Just done a demo. of PMC Twenty5.26 and Harbeth SHL5+ speakers

Just to add my experience with the pmc twenty-26,not the same as the twenty-5 but similar. I've had my pair now for around 20 months. I first ran them with 272-xpsdr and now with 300dr.

I only notice a slight sibliance on one or two recordings when I was using a Witchhat interconnect but never spashy treble. Once I upgraded to a better interconnect ( ARsound Lunar eq) I lost any trace of sibliance. I also,found in my setup Tellurium black speaker cables worked better than nacA5.

I have my speakers firing from the long wall in my listening room the room is approx 4mx8m. I have found they need a fair it of room around the back to sound their best, mine are about  0.8m out from the rear wall. Ideally they sound better firing down the long wall as others have surgested but in my room that's not possible.  I also found they sound better when toed in to the point the meeting point of sound in approx 1m behind the listening position.

All this is room dependant of course and experimentation is essential. To me the 20-26 excell at imaging, heir mid range is superb, bass is punchy deep and tight but an easily over power a small room. Treble is smooth and detailed and we'll integrated but never harsh or splashy unless the source material is poor, or their are sub optimal components in the chain. When everything is well set up these speakers give a very capable and immersive and we'll controlled performance, in fact they dissappear and just alow the music to flow, what they won't do is make a poor recording sound amazing, they give an honest account of whats presented to them.

Enjoy.

Rob.

I noticed the sibilance with the  twenty-26 series on my dealer's NDS / Statement system using Superlumina cables. I tried on my 'lesser' system at home but the sibilance/grit was still there. I think you are either sensitive to this or not - luckily many other designs seem to resolve better for my sense of hearing and that is where I have gone - but each to their own - and does stress the importance of demoing

Simon

 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

I noticed the sibilance with the  twenty-26 series on my dealer's NDS / Statement system using Superlumina cables. I tried on my 'lesser' system at home but the sibilance/grit was still there. I think you are either sensitive to this or not - luckily many other designs seem to resolve better for my sense of hearing and that is where I have gone - but each to their own - and does stress the importance of demoing

Simon

 

I had a similar issue with my 20-26s when I recently had a set of SuperLumina speaker cables and interconnects to try at home for a two week period. The upshot was the SL cables seemed to give the upper frequencies a slight emphasis and caused sibliance on the odd recordings. I too seem to be sensitive to this particular trait when listening. 

After the two weeks I'm delighted to say my Tellurium Black Diamond speaker cables and AR-SOUND interconnects have no such issues.

As you rightly say Simon, each to their own and as always, home demo where possible.

I think I am about done and I have to decide. Just put the S400 back in the system, TBH it was a bit underwhelming. I clearly prefer the PMC, it is quite frankly just more involving, musical, detailed, much better soundstage and has a superior bass response (deeper and more detailed). 

Only the one caveat, occasional sibilance that I noticed can be slightly obvious on certain recordings. 

Its not a massive "the S400 now sounds broken" type of difference, I just now much prefer the PMC in comparison. I am sure I'll be placing an order on Tuesday, I know the slight sibilance might be an issue. Any tips on taming this ? I was thinking speaker cable change , perhaps TQ Ultra Black. 

No speaker is 100% perfect in every room/system , however this one is that close to perfect for me and the music that I like that I'll live with it. Don't forget that I am being ultra critical, perhaps concentrating too much on one slight issue. In actual use I am sure that I will just sit back and  enjoy the music.

When I last auditioned speakers, which was in 2003, I found that in one day I had three visits to my dealer to swap what I was auditioning. First I took home some Dynaudio's (I can't remember the exact model - 220's maybe?) they lasted half an hour before I boxed them back up. Next I had Totem Hawks, nice but lacking in bass. They were boxed up and returned. Both had sounded great at my dealers dem room.

