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. 

Why the Ovator dissing?

I appreciate they may not be the best option in this particular case , but in the right room and well set up they are magical. They are also less fiddly than the SL2 as the decoupling is all in one box, vs separate segments in the SL2. Mine sound  great 20cm from the wall and are not intrusive. 

I am sure the SL2s are wonderful, but don’t be mean about the Ovators, it makes me sad. I think it is an irrational group think bullying phenomenon and is not grounded in objective reality.So there!

Kiwi Cat - I think there is little objective about speaker appreciation. As far as I can tell, speakers are the most subjective item of equipment, with views varying more widely than with anything else. I have not heard ovators that I liked - but I haven’t heard many pairs. I have only heard one pair of SL2s and I didn’t like them (neednto hear another pair to see if it is setup or room related or if I just don’t like them)  but I will persevere because I do like my SBLs- which are the only pair of SBLs I have ever heard. And I have never heard a pair of B&Ws that I liked (one pair of which the couple listening to five minutes earlier had just spent £7k to purchase (I preferred my SBLs when I got home with an inferior source and amplification) and the second pair of which gave me a headache)

And in the last week I have met a dealer who prefers SBLs over SL2s and ovators   , and another who prefers SL2s over SBLs. 

I’ve had many speaker rigs sound wonderful in my room. Even before I bought Naim gear. I have owned several headphone systems and just don’t get it. To me they all sound more or less the same and I’m sorry but just don’t compared sound anything as good as a speaker setup. 

FYI I’ve owned MDR Z1r, Audeze lcd series, sennheiser hd800. I can go on. 

Kahn, If you’ve got a good deal lined up for these rosewood SL2s and you reckon you can rearrange your room to accommodate them then just go for it.

The worst that can happen is you set them up, you don’t like them and you need to sell them on.

As long as you are not paying a massive premium for them - hence why I asked how much you were planning on paying - you should be able to move them on pretty quickly as they are very sought after.

David

 

Khan I completely understand (if not fully agree) with your sentiment towards headphones. 

I've lived in some challenging places before where real speakers were just impossible.

Ultimately, if you are renting, you can move somewhere more accommodating to your needs. For years berfore buying a home, I held out for top flor corner apartment (only neighbors below to worry about) and a room shape that had the right shape.

But I do understand every home has its limits. I've hit some where I am now. Not that extreme by some standards but suddenly moving is not an option.

The SL2s will need a room rearrangement to stand a chance but may be the best option.

It’s doubtful anything will work well near that wardrode but if you want corner placement look to AudioNote but you’ll be buying new so you can get a home demo. They are masters of scale so good if classical is your bag, though I’ve heard them working well with a bit of Zep too but a home demo with enough time to decide is vital.

Hi, I’m getting the SL2s at a very reasonable price so I won’t  loose out if things don’t work out. So your absolutely right. 

The house is owned so no plans to move anytime soon. Although I’m a little gutted as a new garden house was where I would love to move my system. It’s a massive space with solid floor and all brick walls. Empty space as well that I could dress up. But alas not to be. 

Btw I do like audio note as they can be used in corners  but might be too big for this particulate room  

 

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.

A very mixed and contradictory but, surprisingly, accurate description. Khan, keep in mind that the downsides signaled by joerand might have something to do with his room, eventually. I, at least, don't agree on flat soundstage. And 50% of how a system sounds is in the recording.

Best

M

 

Khan -- at least trying the SL2s sounds like the right move. i saw a pair of rosewood Allaes recently that were beautiful, so hopefully your SL2s will be in the same league.

one question, and perhaps a dumb one: can you put the wardrobe somewhere else?

