Atom - speaker audition

Hi all,

I’m new to the forum and new to Naim. Apologies for starting another thread about the Atom and speakers but here goes anyway. I’ve recently bought an Atom (yay)! Now, and set your face to ‘seriously, mate’? but I bought it without auditioning; I know, I know, you buy with your ears and not your eyes, but this fits the bill in terms of keeping my wife happy (it’s small) and the reviews I’ve read are enough to keep me happy in terms of it being a quality bit of kit and will sound amazing. You’ll be happy to hear I’m going down the more traditional route of buying speakers and auditioning, but putting a list together (sorry) is being done partially on looks. Room size is about 10mx5m and I listen to all sorts; from Nick Cave to Led Zep and female vocalists like Alela Diane. I want bookshelf speakers and a few on the list so far are: Focal Aria 906, PMC Twenty5.21, Neat Iota, B&W 606S2 and Harbeth P3. Pre-amble aside, I really like the look of the Sonus Faber Sonetto I but don’t see much in the way of reviews about the paring and wondered what folks opinion is on such a paring? Yeah or no? I want as full a sound as poss, lots of detail and a decent bottom end (appreciate I’m not gonna get huge amounts with bookshelf). Sorry for rambling and thanks for responding in advance.

Cheers, Mo.

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Hi Mo

Welcome to the forum. I’m sure you will be delighted with your Atom. I went from Unitilite to Nova so I’ve never had one myself but there are lots of very happy owners here. In terms of speakers, are you planning on using stands or putting them on a shelf? Do you have space to have them clear from rear and side walls if necessary, or are you placement options restricted? These are the main factors that will determine which speakers will work best for you and, as you rightly acknowedge, there is no substitute for home auditioning. The Atom will need some running in, as will each speaker you try if they are brand new, so you will need allow enough time to properly appreciate what each one is capable of. In my room (with a Nova) the Focals were bright and punchy with lots of detail. The Neat Iotas are amazing for their size but if you can accomodate something bigger then personally I would do that. I’ve not heard the SF Sonetto myself although I was looking at them. I was told that they are quite warm sounding, so it depends what type of sound you prefer. I would add KEF LS50 Metas to your list - they sounded amazing but need more space than I could give them so ultimately were not right for me. Finally, without wishing to complicate matters further, what speaker cable are you planning on using?
Happy hunting!

I feel it will be difficult to have the sound you desire in such a big room ( 50 m2) and mini monitors as Stiletto 1.

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Hi Gringo,

Thanks for your swift response.

I will be putting the speakers on stands, they’ll be against an empty wall about 3m wide with nothing near them in terms of the side and I guess a bit of room to pull them away from the wall but not masses as it won’t be a dedicated listening room, erm, 50cmish?

I did look at the Kef and yeah, will add them to the list. I was planning on getting the NAC A5 speaker cable but good point, happy to be guided by you or anyone else who has suggestions. I chose that again based on the fact folk tend to be very happy with it.

Thank you for the other considerations and recommendations.

Cheers, Mo.

I’m no expert, but small observations from me: I recently switched to an Atom, principally for its form & connectivity. I have it paired with Focal Aria 926’s (if you are putting them on stands, do they really need to be bookshelves - total footprint not so different). I’m delighted with my system, albeit mine is not in a dedicated listening room, it’s in a family, living room area. I had some NACA5 cabling, in black, and it might be good, but it’s ugly, and hard to work with, as it’s so stiff. I switched for some more malleable white cabling (the name escapes me for a moment), as it fitted the aesthetics of my room better. It sounds like the aesthetics are important for you, so I’d maybe give that cabling some thought, in case the NACA5 isn’t for you either.

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Just a note in defence of NACA5’s stiffness: unless you’re moving house/switching rooms every five minutes, you don’t need to manipulate it (for which there are a lot of tips) very often!

Continually amazed how people are unwilling to overcome a momentary bit of effort to benefit from the speaker cable used as reference to develop these products…

PS It does also come in white!

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Hi,

Thank you for your response, I see your point and as another member, @SiLew, has also mentioned it may be worth considering floorstanding. Perhaps it’s back to the drawing board!!

Thanks again.

Mo.

Drawing board ?

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FR, it’s an idiom. It means to start over.

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Hi,

Thanks for answering and your suggestions.

