confirm if you are getting the best you can, as the naca5 is a very good cable with naim kit, it would be a shame to just put up with what you have or similar until confirming what it should sound like.

I'm in conversation with some of my physicist colleagues. Ones a professor the other two only have PhD's. Their opinion on the matter of cables and interconnects.......and I quote "it's all tosh". They basically said at the currents, voltages and frequencies experienced by speaker cables using bell wire would be good enough. Please note that these are 'world experts' in superconducting magnets (seriously we make the best in the world here in Oxfordshire). They have no axe to grind and all have hifi systems at home. They think it's all in the mind!! 

So with their considered option.....I'm sticking with what I've got (£1.20/m 79 strand) and put the £400 saved towards a pair of IOW festival tickets 😁

Okay....so I'm not allowed to post links....so simply Google 'speaker cable myths' and read the articles which as I said my esteemed colleagues had spent about ten minutes explaining to this humble mechanical engineer!😉

Listening to Morcheeba through the fine sounding system as I type. 

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