Naim Ovator S400

Chaps,

I'm taking a punt on a pair of nearly mint (one scratch) Ovator S400's second hand.

The price and pick-up has been agreed (they are a bargain) and the idea is to partner these with my existing Supernait 2, CD5X and Flatcap 2X.

Now I have read all the reviews and it's confusing to say the least as some are raving on them, others seemingly wouldn't give them houseroom!! So given that these are to replace a pair of naim Credos, which are supplemented for louder party listening by an ancient pair of Ditton 44's.....what's the prediction, am I gonna smile as they knock the old speakers to the canvas or am I just going to hear my music 'differently'?

Somebody out there must be pairing a supernait (2) and with a naim front end with a pair of these beauties? 

Musical tastes are across the board Depeche mode / Porcupine tree / Floyd through Jason Mraz to all forms of Jazz and a bit of classical.....so they are gonna have to excel in all genres (and have the ability to go quite loud. Listening room is an oddball 2.5metres x 6Metres (it's an Orangery) with solid floors with engineered wood over, plants, sofa and a large rug. Any advice for positioning and use on this type of flooring? Bi-fold doors will mean they need to be a min of 4.5m apart....facing across the 2.5m wide orangery at a central sofa listening position.

These are a pair of ex-staff members (no serial number and no boxes) does that alter the value by that much? I guess if they were boxed, had an original bill of sale and a serial number I'd be looking at £1600-1900.....these are considerably less, so what would you say is the going rate for some like this (bearing in mind they are probably early production....2009)?

So that's it....any opinions....am I being crazy (given the room limitations)? Should I have just stuck with my old speakers!!??

Cheers

Gaz

 

Gaz

Original Post

That’s an odd bunch of questions given that you have bought them and will be able to judge for yourself shortly. They are big things though, and with a 2.5m wide room they’ll be virtually on top of you. If they cost less than £1,600 they are ridiculously cheap. Are you sure they are not stolen?

I have a pair of the Ovator S-400's powered with a NAIT XS 2  in my living room, 13.5 ft (4.1148 m) x 22 ft (6.7056 m) and enjoy them quite a bit. They replaced a pair of ProAc D2 Response speakers.

I have not heard of 'Staff' speakers without serial numbers and would not think a manufacturer would release a set without a serial number included. Just sounds a bit odd and an email to Naim to inquire if they did release speakers to staff is where I would go prior to laying out the cash.

Hungryhalibut posted:
If they cost less than £1,600 they are ridiculously cheap. Are you sure they are not stolen?

Fair point actually -- "considerably less" than £1,600... Hmmm -- especially since they come without serial number. Is "staff kit" marked in any special way? How to distiguish staff kit from stolen goods where the serial number was simply peeled off?

So only advice is about position. I do have alternatives....like a 6metre X 7metre lounge (with carpet) but will have to experiment a bit. 

As always with second hand gear....ultimately if it doesn't work, it's back on the web! 

Hopefully that won't happen. 

Kimbleman posted:

Already spoken to Steve in Tech support....no issues. Said yep some staff members did get them which is why no serial number. Also no issues re factory support. Chap is also very legit....not meeting on the hard shoulder on the side of the M4! 

 

Congratulations on finding a great pair of speakers at a fantastic price!  If they do not work in your room you should have no problem moving them on without losing any cash!

No suggestions on positioning, but ensure you have good loudspeakercable - I use NacA5 which is perfect for SN - Ovators. Ensure you use the Ovator Plugs on the Ovatorside of the cable.

Looks like a cool system.

Since they were built for staff members, can you configure them active? :-)

Just don't lose the Credos.  I had S400s for about a year and had a bit of a honeymoon period with them to begin with, but just couldn't bring myself to part with my previous SBLs.

Eventually I came to realise there was something about the S400s I just didn't get on with, and when I put the SBLs back in, I realised they were a better fit for me.

Not saying you won't love the S400s and never look back, but since Credos won't fetch all that much money if you sell them, you may as well have the insurance policy.

As HH said they will potentially be on top of one another, from memory they need to be 500mm from the side walls and 2.5M - 4M apart.

I have a pair and love them however my listening room is 6m x 10m with loads of soft furnishings, I will be very interested to see how you get on.

Boom is right. In my experience, the distance to the wall is more important though.

I have S600's and also in near field listening in a smallish room, the BMR's work nice. They have a quite silky signature. What matters is that the sources must be right. I did find many flaws on recordings using my Ovators.

Hi Kimbleman,

I use S400 in my second system, they actually go very loud either with Nait XS and 62/HC/140 (i' m using the latter at the moment,  along with DVD5 and CD5X. I' m sure that D.Mode will shine with these.

Assuming  that they'll be 4,5m apart, probably you'll have a very nice soundstage.

Mine are into an attic room, along 4,5 wall firing through 5m+ distance. Left side of the room is open on another space

Floor is an ugly  fake cotto ceramic tiles. 

If you have the opportunity to refurbish your room, i 'd go for a solid wood floor 15mm tick at least.

