Naim SL2 vs Ovator S400?

Hi guys,

I have the ooportunity to purchase a good pair of both speakers, but I cannot audition either of them as both will be shipped from overseas. Therefore, I am looking for advice as to which of these will suit my room.

My room is 3.2 metres by 3. Yes, unfortunately a small square room. It is on the upper floor and has hardwood flooring on top of marine plywood floorboards. All four walls are solid brick. Fyi 3 walls have wallpaper and the wall that the speakers will be up against will have a 3 metre fitted wardrobe, with only a 15cm gap between wardrobe and side wall either side.

I was planning on corner loading the SL2 up against this gap to try and manage the boundary setup required for the SL2. I understand that this is not ideal BUT im wondering if it will work. 

The Ovator 400 can be pulled out into the room about 30cm from the wardrobe and 50cm from side walls but perhaps the flooring maybe an issue with bass boom.

My preference is for the SL2 as Im curious about this speaker and love the look of retro gear.

My new system comprises of Macbook SSD, Audirvana Plus feeding a Berkeley Audio Alpha USB converter.

BNC cable to Schitt Gungnir Multibit DAC

Amplification is NAC 552 pre, NAP 135s using NAC A5 speaker cable. 

All sitting on a Audiphillar rack.

Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

 

Ghost

Original Post

International shipping of either of those speakers sounds risky. Especially if it’s a private sale, I’d want to be very sure the seller knew what they were doing with dismantling and packaging, and make sure the shipping is fully covered by insurance. 

Hi Guys, yes I guess that would be ideal but I don’t think I can buy both at the moment as I’ve already spent a lot on the rest of the gear. I was planning on holding off on speaker purchase for a few months but this is a good opportunity to snag a classic I guess. 

'To buy cheap is to buy twice' a wise man once said.

If you're in London, get out there and listen. Listening rooms are an acoustic lottery and there's no telling what will 'work' and what will not - to your taste. SL2's are fabulous loudspeakers but can be very room dependent. Better to home-dem available loudspeakers without financial commitment.

Moreover; cultivating the help, advice and knowledge of a good dealer can pay dividends in the future.

Good luck.

John.

If you want a ‘classic’ then it’s the SL2. I’m a bit puzzled by your initial post, but it sounds as though you want to place the speakers in the corners and in front of a wardrobe. The SL2 needs a solid wall behind it, with room to breathe either side. You could possibly get away with them against any of the other three solid walls. They are complex speakers, and it is imperative that the seller knows exactly how to dismantle them and knows exactly how to pack them in the original packaging. In that size room I’d probably be looking at the latest ProAc Tablette 10. Or if I wanted a classic, Mk1 Kans on Mk 2 stands. 

The SL2 will only work, as HH has said, up against a solid wall. If you can't do this there is little point in buying them.

I had to put mine in storage for a house renovation and needed help from my dealer to dismantle and pack them, don't underestimate the complexity and make sure you get guarantees that the seller has the capability to pack them correctly.

.sjb

I have my SL2s slightly out from the wall and slightly angled inwards, and they work brilliantly. I've heard the 400s on a couple of occasions and in my view they are completely outclassed by the SL2s. Unsurprisingly, they are also hugely sought after these days.

Mike. That is exactly how I plan to set them up. The seller seems to know how to dismantle and package the speakers So that’s not an issue. The only worry is I don’t want the speakers sound thin if I’m not getting bass reproduction. 

I have considered Linn Kans but I don’t like to add a sub. And, I couldn’t do without the low end. Bedsides a NAC 552 and twin 135s without a speaker than can reproduce bass is a pointless exercise in my opinion. 

Previously I owned the Harbeth M30.1 with a 252/250DR setup and I wasn’t to displeased with that bass response. So I imagine I’ll be happy with what I get from the SL2

Are you still planning to have the speakers largely in front of a wardrobe? If so, they won’t work well. Mine are also slightly away from the wall and slightly angled in - 9cm from the wall on the insides and 10cm on the outsides. If that is your sort of slightly, and the wall is solid, you will be ok. SL2s that are not set up perfectly and placed correctly can sound really, really 💩 

Kahn, If you chose the SL2s which, if the set up arrangements are optimal as others have described, they will certainly outperform the s400s. Make sure you read Richard’s set up guide very thoroughly and are prepared to be patient and careful when you do it. It’s great fun and, when you get it all right, they are the most incredible speakers, particularly with the quality of front end you have.

We look forward to hearing how you get on and remember that there is a vast amount of know how here to help you as you do it. Enjoy....

David

I’m aspiring for SL2 myself but the complicated issues mentioned here make me doubtful I will be a happy owner of a Naim speaker one day.

My Dynaudios on the other hand sound great without any complications.

Good luck to Khan, very keen to read on his experience with Naim speakers.