Next I took home Shahinian Arc's which stayed in situ for a week before I swapped them for Totem Mani-2 Signatures, which I still use. It was a tough choice between these two - the Arc's were very natural, the Mani's more precise and punchier, but as HH says the secret is not to A/B them. Sit and listen, let yourself be immersed in the music and maybe jot down your insights and make note of little things you've not heard before, or done better or worse. 

Speakers are the most personal part in your system, take your time to get it right.

regards,

Steve O.

Mayor West posted:

I've read somewhere that the Twenty5 series is less forgiving in the treble which is perhaps what is lending itself to the sibilance you're experiencing. Have you considered trying the Twenty.26 instead of the Twenty5.26?

That sounds an excellent idea, as they will be very much of the same character, but possibly sipufficientky different to not sound sibilant in the system in question.

Going to draw a line through the Twenty5 .26. Enough tracks had the sssss / ccccccc sibilance to put me off. Shame, as I loved 90% of what they did well. The sibilance was driving me mad, no that it was there on some tracks, it was the same word in a chorus would seem to skip a sibilance and appear in the next chorus change. Incredibly frustrating.

Fact 8, or Twenty .26 or a left field choice Harbeth M40.2 next ones up when (or most likely if I get the chance to demo.). They just sold there last Twenty .26 demo. Speaker last week.

 

If you are considering the Harbeth, I would suggest giving the SHL5+ a second chance, in your room, instead of the M40.2. The latter may have more bass and go deeper but the SHL5+ is often more easier to get right than the 40.2. I only have experience with the 40.1 and it sounds a bit heavy, slow and warmer/thicker next to the SHL5. I would expect the 40.2 to sound quite similar to the 40.1. The SHL5+ is not only more versatile with placement but will likely sound leaner and faster than the 40.2. Best if you can try both speakers or any other speaker in consideration in your own room and decide for yourself.

My only recent-ish experience with PMC is the Fact.8. The sibilance is also very much apparent in these models, pronounced and edgy highs are apparently a PMC thing. After 15mins already I had enough. The S600 were too soft for me, never heard the S400's.

However, it's all very personal. There are so many factors and characteristics that are in play when selecting speakers, it's almost impossible to suggest a suitable speaker. I mean, when I look at my initial requirements and see what kind of speakers I finally selected and bought, it's miles apart. Turned out that some characteristics I didn't think about initially proved to be crucial in my final choice.

I learned also that when something irritates me in the shop's demo system, it will still irritate me in my house. There's no use in trying something at home if you don't like it in the shop. The character of the speaker will not change at home, so don't bother.             

  

CRACKIE

You are not alone with your observation of treble problems with PMC speakers, myself and others have heard the same thing you complained about with their tweeters.

When you listen to really refined sounding tweeters you become more aware of  the shortcoming of lesser designs.

I would suggest listening to Dynaudio speakers and hear what a exceptionally refined tweeter can sound like, also try Focal, Proac, and B&W to hear some of the finest sounding tweeters available. 

I've been running in a pair of PMC Twenty 26 for the last two weeks. I was quite concerned about the harshness of the tweeters at first. There were some female vocals I couldn't listen to. Now, with about 60 hours use, that is no longer the case. The tweeters have mellowed and I'm really loving these speakers.

I recently auditioned the PMC twenty5 21s and 23s and could not get over the 'hardness' of the treble which made the speakers sound very much 'in your face'. Very detailed but definitely not relaxing (this was my second audition of the twenty5 23s). In the end I went for the ATC AMC 11s which has a soft dome speaker and was every bit as detailed but with a far more Relaxed ' presentation.

Maybe the ATC SMC40s are worth a look

Thank you all for your advice. Listening to the PMC's again today before they get boxed up and returned. Love what they do well, a very engaging listen, punchy deep bass, almost the perfect speaker for rock music - except the obvious issues I am having. Man can they make UB40 such an engaging listen.

Spent hours going over old naim forum and other internet sites looking to narrow down a few speakers to try next. I think ProAc D48R or the new D30S or ATC SMC40 are next up as short list speakers that will perhaps suit my needs better and in my budget. 

