Help required on what kind of speaker an Atom can handle

Hello !

I am new into the Naim community and really excited to purchase my very first streamer, the Naim Uniti Atom. I went to a official Naim dealer to test the device and the results are veeeery nice !

The thing is that I am still doubting on which speakers to pair it with. I am kind of a novice in terms of technicals in the Hi-Fi so I come to ask for help here, and hope someone will be able to lead the beginner that I am.

I have tested different brands such as KEF, Monitor Audio, Dali, Focal, etc.

The one that really stood out was the Dali Option 6, I’ve been pretty convinced since it was really balanced and delivering very nice sound. However, I have read some articles about the brand new manufacturer Fyne Audio, and also about Tannoy. In the first sight, it seems like I am heading toward one set of speaker coming from this list:

  • Dali Opticon 6 or 8
  • Fyne Audio F501 or F502
  • Tannoy XT6F or XT8F
  • Focal Aria 926 / 936

The problem is that I have no clue what the biggest, loudest, strongest pair of speakers that an Atom can handle. I don’t have the budget for a Nova or Star on top of a nice pair of speakers. In the store the guy said for example that an atom could not handle Dali Opticon 8. Is that true that the atom is unable to handle an Opticon 8 Tannoy XT8F or Fyne F502 or an Aria 936 ?

I am mainly looking for dynamic and balanced speakers that can fill a rectangle 60m2 room, the roof are quiet high as well. I like when it goes loud but that the sound is still clean, I am mainly listening to a bit of everything from Classic to Rap to electro to French songs or Jazz.

For example, something that I did really appreciate with the Dali’s was that the « acoustic pressure » was that even on very loud volume we could still communicate with other people and the sound was not sort of annoying because of the high volume.

If there is another pack of speakers not mentioned above that really are worth a listen, do not hesitate to share them :-)

I will greatly appreciate your help, and I already thank you in advance for that !

Max

Original Post

Welcome to the Forum, Max. The Atom is a lovely little box and with careful choosing of speakers you will have a really nice system. Your room is large and the Atom is not particularly powerful, so you need efficient speakers i.e. easy to drive. The Focal 926 is particularly efficient and will be able to go pretty loud before the Atom shows signs of distress. The Dali is a bit less efficient. 

The most important thing is to try the speakers at home for a few days. Will your dealer let you do that? 

Thanks for the welcome !

I need to ask, thanks for the feedback ! Do you have any knowledge about the others mentionned above, the Dali Opticon 8, Tannoys and Fyne ? I heard a lot of positive things about them but there are hardly available in Belgium so before travelling to give them a go, I am looking for advices !

In my list, is there any speakers that the Atom cannot handle easily and that is comparable to the Focal 926 ?

For example the Aria 936, Opticon 8, Fyne 502 and Tannoy XT8F, which are the higher tier of the series, maybe are too big for an Atom ? I am trying to narrow my list before the next audition :-)

 

Welcome from me, too!  I bought the predecessor to the Atom, the UnitiQute, a few years ago.  I was able to audition some small stand-mount speakers in my home (on loan from a local dealer).  The differences are quite remarkable, and really an in-home audition is best.

I purchased Dynaudio Excite X12 speakers (since replaced by the current X14 model), and they seem to strike, for me, a good balance between (1)being sensitive enough for the Qute to be able to drive them reasonably well, (2) providing enough bass to somewhat faithfully reproduce what I want to hear, and (3) at louder levels not 'bottoming out' to where they sound over-driven.  The balance especially between (1) and (3) I think is impossible to assess without an audition.

I tried speakers from Neat (Iota) and Totem - neither of those suited me. The Iotas had way too little bass, and the Totems (I forget which model) bottomed out at reasonably loud listening levels.

I don't know anything about the other speakers you mention - sorry!

I strongly suspect that there is more than ONE speaker that will suit you.  So don't worry about finding THE ONE speaker; just listen to some, and find one that sounds to your liking and works with the Atom in your room.

That room especially with high ceilings is BIG.  Honestly, trying to "fill" it with an Atom, especially if you want to listen to "electro" which can be bass-heavy, may be rather unsatisfying.  Rather than trying to fill the room, I suggest looking for stand-mount speakers that can be set up just a few (3-4?) meters from your sitting position.  You can get good imaging (you won't hear the sound coming from the speakers but rather from a 'sound stage') and not have to drive them too hard.

I’m not much help really as I’ve not heard any of the speakers you mention. I tend to think that large and relatively cheap speakers are to be avoided, especially those stuffed with loads of drive units. Take something like the ProAc Tablette 10, it’s a tiny little thing but the same price as the Tannoy, which is about ten times the size. It doesn’t take much to work out which is the higher quality speaker. 

I would stop worrying about which is the biggest, loudest and strongest and focus instead on the musical experience. Which speaker lets you enjoy your music for hours on end. Which speaker makes you smile when you play joyful music, and makes you cry when you play something sad. Which gets over best what the musicians are trying to communicate? 

 

Max, I agree with HH, that is quite a large room for the Atom. Matching the speaker to the room as well as the amp is always important, and more so if it is a large room with a small amp. Your dealer should understand this, and you should expect him to work with you to find a system that works for you. If he just sells you the Atom and leaves you to work things out, he is not doing his job, and you should talk to him about this. 

One speaker I have heard working very well with the Atom is the Dynaudio Emit M20, which is quite inexpensive, but sounded a lot of fun, and was easy for the Atom to drive. 

Good luck with your search!

hungryhalibut posted:

The Emit 20 is only £600, about £1,800 less than some of the other speakers mentioned. It would be interesting to compare the Nova and the Emit with the Atom and the bigger Dalis. Both options cost about the same. 

Yes, I was wondering if the OP would reach that conclusion himself!

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