I really wanted a "rosewood" pair of SL2s.  The opportunity came up after a B stock pair came up at the factory. And boy did they look stunning. However, for some reason this pair just sounded "off".  They spent some time at the factory where we were investigating why they should sound so flat.  Despite changing just about everything, nothing seemed to make them sing.  In the end it seemed there was something about the top boxes that was causing a problem.  Substituting the top boxes from another pair was a transformation.  Putting the rosewood top boxes on the other speakers made them sound really flat.  Swapping drivers over and the result was the same.  I don't know what had happened with those Rosewood top boxes, but they just killed the sound somehow.  Maybe too much glue in a joint?  It was a weird one, and in the end I changed my black cabinet pair over to some cherry ones that had received minor transit damage but had been skilfully rebuilt and touched in by the guys in the Speaker dept.   I still them and they sound fabulous.

My SL2s played fantastically well without being close to the wall. So there's nothing to be afraid of! There is always a chance to change something in the room, in order to achieve a better sound.

And finish rosewood is the most beautiful of any of the speakers.

Good luck!

Richard Dane posted:

I remember we had that Rosewood pair in there for a few weeks while we were trying to figure out why they sounded so flat. I don't know if there were others.  Maybe after my time, although by then i think the Ovators were coming on line.

Or maybe you just had to warm them up well? I don't think all the speakers with the rosewood finish is just as bad sounds like that couple. You're just out of luck, bad sample. Well, or not played until the end.

Under no circumstances will a thin veneer of rosewood affect the sound. The main carcase may have had an issue, or it may have been the internal damping or treatment, or indeed the finish on the rosewood veneer that may have affected it.  It's also possible that an aspect of the drivers, the bolt torque, or a crossover issue, will have been at fault. The fact that it was a particular veneer is of very little significance.

Richard Dane posted:

I remember we had that Rosewood pair in there for a few weeks while we were trying to figure out why they sounded so flat. I don't know if there were others.  Maybe after my time, although by then i think the Ovators were coming on line.

My Ovators are rosewood, and I remember that they cost €6/700 more than the other finishes. It would be ironic if the responsible for the flatness was the finish.

Sometimes they do sound a little flat (although I am not sure I understand what it means), others they are lively and do a lot of happy noise. I still think it depends on:

- Mains

- State of mind

- Recording (in reverse order, probably)

more than on anything else. Ovators are underrated. Their time will come, like Mahler's.

Massimo Bertola posted:
Richard Dane posted:

I remember we had that Rosewood pair in there for a few weeks while we were trying to figure out why they sounded so flat. I don't know if there were others.  Maybe after my time, although by then i think the Ovators were coming on line.

My Ovators are rosewood, and I remember that they cost €6/700 more than the other finishes. It would be ironic if the responsible for the flatness was the finish.

Sometimes they do sound a little flat (although I am not sure I understand what it means), others they are lively and do a lot of happy noise. I still think it depends on:

- Mains

- State of mind

- Recording (in reverse order, probably)

more than on anything else. Ovators are underrated. Their time will come, like Mahler's.

Indeed, and Ovators are build like tanks. Metal grills and quite heavy. Build to last.

I listen to a lot organ music on them, and the most complex preludes and fugues stay transparent.

I was recently in a hifi shop and listened to Marin Logan electrostats. The mid  / high was very similar to my Ovators, but my Ovators' low end is much better. The Logan's sounded desintegrated.

Max, no it wasn't the finish, because a different pair of Rosewood SL2s sounded great.  It was just that pair.  It was sad because it was a pair that Doug had taken home to try to see whether they would stand in for his NBLs.  He hated them, and I couldn't understand it until he brought them into the factory listening room so we could hear them.  Ugh... We tried to get them to sound right.  We tried everything.  Changed everything. Rebuilt them over and over, drive units back and forth, but to no avail. I was the top boxes, for sure. The joints did look different to the ones in my own pair, and I think possibly someone at Hornslet had a bad day.  The good news was that they went Doug and not to a customer.

Richard Dane posted:

Max, no it wasn't the finish, because a different pair of Rosewood SL2s sounded great.  It was just that pair.  It was sad because it was a pair that Doug had taken home to try to see whether they would stand in for his NBLs.  He hated them, and I couldn't understand it until he brought them into the factory listening room so we could hear them.  Ugh... We tried to get them to sound right.  We tried everything.  Changed everything. Rebuilt them over and over, drive units back and forth, but to no avail. I was the top boxes, for sure. The joints did look different to the ones in my own pair, and I think possibly someone at Hornslet had a bad day.  The good news was that they went Doug and not to a customer.

