Speakers that maximize Naim sound.

My system: NAP300DR, NAC552DR, CDS3/PS555DR, speakers Spendor SP100R2.

In considering new speakers I’m reminded of what Martin Colloms said when he reviewed the new DR circuit, “Naim prioritized musical communication over sound quality purity.” Reading this I realized it was probably the reason I was captivated first time I heard Naim, though unfairly it was active SBL “6-pack.” Naim’s focus unlike almost all is to allow listener to remain focused on the music without making believe they were in performance space. 

With above in mind I will shortly set off on quest for speakers to complement Naim’s embrace of “musical prioritiy.” My listening space allows speakers to be placed up to 5-feet  from wall behind them and 10-12 feet from listener, distance to side walls is more than 15-feet per speaker with speakers 10-feet apart.  Because home is apartment I do not want speakers with sound or vibration that will intrude on privacy & comfort of others. My current speakers, since addition of 552’s are dramatically improved, but I feel they lack a good measure of beauty & intimacy. After reading Forum, HiFi Critic & elsewhere, I’ve come up with three possibllities Wilson Audio Yvette, Harbeth Super HL Plus & Magico S1 Mkll. If Naim would promise to introduce speaker with voice of past I would gladly wait. I live stateside where true Naim dealers are few and market for used Naim speakers non-discernible. 

Original Post
Mike1951 posted:

I'm told that ATC used to make drive units for NAIM.

Perhaps that's why they sound so good with my (mostly) NAIM boxes.

Also links strongly to your specific question...

Or was it that Naim used drive units thatbATC made? I think ATC are the drive unit experts, far more so than Naim, and their primary focus has been provideing the best quality of sound for the driver’s range, cost no object.

The Harbeth Super HL5 Plus are almost identical to the Spendor SP1.  Both are direct descendants of the Spendor BC1.

If you change from the SP100s I feel you are most likely to be somewhat disappointed.  Whilst they are a bit different, they still have generally similar sonic characteristics inherited from the BBC monitor style of construction and optimisation.

Not sure how meaningful it is to ask the question. Speakers are so personal anyway. Recommendartions almost seem pointless beyond general vouchers for compatibility - and that does have some real value as there are some things out there that are fine on paper but just don't work.

Case in point, clearly the speakers that would maximise the Naim sound most as heard by the ears at Naim would be Naim's own speakers prior to them stopping production. Yet here we are talking about non Naim ones - and Naim speakers themselves are, as reading the forum will reveal, highly polarise opinion. Another example is that for some reason, many ex SBL owners gravitated towards PMC Twenty.23 as a replacement if their SBLs gave up the ghost or were sold on to later regret. Yet The PMCs (another ex BBC heritage) sound not even remotely similar to SBLs. I confess, I have never heard a Naim speaker I got on with (and I've spent hundreds of hours in front of SBLs) yet chose the same PMCs a lot of ex SBL owners seemed to also like.

The point being, I'd strongly recommend just ignoring the notion of a "Naim sound" and find a speaker that works for you. No one on the forum will have the same shaped ears or room as you anyway. And most people will invariably just recommend what they own. 

Nice perspective from FZ and I wonder, did Naim produce a ported speaker? I think of them as primarily a sealed-box speaker maker. From that logic, considering the OP's listed speakers, and his not wanting to disturb the neighbors (as a ported speaker might be more inclined to do), the Magico's sealed-design seems to fit the bill. Will the Magicos maximize the Naim sound?  An entirely subjective question that only the OP is in a position to answer.

All that said, your room's bass nodes and volume you play at are the most likely culprits in disturbing your neighbors. Room treatment in the form of bass traps to reduce doubling might have more to do with maintaining local tranquility than your speaker choice.

Innocent Bystander posted:
Mike1951 posted:

I'm told that ATC used to make drive units for NAIM.

Perhaps that's why they sound so good with my (mostly) NAIM boxes.

Also links strongly to your specific question...

Or was it that Naim used drive units thatbATC made? I think ATC are the drive unit experts, far more so than Naim, and their primary focus has been provideing the best quality of sound for the driver’s range, cost no object.

IIRC, only the DBL 15" bass drivers.

CXF04 posted:

My system: NAP300DR, NAC552DR, CDS3/PS555DR, speakers Spendor SP100R2.

In considering new speakers I’m reminded of what Martin Colloms said when he reviewed the new DR circuit, “Naim prioritized musical communication over sound quality purity.” Reading this I realized it was probably the reason I was captivated first time I heard Naim, though unfairly it was active SBL “6-pack.” Naim’s focus unlike almost all is to allow listener to remain focused on the music without making believe they were in performance space. 

With above in mind I will shortly set off on quest for speakers to complement Naim’s embrace of “musical prioritiy.” My listening space allows speakers to be placed up to 5-feet  from wall behind them and 10-12 feet from listener, distance to side walls is more than 15-feet per speaker with speakers 10-feet apart.  Because home is apartment I do not want speakers with sound or vibration that will intrude on privacy & comfort of others. My current speakers, since addition of 552’s are dramatically improved, but I feel they lack a good measure of beauty & intimacy. After reading Forum, HiFi Critic & elsewhere, I’ve come up with three possibllities Wilson Audio Yvette, Harbeth Super HL Plus & Magico S1 Mkll. If Naim would promise to introduce speaker with voice of past I would gladly wait. I live stateside where true Naim dealers are few and market for used Naim speakers non-discernible. 

I fail to understand why the suggested speakers to replace Spendors, should provide more than a sidegrade apart from more money spend

It seem as Focal are now voicing their line of speakers to match pairing with Naim amplication, no surprice as they have same owner.

Older Naim speakers were entirely different animals, as were older amplication vs recent

Earlier Focal speakers before Naim ownership, were allmost terrible imo

jsaudio posted:

May also want to consider Focal Sopra-3. They apparently were voiced with the NAP 300. I have a similar room and they sound great in many respects.

Depends on your budget of course but I’ve been more that happy with my Sopra 2s on the end of my 300DR. Very well made too and being smaller than the 3s might me more acceptable. I swapped from Ovator 600s. Nice speakers but not as transparent as the Sopras - at least in my room.

The Strat (Fender) posted:

Neat, Kudos or Dynaudio?

Strat, the speaker I was always most interested in from your suggestions have been Kudos, a speaker often favored by many Naimites with very "British" sound, but Kudos website does not show any USA distributor.

Thank you for your suggestions.   

Robert Burgess posted:

The new Magico A3 speakers look interesting 

Robert, do you own Magico? I Increasingly hear that many people are enamored of Magico line and see it as speaker of choice in way that Wilson were spoken of, especially the larger and more expensive versions. As shared I do have them on my short list, but non-Forum contacts who are Naim owners were first in love with their Magico's and then couldn't wait to get rid of them. Still I will consider them. Thank you for your thoughts.

Mike1951 posted:

I'm told that ATC used to make drive units for NAIM.

Perhaps that's why they sound so good with my (mostly) NAIM boxes.

Also links strongly to your specific question...

Mike, I've never seen ATC for sale in audio shop stateside, I know that many are very happy with active ATCs If I see them I will listen. Great problem in current North American audio market is that there are fewer and fewer dealers and profile of interest in audio has been in free fall since at least 2007 and in part since 2000, leaving paucity of shops and those that exist with smaller display areas and fewer lines. Thank you for your suggestion! If I can hear them I will take them seriously and seek your further thoughts on placement and integration.    

If you'd like to hear a Naim sounding speaker, rarer than hen's teeth but ever so Naim-capturing - their very own nbl's can sound quite magnificent in the right setting.  A 300DR may well be up to the task of driving them.  And you can pick them up for a comparative bargain.  Probably not a realistic challenge to locate in the states though, but if you are able to find them.....

Peter

CXF04 posted:
Robert Burgess posted:

The new Magico A3 speakers look interesting 

Robert, do you own Magico? I Increasingly hear that many people are enamored of Magico line and see it as speaker of choice in way that Wilson were spoken of, especially the larger and more expensive versions. As shared I do have them on my short list, but non-Forum contacts who are Naim owners were first in love with their Magico's and then couldn't wait to get rid of them. Still I will consider them. Thank you for your thoughts.