Regards

Roberto

Hi thanks for that Roberto....that attic room looks lovely mate!

Yeah.... positioning will be interesting. As I said they cannot be less than 4.5 metres apart as I have a run of glass bi-folding doors along that wall. 

To be honest....it's a punt, if the work well then great, if not there's always a second system on the go in our house either side of the TV to handle music, TV and movies....so they will find a home somewhere😁

 

Picked the Ovators up from Jonathan yesterday afternoon. Lovely bloke....even loaded them into my car! Anyway, got them home and literally screwed the spikes in, plonked them down in the corners of my Orangery at a crazy tied in angle (so practically near field listening position). Me and the missus spent about four hours listening to various material from Paul Weller, Jameraqui, porcupine tree, depeche mode, finishing off with the live cd2 from Listen without prejudice 2017 (God rest your soul George....loved that guy). Not yet linked with naca5 just the bog standard 79strand cable I buried in the walls when building the house. 

Well all I can say is they sound brilliant....really amazing in fact....so £1100 very well spent 😀!! 

The old Celestion Dittons (44's) that these replaced probably ultimately go a little deeper, but everything else has just gone up a notch. 

I'm a bit rubbish with writing a forensic report.....I just know when my ears like something, which is the case here.

So.....Ovators, what's the problem???? 

Will get some Naca5 cables made up and report on any further improvement.

Cheers guys. Gaz

Well Time for an Ovator s400 update.

First couple of weeks into using them I would say they are revealing, fast and tuneful. I am certainly enjoying my music.....and playing a lot more of it!

Just an observation. The chap (Jonathon) I brought these from demonstrated them using his NAC272 with a NAP250. he was streaming (CD resolution I think) a few demo tunes, one of which I have now purchased on CD (London Grammar) as I was mighty impressed by the band. There are some low frequencies in the track in question and The Ovators handled the notes with aplomb....at Jonathon's place

I have noticed my (non weedy) Supernait 2 does not dig down quite so deep, not by much, but a little. I know room reinforcement may have played a part, but frankly the set-up (distance apart and from surrounding walls) I would say is fairly similar....so I'm wondering is it the differing Amplifiers!? It might be the generic 79 strand speaker wire (that's what's buried in my walls) that I am using as he was hooked up with NACA5.

All other things being even, does a 272/250 combo dig deeper down the scale to a Supernait 2?

Any opinions....or am I just being plain stupid?

You said in a previous post that you’d be getting some A5 made up, and you’ll probably need to do that before drawing conclusions. The 250DR is a better power amplifier than that in the Supernait, so you’d expect the systems to sound different, irrespective of room effects. 

Naca 5 definitely a good idea. I think a CDX2 in place of your CD5x and FC2x would allow a more favourable impression of the SN2.

If I may say as a tribute to Frank Abela who worked in the industry, he used to say CDX2, SN (as it was then) and Naim SL2s was, 'one of those systems that shouldn't have done but just worked'. Okay the speakers are different but you get the point.

Be sure that Naca 5 is terminated with specific Naim Ovator plugs. Regular Naim plugs can fit  a little loose  into Ovators.

Unless you' ll be using a 250DR, i' d stick with S.Nait or 200DR.

P.S. you should have a try of London Grammar into S600. The bass will shake your sofa.

Regards

Roberto

Unfortunately my Orangery is only 3 metres deep. I know the science....an equalateral triangle with the listeners ears at the apex, but it's not possible. 

I could resite it all into our 7m X 8m lounge, but then we wouldn't be able to enjoy the views of the rolling countryside through the bifold doors whilst listening to our music.

Just as an aside......anyone think a Mana four tier rack is a good upgrade over a gplan cupboard (Lol). I've got a chance at one (£200 quids though)????

You have to make do with the circumstances you have and the logistical constraints of your preferred listening location in the orangery. Your value on the view of rolling countryside relative to possibly better sound in another room are yours to decide. So aside from equilateral triangle theories, a proper rack does seem a potential enhancement. In most cases I'd say better racking = better sonic results. OTOH, given your unorthodox situation in the orangery, no telling. That said, the benefits of better racking should manifest themselves in any given arrangement. Reduced feedback on the gear will result in cleaner replay.

Mana racks were the 'go to' rack throughout the 90's if you wanted to extract the maximum potential from your Naim system. Many people still use them under LP12's and I still think these are about as good a support as you can get. Just because they are 'old technology ' doesn't mean they sound any worse today.

I'm a great believer in getting the foundation of a system correct - good stand and good electrics. I think this is worth at least a couple of 'black box' upgrades in SQ. I'd get the rack without hesitation but be prepared for a fiddly set-up. Make sure every level of glass rings and doesn't rattle with micro adjustments to the spiking system. This is essential but I reckon you'll be surprised at the improvement to your system.

