1st week with my new system (500-DR, n272, Focal Scala V2 Utopia)

Posted by: JeredH on 25 November 2018

I'm new here, and I've been out of the game for 20 years and just bought myself a new soundsystem! I'm posting to share my listening experience, and hopefully get some usable advice from the forums.

The process started with a sizable renovation of my listening room, which I call the "Treehouse". Last week I had electrician install two brand new 20A dedicated circuits (with new house ground to earth), and two Hubbell duplexes.  All equipment is less than 1 year old, and the original owner took very good care of things, I believe. 

 

Everything shipped perfectly, and connecting the system went smooth and no snags.  I've spent the last week surfing the n272 streamer, playing with Tidal, and connecting the n272 to my computer (QNAP TS-231P Network Attached Storage NAS private cloud) via the UPnP feature on the streamer. The interface on the Naim iPhone app is pretty straightforward and works well.   Overall the system came together seamlessly, and I'm pleased with the how the electronics function. 

I also connected my old Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable for temporary listening of records. 

My issue is sound.  Shocker, right?  The Scala V2's have casters, so I have spent several nights moving the speakers into different positions.  But I am not getting the low end bass this system should be putting out.  

My room is barely big enough for these speakers, and the 8 foot ceilings are not helping, I think.  I'm afraid the room is choking out the speakers, but I know I have lots of fine tuning ahead of me.  

So that's where I'm at.  I really need to do some treatment to the room.  All the doors in the room are hollow-core, and these doors are all near the speakers.  After all the time & money I've spent, I really wanted this system to sound incredible right out the  box, but that's not the case.  I have work to do. 

Cheers!

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by Huge

I recommend getting a calibrated mile (e.g. a miniDSP UMIK-1) and a copy of REW and using this to check and optimise your room response.

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by Adam Zielinski

One thing to check if bass response is Ďweakí is phasing of speaker cables - make sure that one of them is not inverted either at an amp or a speaker end.

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by wenger2015

Congratulations on a great system.....

one of the keys to achieving  the optimum performance is going to be room acoustics...as you have already realised...

companies such as GIK acoustics will provide recommendations for free....

Having the right Room treatment is extremely effective ...... their is no point tweaking the system until you have sorted the room

as you rightly say....work to do.... 

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by JeredH

Adam - yes I have triple checked phasing.  Initially I had the left/right speaker placement incorrect, but fixed it.  The +/- connections are all correct.  Thx

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by feeling_zen

Business in the front. Party in the back!

Posted on: 25 November 2018 by Innocent Bystander
Huge posted:

I recommend getting a calibrated mile (e.g. a miniDSP UMIK-1) and a copy of REW and using this to check and optimise your room response.

Even a calibrated mike, as in microphone!

I concur with this, as it will enable you to see what is happening in the room. I had a major bass cancellation at the listening position when I moved into my current room and positioned things where I had planned - REW ĎRoom Equalisation Wizardí, which is free analysis software, showed helped me understand the problem and assess alternatives, and resulted in a complete change in positioning of both the speakers and the listening position. And if/when you go for treatment, some companies, GIK is one, can accept REW files and interpret them to provide good guidance on appropriate treatment.

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by hungryhalibut

There are a few things. Firstly, you have a classic mullet, which is a mistake many people make. The bare 272 is out of its depth with the 500 and the Focals. This impact will be reduced when the 555PS arrives, but Iím still doubtful. A 552 and NDS or ND555 would be far more appropriate. To assess sound quality you need to be streaming at least CD quality music from the QNAP, ideally in or transcoded to WAV, and I wonder if you are doing that. Tidal wonít sound anything like as good, and the Project is even more out of its depth than the 272. 

The speakers are not my cup of tea at all, but they are capable of very deep bass and a huge soundstage. They need a big room and a lot of distance from walls to do that. I wonder how big your room is. If itís too small, all the room treatment in the world wonít help, and you may be better with smaller speakers. To get tight solid bass the room needs to be solid too. We have solid fire doors on our room, which weigh a ton. They are not expensive and may be worth looking at. 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by J Saville

Perhaps a silly question - have you screwed the spikes in? Our Skala Evos were bass-light without them in! 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Popeye

20amp supply? 30amp is what Naim suggests. MCB Type C. Not sure if it will make any difference however. 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Japtimscarlet

He mentioned they were on castors

So no spikes at all yet ...

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by james n
Popeye posted:

20amp supply? 30amp is what Naim suggests. MCB Type C. Not sure if it will make any difference however. 

