Fine tuning Ovator 800s

Hi this question is aimed at Ovator users mainly.

How much space do you have behind your speakers? I’m going mad moving them incrementally in and out from the wall for several hours now to tune optimise the bass. I don’t think I can tell anymore, so I’m having a break and thought I’d throw this out to you chaps.

Cheers Pete

Sounds like one for @Darkebear

Thanks James I was hoping DB would pop up :slightly_smiling_face:

Hi it depends on the overall size of the room and distance from side walls, I would say a minimum of 1 meter in my experience.

Just measured mine - approx measured top - (inner rear corner - outer rear corner) inches:

  • RH Speaker: 27, 28
  • LH Speaker: 27.75, 28.75

So the speakers are towed-in an inch.

They are (approx) 2.5m apart (measured from facing sides) and each 1.3m from wall (measure facing side to wall).

So apart from using both Imperial and Metric measurements to keep you on your toes - that is how I have had mine for years.

Don’t know if I deliberately moved one speaker a bit (3/4 inch) more out - probably just ended-up that way and I liked the result so left it.

When setting-up key things were to level them so equal pressure on all spikes - if you use Fraim Chips under then none should rotate easy to touch and all feel solid. When bad ‘off’ it sounds ‘tubey’ with more resonance.
Then ensure the speaker is perfect horizontal and vertical (unless you like a funky-bass).

Tighten spikes all the same tightness and then leave alone - too loose and fast but brash - too loose and plodding bass bloom.

All done correct and wonderful - you know when it the ‘there’. :slightly_smiling_face: :bear:

Then every few years check the torque for the other bolts with a proper torque driver and definitely never by hand; too tight is awful, uneven is even more awful - all the same and correct torque is wonderful.

Naim provide a torque chart. Mine sound best at (with my torque driver):

  • Bass Drivers: 2.925 nM (spec is 3 nM)
  • BMR surround: 1.97 nM (spec is 2 nM)

These are what my Driver says (another driver may have different calibration) - what I’m really saying is that more is not better - you can lose fine-detail and get a brash edgy sound. I adjust - listen - try bit more - bit less and settle on what delivered the most musical insight and best timing micro and macro-level.

With the correct tool first loosen a bit - then tighten; I found beginning at one bolt and working clockwise around the driver to do all sounded best.
This is as opposed to ‘cross-tightening’ side to side technique (which is recommended) - I tried - it was rubbish compared to in sequence. I think cross-tightening is good for initial assembly but not when the speaker is well-settled and seated.

I mention all this as the S800 when set-up really sings and is akin to a musical instrument to tune it up when installing to get it to sing.
You know when it is doing this when you are forgetting the speaker and distracted by the music.

I’ve had to do this once after 6 months of first install - and checked it again after 4 years and it did not really need it. Just check it every 5 years or so and only if you think it is off. Mine have stayed right for 8 years or thereabouts.


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Thanks DB - I’ve got several more hours of tinkering to go by the looks of it! Mine are positioned 40cm from the wall in a room 5x4 metres and two metres apart. I’ll start with pulling them out. You must be listening in a quite a big room?

Are they not too big for your room?

The room is about 6m x 5.5m L-shape (2m x 1m intrusion one corner) with 3m high ceiling - an old house.

I find wider apart generally works better - a 5x4 room should be fine once you find the right spot for your particular room. I’d try the same distance from rear wall I have mine to begin - then position side-to-side in little hops moved and listen until it sounds right. You can go closer to rear wall and farther away - just alters the presentation but all sound good - I just found a sweet-spot I liked.

The side to side distance will be the one that misses the room eigentone harmonics (multiples and sub-mutiple integers of the dimensions of the distance from drive unit to wall to the other room dimensions) - you will know when you have it right as it is more complex than many think with interactions, so auditioning will find the best result.

Also listener position is important - mine has just over 1m space behind the listening position. Too close to rear-wall and bass can be too weighty - never loose with the S800 anywhere - they are tight and tuneful right down to deepest bass, but listening position choice sets the overall balance.


DB when you refer to the 1.3m
from the wall is that the front face of the speaker or from the back of the cabinet. I’ve moved them now so that the front grills are 1.1m from the wall which is 60cm from the back, and already its made a massive difference. Tried toeing in but I lose some of the sound stage.

I’m running active with S1 pre, 500 on the BMR, and 2 x 300s on mid and bass. Source is LP12 very high spec. and CD555.


Set-up does make a large impact - once you find a position that works then just leave them for a day or more and get used to how they sound before deciding if you want further experiment.

