Atom speaker pairing with bass,

Posted by: Jason Cross on 27 December 2018

Hi all,

Can anyone recommend some bookshelf speakers to complement the Naim Atom that will have some bass?

I tried the Atom with some Monitor Audio 300s and Spendor A4s floorstanders recently and the sound was very thin, some B&W 704s were better in the bass department but also felt that I was wearing noise cancelling headphones with some unusual pressure on the ears.

I have a Naim Muso and like the app so thought the Atom might be a decent upgrade but it's going to be a no go if it's all top and midrange. My local dealer suggests this is the Naim sound and the Muso if nothing like the rest of the range.

Any ideas?


Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Klout10

Typically, bookshelf speakers don't have much bass. - just because of the physical limitations.

Is a small floor standing speaker an option? I have plenty of bass with a Neat Motive SX2.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jason Cross

Thanks for your reply, I'll try out those speakers as another local dealer does stock Neats.

Floorstanders might be an option if I opt for a narrower AV unit than the BDI one I'd planned for. Decisions, decisions.


Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Penarth Blues

What about a sub to fill in the Bass?

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jason Cross

Thanks, a sub is definitely an option but placement might be tricky. I'm going to try a REL 5Ti and KEF LS50s tomorrow.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Pev

I run a sub with my Nova and N-Sats - see my profile. I don't find sub placement at all tricky - mine is behind the other end of a sofa from where I usually sit.  Low frequencies (I believe below about 120hz) are essentially non directional which is why most people only have one sub.

Works for me!

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bart

Between the total current output of the Atom, and looking at smallish speakers, you're not setting yourself up for a ton of bass.  My little Dynaudio X12's give me enough bass with my Qute2/NAP100 (obviously not down to low frequencies, but the illusion of it) that I've not added a small subwoofer.  A small subwoofer should be relatively easy to integrate - look for one that has a variable level output and cut-off frequency selection.  A remote control of it is nice too, as different albums need more or less extra help from the subwoofer.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by trickydickie

If the sound was very thin it could be that they were wired out of phase, your comment re noise cancelling headphones adds weight to this theory (no pun intended!).

I have heard the Atom at the factory driving Sopra 1ís and can confirm that bass output is not an issue with the Atom, the sound was very even handed, considering that it was quite a mullet of a system.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Stephen Tate


What speaker cables are you using and how do you have them terminated? 

Also as TrickyDickie suggests to make certain to check that you're wired in-phase. It's very easy to get caught out on this. I know it's caught me out on the odd occasion after swearing 'blind' I had it right.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Your dealer isn't very qualified if he says that the Naim sound is all top and mid with no bass as it is the speakers as well as the amp that will  dictate that,  small drivers in small boxes will never produce lots of bass no matter how good the amp is. It is difficult to find small bookshelves that produce lots of bass I had a similar problem and as suggested above did solve it with a sub to some degree but it wasn't until I progressed to some small floor standing speakers that I got the full bass sound that I was looking for.

If that isn't an option then a sub would help make sure though that you integrate it properly with the book standers others you'll get bass that sounds a bit disjointed.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jason Cross

Thanks all for your replies. The suggestion that the speakers were out of phase is interesting, I'll double check at the demo tomorrow.

To clarify, I'm not after earth-shaking trouser-flapping bass, just a balanced sound that incorporates some lower frequencies. It really did sound like the tone controls (if the Atom had any) were set to zero for the bass and this was with small floorstanders.

Maybe my expectations are too much but I plan on auditioning at a couple of dealers more before making a decision.

I'll post back if I get an epiphany. Thanks again.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by badlyread

I have an Atom with some Guru Juniors. Bass is plenty and balanced. These little beauties can go close to a wall as well. They have been very difficult to get hold of for some time and their price has increased. Slightly easier to get hold of now and well  worth a listen. Reviews available are fairly old (2013/14) but still a damn fine speaker. 



Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Jason Cross

Update: I went in today for a second audition of the Atom, this time with KEF R3s and LS50s, with and without a REL 5Ti sub.

Even without the sub, the difference between this and the previous audition was stark, the bass was present and correct, a much more rounded sound. Either the KEFs have a much warmer sound than the floorstanders or something else had changed. The dealer did mention after that the speaker cable had been changed as someone had bought the previous set after a demo.

Either way, I was much happier with the sound and bought the Atom with the LS50s with a view to possibly complementing with a sub later on.

Thanks all for your comments, I'm looking forward to getting the new system set up and run in.


Posted on: 28 December 2018 by EnglishRogue

The LS50 are powered speakers, right? So you're using the pre-amp output from the Atom? I'm interested that you found the embedded amplifier in the speaker cabinets to be superior to that available from the Atom..

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by hifi-dog

Ls50 is passive the ls50a is the active version 

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Jason Cross

LS50s come in active-wireless and passive variations. I went for the passive so will be using the Atom's amplification.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Nice little speakers they are on my list later this year to pair with my UQ2.

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by Stephen Tate

Ah, what a great outcome. Enjoy your new system!

Posted on: 28 December 2018 by badlyread

"It's been a couple of months since you suggested Guru speakers. Since then I've listened to 10 different speakers... all missing something or, most often, failing in the bass department. In the end, I made a couple of choices, but when put up close to a wall, they just fell apart and lost their sound. In the end I was going to pull the trigger on Harbeth 30.1's although they were the biggest I could fit, and a bit above what I was hoping to spend.

During all this time, I was in communication with Guru audio, asking questions and learning about the Q10's. Finally after that back and forth and some good pricing with the promise of being able to return if I wasn't satisfied....( They only sell direct to the United States ) .... I pulled the trigger without ever hearing them.

After setting them up... let me first say that I was utterly shocked at how much bass they produce. I had my wife with me, and she was familiar with my old towers, and the couple of other bookshelf speakers we tried. We both just said "WOW." They have the sound and bass of smaller towers. They have a nice full sound while still sounding very balanced and clear, with a nice sound stage. (I'm going to even say... I like these better than the Wilson Tune Tots I heard in store.)

I always assumed there would be sacrifices with my new setup, but these little Q10's really sound great and can boogie. Without being broken in they were perfect, I'm only going to assume they will continue to get better.

Anybody in a similar situation who needs speakers to be close to a wall, or literally on a shelf, these are amazing. And for others who just don't want to spend a ton and get great sound. This small manufacturer has certainly impressed me.

So Jonners, thanks for dropping that name. Thumbs up to you for dropping the breadcrumb to bring my music back."


The Juniors are a smaller more conventional looking speaker but still have the bass and boogie. Just saying. 



Posted on: 29 December 2018 by SimonPeterArnold

I get tons of bass with my Atom and speakers.

Posted on: 29 December 2018 by TK421

Hi Jason,

I have been using the LS50's for just over 3 years. They were initially paired with a Unitilite, however upgradeitis got a hold of me and the one box has now become three.

During the past 18 months I have considered a speaker change on several occasions, but I can't bring myself to do it. A few dealers have suggested adding a smallish Sub instead of a speaker change, with one dealer offering to bring an REL 5Ti to the house for a demo. I must get this sorted in 2019.

I hope you enjoy your LS50's as much as I do, they are cracking speakers for the money.



Posted on: 29 December 2018 by Jason Cross

Thanks for the additional replies, I'm very much looking forward to getting the system set up and run in. Hopefully next week.

Mike, I found the REL T5i certainly filled out and added another dimension to the sound. I broke out in a smile as soon as it was switched on, though I imagine it'd take some tweaking to get the volume level just right to match the LS50s to my taste. Unfortunately, I just don't currently have the space to put it.