Sorry if I sound indecisive etc. but there are pretty much only 2-3 genuine Hi Fi dealers in my city, and they all carry a limited range. However most speakers can be ordered in if I want a pair. Hence in home demo. opportunities are very scarce to organise.

You're lucky with 2-3 dealers in your hometown. I live in a 300.000+ citizen city, and there's just one.  Around 10 brands of speakers, but that's enough to do a first selection. 

Yes, a home demo can be a pain to organise. But again, don't do a home demo if you are already convinced by the speaker in the shop.  

All of my Naim stuff I bought in one go in a city about 35km from my hometown, my speakers from a shop 80km away. Visited 10 shops or so, with the one furthest away was a 90min drive. I tried 4 speakers from 3 brands at home. Of which two I wasn't convinced in the shop already, and a home demo didn't change that. Useless exercise. 

Spending serious money should be fun, don't let it become a pain. 

 

 

If you get sibilant sound from 25.26 then there's obviously some imbalance elsewhere in your system. I've heard this speaker few times and there's not a slightest hint of sibilance when paired with correct setup. I've also owned two pairs of PMC speakers with my Naim setup (GB1i and 20.23) and no signs of sibilance there either. Usually if you get sibilant sound and everything seems to be ok with the system, you can experiment with cabling, speaker positioning and acoustic treatments. I've noticed that cabling has much to do with sibilance and with correct choice of interconnect and speaker cables, you can do a lot. 

Hi Streamz, 3 dealers in my city, next city with any serious hi fi shops are 2,700 km away........

Sorry Patu, disagree. I just packed the PMC's up and hooked my S400 back in the system. Not a hint of sibilance. I tried everything I could in the days I had for the demo. Toe in, firing right ahead, moving them in / out , tried 2x sets of speaker cable,tried later at night, early in the day, after a work out etc. etc. sounded sibilant at all times. Unless the dealer was incorrect in saying they had 100 hours on them I am at a loss on what to do next to make them work in my room.

I loved the upfront sound, punchy & deep bass, and the detail they could drag out of every song I had was breathtaking. However the relentless sibilance was not.

crackie posted:

Hi Streamz, 3 dealers in my city, next city with any serious hi fi shops are 2,700 km away........

Sorry Patu, disagree. I just packed the PMC's up and hooked my S400 back in the system. Not a hint of sibilance. I tried everything I could in the days I had for the demo. Toe in, firing right ahead, moving them in / out , tried 2x sets of speaker cable,tried later at night, early in the day, after a work out etc. etc. sounded sibilant at all times. Unless the dealer was incorrect in saying they had 100 hours on them I am at a loss on what to do next to make them work in my room.

I loved the upfront sound, punchy & deep bass, and the detail they could drag out of every song I had was breathtaking. However the relentless sibilance was not.

Well it sounds you've tried some tweaking. I'm sorry that they didn't work for you. I've loved them in the demos I've heard them in. I'm very sensitive to sibilance also so I know what you're talking about, it's super annoying. I've managed to make my system sound sibilant and tiring by only changing one interconnect cable or power distribution block, so it can really be about small things when you're balancing between the refined detailness and sibilant detailness. S400 is more familiar to me, I've heard it in multiple systems and yes, its highs sound extremely smooth compared to PMC or many other manufacturers. To my taste it's even too smooth, masking some of the details you can hear with more revealing speakers. But it's super fun to listen to, just what you'd expect from Naim.

EDIT:

Do try ATC SCM40 though. If you liked 25.26, it won't disappoint you. Maybe its treble acts differently in your system. Also NAP300 should have plenty of power to drive them. SCM40 is more difficult speaker to drive than 25.26. 

crackie posted:

Hi Streamz, 3 dealers in my city, next city with any serious hi fi shops are 2,700 km away........

Sorry Patu, disagree. I just packed the PMC's up and hooked my S400 back in the system. Not a hint of sibilance. I tried everything I could in the days I had for the demo. Toe in, firing right ahead, moving them in / out , tried 2x sets of speaker cable,tried later at night, early in the day, after a work out etc. etc. sounded sibilant at all times. Unless the dealer was incorrect in saying they had 100 hours on them I am at a loss on what to do next to make them work in my room.

I loved the upfront sound, punchy & deep bass, and the detail they could drag out of every song I had was breathtaking. However the relentless sibilance was not.

Hi Crackie, if you like the sort of PMC performance you may well like the ATCs. The bass is not as extended unattenuated, but I find the ATCs more natural, dynamic and punchy across the audio band. The mids are usually to die for.. it seems to be an ATC speciality, and the trebles are insightful and clean without being overly prominent... you get no added PMC sibilance and grit ( ATC now design and produce their own tweeters without needing to use ferrofluid) .. the designs are very unforgiving, so partner carefully, but at the same time for me they get you closer to the music. Worth a demo, but caution the 40s are HEAVY speakers. I run a pair of 19s now.

Hi Simon,

Yep, these are on my very short list as well as ProAc D48R, Harbeth M40.2 (if I can swing a deal to get the price down). My only concern with the ATC SMC 40 was the 85 db efficiency rating and that they will be in a 5m x 9m room and that my 300DR  "may" run out of puff in party mode.

crackie posted:

Hi Simon,

Yep, these are on my very short list as well as ProAc D48R, Harbeth M40.2 (if I can swing a deal to get the price down). My only concern with the ATC SMC 40 was the 85 db efficiency rating and that they will be in a 5m x 9m room and that my 300DR  "may" run out of puff in party mode.

I run SCM40 with SuperNait2 + HiCap DR. While they most probably would like more power, they play very good with this combo also. SN2 is surprisingly capable integrated but needs the extra juice provided by HCDR to run SCM40 properly. I've also heard these run with 282/250.2 and it clearly improved things. 300DR is most definitely spot on for SCM40. Naim watts are no ordinary watts.  

Update:

Demoing a pair of ProAc D48R at the moment. Only 24 hours on them, but it's looking good so  far. Set up 18 inches from a solid brick wall, put Chord Signature Link set on the bi wire terminals and ditched the supplies links. Much better clarity now, more extended treble too and the mid range has opened much more from just this simple change.

I'll put another 50-100 hours on them and report back.

Well, 180 hours on them now. Honestly I think these are going back too. They do nothing wrong and are clearly a classy speaker. Just a bit boring, looking back at the PMC tewnty5.26, they (ProAc D48R) are just not as exciting. Am I expecting too much ? 

I listen to 90% rock and the ProAc's are not doing it for me. Do they need more hours on them or are they clearly not a "rock music" only speaker ? As it stands now, I'll be taking them back soon and going for the PMC Twenty5.26 and try harder to make the sibilance it showed work in my room/system somehow. Because at the dealer they did not show that character at all.

crackie posted:

Well, 180 hours on them now. Honestly I think these are going back too. They do nothing wrong and are clearly a classy speaker. Just a bit boring, looking back at the PMC tewnty5.26, they (ProAc D48R) are just not as exciting. Am I expecting too much ? 

I listen to 90% rock and the ProAc's are not doing it for me. Do they need more hours on them or are they clearly not a "rock music" only speaker ? As it stands now, I'll be taking them back soon and going for the PMC Twenty5.26 and try harder to make the sibilance it showed work in my room/system somehow. Because at the dealer they did not show that character at all.

I see that when you auditioned the PMC speakers at your dealer you were using different electronics so it might be easier said than done ?

alanbass1 posted:

Have you not been able to audition ATCs?

+1

At this point, I'd definitely give ATC a try. SCM40 is almost half the price of 25.26 and share a similar sound signature. I come from 20.23 and in comparison to SCM40, the smaller PMC's were destroyed. 

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