The first pair of maple SL2s I owned suffered from a similar strange malaise. There was nothing obviously wrong with their construction, yet they just never sounded right, despite the noble efforts of both my dealer and Naim. Another new pair were just fine, and I believe the rogue pair were scrapped by the factory.

tonym posted:
Richard Dane posted:

Max, no it wasn't the finish, because a different pair of Rosewood SL2s sounded great.  It was just that pair.  It was sad because it was a pair that Doug had taken home to try to see whether they would stand in for his NBLs.  He hated them, and I couldn't understand it until he brought them into the factory listening room so we could hear them.  Ugh... We tried to get them to sound right.  We tried everything.  Changed everything. Rebuilt them over and over, drive units back and forth, but to no avail. I was the top boxes, for sure. The joints did look different to the ones in my own pair, and I think possibly someone at Hornslet had a bad day.  The good news was that they went Doug and not to a customer.

The first pair of maple SL2s I owned suffered from a similar strange malaise. There was nothing obviously wrong with their construction, yet they just never sounded right, despite the noble efforts of both my dealer and Naim. Another new pair were just fine, and I believe the rogue pair were scrapped by the factory.

There were a few pairs where the recess for the interface plates wasn't quite right - the tolerance here was probably too tough, even for the very best cabinet makers. Hornslet made improvements and I think that the guys and girls in the speaker dept. finally found a way around this to make it all work well within a slightly wider tolerance and prevent the plate from sinking too far.  It sounds like your maple pair may have been one of the ones affected.  Or perhaps the top box glued joint struck again!

vintageaxeman posted:

Under no circumstances will a thin veneer of rosewood affect the sound. The main carcase may have had an issue, or it may have been the internal damping or treatment, or indeed the finish on the rosewood veneer that may have affected it.  It's also possible that an aspect of the drivers, the bolt torque, or a crossover issue, will have been at fault. The fact that it was a particular veneer is of very little significance.

I'm curious - do you have any explanation of how and why finish/veneer can/cannot affect the sound?

Sergey72vw posted:

My SL2s played fantastically well without being close to the wall. So there's nothing to be afraid of! There is always a chance to change something in the room, in order to achieve a better sound.

And finish rosewood is the most beautiful of any of the speakers.

Good luck!

Hiwever, as speakers designed to be close to the wall, their bass response inevitably will fall off significantly when well away from a wall.

Innocent Bystander posted:

Hiwever, as speakers designed to be close to the wall, their bass response inevitably will fall off significantly when well away from a wall.

Yes anything there does not fall in terms of bass, no need to come. I lived with them for about 2.5 years and I had no opportunity to put them close to the wall. It is better to pay attention to the fact that they are demanding to the amplifier and they are very difficult to open.

But the author of the theme is Nac 552, so the sound will be fantastic.

Massimo Bertola 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.

A very mixed and contradictory but, surprisingly, accurate description. Khan, keep in mind that the downsides signaled by joerand might have something to do with his room, eventually. I, at least, don't agree on flat soundstage. And 50% of how a system sounds is in the recording.

Best

M

Max, glad to see you got the gist of my post. The 400 are wonderful speakers with fantastically nimble bass. Their taut bass control leads to their musicality. The fact that I found them too mids forward and with rolled-off highs speaks to my ears and my room. The fact I found a flat sound stage has to do with my own expectations for satisfying hifi replay. Doesn't mean I can't appreciate the 400 sound and why others enjoy them. Despite using the 400 with Plinius amplification, I was amazed by how the speakers instilled Naim's signature speed and agility into my system's sound.

FWIW - my wife loved the 400 sound when I had them home and would have been completely pleased had I kept them. They were rosewood and much larger than my cherry speakers at the time, yet she felt they looked great in our otherwise all cherry finished room.