 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Are you still planning to have the speakers largely in front of a wardrobe? If so, they won’t work well. Mine are also slightly away from the wall and slightly angled in - 9cm from the wall on the insides and 10cm on the outsides. If that is your sort of slightly, and the wall is solid, you will be ok. SL2s that are not set up perfectly and placed correctly can sound really, really 💩 

all Naim speakers sounds awfull when not set up correctly

Yes guys. Great risk can lead to a great reward. And the setup itself for the SL2 doesn’t put me off unless of course the layout of the room needs to be changed. 

Is the Ovator S400 any less fiddly with setup? Although I will be able to plant s400s out into open space I will be moving them after every listening session. I know I know it’s a chore. But I refuse to live without an audio system. And I cannot use the living room as it sounds very bad  and kids would tear the expensive gear apart. 

Having said that I feel if I can somehow get the SL2 to work in my room I will enjoy them far more as I will never have to love them and I want to take advantage of the revealing talents of the NAC 552

I would have to mark the floor with masking tape once I decide upon the best position for them. I would have to move the. Because they will be I. The way of foot traffic. 

And the SL2s are in rosewood finish. Which I believe was at a premium. Also in beautiful condition. 

Based on that additional information my advice to you, as an SL2 owner, is do not buy them. They are a complex design with a decoupled base and tweeter, and need to be set up really carefully and left in situ. They are absolutely not a speaker to be moved about. It would be totally impractical. They will not work well in corners. They will not work well in front of a wardrobe. And as for the 400s, they are really big and heavy and moving them each time would be a real struggle. It’s up to you of course, but I suggest you think again and find a space where you can set up the system permanently and properly. If that is impossible, perhaps a pair of really good headphones is an answer. 

Khan posted:

Is the Ovator S400 any less fiddly with setup?

I can't speak to the SL2, but the S400 worked well in my room about 2-feet from the front wall, 8-feet apart, and 3.5-feet from side walls. Contrary to some other's findings here, I found the 400 not overly sensitive to placement. Their bass worked superb in my room. Downside was their brash mid range, rolled-off highs, and flat sound stage. Highly musical speakers though.

Jordand. I think that’s an ideal setup tbh. Your lucky that you have that space to work with. 

By moving the S400s I am only talking about sliding on the hardwood floors a matter of 10-12 inches. I have often used spike feet bases underneath spikes with a soft material adhered to the bottom so that I can slide to adjust speakers for optimum positioning. 

I should also clarify, the SL2s will be sat in one position and not moved at all. It’s just a matter of experimenting to see if my current room layout supports a good setup for them. 

One scenario is that I move my bed and set them up against an open wall about 4 feet apart. However, my seating position will be compromised. 

Can somebody please advise. I understand that the SL2 suffer from a less than ideal setup. But by how much? And how exactly will the sound suffer? Bass? treble? Imaging?

If you want the SL2, then rearranging the room as you suggest is really the only option. They won’t work properly in front of the wardrobe and in the corners. If you can do it, that would be better than the S400. Not only is the SL2 the better speaker, but being against the wall makes it far less obtrusive, which is really important in a small room. I have mine with 5’ between them, firing across a 12’ room. The floor and walls are all solid. 

If you can’t get the SL2s in optimal position; hard up against a solid masonry wall with space to breath then I wouldn’t go for them. They are not a speaker where you can get away with compromise. Would it be possible to upload some pictures of the room and the various options  you have so that we can advise in a properly informed way?

joerand posted:
Khan posted:

Is the Ovator S400 any less fiddly with setup?

I can't speak to the SL2, but the S400 worked well in my room about 2-feet from the front wall, 8-feet apart, and 3.5-feet from side walls. Contrary to some other's findings here, I found the 400 not overly sensitive to placement. Their bass worked superb in my room. Downside was their brash mid range, rolled-off highs, and flat sound stage. Highly musical speakers though.

brash mid range, rolled-off highs, and flat sound stage, and highly musical??? Strange folks these Naimies

Robiwan posted:
joerand posted:
Khan posted:

Is the Ovator S400 any less fiddly with setup?

I can't speak to the SL2, but the S400 worked well in my room about 2-feet from the front wall, 8-feet apart, and 3.5-feet from side walls. Contrary to some other's findings here, I found the 400 not overly sensitive to placement. Their bass worked superb in my room. Downside was their brash mid range, rolled-off highs, and flat sound stage. Highly musical speakers though.

brash mid range, rolled-off highs, and flat sound stage, and highly musical??? Strange folks these Naimies

possibly Joerand forgot that the the grills should be on the side of the room, not the wall.

Hi gus,

i have considered Harbeth, dynaudio, Linn, spendor and a few other brands. For the potential value of what I may get from these 2 speakers is huge. Nothing else comes close for the money. Also I have had monitor speakers and I want to try something new. 

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