Advice for new speakers and amp/streamer

New member here and looking for some advice.
I am planning to purchase a completely new stereo system for my living room. I live in an apartment, so while the living room is not tiny (5m x 5.5m), the space where I can place the speakers is limited. They really need to go within bookshelves, and I do realize this is not ideal. To make things worse, the speakers need to be near the side panel of the bookshelf as well: left side for the left speaker, right side for the right speaker. Because of these limitations, after some research and auditioning of bookshelf speakers, I narrowed down the options to Sonus Faber Sonetto II (87db / 4 ohm) and Dali Menuet SE (86db / 4 ohm). They are slightly different speakers, but seem to meet my needs – both allow somewhat close placement to the rear and side walls due to the way they are ported. I also read some good reviews about Bucharest S400 MKII.

Second, for the source I have narrowed down my choices to Naim Uniti Atom and Naim Uniti Nova.

My question is: will the Atom have enough power to move with ease these speakers, or do I need to step up to Nova? I rarely listen to really loud music, but want to make sure that the speakers are not underpowered :slightly_smiling_face: Thanks!

A bigger question is, do you like the sound of music played either of those speakers? If you haven’t heard I strongly suggest doing so if humanly possible. Speakers all sound so different from one another, and of all system components are most influential on the character of the sound.

Can I ask why your placement is so constrained, in a room of decent size?

I don’t have experience with the speakers you mentioned, but with the Kef R3 bookshelves, the jump from the Atom to the Nova was significant in. my experience. I enjoyed the Atom for quite some time, but my jaw was on the floor when I did an in-home demo of the Nova.


I have bookshelf speakers ( Harbeth P3ESR ) with figures that are worse than that, one forum user has an Atom which he says does a more than adequate job with them

My experience with a Nova was more than satisfactory, and these days I use a Nait 50 which has 25 watts per channel with no problem

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I doubt any of these will work in described placement.
I’ve had Menuets and they need free space and distance to boundaries.

Two suggestions that will work are Rega Kyte - new edition.
They are very sensitive, Atom will be more than enough amo.
On the cheapskate a Rega IO amp with affordable streamer would save you a lot cash in a not optimized stereo.

Another loudspeaker that will work in cramped placement might be any of the Guru range.
Maybe Ophidian Mojo, but its needs more amp like a Nova.

Thank you very much for your reply. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I am attaching a rough plan of the room, not drawn to scale by any means. I hope this helps.

I have heard the Atom with SF Sonetto II it a dealer in Barcelona and liked a lot how this combo sounded. He was suggesting CA Evo 150, but I did not like it as much as the Atom. Unfortunately I don’t have the option to audition at home - no dealers in close proximity. Thanks again :slight_smile:

Thank you. I’ve auditioned the Atom with SF and liked it, but that was at a dealer, very different (much more optimal) conditions. I have read similar thoughts about the Atom to Nova upgrade, that is why I am seriously considering going straight to Nova.

Thank you very much for your thoughts on this.

Thank you very much - I will definitely research these speakers as I am not familiar with them (I am familiar with Rega turntables though). The dealer I tried SF with Atom at said that since the SF Sonetto II are bottom ported, if I move them to the front edge of the bookshelves and give them open space in front (which I can do), they should be fine. But they did not have such placement options in the store, so I wanted to verify this information - hence the post :slight_smile: Unfortunately testing this theory at home is not an option. Thanks again for the tips!

I would definitely go for a Nova and I speak as someone who runs an Atom in a small bedroom used as an office. The Nova will give you a much wider choice of speakers that would work in your situation.

As for speaker choice, there are very few models which sound their best from within bookshelves. The Neat Iotas which I use with my Atom will work on shelves, at least according to Neat, but I’d probably want something more for my main system. Is there a possibility of wall-mounting? If so, ATC do wall mounted versions of their excellent speakers and I’d be looking at HTS11s as a possibility.

As for room arrangement I think the wall to the right of the sofa in your sketch is likely to present problems with the right channel. I there a possibility of having a seat that could be moved further out into the room at least for critical listening? Ideally, speakers and listener should be at the corners of an equilateral triangle, but I do realise this very often conflicts with domestic constraints.

Best of luck in sorting this out and let us know how it’s going.


Thanks, Roger - this is very helpful. I think sitting in the center of the couch gives me an equilateral triangle. The picture I drew is not accurate from that perspective, but there are no issues there. I have heard about Neat Iotas, but I was hoping to get something more, as you said (no offense to the Iotas). If get speakers mounted on the walls outside of the bookshelves, the base of the triangle gets a little too wide and the left channel will be practically in the kitchen, which is not ideal. Looks like the speakers will have to go on those bookshelves :slight_smile:

Whatever you listen to at your dealer’s is not going to be even close to your home setting, so try to arrange for home-demo. And I echo advise on KEFs, when I was in a “bookshelf-situation” myself a while back, these did a great job. Not too demanding on the amp.
Any chance to at least de-couple the speakers from the shelf?

Would on wall speakers work e.g. Dali Oberon On-Wall Speakers?

My home cinema system uses Spendor SR5 speakers for front and rear speakers.

You may need to supplement with a sub.

Hi, thank for the reply. By decoupling, do you mean lifting them on a small stand from the shelf? If yes, then I can probably do this, but I need to check the exatct size of these speakers. I briefly looked at a review – they suggested that these speakers are places at least 70cm away from walls. Is this your experience as well? I don’t have this distance on the shelf :slight_smile:

Thanks. I will check this option, but I am afraid that my left speaker will be essentially in the kitchen area, and I am not very fond of this scenario :slight_smile:

Could you have speakers fitted to wall by brackets ?
There are loudspeakers designed to this placement.

I removed the bookshelf’s back wall so I was able to attach a decent post against the room wall. Means the little resonance that was transferred by the post ended up in a brick wall rather than in a less stable wooden structure.

Thanks, that might be actually an option :slight_smile: