That’s something I’ve considered but a demo is a problem for me. Are they energetic enough? I love a detailed sound with lots of layers and energy. I listen mostly to alt country and folk but do enjoy Metallica and slipknot
I reckon the Headphone Atom driving active SCMs is well worth serious consideration. I love ATC speakers and they will bring out the best in the Headphone Atom.
if you have a budget, the Atom is a perfectly good choice in my opinion - Naim doesn’t only manufacture top-end products, and its ‘entry levels’ are usually best buys. A pair of sensitive speakers and you should be fine.
I won’t insist on the Polk Audio L100s, but just considering the Atom’s performance with those diminutive speakers, there was absolutely nothing missing as far as satisfying, entertaining domestic listening is concerned.
Just my opinion,
When you hear and compare gear, it’s easy to stumble into something ‘better’; but sometimes louder is mistaken for better, and more power is not necessarily an index of more quality. The Upgrade Path should be taken with a lot of sensibility and awareness, at the risk of simply falling prey to a very common itch for an undefined ‘better’ something. A simple advice based on the personal experience of one who has tossed more money than necessary: whatever you buy, enjoy it until you can swear on your own life that something is wrong or not of your taste anymore before buying something more expensive - or you’ll risk entering into a never ending spiral. This place is full of sensible, sound advice but there are also some who simply enjoy spending your money.
Interesting. So the Star sounded better because it was louder at a similar volume setting? I did love the ATC sound and it does seem to be where I would love to settle BUT my concerns after the demo was that the speaker was not a good match for the Atoms claimed WPC. Again please forgive my ignorance I am still finding my feet. Thanks
Oops, for some reason I had in mind even at the bottom of the range but it appears not - my apologies misleading info: it appears their smallest actives are the SCM19A or SCM20A. They are of course More capable speakers, though inevitably bigger and more expensive.
Thanks. I also love the ATC sound but I can’t stretch or have the space for the actives. I’m definitely hovering over the Atom SCM7 combo now though.
These little speakers really do benefit from power, or they can found gutless and uninvolving. I would not match the Atom with the ATCs. A used Nova for £3,000 is the thing to aim for, I’d suggest.
Yes i agree with HH here in that the ATC speakers may require something like a Nova to really fit in. I’d be looking at something easier for the Atom to drive, like a pair of Focal Chora 806 book-shelf speakers would go with the Atom really well for instance. One maybe able to find a package deal where one could purchase the Atom/Chora 806/NAC A5 cables for the price of the Atom alone.
Although Naim gear is generally reliable, it’s always possible for something to go wrong. If you buy a used item, you will not get the extended 5 year warranty that Naim offer to the original purchaser, so if this is a long term purchase you may want to bear that in mind.
Loudspeakers, on the other hand, tend to keep on working well for a long time, and yet their second hand price often drops a great deal, so if you want to save some money, or perhaps free up more cash for a Nova, this approach might be more cost effective.
I demoed the Atom with a pair of Linn 109’s today and have to say that the combination was exceptional and sounded amazing to my ears. I was supposed to listen to the Star but that has been put back until next week. The search continues but up to now the Atom/Linn combo is a winner
In terms of second hand, the Atom and Nova have the advantage that they are both solid state with no moving parts that can be subject to misuse or otherwise compromise reliability. Given Naim’s service policy both are very solid second hand buys and can be expected to have a very long life expectancy.
Hi @anon19535332 . I’m not surprised by your initial findings with the Atom and ATC SCM 7s. Last year I treated myself to an Atom for my small office and wondered about wall-mounted versions of the SCM 7s as I have active ATCs in my main system and love them. It was during lockdown and auditions were not possible. I know ATCs thrive on power, so I chickened out and bought Neat Iotas which are often recommended with the Atom’s predecessor (Unitiqute). They have proved excellent partners for the Atom and your experience indicates probably a better match than the ATCs.
Hi Roger, thank you. How would you describe the sound of the Neats please? I am looking for a lively, detailed character with plenty of separation and height. The Linn 109 sounded absolutely spot on but unfortunately didn’t pass the wife’s aesthetic test. I am definitely adding towards the Atom at this point so I am half way there👍🏼
You need to bear in mind my musical preferences which are mainly well recorded acoustic music in all genres but with a bias towards classical, jazz and folk. I don’t listen to many heavily processed albums.
As I type, I’m listening to this:
Julian Bliss’ clarinet has that slight edge which live clarinets do, the vibes have just the right metallic quality and the cymbals in the drum kit have authentic sizzle. Above all the performance communicates joy and I can’t listen without moving about as I do. But you have to bear in mind the Iotas are really tiny (around 20 by 12.5 cm) so they’re not going to give the feel-it-in-the-stomach bass of larger models. This is most notable with double bass, piano and some drum strokes. Somehow, though, this doesn’t distract from the fun of listening to the album. So “lively and detailed, with plenty of separation”, certainly, that’s their forte, but if you want more bass for a main system, you might want to look at Iota Alphas, which are knee high floor standers based on the Iotas but with a bottom firing bass unit. More spendy of course, but there are some ex-demo models available.
Highly recommend you try the Atom with ProAc Tab10 Signatures it’s what I have and is a great combo. Beat the Iotas and every other small speakers I tried. The iotas have a sweet treble due to the ribbon tweeter but lack oomph. Others sounded boxy but didn’t try ATC as my dealer doesn’t stock them. But tried Neat Iotas Alphas and SX3, Monitor Audio Gold 100, Spendor A1, Dali Rubicon, ProAc Tablette 10 and then the ProAc Tablette 10 signatures and the latter just did everything superbly and bass was more than I expected for a small sealed box. Mid range is just sublime. Also they will pair with upgrades nicely as others here use them with Naim separates and the top range integrated.
Thank you. I too really only listen to alt country/folk/ acoustic so they sound like they may be a good fit. I have a demo booked for next Friday so we’ll see how we get on. Thanks again for your time👍🏼
I’ll try and demo a pair but my local dealer doesn’t stock them unfortunately
I can vouch for the Tablette 10 Signature, which sound great and look like a standard speaker. The Linn certainly wouldn’t get houseroom here. I’d be a little wary of matching them with an Atom - I chose a Supernait 3 over a Nait XS, but they might be fine for you. It may be worth contacting a ProAc dealer to see if something can be done.
Thank you. The Linns were brilliant I have to say, probably my favourite of all I have listened to so far. If I had gotten the thumbs up from the good wife they would be sat in my front room now. I’ll try for a listen to the tablettes but the SE are out of my budget unfortunately.