The OP is in the US so it seems to be a choice of 15 or 20A circuits.

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Rich 1

Agree with Hungry, and I know you don't want to hear this, but it is terribly unbalanced. Naim recommend a 250DR or a maximum 300DR as a match for the 272. I'm not knocking the 272, it's a very capable pre amp come streamer and matched with the correct power amplifier makes superb music. (I have 272 / 250DR). Your power amps really need a more capable front end and pre amp to show off the quality of the power amp and speakers. You will also need spikes for the speakers as others have suggested. Lastly did you audition the various combinations that this price level provides? Rich 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Ardbeg10y

Regardless it is a mullet or not, the first thing is to get the bass right. REW was already given as an advice.

Casters won't work to get a honest representation of the bass - at least that was my experience on my Ovators. Spikes and good floor protectors are much better to experiment with - as said by others too.

Maybe you need a sub to get deep bass in the smallish room.

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by ChrisSU

Get your gear set up on a proper rack with the PSU when it arrives, correct cable dressing etc. and get the speakers on proper spikes ( with floor protectors if nec.) If you still canít get it sounding right, you could seek the help of a Naim dealer. 

I, too, am not a fan of your speakers, and it could be that they are not a match for your room. You could consider trading them in for something different. 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by JeredH

I have not screwed in spikes to the speakers yet, but will do that soon.  My floors are nice hardwood, and would like to protect them from the spikes.  What are some floor protectors you guys recommend?

Today I will look into a calibrated mic and a copy of REW software. At quick glance the miniDSP UMIK-1 is reasonably priced. 

Appreciate all the suggestions here. I can't get rid of this feeling of sickness in my stomach...like I've gone horribly wrong with my investment. At this point I'm living with my decision and will put in work to figure things out.  

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by ChrisSU

There are lost of floor protectors around, including Naim ĎChipsí. 

Donít give up, youíll get there!

 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Adam Zielinski

As to flor protectors - use anything, even coins for now. But get the speakers on spikes - it will tighten up the bass considerably.

As to the system - your N272 does need a separate power supply - 'unfortunately' given the rest of the system you are looking at 555PS DR to get it to gel together (see [@mention:4804681823084713] post above).

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Innocent Bystander

Spikes may refine the bass, but castors will not be the cause of low bass missing completely. And I donít recall allegations that the 272 cuts low bass, so even though it may not be the best of sources and limiting in quality such that a better source would bring refinement, I would not expect that to be the cause of low bass missing completel - though maybe Iím wrong and it diesnít go low?

Missing bass is much more likely to be due to room cancellations or a fault with the speakers - assuming that they are in phase, and that there is output from the woofers over part of the bass spectrum, the former would seem worth exploring.

Even before getting a microphone, if you walk atound the room is the bass present in places other than the listening position? If not, try moving the speakers a few feet (any direction) and same question? If room cancellation is the issue them there should be strong bass in some parts of the room, while it can be completely missing in others.

Just thinking about speaker phase, if any doubt just swap the red/black over on one of the speakers, and listen to the difference - out of phase will  generally making bass weak, worsening at lower frequencies (except where the bass is present in only one channel), plus there can be a defocussing effect higher up.

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Innocent Bystander
Adam Zielinski posted:

As to flor protectors - use anything, even coins for now. But get the speakers on spikes - it will tighten up the bass considerably.

As to the system - your N272 does need a separate power supply - 'unfortunately' given the rest of the system you are looking at 555PS DR to get it to gel together (see [@mention:4804681823084713] post above).

Op says 555DR is on the way, so not unfortunate!

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Ardbeg10y
JeredH posted:

I have not screwed in spikes to the speakers yet, but will do that soon.  My floors are nice hardwood, and would like to protect them from the spikes.  What are some floor protectors you guys recommend?

Today I will look into a calibrated mic and a copy of REW software. At quick glance the miniDSP UMIK-1 is reasonably priced. 

Appreciate all the suggestions here. I can't get rid of this feeling of sickness in my stomach...like I've gone horribly wrong with my investment. At this point I'm living with my decision and will put in work to figure things out.  

That's part of the game. Personally, I really enjoy(ed) tweaking a setup until it works good.

I've done a possibly sillier purchase as you - I bought Active Ovators - similar size to your loudspeakers. Once they were there, my wife said that they were not going in the livingroom until the kids are grown up so they reside in my 4x4 meters home office now. It took a few months to get them right, but now they sound fantastic - also thanks to this forum. With help from this forum I got to know many ins and outs which were not known by my dealer (e.g. the so called 'active leads').