Toe-in is very easy to over-do - very slight and it can add focus, otherwise you lose dynamics and life I find. Start ‘flat’ no toe-in then just a very little is all. Never point at the listening position - that sounds truly awful!

Glad you are making progress. :slightly_smiling_face:

With that system they should really shine.

Be aware that with mixed-active the 500 will have 1dB more gain compared to the 300 Amps, so you may need to turn-down the BMR level in the SNAXO - listen and tweak until it is seamless with best image and dynamic cohesion.

I’ve not touched my SNAXO, but all my amps are the same (500) so have the same gain.


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I was referring to measuring from cabinet side panel to the wall it is facing on that side - about 1.3m plus or minus a few cm; one side is a bay window that opens into another 20cm for large picture window and the other side is a solid wall with the HiFi along it - so they are not ‘flat’ but refractive surfaces in general to the side.


Hi Pete, long time no speak - I hope you are well? When did you get the S1 pre, and did you build the fully isolated room in room listening space we discussed? I moved from the 600s to a pair of Focal Scala Utopias. I did think about getting the 800s, but was so impressed with the Focals I went that way instead. Hope the great advice from DB helps you set the 800s up perfectly.


Thank you for the great advice DB! I’ve now found a good base setting that I can twiddle with over the next week or so. I’ve got them away from the wall by 25.5 inches (no toe yet) they are now 2m apart and to be honest I’m flabbergasted! The investment I’ve put into the system is now evident I’m pleased to say as I was a little undewhelmed with the performance until this point. I’ll keep you posted on further development. I’ll check with my dealer on the 500 BMR level I’m sure he’s taken that into consideration.

Hi Dave, great to hear from you. We should arrange for you to come down to me perhaps with James to hear all this new stuff :smiley:Yes I have turned the basement into a fully isolated sound proofed music room so I don’t annoy the neigbours and can play music into the small hours of the night! I’ve had the S1 a couple of months and recently added the 500 hence the speaker condrum above, just getting used to it all. James has filled me in with your purchases and has said it all sounds fantastic.

Look forward to meeting soon :metal:

It is very worth the effort - sometimes people expect it all to just ‘work’ and somehow the costs involved mean it needs less effort - whereas the opposite is true. The S800 is very revealing of a poor set-up - but paradoxically, very easy to set-up and get to sing.

If that is from new then it also has a lot more to come. Expect an explosion in performance at about the nine month point where you may be very surprised at what you thought was already excellent just blows-away its previous performance. A Dealer had told me this would happen - I did not really believe it and put it out of my mind and then I also had mine ‘take-off’.


Thanks DB. I’ve been buying & upgrading Naim stuff for many years so I’m aware of the burn in times and it never ceases to amaze me when the kit comes on song. There were many issues with me being underwhelmed which have been my fault - one was having a great big Guitar amp cab in the middle of the 800s :grimacing: that sucked the life out of everything :flushed: I’ve had 400s and 600s and never had them so far from the wall, but this system is in completely another league so thank you for your advice its very much appreciated.

A meet up sometime sounds great as I’d love to see your new room and kit. I’ll speak to James and see if he’s up for joining us.


Great stuff

I had 600s Active and I loved them, but the 800s are not just ‘big 600s’ but a completely different level of performance - which you really should expect from their price compared to the modest-priced 600s.

It is a shame that Naim could not commercially justify continued manufacture, but that does not mean those that were made lose anything IMO. A bit like saying a Stradivarius is obsolete because new ones are not falling off the production line anymore. :bear:

In any case it is an excellent speaker that once set-up to sing in a room stays on-song for many years to date for me. All other HiFi additions after I acquired mine - the S1Pre, DR upgrade for my Active 500 set of Amps and most recently the ND555 have breathed new musical delight and insights through the S800 - they are not a limiting factor for my system.


I’ve been a fan of Naim speakers for many years having started my journey with exceptional sound quality with SBLs in 1995! Swapping them out with Ovators and working up the ladder with the 400s, 600s and now the 800s has been a considered upgrade. Without improvement in source and the ancillary equipment to drive them would not have allowed the 800s to shine, and without me posting this thread I would not realised the full potential of what I now have. I’ll work up to completing the system by becoming fully active with 500s but until then I’ll enjoy the new benefits I’m hearing. Thanks again DB for your advice!


Perhaps I’m easily impressed but this feels highly significant. More objectively, the manual suggests > 0.5m for all three Ovator models.