Is there any consensus among these contacts as to why or even any agreement on where next?

I do have NBLs and very good they are too but they need a solid wall close to their backs (5.5cm in my case) not a plasterboard lined one or similar.

aht posted:

Don't know where you are located, but Hawthorne Stereo in Seattle sells ATC (and Naim).  They used to have some models on demo, but I don't know the current situation.

AHT, thank you for suggestion. While I've never heard ATC, at your suggestion I looked on line and saw they were carried by David Lewis in Philadelphia, while not next door, still accessible and they are a Naim dealer with generally fine reputation. I will put visit to David Lewis and ATC on my short list.   

notnaim man posted:

Going completely on a limb, based on including Harbeth and the price I have just found for the Yvettes.

Graham Audio VOTU, a company that has a BBC ethos, similar to Spendor and Harbeth???

Notnaim man, never heard Votu before. Online they looked like they were intended for Buckminster or Versailles.

I agree that Wilson Audio Yvette's are expensive, in current US dollars about $25,000, that's before whatever else I'll need. Having heard current Wilson's Alexia series 2, that cost $58,000 in "standard colors" and delivered in armored car. Set up I saw was all Naim and driven by NAP300 and I thought in terms of sound I want that it did everything perfectly. Cannot escape cost and size, 53-inches tall, looks like robot in your living room that only cleans up after your bank account and visually might benefit by placement in cathedral, still what I heard in room smaller than mine was for me something that kept music and listening right on page I wanted.            

wenger2015 posted:

The Focal Sopra 2’s or 3’s are designed to work with Naim. 

I would suggest it’s your best place to start.

Wegner, I've asked after Focal's at my Naim dealer who said he would not carry them, nothing bad to say, just thought his other lines were better and all were British save Wilson. My auditioning will take me to three shops, I originally hoped to go only to two and one sells the Sopra 2 & 3. Thank you for your suggestion.  

Huge posted:

The Harbeth Super HL5 Plus are almost identical to the Spendor SP1.  Both are direct descendants of the Spendor BC1.

If you change from the SP100s I feel you are most likely to be somewhat disappointed.  Whilst they are a bit different, they still have generally similar sonic characteristics inherited from the BBC monitor style of construction and optimisation.

Huge, thank you for your thoughts. having never heard BC! or SP1 I can't comment. My SP100R2 probably don't sound the same, just as they do not sound like current Harbeth 40.2. Spendor's ever elusive update of SP100 still not in shops almost a year after being announced is supposed to be return to original BBC sound. So far two dealers in different parts of the country have shared great disappointment with the alleged updates, one gave Spendor staff tongue lashing over their 200, yet same dealer thinks Spendor's  D7 & D9 are excellent and a  preferred choice, regrettably they were not for me, too life like, if I want to hear music in performance I'll do that, my home listening is more introspective and less intense. Anyway wonderful D series pushes performer down my eardrum. Not my forte.          

feeling_zen posted:

Not sure how meaningful it is to ask the question. Speakers are so personal anyway. Recommendartions almost seem pointless beyond general vouchers for compatibility - and that does have some real value as there are some things out there that are fine on paper but just don't work.

Case in point, clearly the speakers that would maximise the Naim sound most as heard by the ears at Naim would be Naim's own speakers prior to them stopping production. Yet here we are talking about non Naim ones - and Naim speakers themselves are, as reading the forum will reveal, highly polarise opinion. Another example is that for some reason, many ex SBL owners gravitated towards PMC Twenty.23 as a replacement if their SBLs gave up the ghost or were sold on to later regret. Yet The PMCs (another ex BBC heritage) sound not even remotely similar to SBLs. I confess, I have never heard a Naim speaker I got on with (and I've spent hundreds of hours in front of SBLs) yet chose the same PMCs a lot of ex SBL owners seemed to also like.

The point being, I'd strongly recommend just ignoring the notion of a "Naim sound" and find a speaker that works for you. No one on the forum will have the same shaped ears or room as you anyway. And most people will invariably just recommend what they own. 