Careful positioning (half a centimetre makes a difference), floor chips and cabledressing were important.

I had to make one trade-off: not all music sounds right on this system. Not really an issue for me, 2 other systems are there.

I suggest to try to convince yourself to have an interesting journey ahead. I'm sure it will teach you in listening to a system.

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by JeredH
Innocent Bystander posted:

Missing bass is much more likely to be due to room cancellations or a fault with the speakers - assuming that they are in phase, and that there is output from the woofers over part of the bass spectrum, the former would seem worth exploring.

Even before getting a microphone, if you walk atound the room is the bass present in places other than the listening position? If not, try moving the speakers a few feet (any direction) and same question? If room cancellation is the issue them there should be strong bass in some parts of the room, while it can be completely missing in others.

Just thinking about speaker phase, if any doubt just swap the red/black over on one of the speakers, and listen to the difference - out of phase will  generally making bass weak, worsening at lower frequencies (except where the bass is present in only one channel), plus there can be a defocussing effect higher up.

I definitely will use more time with speaker placement. I've spent about 5 hours moving these Scala V2's around one listening position.  Fortunately the Super Lumina cables are long and I can play around with the speaker placement.  I am curious how much difference the spikes will make versus castors. 

Throughout my testing of speaker placement so far, I have noticed a collection of bass on the one far corner of room, which is exactly what I suspected before ever connecting the system.  More time needs to be spent on things in my room. 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Bart
Ardbeg10y posted:

Regardless it is a mullet or not, the first thing is to get the bass right. REW was already given as an advice.

Casters won't work to get a honest representation of the bass - at least that was my experience on my Ovators. Spikes and good floor protectors are much better to experiment with - as said by others too.

Maybe you need a sub to get deep bass in the smallish room.

With those speakers and their 11 inch woofer? A sub would be the last thing I'd think he needs!

 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Japtimscarlet

Don't panic or feel sick about your purchase

You mentioned that it was all good used gear ..so if you have to swop out one or two items to get the best sound..it should not be expensive and may even return some funds

There is no reason a 272 into a 500 shouldnts sound great ..it is only a question of setup I believe and you have time to experiment and adjust

Did you mention what the naim gear is standing on??

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by JeredH
ChrisSU posted:

Get your gear set up on a proper rack with the PSU when it arrives, correct cable dressing etc. and get the speakers on proper spikes ( with floor protectors if nec.) If you still canít get it sounding right, you could seek the help of a Naim dealer. 

I, too, am not a fan of your speakers, and it could be that they are not a match for your room. You could consider trading them in for something different. 

the Rack for my system was inherited from my old equipment. I'll get to it soon enough I suppose. 

I feel good about my cable dressing, however the setup is less than 7 days old, so it too will be addressed again & again.

I figure I will buy a microphone and get a REW reading. 

I wanted a loudspeaker for my room, and listened to several brands.  Starting with my hometown local EgglestonWorks, then several models of the Focal (Kanta no.2, Sopra 2, Sopra 3), Wilson (Sabrina and Sasha), and a few others. Of course, all of these speakers were played in rooms other than my own.  I do not have a local Focal dealer, and the closest one is realllllly far away. 

When I auditioned the various Focal speakers, it was through McIntosh power (mc611) and a McIntosh mc2600.  I listened to the Wilson's on Simaudio and McIntosh power.  Various streamers included a Bluesound Node.

Shame on me for buying the Scala V2's without listening, but others told me they are better than the Sopra 3.  Ugh.  I fell in love with the Sopra 3 at Park Avenue Audio in New York City, powered by McIntosh mc2600.  

As far as electronics, I bought Naim without spending a single second listening to it. I thought the 500 would be impossible to beat. 

I searched these forums and have read many mullet posts.  I won't give up, but have to admit I'm sick to my stomach. 

Later this week the Naim 555PS-DR power supply will arrive, and I'll get it connected to my n272 using a Burndy cable. 

 

Posted on: 26 November 2018 by Innocent Bystander

Donít get disheartened! I mentioned before my own problems in my room. But as I knew the system, the only change being the room, I knew it was the effect of the room. Absolutely no bass at all just where I planned to sit - and moving the speakers didnít make a lot of difference. The listening position had to change as well, and I ended up completely rearranging  the room - and the missing bass came back!  Annoying, because everything planned for the room layout had to change, but allís well that ends well, as they say! Once youíve found where things work right, tweakery can commence, and the time to replace the castors with spikes is when tge bulk of your movements are over (assuming they improve things further).