Breaking-in

This is my first post – no doubt there is some discussion of this on your site. But there are 100’s of posts and I’ve had trouble locating one string that answers my questions.

I apologize if these issues have already been addressed and if so would appreciate it if you would direct me to the location on your site…

I just bought an XS-2 integrated. My speakers are Harbeth P3ESR monitors. I’ve had the Naim a couple of days – have left it on 24x7.

I’m very much disappointed with the sound.

It lacks bass, is “squeezed” --the opposite of airy and engaging, has little soundstage, is hard/harsh in the treble. It’s better at higher than lower volumes but I tend to listen at low volume.

Does this sound like a problem with “burn in?” If so, might you have any tips about the best way to accelerate the time it takes before it will perform as expected. Is it better to play certain sorts of music/sources/volumes and etc.?

I can return the unit to the store I bought it at for. refund within the next few weeks. What would you recommend?

I’d appreciate any feedback you can offer me,

Thanks! Michael

Hi Michael. Many Naim fans have been where you are - most seem to be happy after a while! To summarise what others will no doubt explain in more detail:

  1. Yes, it sounds like what you’re describing is a classic case of new Naim kit not sounding its best straight away and it just needs to ‘burn in’.
  2. No, there’s no way to speed up the process. Just leave music (or the radio) playing away non-stop at any convenient volume level.
  3. It can take some considerable time for Naim kit to burn in. Most of us here would say it’s worth the wait.
  4. No matter what anyone here says, check with your dealer whether s/he agrees and ask what the latest is you can get a refund.

Hope it works out for you.

Mark

To put in context, did you audition in the shop with thoes speakers, and doesn’t sound right now back home, or did you have a system at home that worked and you’ve bought the XS-2 as an upgrade only assessing in the shop with different speakers?

What is your speaker cable. NACA 5 would be ideal - 3.5m or more.

Welcome to the forum. Ebor’s right. Almost all new gear takes time to break in, even phono cartridges, so hang in there.

Respectfully, if you don’t find the sound involving now it isn’t going to change massively going forwards. Yes it will evolve as temperatures stabilise and components settle but this is subtle - the essential characteristics won’t change.

I agree with Svetty here, have your speaker cables checked by a competent dealer. The XS2 should sound good from the get go and then just keep on improving over many weeks to come…

It should not in any way start off unsatisfactory.

It should work very fine, with a wonderful midrange. The bass must be shortened because the ps3 are little monitors.
Hard/ harsh should not be present after 100 hours.
So I suspect a problem with perhaps a default of one component or not right speakers cables for the combo.

Using SA8 amp plugs with the correct solder and correct soldering is critical to getting the most from your naim amp. i reccommend having them pro soldered by an experienced naim dealer althoug they can be difficult to find. Pete at Cymbiosis did an amazing job with mine and i reccommend him for the soldering.
Otherwise system optimization can also hugely affect SQ both positvely and negatively together with speaker isolation and positioning.

The P3esr are very very little box and they are sealed design.

The lack of bass certainly come from them.

Their sensitivity is 83.5db and their power handling is 50w.

The xs2 is 70w and we know that naim watts is naim watts so the speaker can sometime become overdrived.

For me the speaker is the most important thing in a system.

I would investigate this way.

Soundstage and bass from little shoebox like p3esr is impossible.

Should help

Hi keener, this look more like a source problem than anything else.

I really appreciate so many of you taking the time to respond to my questions. Along with everything else ( good and bad) the NET enables instant communication for people in need of advice and expertise. Your forum seems to be particularly great in this regard!
I have a 12 year old Musical Fidelity hybrid integrated (50 Watts, but also “high current.”)

It sounds great with my Harbeths – but I got the “bug,” as they say – heard some Naims in stores with my speakers and with others and I was hooked. I found a great buy on the xs2 cause of the xs3 recently introduced and snagged it – the store accepts returns for refund within 30 days.

I love my Harbeths and have a REL sub to give them some additional bass. I’ve had many other much bigger speakers but have never missed any of them. The mid-range is incredible! I’m guessing I feel about the Harbeths the way you do about Naims…

I use Van Den Hull wires. I asked the Naim dealer about the wires; he checked the specs and he assured me that the wires should be pretty good – not perhaps as good as the Naims but good nonetheless.

So that’s where I stand, at present. I 'm very impressed by the build quality of the Naim and do hear a purity of sound that’s impressive. I’ll keep burning the unit in at least another week or so-- if there isn’t much of a change then I think I’ll just return it.

In the meantime – again, thanks for your help!

Michael

Running P3ESR with Naim 200/202 etc, they are bass shy but very musical and very clear. You don’t say how old the speakers are , just the amp.

In my experience both Naim and the Harbeths take time to bed in. If you don’t fancy the Naim speaker cable (I find it very user unfriendly) I would try Chord Epic

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Naim is not recognised for is soundstage by the way.

Maybe you just didnt stick to the Naim sound !