British speakers, house sound?

In a few weeks I will be heading to a dealer to demo a few different British speakers, that are all used. I have been using mostly Dynaudio for the last 7 or 8 years, but also owned Focal Sopra 1’s, Taksim Reference 3A’s, Neat Iota’s in the same time frame. Being born in England, yet moving to Canada at age 9, I am always drawn to anything British made, which is what brought me to Naim. I always hear about the British sound, regarding speakers, but have never heard any of the top British brands in person. Here is a list of the speakers I want to demo.
Kudos Super 10
Harbeth compact 7ES-3
Proac Tablette 10 signatures
Spendor S3/5R2
Audio note AN-J SPE
Can anyone give me any advice about this group of speakers, which would better suit lower volume listening (apartment),I mainly listen to Jazz, blues, classical, with rock mixed in now and then, but I am really enjoying exploring the first three genres I mention, since I grew up strictly listening to rock music, but lately getting a little bored with it.i just want to maybe narrow it down a bit, the room is 13.5 x15.5 feet, and I have no problem with the speakers being away from the walls.I want a warm engaging speaker, that will make me forget about upgrading for good, ha ha, not so easy. Right now I am running Dyn’s direct off a Chord TT2, but also have Cary Audio and Anthem gear.

Nothing beats actually listening to them all yourself, we could go on for hours discussing speakers but its ultimately your ears which will decide which speakers suit you. My thoughts when you mentioned warm and engaging was immediately Spendor and there they are on your list.

As for best at low levels, I find high efficiency speakers which are easy to drive are best at low volumes.

Go, have a long listen and enjoy :slight_smile:


Thanks Polarbear,I agree I have to just listen for myself. I guess I was looking for any info I can get, like I have heard Harbeth can be boring, others just love them.I am looking for a standmount with a little more than my current Dyn excite 12’s, physically they just have limits. Spendors I really don’t know much about, I originally thought the Harbeth and Kudos would be the top two, but I really don’t know.

Personally, I think the 30.1 is a significant step up from these. I found 30.1 to have tighter more controlled bass response and more refined top end.


There’s no harm is asking other peoples opinion but don’t build uo misconceptions of how speakers sound. I personally love Harbeth speakers, they are far from boring, I found them detailed, dynamic and engaging. However, just like any other speaker, if they are not set up properly they may sound boring.

The mistake is to let others put you off what could be your perfect pair of speakers :slight_smile:


Ok, good to know, but I would rather you told me what you can about the compact 7’s, since that is the speakers this particular dealer has at his store. My Dyn’s cost me 1 K with stands, I am looking for something in the 3-5k range, and the ones I listed, he has at his shop, and fit in that price range, Canadian funds.

A friend of mine just bought a pair of the Harbeths with Naim amplification/streaming and an LP12 deck. They sound fabulous. They look great too!

1 Like


Truly little gems, and, to my taste, more balanced than the Harbeths, but I recognize my bias.


Dont forget ATC !! If you love their signature they have a really nice balance between rapidity, lushness, detail and emotion.

You should listen to know if it is your kind !

Sure, but he has no ATC’s at his shop, I am going to a specific dealer who has agreed to trade in some of my gear, so my options are very specific. I may decide to stick with the Dyn’s for now, and grab an amp if none of the above do it for me.

I did a quick comparison in store. Mids and vocals were sublime in both, for me, that’s the most important area of the music and 30.1 have the best mids of any speaker I’ve listened to, including ATC. It’s the top end and bottom end where they differ most. The compact 7’s had a looser more extended bass. The 7’s not rendering as much detail as 30.1, the 7’s a less critical and more relaxing speaker overall.

For a more relaxed listen, the 7’s, for a more accurate/transparent listen yet still very musical, 30.1.

Both excellent for low level listening, both warm and engaging sound signatures, both suited to all genres, particularly excel at vocal and acoustic material. ATCs do rock better due to more accurate and faster bass, sealed cabinet design helps here.


SHL5 Plus and done.

I have AN Es on my list of possible speakers should the NBLs die having heard a few different versions recently. It will be interesting to hear what you make of the Js, even with your distinctly non Naim system.

1 Like

Yes, right now I only have Full Fraim, Core,NDS/XPSDR for Naim gear. I have owned UQ2,SN2, 272/250 with the XPSDR, so I am well aware of what Naim has to offer, amp wise. The thing is, I bought all of those components when I lived in a house, now living in an apartment, my volume levels have to be kept down. Naim amplification excels when the volume is turned up to me, so I decided it was time for a change. I am also going to demo an LFD, and Nagra integrated with these speakers, just to get a sense of what those brands can do at low volumes. I also wanted to wait and see all the reports on the SN3, it could be an option for me to, but I have not heard a lot about it’s low volume capabilities, mainly just that it is better than the SN2. I also still have my Superlumina speaker cables and two powerlines, whether or not Superlumina works with LFD or Nagra, I don’t know either, I plan on bringing my cables with me, he has my old 272/250, has a 282, a 300 DR, and a 500DR at the store too, so many options to try. He aiso has a Chord TT2, so I can try driving all these speakers direct off it, just like I currently do at home. Mostly though, I am excited to finally hear the speakers I listed above.

NQ, how were the Reference 3A Taksims? I’ve read about them and have always been curious how well they pair with Naim.

They were a great match with Naim, at the time that I had them, I was running a 272/250DR/XPSDR. No crossovers in them, so really pure sounding, and very efficient. They are “the one that got away” for me, I really wish I had kept those. They are huge in physical size, and kind of ugly looking, but the sound makes all of that not matter. I had to abruptly get out of the house I was in at that time, and move to my current apartment. I also have Dynaudio XD600’s, so the thought of cramming two pairs of floorstanders into a one bedroom apartment convinced me I had to sell/trade one pair, it ended up being the Taksims. I made a trade for special 40’s, thinking they would be a better fit for my living arrangement. If I could do it again, they would still be here, and there would be no need for this thread at all.

How can you attribute Emotion to a speaker.
It’s a mechanical box that vibrates!
The emotion is in you.

That is what philosophers call a ‘category error’.

1 Like

it depends on room, ears, preferences, other equipment.

1 Like

Something to consider - I have a serviced Naim 150x power amp. It was designed to work with my Naim Ariva speakers and it does that very well. I live in a house with concrete floors, with the floorstanding Arivas on their original plinths, spiked thru my carpet . My listening room is 22x11x8 foot LxWxH. So it’s also quite a small volume of space like your room.
I recently bought a 250DR.
I knew it had to sound better because it’s higher up the hierarchy.
But it sounded worse.
There is a chance that it was somehow damaged.
But also it just put the system balance out, both at low volumes and also at higher volumes.
I may have been able to rebalance the system with extensive moving of speakers and room treatments, but perhaps not.
The 150x is just a much better match with my speakers - and they are great at a wide range of low volumes that I prefer (from 12-40 on the 272 volume control).


  1. Synergy between power amp and speakers is vital.
  2. Tuning the system to the room is vital - and it took months of testing and tuning and moving furniture and kit to get it right.
  3. Bigger is not always better - esp when you want a system that’s great at low volumes.

Sell your current speakers and get the Taksims back??

Steve Guttenberg did a nice little vid this week IIRC on ‘final speakers’.

Also, you have a high budget hifi, but seem to be spending a tiny proportion of it on speakers.

Should you spend $7k or more?

Maybe try Kudos Titan’s?