This is true. Maybe I should return it and see if it can be ironed out?
If it’s not the variable low-volume imbalance but the LED is consistently off center, it’s just a question of re-aligning the knob like Richard said in his first answer.
Would checking/ adjusting the balance knob be a DIY process on a 552?
Yes it would appear that this is the case. I don’t think volume has any effect on the required position of the balance at this stage.
Just throwing some ideas out here. I’m wondering if the run in process could possibly end up with an imbalance between channels down the line and not something that’s apparent during the manufacture and test process!?
You can do it on your own, but beware of the LED cable and the splines. A few things about differences between models is here:
My new 252 had the variable low-volume imbalance that was just too much, as it started at 8 o’clock (and below) on the volume knob, which was not all that low and impacted normal night listening levels. It went back to the distributor and they replaced the volume pot with a more tightly selected one.
After this, low-volume imbalance was initially not completely gone, but started at a low enough level that it didn’t matter.
But interestingly, it got better over the next months and now the volume pot is unbalanced only at the very lowest end, shortly before being silent. So I guess that things can change over time and the same might apply to the balance pot.
Yes I understand. I mean, ultimately this isn’t interfering with my listening enjoyment at the moment. I’m happy to be patient and see if this changes in time, monitor the situation, collect my thoughts and then make a decision whether to return or not. There is a 5 year guarantee after all.
I’d say with a degree of confidence that because of speaker placement and my room, it’s probably more necessary that I have to bias the balance control a little further over to find that sweet spot than someone who’s room was completely symmetrical, unlike mine.
If it was a matter of a few degrees left or right of centre and only at low volume levels this is entirely consistent with the known ALPs pot characteristic. At 2 o’clock e.g. 60 degrees out, this is more than this and either suggests the knob isn’t centralised or a fault.
The centralisation is easy to check by seeing if the knob turns an equal diatance L and R from the vertical. If so I’d suggest a fault, if not then a re-alignment of the knob is worth trying (by the dealer).
I would guess so if you’re familiar with opening up the unit and take full ESD precautions to avoid damaging the display board. Naim’s service dept could assist.
Sometimes the speaker cables can cause a channel mis-match if not both working quite the same. If a solder joint is not quite right in one of the cables then this can have one speaker sounding less dynamic (less open or even a lower volume) to the other speaker. Please try to rule out the connections first. This has caught myself out many times over the years. Have you tried swapping your speaker cables over from left to right or vice verca to hear if this is the case before looking at the amplifier?
But everything and the uneven room aside, having to turn the knob to the 3 'o clock position is quite far.
@joy_boy, if you turn the balance knob all the way to the left and all the way to the right, are the end positions somewhat symmetrical or very different? I.e., what @AJK said, as far as I can see you haven’t tried/answered this?
Oh i missed this. Thanks.
I’ve just tried this and when I turn the balance control all the way to the right channel, onto the stop, and slowly turn back incrementally, and putting my ear very close to the left speaker, sound seems to start arriving sooner from the left channel in comparison to the other side.
So this would suggest it is simply a case of the balance control knob not being as optimised as it could be.
But ignoring the perceived volume for a moment, are the end stops roughly symmetrical on the left and right? I.e. it isn’t the case that on the right it turns to, say, 7 o’ clock and on the left to 10 o’clock, or something like this?
Because if that’s the case, the knob’s center, as indicated by the LED, is simply offset in relation to the pot’s actual center.
Yes I’m beginning to understand that Naim is sensitive to this. My current speaker cables could be considered ‘out classed’ by the rest of my hi-fi these days. They’re on my agenda to upgrade. I may head to a dealer tomorrow and see if I can try/loan the Naim offerings.
Ahh, yes! It seems the stop on the right channel is further down than on the left. I marked out with some masking tape. There is an anomaly here!
Welcome firstly @joy_boy, also a SN3 owner here and damn fine it is too. Most of what can be said has been already on the subject, the pots have tolerances and won’t always be precisely aligned to 12 O’Clock but if you find it’s not sounding balanced without going way beyond either side of 12 O’Clock then a chat with the supplying dealer can have it checked and rectified as required relatively painlessly.
I actually find in my case I have mine set slightly towards the Right Channel somewhere between 12-1 but based on what I think sounds right and the room itself mostly.
Hope you get it bottomed out, be warned you’re on a slippery slope now of upgrades and tweaks discussions!
Ok, so most likely the outer plastic knob is simply not center on the pot’s axis. Most likely your dealer can simply pull the plastic knob off and put it back on so that it’s centered. (And while he’s at it he surely can check if everything else is ok)
Yes the sound is incredible from this amp. I’ve been thoroughly impressing friends and family with my system and making a few quite jealous.
As you can see from the findings above, it could be the case that the balance pot itself isn’t aligned in the optimal location unfortunately. But sound wise when the sweet spot hits, is perfect.
I don’t mind being on a slippery slope of upgrades, tweaks and discussion. I love this hobby along with those that share my interest. Sometimes its about the journey as well as the destination.