s400 sound

Hi all,

 

I have recently purchased a pair of Ovator S-400, and currently am using them with a nord (nc500 twin hypex ncore 700w 4ohm) stereo power amp and auralic altair which previously has provided plenty of power and bass drive.

with the ovators in place there seems to be a lack of bass power/drive, im not technical so trying to understand if it Is the class D power amp and switching to naim power would produce the required bass that I should be hearing or is this a trait of the ovators.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.

if I change over im thinking of 172/200 combo

Original Post

I was just writing that Roberto thanks for the reminder.

the room is 3.5m x 5.5m, speakers are 31cm from rear wall and 62cm from side walls

certain tracks like hey now London grammar are fine for deep bass. so I suppose it is more the kick bass/mid bass sound I think im missing.

Hi 

I run s400s with a 272/555/250DR and I find it has excellent mid and deep  bass in my 6x4m room. The bass can be a bit lean and dry if you are used to speakers whose enclosures are more resonant. However bass quality is very true and natural.  I cannot comment on your DAC and amplification but they seem to be very high quality.

Given my system is Naim from "soup to nuts" including cables, it does sound very good as everything matches . It may well be that the 172/200 will sound a lot better In your room because of the Naim synergy. See if you can try that Naim combination with Naim A5 cables as a home trial. If it is still missing the mid-bass maybe the s400 speaker is not for you, and you could see what speakers best match Nord amplification according to Nords recommendations.

Also, are the Ovators broken in? They can take an age to do so, but I guess they will be second hand by now, and will be well loosened up.

I've recently joined the Ovator club, I have the 600's - active. As Kiwi describes, the bass can be very lean and dry. My other loudpeakers are B&W's and they suffer from the bass hump which many speakers have. They seem to engage the environment and this creates a distorted bass. I was used to this and thought it was as it should be. It only gets away when I close the bass reflex ports and put them at least a meter from the (rear/ side) walls.

When I first got in my Ovators I really had to get used to it. They present music very different. I think that this so different presentation is not only caused by the relative absense of the bass hump, but also the amount of detail the BMR units push out.

You have class-D amplification. I can imagine that this type of amplification and the Ovators is a totally different experience that what your are used to. For me, the Ovators really show their strenght when I stream hi-res files instead of Spotify etc ...

 

I would give it some time.

I remember my first pair of decent speakers, well good as advised by what hifi was a pair of B&W 603 s2 which were all treble and bloated bass.

I generally listen to electronic music but have plenty of various music, and when testing new kit use the b&w audiophile album and other things like nitin sawhney, London grammar, dzihan kamien, lorde, chvrches, zero 7, Katie melua, dire straits, lots more.

 

Ardbeg10y posted:

Longmanjon, what kind of music are you listening to?

I found especially Singer / songwriter music working very well on Ovators. Nils Lofgren and Katie Melua almost whisper in my ear.

If the setup is not able to play satisfying, all kind of music, I'd say something is wrong

longmanjon posted:

I was just writing that Roberto thanks for the reminder.

the room is 3.5m x 5.5m, speakers are 31cm from rear wall and 62cm from side walls

certain tracks like hey now London grammar are fine for deep bass. so I suppose it is more the kick bass/mid bass sound I think im missing.

Did you place them on the longest wall ? if not and wherever possible i'd try so. For example my nSat in the basement, benefit of a very wide wall behind (9+ m and 3m apart) with listening position 4m or so away.

Despite being driven by  a pretty modest set up (sony DVD, XS, more recently UnitiLite) they show a very very nice deep and controlled bass, relatively speaking of course with a glorious sense of focus, soundstage and instruments/voices separation even better  than my 600s which on the contrary are forced along a 3,60 m wall.

Oh! London Grammar, it's a quite nice record/recordings, the bass with 600s is quite seismic (Non Belivier track) 

Regards

Roberto

Interesting, valid and constructive input all around, although (while I didn't try it) I'd hesitate to see why quality class D amplification shouldn't work well with the S-400s. When I had the S-400s home I thought their very forte was the bass - solid, accurate, concise, and free of cabinet or port coloration. I found the 400s very easy to place in my room, but may have been simply fortunate in that regard. The 400s were ultimately a bit too forward with mids/vocals for me, but the mid-bass kick drum was dutiful.