Joe,

another very unique trait of the S-400s, that not many consider enough because they haven't seen it at home, is how they seem to fit every room and mingle with any type of furniture. in other words, they are beautiful everywhere.

(BTW, I have written many times that I do not care for velvety midrange and super smooth treble, because it is not how real music sounds).

M.

Sergey72vw posted:
Innocent Bystander posted:

Hiwever, as speakers designed to be close to the wall, their bass response inevitably will fall off significantly when well away from a wall.

Yes anything there does not fall in terms of bass, no need to come. I lived with them for about 2.5 years and I had no opportunity to put them close to the wall. It is better to pay attention to the fact that they are demanding to the amplifier and they are very difficult to open.

But the author of the theme is Nac 552, so the sound will be fantastic.

I suspect you are lacking bass, but like it that way so it doesn’t matter!

Roberto, early cherry had a tinted varnish which made them slightly red.  Later ones were clear so lost the red tint.  My own pair are later ones but have early cabinets which look similar to yours but with slightly more obvious figuring to the veneer.

p.s. I like the shade of green on the wall in your picture.

Massimo Bertola posted:

Joe,

another very unique trait of the S-400s, that not many consider enough because they haven't seen it at home, is how they seem to fit every room and mingle with any type of furniture. in other words, they are beautiful everywhere.

(BTW, I have written many times that I do not care for velvety midrange and super smooth treble, because it is not how real music sounds).

M.

Max

you are not listening to the direct instruments but a recording of those instruments therefore an interpretation of how the music sounded by both the recording engineer and the mixing engineer

after attending a live concert recently of one of my favorite singers I was not impressed and much preferred the recordings. In fact I wish I hadn’t bothered attending the concert 

i don’t know why artists think that live music at ear blasting levels is fun because it wasn’t for me. 

Theres a lot of distortion that comes out of driving PA Rigs are very high SPL and I may well really reduce my concert attendance to protect my ears !

 

 

Richard Dane posted:

Roberto, early cherry had a tinted varnish which made them slightly red.  Later ones were clear so lost the red tint.  My own pair are later ones but have early cabinets which look similar to yours but with slightly more obvious figuring to the veneer.

p.s. I like the shade of green on the wall in your picture.

Very well, If it's like my own Sats are  more similar to walnut than cherry.

The green shade is Farrow & Ball Calke Green colour with little mod to the formula.

Regards

Roberto

analogmusic posted:
Massimo Bertola posted:

Joe,

another very unique trait of the S-400s, that not many consider enough because they haven't seen it at home, is how they seem to fit every room and mingle with any type of furniture. in other words, they are beautiful everywhere.

(BTW, I have written many times that I do not care for velvety midrange and super smooth treble, because it is not how real music sounds).

M.

Max

you are not listening to the direct instruments but a recording of those instruments therefore an interpretation of how the music sounded by both the recording engineer and the mixing engineer

after attending a live concert recently of one of my favorite singers I was not impressed and much preferred the recordings. In fact I wish I hadn’t bothered attending the concert 

i don’t know why artists think that live music at ear blasting levels is fun because it wasn’t for me. 

Theres a lot of distortion that comes out of driving PA Rigs are very high SPL and I may well really reduce my concert attendance to protect my ears !

 

 

I think Max is referring to live unamplified instruments. If you hear a real trumpet, or a real violin, for example, it most certainly isn’t smooth or velvety. A good speaker needs to reveal that rasp and edginess and not make it all smooth and silky. It’s something the SL2s do well, just as the S400s do, which is one of the reasons they make music sound real. 

analogmusic posted:
Massimo Bertola posted:

Joe,

another very unique trait of the S-400s, that not many consider enough because they haven't seen it at home, is how they seem to fit every room and mingle with any type of furniture. in other words, they are beautiful everywhere.

(BTW, I have written many times that I do not care for velvety midrange and super smooth treble, because it is not how real music sounds).

