Advice on trebly CD: with cd5i l, NAP150x & Sonus Faber Toy

NAP 150X CD5i Sonus Faber Toy

I just setup my system in a new flat with wooden floors and lower ceilings than my old place and CDs now sound way too trebly and brash.

I also stream music from Spotify on my phone via a iFi into aux1 which of course sounds muddy with zilch detail compared to the CDs but doesn’t suffer from the trebly harshness that’s making my CDs so hard to listen to with this setup.

It sounded great in my old place and the Toys were an improvement on my larger, old (but still very nice) Mission speakers.

I can’t change system but is there anything I can do to bring out some warmth and bass to this setup? Sonus Fabers are known for a warm sound but you’d never know it listening to this setup.


You’re not helping yourself by having one of your loudspeakers sitting on a glass table - the table, the loudspeaker and the lamp will all be resonating, spoiling the sound. (I can’t tell from the photo what your other loudspeaker is placed on.) And the loudspeakers should be higher - ideally at ear height when you’re sitting down.

Consider treating yourself to a pair of proper loudspeaker stands - a pair made for the BBC LS3/5A monitors would probably be ideal. (I have, and I recommend, Solid Steel stands - manufactured in Italy - for my Falcon LS3/5As. There must be other similar stands, but I have no experience of them.)

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I’m not personally familiar with these speakers, I have owned a CD5 in the past with Flat Cap 2 which I believe became a CD5x. I would suggest decoupling your speakers as suggested, if you can’t use stands then consider what you can put underneath the speaker, glass is likely to compound the issue. The other things you could try are experimenting with toe in or even playing with the grills on. Lastly, for CD playback, in my experience, more dynamic range provides a more balanced sound as opposed to a recording that has been compressed to just sound loud, these type of recordings can sound fatiguing even on the best of systems.

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Having never heard of these speakers, I did a quick search, first thing that came up, a review in HFNRR. The reviewer found that they needed the grill in place and placing 150mm from a wall, NOT on stands. Could be a starting point?

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Hi - thanks for responding. The tables are made of acrylic (not a very brittle type) not glass. You can see the second speaker top left corner of the second photo. It’s sitting on a pile of magazines on the same kind of table (to make it the same height as the other speaker because it’s a smaller table from the same nest of 3). That presumably would dampen any vibration that table might be guilty of and presumably the acrylic is not nearly so bad as glass being a lot less hard and brittle. (?)
I’m wondering why there seems to be no way to tweak the sound coming out of the Naim units. Since the issue is the sound being overly trebly and brash I’m wondering if anything else might be an obvious cause of that. Would lack of stands really cause that?
If so rubber mats under the speakers help?
I can’t afford £1200 for stands.

I’ve tried toe in and grills on and off. No real difference. The Spotify tracks do sound muddy of course next to the CD tracks and they are getting to the system via Bluetooth (not wi fi) but listening to CDs of e.g. The Beatles Don’t Let Me Down Lennons voice sounds grating as do the hi-hats. Synth music like the Human League sounds the same.

Looks like the speakers are too far :thinking:
Can you position them a bit closer?

Looking at the pictures it seems you have no sound absorption except for the sofa. Windows, mirrors and wooden floors will all reflect sound.

Extra cushions, rugs and even heavier curtains will all help. Of course some acoustic panels would help but you can’t hang them on a glass door!

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I have the same issue with my Naim system (CD3, 112, 150 & Intros).
I used to house it in a well furnished room with carpet and sofas and is sounded fabulous but since moving house we can only put it in the dining room which has laminate floors and lots of reflective surfaces. I think it’s the downside of a brand which deems the ability to control the output to be an unacceptable compromise to musical purity :slight_smile: If you hang a few shagpile rugs on the wall it will sound great again no doubt!

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Yes it must be the increase in reflective surfaces. My old flat had carpets, plaster walls and higher ceilings. But the speakers were actually wall mounted on good quality steel brackets.

This flat has wooden floors, one wall that is all mirror, two that are all glass and one that is wooden panels. It also has lower ceilings.
I’m sure rugs would help as would wall hangings (which can only go on one wall) but yes what is frustrating is the inability to tweak the sound coming out of the system. Because although the Spotify tracks are way poorer quality they at least do not suffer from the abrasive sound that is making perfectly good CDs sound close to unlistenable for my ears.

I’d much prefer a bass and warmth boost to counteract the room because my options with the room are limited.

Speaker placement and putting the grills back on helps minimally but doesn’t vanish that abrasive edge at all.

Is there any box that the sound could go into before teaching the speakers that could achieve this?!

They’re about 3m apart - is that too much?

It was only a suggestion. I am not familiar with your speakers, and don’t know where is your listening position. There several guide online that maybe will help solve the problem. Here’s one of them.