I love my s400's they're silky smooth and are one of my best purchases. I have a patient wife who thinks then too big and would rather have a log burner. She freaked out a bit at the size of them when they arrived in their 'coffin like' packaging but they've been here 2 years now and are well settled.I've a 202/200 FC CD5 and a mac mini or sonos are used with a DacV1.I'm so glad I gave up on mixed systems of different brands . A whole Naim system using their cable and NACA has proved the best route. The speakers  stand there producing lovely music

Hi SJW.

Yes I have to agree. the more I listen to different genres of music on them the more I seem to like them. That said I think my system now does show up rubbish CDs (unfortunately one of which is a favourite). The combination of CD5X (plus Flatcap 2X) into the Supernait 2 and into the S400's seems to Gel very well....and great recordings sound amazing!

Agree about the looks. Unfortunately these are in very dark ebony....they look like large black monoliths stood tall in the corners. My missus reaction was 'oh Garry what have you brought into the house' but after the first weekend of listening to lots of music, she pretty much got won over by the sound (especially when I put Depeche mode on).

I had to buy the log burner first mate (got one about six weeks ago) as a means of easing first the supernait 2 and then the Ovators through the front door past the Missus. I had got us a Dog back in September (Mack...a Colluki) so with massive brownie points already banked.....I have been tearing through them in the past four weeks with not one but two Hifi additions. Picking up the four tier Mana rack on Sunday and have promised her this is the final up-grade (it's not....there's still a length of Naca5 cable needed and I think some time around spring I fancy adding a naim streamer).

Met with my Pal Dave last night who used to have a Mana rack.....said he'd pop around to help get it 'Ringing' (oh what fun we have).

Also.....given the set-up above, which is the most 'economical' way to get streaming with naim? I have CAT5E all around the house but unfortunately not in the Orangery (where the system resides) but I DO have an absolutely fantastic google wireless network (it really is a superb wireless system with just two 'pods' that sends the net around the house at about 40-50Mb/sec....awesome). So wireless preferred and controlled on my nexus 10 tablet too.

Cheers all.

Moderated Post:  Kimbleman, please ensure you have read and understood the forum rules - particularly the part that expressly forbids sales/wants...

Kimbleman posted:

Chaps,

I'm taking a punt on a pair of nearly mint (one scratch) Ovator S400's second hand.

The price and pick-up has been agreed (they are a bargain) and the idea is to partner these with my existing Supernait 2, CD5X and Flatcap 2X.

Now I have read all the reviews and it's confusing to say the least as some are raving on them, others seemingly wouldn't give them houseroom!! So given that these are to replace a pair of naim Credos, which are supplemented for louder party listening by an ancient pair of Ditton 44's.....what's the prediction, am I gonna smile as they knock the old speakers to the canvas or am I just going to hear my music 'differently'?

Somebody out there must be pairing a supernait (2) and with a naim front end with a pair of these beauties? 

Musical tastes are across the board Depeche mode / Porcupine tree / Floyd through Jason Mraz to all forms of Jazz and a bit of classical.....so they are gonna have to excel in all genres (and have the ability to go quite loud. Listening room is an oddball 2.5metres x 6Metres (it's an Orangery) with solid floors with engineered wood over, plants, sofa and a large rug. Any advice for positioning and use on this type of flooring? Bi-fold doors will mean they need to be a min of 4.5m apart....facing across the 2.5m wide orangery at a central sofa listening position.

These are a pair of ex-staff members (no serial number and no boxes) does that alter the value by that much? I guess if they were boxed, had an original bill of sale and a serial number I'd be looking at £1600-1900.....these are considerably less, so what would you say is the going rate for some like this (bearing in mind they are probably early production....2009)?

So that's it....any opinions....am I being crazy (given the room limitations)? Should I have just stuck with my old speakers!!??

Cheers

Gaz

 

I have been using the Ovator S-400 with a SN2 for about three years and I am very satisfied. I mainly listen to classical music and a little bit of opera and to me the S-400 just sound "right" and very natural. I do not have the impression that I have to sit in a well defined spot to fully enjoy the music and I find the speakers aesthetically acceptable (I find most speakers rather ugly). There is a potential problem you should be aware, however. This is the spade connector in the S-400's plinth. The connector consists of two plastic shells, one on the inside and one on the outside of the metal plate in the rear of the plinth. The outer shell is connected with the inner shell by means of two tiny metal screws. The screws are only a few millimeters apart from each other, reach into two tiny plastic cylinders only about 1.5mm and are not accessible from the outside of the plinth. If you happen to push the spades of the NAC A5 connector a little bit too hard into the S-400's connector - typically, to overcome normal friction - it can happen that the two shells fall apart. At this point, your S-400 has become unusable and you will have to send it back to Naim. Alternatively, you can unscrew the base of the plinth and replace the connector if you manage to get a new one. Replacing the connector is a bit clumsy because the screws are really small and you need a very long and small Torx T8 screwdriver to tighten them. In contrast to the connectors that terminate the NAC A5 which are very solid, the connector in the S-400's plinth is a defective design, in my view.

×
×
×
×