M.

Max

you are not listening to the direct instruments but a recording of those instruments therefore an interpretation of how the music sounded by both the recording engineer and the mixing engineer

after attending a live concert recently of one of my favorite singers I was not impressed and much preferred the recordings. In fact I wish I hadn’t bothered attending the concert 

i don’t know why artists think that live music at ear blasting levels is fun because it wasn’t for me. 

Theres a lot of distortion that comes out of driving PA Rigs are very high SPL and I may well really reduce my concert attendance to protect my ears !

 

 

With recorded music, the recording is a culmination of different people’s inputs, hopefully to the satisfaction of the artist, though apparently not always so, record companies in particular sometimes over-riding, maybe that being responsible for bad recordings (including compressed CDs). But with recorded music, by our choice of system components and room layouts etc we can get it to sound how we like it, or rather we get the system to make the music we normally play sound good to us - and if we have no reference to how a good live performance of the music or artist sounds then it is possible that we could adopt systems that substantially change the music’s qualities because that is what sound good to us. Although that might be a distortion of the accuracy of the music being reproduced, that is not a bad thing in itself as the whole purpose is enjoyment of the music, however we need to be careful in assuming that others would enjoy it the way we do. And here lies the challenge in advising others on speakers, or interpreting what others say about in terms of their preferences, whether SL2 or S400 (or anything else), though it can help to have an understanding of the commenting person’s general preferences in terms of the sound they like, e.g. by noting any commonality or otherwise with one’s own views on any common points of reference.

In some cases it may be that someone can become so become accustomed to their system’s presentation that they dislike the live sound even when it may be exactly what the artist intends, which is rather sad in a way - but not in another way because the said individual still enjoys their version of the artist’s music. Artists themselves of course can be ‘guilty’, where a studio album creates music that just can’t be reproduced on stage - and in that event it is enjoyment of the recording that arguably is indeed the most important.

But of course, live performances can be good or bad. Amplified ones are particularly susceptible to the quality of PA - some PA suppliers and/or gig mixing engineers should simply be banned. They are also of course dependent on the artists’ performance on the day, and that can be significant, from illness to disinterest (as can happen especially on long major tours), to drunkenness etc, or just an ‘off’ day. Also very significant can be the acoustics of the venue, where sometimes some parts of the auditorium can sound great and others abysmal. With regard to sound level, it needs to suit the music - rock never sounds right quiet (that includes at home), while a solo folk singer is likely to sound wrong played at the same sound level as a heavy metal band (similar differences with classical).

 

Roberto, yes, the n-Sats had no tint to the varnish so the cherry looks relatively pale compared to the cherry found on the early Sl2s - very close to the colour of the french walnut on the Loricraft plinth I use for the Garrard 401. The n-Sat cherry veneer was also very slightly different to that on the later SL2s - I guess because the cabinets were from different makers.

Verdict is SL2. And to re arrange the room furniture to accommodate. It will mean one speaker will be tucked behind a door opening. I will have to figure out how to manage that. 

I will report once I receive delivery and setup. Which can take some time. 

Will do. I should take delivery in a few weeks. The speakers will be without grills so I will source grills at a later date. I’m just shocked at the asking price. I understand the grilled are out of production, but the price being asked strikes me as outrageous for essentially two pieces of acoustic foam. 

Kahn,

Tom Tom agreed to manufacture a run of these SL2s replica grills after the original stock of Naim grills ran out.

Yes they are expensive but when you consider (i) their quality (as others here have confirmed they are virtually indistinguishable from the originals); and (ii) the fact that had Tom Tom not made this effort you would not be able to source any - it is, IMHO, actually perfectly reasonable.

