Best sound possible on budget

If you love midrange… :wink:

Rather than denigrate my suggestion, Max, you could always try and help the bloke and make a suggestion of your own.




I owned them for around 8 years in the mid 80’s onwards. They are a strange speaker in that they do an awful lot wrong but somehow they have a very compelling addictive quality that I’ve never quite experienced with anything else. They seem to have the ability to cut through the cr*p and get straight to the heart of the music - what really matters.

With a system fronted by an LP12/Ittok/Asak amd driven by a 32/HiCap/250 they sound absolutely incredible. I rememeber a group of us listening to this system at my then dealers and everyone couldn’t help but grin at the huge and expansive sound from two tiny boxes. The floor was shaking!

When I expressed disappointment to my dealer that I couldn’t afford Isobariks he told me of several customers that had ‘upgraded’ to these from Kans and had eventually returned to the Kans as they are faster. Once heard never forgotten. But they make not so good recordings sound like a bag of nails which meant a large portion of my record collection didn’t sound too hot.

I eventually moved on to IBL’s which I think were better balanced and more listenable overall but didn’t quite have the drive of the Kans.

I like to think that my current Klipsch Forte III’s, which are horn-loaded in the mid and treble, have something of the qualities of those old and great Linn and Naim speakers. First and foremost, like those speakers, they are for lovers of music rather than hi-fi.


And very stylish too

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I used 2010i and then 3010 on my UQ2 for the past 11 years. The only thing I will say is that they sound like a totally different (and more expensive) speaker well away from the rear wall with the bungs removed. When I moved my desk to the middle of the room and put them on desk stands it was like I had thrown $2k at the system.

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A nice pair of Keilidhs will be perfect. 92/90/Keilidhs was how I rebooted my system 12yrs ago. I still have the Keilidhs :blush:

BTW, I never give suggestions so I don’t get offended when they’re not accepted. :wink:

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I couldn’t live with speakers that came with bungs in their port holes, that would drive me nuts. I’d suggest to look for a nice ‘sealed’ box such as a pair of Arivas or n-SATs/n-SUB.

Well, @Bobroy6968 , what do you make of the help you’ve received so far?

You’ve had various suggestions and a few key questions, including whether the Naims have been serviced, whether you still have the Kans, what ‘horrible’ means, and how much you have to spend. It’s only when you answer those that meaningful suggestions can be made.

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That reinforces my impression that I would not be happy with Kans! My brother-in-law had IBLs when I first knew him, and was very enthusiastic about his then pretty new system (fronted by LP12, with big Rotel amp). When first invited to a listening session, I was unimpressed - where’s the bass? - I didn’t say that, and was as complimentary as I could. A few weeks later he heard my system (IMF TLS50ii speakers fronted by Thorens TD150, with Radford amp), and he looked rather startled. The same music sounding much fuller. He bought those IMFs off me when I upgraded to the RSPMs a couple of years later.

The Kans were and still are a very good speaker. They are not the second coming and never were. They have achieved a mythical status alongside the Nait 2 ( and Nait1) which was never deserved imo. The kans themselves are a small room, near field speaker and are outstanding in that role. The Nait can drive them in a small room at low to medium volumes. The hype around the specially set up demos at the time never impressed me. The surprise was that the nait/ kans combo worked at all in large spaces. They never sounded right to me in such spaces against a better amp (cb250) powering them.
My kans are now used most of the time in a large bedroom with high ceilings. Low volumes in the bedroom to put me to sleep or wake me up. The Nait2 is adequate but I still prefer the 62/140 with or without the hicap. It just projects the sound across the room more and fills the space.

I will connect my fc/92/90 later in the same room and report that comparison. Personally I have always considered the 92/90 to need a flatcap. That combination then brings the sq to that of the Nait2.

To the OP. Test your TT against another source to see whether the TT is giving the horrible sound, or the amp/kan combination. If it’s the amp/kan then I still think adding a flatcap or hicap will not help the 90 enough to drive the kans effectively.

I wouldn’t expect the IBL’s to sound any good with this. They need Naim amplification to sing. But you’re right in that they are bass light, although the bass is quite deep and lightening fast. Not everyone’s cup of tea. I did see it written that they were JV’s favourite Naim speaker - not sure if that’s really true or not.

Thank you all very much for all your advice, i am going to keep the nac92/nap90,dont have the money at the moment to upgrade the power amp ,but its something i will do eventually. So im going to change the speakers and the cartridge/stylus,and get a set of nac5 speaker cable !! Im looking at old retro kef 104 reference speakers and a audio technica vmn30en cartridge. After loads of hours looking at reviews, i think these three changes should enhance my listening pleasure !! Do you all think this sounds mid range acceptable?

No way will the NAP 90 drive KEF 104s.

Ok, here it is. Non optimal placement but it is the spare bedroom. Source is the node 2i.

The fc/92/90 combo doesn’t sound horrible at low volumes but anything above 8 o clock starts to thin out. Bass is boxy, treble is over accentuated, mids are just hidden somewhere in the background. The whole thing sounds artificial and shouty. We talk of listening fatigue. If I turn this up past 9 o clock I think my ears will bleed. :rofl:

HC/62/140. Immediately the mids come back. The bass loses its boxyness and the highs are no longer shouting at me.

Test tracks. Radio paradise mellow and UK smooth radio.

Amazon HD, Ascenseur, Miles. Free, Joni. Country Honk, Stones. The Bird Song, Annette Askvik, Guilty as Sin, Taylor Swift.


How not mate ,are they not easier to drive than the kans and will have more punch/bass :thinking:

Thinking about classic KEFs isn’t a bad idea but not that model. Often paired the 92/90 with the KEF Coda or Q range of that mid 90s era. Assauming any haven’t been trashed yet, you should be able to pic up a pair for peanuts.

[Addendum] If the Naim has never been serviced in its lifetime, don’t expect miracles from the other changes.

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You’ll need an awful lot more power to get a tight and controlled sound.

Reverting to the asked but not answered questions, when were the 92 and 90 last serviced?

This may be a better cart for the money.

Audio-Technica AT-VM95E

Also look at the fyne audio f301 speaker. It is reported as being very easy to drive and should sound well with the 92/90. I use fyne audio floorstanders in my study and find they work well with Naim.