I guess I’ve just always thought bookshelf speakers to look a bit more compact but you raise a valid point in terms of space. Perhaps I need to speak to a dealer and get a mix of both for auditioning. It’s not a dedicated listening room but there will be a nice space for speakers system and chairs, however it’ll also be used for music to be played while cooking and gatherings etc.

Speaker cable is something I think I can live with as @Naim.Marketing points out when it’s in situ it’ll be left as is for the foreseeable.

Thanks again for your advice.

Mo.

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Hi Mohawk ,

As the owner of Harbeth P3ESR I would happily point you in the direction of all the other speakers you’ve mentioned.

They are small, great with voices -but need plenty of power to get the best.

It comes from finding out the original plans were wrong , so you go back to the drawing board, which is a large board or easel for blueprints etc to redraw the plans

best wishes

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It sounds like you have the space to accomodate bookshelf or floorstanding speakers including those that need plenty of space so you are lucky, although there is now a huge field to choose from! They both have similar footprints but bookshelf speakers on nice stands tend to be less obstrusive.
Definitely speak to a dealer to try and get a mix because different brands have different presentations and you will find some that you simply don’t like (however much others do) and vice versa. You have a large room so if you want the sound to fill it and with decent bass, you are likely to need bigger speakers. I’ve never owned floorstanders but I’m sure others will come in with recommendations. For bookshelf speakers in the price range you seem to be looking at (but remember you will need to add the cost of decent stands) that I am familiar with, I would suggest the the Focal Aria 906, the PMCs, Kef LS50 Metas, Kef R3 (similar sound to the Metas but both bigger and more refined, but rather industrial looks) and Dynaudio Evoke 10s or 20s. I used to own some Neats which were great but I’m not familiar with their current range. There are loads of others that I haven’t heard that I am sure would also work for you. Other things to think about: kids, pets and anything else that might climb on or damage your speakers.

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Speakers that are happy against a wall used to be a Naim speciality, though they generally weren’t that happy if the wall was plasterdoard. There aren’t any Naim speakers any more and Focals are free space designs, as are most other speakers on the market. A pair of used Naim allaes might be a decent match and are something of a used bargain, just be precise with their distance from the rear wall to get the bass even. Turning to new speakers, there are a few members here using ProAc Tablets (10 or 10 signature) and seem pleased with them. Russell K red series were all the rage a couple of years ago, they’ll need to be out a bit further but are also worth an audition.
I’d also throw Audionote Js into the hat just out of curiosity and because my local Audio T stocks them (and can make them available to their other branches).

As you said in your first post “ I want as full a sound as poss, lots of detail and a decent bottom end “.
The ideal to have that are floorstanders that are efficient, in order to be driven by the Atom, and that can be set up near a wall, so not rear ported.

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Hi @Mohawk, I tend to agree with FR and others that you should consider floor standers as well as stand mounts. They often take up no more floor space and the stands, particularly non-dedicated ones, often look a little industrial to me, but I do appreciate this is very much a matter of personal taste. Also small speakers can sometimes be more demanding of the amp than bigger ones. I have an Atom with Iotas in my small office and it sounds very good in that space, but 5 x 10 m is a very large room for a small amp with not particularly efficient speakers, particularly if you want a full sound with decent bass. I would look for a dealer with a good range of speakers who offers home auditions and try to shortlist reasonably efficient models.

Roger

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Not sure the OP needs to avoid rear ported speakers as they can position them up to 50cm from the rear wall.

That’s 3.5m at least of “stiff” to be specific, unless you know otherwise!

As the actress said to the bishop…!

But seriously… 3m pair is fine with Uniti.

We should also add here to avoid looping up the excess which is the obvious thing to do where you’re trying to accommodate that specified length (let’s assume it’s at least 3m for the pair) in to a real world environment.
I’ve got 4m pairs on my system and the cables lounge all over the floor between the Fraim and the speakers, getting them away from IC’s and mains cables (Hi-Line + Powerline in my case) is also an interesting task, I did that the other day when I changed speakers!
They also are stiff enough to pull the banana plugs out of the amp or speakers so you do need to be careful they can’t be moved or kicked about by accident to avoid any unwanted swearing at yourself, not everyone has a 50m square room to dress these cables discreetly anyway, I don’t at least :innocent:

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