Regards

David

The grilles are made in small numbers and have lots of complex shapes, so production is going to be expensive. They are, as said above, very high quality and make your speakers look good as new. Spending £220 to finish off a pair of speakers that would cost over £8,000 if still made today doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. I think it’s brilliant that James at Tom Tom took the commercial risk on this - Naim themselves didn’t do it - and it’s good to support him.  

living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

I have been following this thread with great interest as I am trying some SL2s out this Saturday (the SBLs won’t be disappearing any time soon though even if I decide to have the SL2s). Will be interesting to hear them in my own home

Are those the pair that Rob (Mort2k) is selling?

look forward to hearing how you get on

S3 posted:
living in lancs yearning for yorks posted:

I have been following this thread with great interest as I am trying some SL2s out this Saturday (the SBLs won’t be disappearing any time soon though even if I decide to have the SL2s). Will be interesting to hear them in my own home

Are those the pair that Rob (Mort2k) is selling?

look forward to hearing how you get on

Might be

Will report back

Hi guys,

 

so long story short I have one of the speakers. The other will be in transit. I thought this is ideal as I have time to learn how to set it up.  Now I can more or less understand the entire setup except the leaf spring movement. My SL2 does not sway or rock. It’s perfectly stiff. Am I missing something? I was under the impression that cabinet will rock and sway ever so slightly. Am I mistaken? I read in the manual that the bar across the rear on the base ( underneath the speaker) is slightly loose. But mine is rock solid with 2 Allen screws and 3 wood screws in the middle. Help

Kahn,

Where are you getting these SL2s from - a dealer or a private individual? Taking delivery of one speaker but not the other at the same time sounds very odd.

The leaf spring is set at the factory and should not be tampered with other than but Naim or a dealer who knows exactly what he’s doing. It should be slightly loose.

Ideally you should have the SL2s checked over by Naim or by a dealer. If you are in London then you should be able to arrange for one to come to you for a small fee or if you have an existing relationship then maybe for free.

Thanks EKFC63. Yes I managed to understand what was meant by the setup. As I knock on the base of the speaker with my knuckle it oscilates back and forth while the tweeter remains perfectly still. Setup was not difficult and I think I even enjoyed it. 

Strange case that the 2 rear floor spikes were bent back at the tip. I have the wardrobe being fitted next week so it gives me the opportunity to take the speaker apart and do it again. This time I’ll remove the spikes. Heat the tips and straighten them out with a hammer. 😬 

The problem with the grilles is that the foam starts to get brittle and bits begin to flake off.  It's started to happen to mine although they still look good.  You just notice some fine black dust on the top front edge of the bottom box. They were designed to be used with the grilles in place, and that is how I prefer them.  I think they look a bit odd without the grilles in place as they continue the line of the bottom box.

hungryhalibut posted:

The grilles are made in small numbers and have lots of complex shapes, so production is going to be expensive. They are, as said above, very high quality and make your speakers look good as new. Spending £220 to finish off a pair of speakers that would cost over £8,000 if still made today doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. I think it’s brilliant that James at Tom Tom took the commercial risk on this - Naim themselves didn’t do it - and it’s good to support him.  

If I recall correctly, the old school hot wire method of shaping the grills is no longer permitted - which made souring an appropriate and willing manufacturer a challenge. 

Kahn, they definitely sounded better with the grills on but, that said, I only tried it once and they looked a bit crap with no grills so I didn’t bother doing extensive comparisons.

Just get the replacement grills from Tom Tom and be done with it. You are then getting the full SL2 experience both visually and sonically.

Why you’d want to spend this amount of time and - presumably - cash procuring them and then scimp on the grills for a couple of hundred quid is beyond me but it’s your decision.

Thank S3. I’m more curious than anything about the difference in sound quality. As my previous experience with Harbeth speakers sometimes had me preferring the sound without the grilles and sometimes with them. For example the monitor 30.1 sounded more dynamic with the grills off. And the SHL5+ sounded more coherent with the grilles on. 

Regardless I agree that the SL2 look better with the grilles on. And, I will end up there. I still don’t agree that the grilles are good value. Especially as, in a few years I will probably have to purchase them again. But it’s what they cost and nothing can be done about that.

Thanks for your fast response btw  

I will give my impressions soon when the system beds in. 😬

×
×
×
×