@longmanjon, if you can find a demo pair from a dealer, It may be worth getting NACA5 speaker cable terminated with dual banana plugs home to try and see what effect that has.

I too use my Ovators S-400 with an all-Naim system (down to all cables). My illustrious colleagues have covered and described their sound very accurately.

But let me chip in two points:

* My current setup, with Ovators, is the closest I have heard to a recording studio's near-field monitors - no colouration, just straight response and ultra-fast attack

* The only other speakers which I've heard to sound similar are my QUAD ESL-63s (apparently Ovators, in their development, were also modeled on Quads).

@joerand makes a valid point with regards to speaker cable temination - Ovators should be used with Ovator plugs for best results (exception being SuperLumina bannana plugs).

Room effects could be significant, and I would certainly play around with both speaker placement and listening position.

However, it may simply be that the S400's presentation is not for you:

The thing with speakers is that they all stamp their character on the sound, far more than any other component. For me it was a revelation when I once did a mamoth auditioning of 10 or 12 speakers, all in the same price bracket (equivalent to maybe around £2.5k today). Most were the top of the different manufacturers' ranges, and at the time represented a quite elevated level in hifi hierarchy, so I expected near perfection (!) - yet I was astonished to find huge differences in sound, so much so that with the exception of 2 or 3 the rest were abandoned as quite unsuitable within just a few (awful sounding) minutes. It brought home to me how very far from perfection speakers are as transducers that theoretically should convert the electrical signal into an exact acoustic replica. 

I would never buy speakers based on just a review, unless, just possibly, I had experience of hearing other speakers reviewd by the same person and found that I agreed with everything s/he said, or unless I was sure I could easily move them on at no loss if I was less than enthralled by them.

Adam Zielinski posted:

I too use my Ovators S-400 with an all-Naim system (down to all cables). My illustrious colleagues have covered and described their sound very accurately.

But let me chip in two points:

* My current setup, with Ovators, is the closest I have heard to a recording studio's near-field monitors - no colouration, just straight response and ultra-fast attack

* The only other speakers which I've heard to sound similar are my QUAD ESL-63s (apparently Ovators, in their development, were also modeled on Quads).

@joerand makes a valid point with regards to speaker cable temination - Ovators should be used with Ovator plugs for best results (exception being SuperLumina bannana plugs).

Interesting comment on the Quads, something I had not heard before.

Room matching aside, I've long felt that my 400s and ESL-57s (refurbed by Quads Unlimited) had more commonalities than differences. The 57s beam more in the highs, while 400s are wider dispersion. And, of course, the bass response is very different. But to my ears, both speakers sound very true to voices and instrumental timbre, and both major strongly on PRaT.

Perol posted:
Ardbeg10y posted:

Longmanjon, what kind of music are you listening to?

I found especially Singer / songwriter music working very well on Ovators. Nils Lofgren and Katie Melua almost whisper in my ear.

If the setup is not able to play satisfying, all kind of music, I'd say something is wrong

Uggh.... I can't stand opera.... maybe some SL speaker wires will fix this.

longmanjon posted:

Hi all,

 

I have recently purchased a pair of Ovator S-400, and currently am using them with a nord (nc500 twin hypex ncore 700w 4ohm) stereo power amp and auralic altair which previously has provided plenty of power and bass drive.

with the ovators in place there seems to be a lack of bass power/drive, im not technical so trying to understand if it Is the class D power amp and switching to naim power would produce the required bass that I should be hearing or is this a trait of the ovators.

any advice would be greatly appreciated.

if I change over im thinking of 172/200 combo

I had a similar issue with my S-400's. [In the context of a full Naim system] My room is quite large and the bass sounded a bit "lean" or something. I solved this with a REL sub. Now the sound is balanced all the way down to the Hz physically possible in my space. Perhaps you would have a better experience with a Naim amp but it is not 100%.

I note the OP's comment that previously there was plenty of "power and bass drive". Yes it may well be that now a lack of colouration is reducing previous bloating. If it is OK on some tracks and not others then perhaps the recordings are now being revealed for what they are.

Also we all listen to a system. The OP needs to look at both a possible a system change to a known Naim combo, or possible cable matching for existing components, all of which is largely unknown on these pages.

Whatever the end game, I can vouch for the brutal honesty of the S400s (in a positive way) and suggest perseverance to get them to sing to your taste is well worth the journey.

From my own experience with running Ovators, try moving the speakers back a bit towards the wall. 'Hop' them back in 2cm jumps and listen to how the sound field changes. With Ovators you can be too close or too far from the wall - there is a sweet spot for these where there is a subjective effect of a smooth bass response by working with the first reflection from the rear wall. I found there was an exact spot for my S600 almost to the mm where I suddenly got a fantastic phase response and great image at LF; too close to wall and overpowered too-full bass, to far away and too lean.

Worth a try.

DB.

I have had a pair of the Ovator S-400 now for the past 17 days. I have found the performance of the speakers to be fabulous. The bass in the S-400 was quite an improvement over the ProAc Response D2 speakers I was using previously. I am driving the speakers using the NAIM NAIT XS 2 (70W/channel, 8Ω) integrated amp and using the Naim NAC A5 speaker cables. 

Certainly the sound we enjoy is subjective, we each know what we like, so I do hope you find the right combination of gear to produce the sound your looking for, good luck.

Seakayaker; how big is your listening room? I ask because I had DRs also, and loved them, but when I went to a rather large and open room/space the bass was good, but not great.  (In the smaller space I had no bass complaints at all, especially for a monitor). I opted for a pair of D28s, but S-400s would have also been a viable choice base don my experience hearing them,

It is very interesting reading different people's impressions of the S400, some suggesting it has full bass and others describing what clearly is reduced bass compared to mid (or, if you prefer, enhanced mid compared to bass). Undoubtedly the room and psotioning play a major part, with any speaker, but so also will different people's ideas of what constitutes good bass. In my observation, some people simply don't like full bass while others thrive on it - I am not talking avpbout 'speed' of bass, but fullness - the ability of the bass to be felt, to vibrate your clothes - and this is significant in interpreting what is 'right' and 'wrong' for any individual.

I have no idea how the S400 performs in any given room, but if the OP feels the bass is not what he/she desires then what is needed is to fix it, whether varying speaker positions and/or listening position, or changing the speakers, or changing an unknown other number of components in the hope of finding a solution that restores the bass. At present it seems that the change in speaker is what has caused the problem, so it seems somewhat illogical tomthen focus on other components. 

DrMark posted:

Seakayaker; how big is your listening room? I ask because I had DRs also, and loved them, but when I went to a rather large and open room/space the bass was good, but not great.  (In the smaller space I had no bass complaints at all, especially for a monitor). I opted for a pair of D28s, but S-400s would have also been a viable choice base don my experience hearing them,

The S-400's are in my living room, 13.5 ft (4.1148 m) x 22 ft (6.7056 m). They share the room with a couch, love seat, a couple of stuffed chairs, rugs, a coffee table, book case, and a couple of end tables with lamps. I love the speakers and the bass is wonderful.

The previous speakers were neat ultimatum mf5 which had the internal bass drivers, so a different type of speaker.

ive managed to pick up. 200 cheap, which Is a 2005 model so probably needs a service does anyone know the cost of service nowadays?

ive kept listening when I get a chance and I am getting used to the sound, but think with some naim kit it should provide some more synergy.

just need to pick up a used 172 next and some a5 cable

longmanjon posted:

The previous speakers were neat ultimatum mf5 which had the internal bass drivers, so a different type of speaker.

ive managed to pick up. 200 cheap, which Is a 2005 model so probably needs a service does anyone know the cost of service nowadays?

ive kept listening when I get a chance and I am getting used to the sound, but think with some naim kit it should provide some more synergy.

just need to pick up a used 172 next and some a5 cable

Get the speaker wire before the 172. The 200 is optimized for the naca5 [or is it the other way?] Maybe the 172 will be unnecessary.

Like any other speaker, the 400 is sensitive to room positioning and tuning. We   had a pair at home for a month and couldn't make them work in our lounge. We were hoping for a kind of latter day SL2 but what we got was a rather muted presentation, lacking in drive and the rhythmic vitality that Naim majors on. We had the dealer in. That didn't work. The day after they took them away, we heard them again, set up at the dealers for a Naim event. They sounded stunning. If only we could have made them sound like that at home.

Keep trying with fine tuning and positioning. If there is a sweet spot you will find it. The interaction of the speakers with the room is what makes them work. Not the class of amplification. They are not a difficult load. A Class A wouldn't have any trouble.

audio1946 posted:

have you checked polarity of speakers.try this .  play track with a lot of bass.   with covers off.  observe speaker cones when bass is playing ,if in phase  lhs  and rhs speaker should be pushing out at the time, if not the phase is wrong

Certainly a relevant thought if  not already checked - however not necessarily easy to assess unless they are within reach and you can put a (cautious) finger in front of each to be hit by the cone, and play something with a bass drum beat - far simpler is reverse the polarity of connection to one and see if the bass is restored, or gets worse.

audio1946 posted:

have you checked polarity of speakers.try this .  play track with a lot of bass.   with covers off.  observe speaker cones when bass is playing ,if in phase  lhs  and rhs speaker should be pushing out at the time, if not the phase is wrong

Not correct;  yes the speaker cones 'appear' to extend as if outwards,  but they are going in the opposite direction as well,  its what cones do to get the volume at low frequencies,    & you cannot follow this movement enough to compare each channel.  

I use a 1.5v battery & the bass cones move either in or out when the same battery polarity is applied.  However it does not work if the driver has a series capacitor - which is unusual in a bass driver filter, but not unheard of.

longmanjon 

ive managed to pick up. 200 cheap, which Is a 2005 model so probably needs a service does anyone know the cost of service nowadays?

just need to pick up a used 172 next and some a5 cable

This my set-up. Although my 172/200 is 2014 vintage. I am pretty happy with the sound. I am looking for a 272/250 as my next step. I know second hand 272s are not common but a 272/200 is very good. 

Which Speakers are you using with that setup Steve?

I also wonder would it be more beneficial to get a 250.2 with a 172 or a 272 with the 200, is the difference with the 172/272 that great to warrant the extra expense and are there newer products being lined which I should wait for instead of making the more expensive move to a 272 now?

Innocent Bystander posted:
audio1946 posted:

yes you can at low frequency   using batterys on speakers is asking for trouble

Other than DC you can only do it with an impulse, such as bass drum strike - as Mike-B observed, a bass note, however low, is just vibpbration, in and out, at the note frequency.

Placing the speakers facing each other with just small gap (nearly touching), then playing with the polarity of one speaker makes relative phase "synchronicity" very easy to determine. Having said that, I'd be surprised if a 1.5V battery could do any damage to a decent speaker (no warranty implied). Place a 1K resistor in series just to be sure?

Some on here say that even absolute phase matters, and a DC test is the easiest way to check that. But I'm not sure what I'd be looking for. Should the cones push "out" when the +ve terminal of the battery is applied to the +ve terminal of the speaker?

One thing that is less easy to determine is the relative phase of the higher-frequency drivers. Some might say it doesn't matter (not bl00dy likely, given the "attention to detail" exhibited by many on this forum), but I'd still not be happy if I knew/suspected that my BMR was out-of-phase with the bass drivers. It might be moot, given that the signal passes through the X-over and this may affect the timing of the drivers anyway. Capacitors and inductors have a way of doing that. I guess it comes down to the skill of the designer, and preserving the relative phase and timing of the signal to the drivers (and to our ears) is a goal when designing decent speakers.

Hungryhalibut posted:

Just make sure you are not throwing money at the problem when it may be the case that you simply don't like the speakers. 

no im certainly not trying to do that, just adding extra discussions to the thread.

I actually do like the speakers and am gradually getting used to the difference of sound, I have the 200 arriving this week with some naca5 so will give that a trial to see how this changes things, I shall then see if I really need to change the source at all.

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