Zen, thank you for your extensive and thoughtful post! Right now it seems there is no longer any USA PMC distributor, or distributor with retailers. If I can find dealer somewhere between New York and Virginia I will try and audition.

I recognize the dilemma of room size, shape and furnishings, even my own listening room  changed as my children grew older and eventually moved on and now as I prepare to move and my wife ruminates on what to keep and to throw away. Still I think personal opinions mean a great deal and I have come tor value many of the considerate thoughts offered on Forum.          

Max_B posted:

And yet, a good 2nd hand pair of SBLs has the best value for money ratio on the planet. And, in spite of a silly rumour, their setup can actually be some fun, and teach something (on speakers and on Naim).

Max, I wish I had trusted dealer who inventoried and restored SBLs & DBLs, but USA for moment is not UK where many still cherish audio and keep in mind how nice it is to set time aside to listen for pleasure.   

CXF04 posted:
notnaim man posted:

Going completely on a limb, based on including Harbeth and the price I have just found for the Yvettes.

Graham Audio VOTU, a company that has a BBC ethos, similar to Spendor and Harbeth???

Notnaim man, never heard Votu before. Online they looked like they were intended for Buckminster or Versailles.

I agree that Wilson Audio Yvette's are expensive, in current US dollars about $25,000, that's before whatever else I'll need. Having heard current Wilson's Alexia series 2, that cost $58,000 in "standard colors" and delivered in armored car. Set up I saw was all Naim and driven by NAP300 and I thought in terms of sound I want that it did everything perfectly. Cannot escape cost and size, 53-inches tall, looks like robot in your living room that only cleans up after your bank account and visually might benefit by placement in cathedral, still what I heard in room smaller than mine was for me something that kept music and listening right on page I wanted.            

I haven't heard them, I was working on the budget of the Wilson's together with the mention of Harbeth. Graham Audio started producing BBC monitors, Derek Hughes designed System 3D and VOTU developed from that so there is a BBC link all the way through. It's difficult to relate System 3D to domestic audio but they are not like your average PA.

I don't particularly like the piano gloss of the VOTU, don't own Naim, so just a guess really.

I'd like to add question in context of my above original concerns about speaker matching. My current speakers Spendor SP100R2 use NAP300DR and NAC552DR, is it possible Spendor's require something more powerful like NAP500DR? I sent this question to Spendor both their USA distributor and home office, I received no answer. Spendor's USA distributor has never been helpful for me and this is 2nd or 3rd time I've reached out to them. They are no Naim!      

CXF04 posted:
The Strat (Fender) posted:

Neat, Kudos or Dynaudio?

Strat, the speaker I was always most interested in from your suggestions have been Kudos, a speaker often favored by many Naimites with very "British" sound, but Kudos website does not show any USA distributor.

Thank you for your suggestions.   

Mango Monkey who lives in the USA has Kudos S20s.  E-mail Derek at Kudos direct and see what he says.  

Best regards,

Lindsay

Please forgive me if I’m being a bit dim, but I’m a little confused. You say that you value Naim’s musical communication, which is something I’d wholeheartedly agree with. Yet later you say that the Spendor Ds were not for you as they are too lifelike, and that you are looking for something less intense. The two seem somehow diametrically opposed to me. I’ve never heard the various US speakers that you mention, so can’t really help with those. The other thing you mention is preparing to move: my thought on that is that it’s probably best to stick with what you have until you have found your new place. Your current room sounds really big, and were you to move to somewhere smaller you may find that your carefully chosen new speakers are no longer a good match. 

Christopher_M posted:

Slightly from leftfield, I wonder if you could be happy with a pair of Quad electrostatics? Might have to be wary of pushing too much power into them with your NAP300DR though.

Christopher thank for your question. Every time I read speaker review the writer seems to be comparing the speaker to Quads. Going back to I think 1969 I knew chap who had what I guess  was ESL63. He was spoke about them more than he played them, but I was always impressed with what I heard, I think electrostatics are great, but can you match the with my Naim gear? I also recall hearing Magnepans in many different set ups. Chris, if you or someone has had successful Naim match with Quads please let me know.          

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