Harsh/edgy upper strings with Naim Atom and Proac d2r

Hi there! I mainly listen to classical recordings via Qobuz High Res and find myself struggling for quite a while now with the string sound produced by the combination Atom + proac d2r (with ribbon tweeter). At first I thought and hoped that the problem was related to running in the proacs but after half year of regular use the problem stays, that is that a lot/to much of the recordings with violins, be it chamber music or orchestral, tend to sound edgy and harsh in the upper regions. The same goes for a lot of recordings with a certain type of soprano. In short it sounds like an overkill of overtones. I am considering trying out different amps ( more powerfull naims like SN 2or 3, Lavardin). Lots of wood and textile in the listening room, proacs toe-in, 3/4 feet from side/back walls, no hard/stony materials. All the familiar ‘hifi’ jazzy stuff is ok, hardly any problems there it is the real world acoustic not amplified music that is sometimes downright hard listening to. Two highly praised units…but. Anyone familiar with this issue or experience with this combination?

Not this combination no. But for those who have experience, can you indicate if the ProACs are on stands, and if so, are the tweeters aimed straight at your listening position, or do you have them off axis (vertical and horizontal) - assuming the soft padded room is not the main culprit…

The speakers are on 100% vertical spiked Dynaudio stands (type 2), tweeters on ear height, speakers some 2,9m between, directed inward towards listening position, listening is at 3,8m. By the way, I now see that a member by the name of Scotty2 encountered more or less the same problem in the thread ‘Proac D2D/R’. Solved by getting another pair of D2R’s! Strange, a brand like Proac distributing early Monday morning units?? By the way, I tried mega expensive Chord speaker wires, to no avail.

Ok. Welcome by the way :slight_smile:
I had a slightly similar situation with my PMCs (but less after they were run in after 100h) and find that I like them better when I listened about 10-15 degrees off axis from the tweeter. Poorer (pop) recordings tend to throw a massive wall of treble when pointed straight at me.
Was your previous speaker perhaps very different from the D2R? Maybe it’s just the characteristics of the ribbon tweeter being different from what you were used to. Interesting to see if any D2R owners join the thread, I had them on my long list last year but decided I wouldn’t stretch my budget that far. (Plus I feared my Dynaudio 6 stands would be too light for them)

I used a pair of ProAc D2’s with the dome tweeter in my system with a ND5 XS into a NAIT XS 2 (70w) and they sounded fabulous. I also ran my ProAc D30RS speakers with a XPSDR > NDX 2 into my SN 2 and they sounded fabulous as well. I do believe the D2R’s need more power than the Atom. The D2’s were approximately 20 inches from the back wall.

Hopefully you have a dealer who can provide a SuperNait loaner for a week so you have a listen at home.

I went from long years with esl63’s to my late wife’s relief to dynaudio 52se’s (stereoplay edition with esotec d260 tweeter) 16 years ago. Covid had me buying the Atom and subsequently the D2R’s. The dynaudio’s are in my opinion terrific speakers, obviously a bit more forgiving and less spaciously sounding but still amazing value. The d2r’s reveal their pin point precision and beautiful mids with cello but if regarding high strings this is reality fired at me than too much recording engineers at high quality labels like signum, harmonia mundi and even hyperion and chandos are doing a lousy job. Even the silk of the concertgebouw strings/acoustics has gone fishing. This simply can’t-be-true.

1 Like

What speaker cables are you currently using?

1 Like

Hi @Servaas, I run an Atom into Neat Iotas, which also have a “ribbon” (actually planar magnetic) tweeter. They’re in my small office and I also listen to a fair bit of classical and I can’t say I recognise the symptoms you mention.

Could you give details of two or three recordings which exhibit the harshness you mention, ideally ones I can find on Qobuz and I’ll see if I hear the same thing.

Roger

Good question from @Mark84 . What are the speakers cables. It may be the response.

Welcome @Servaas

Sorry to hear your issue. I’m not sure how much I can add as a D2R very content user. No harshness for me but my room, system etc is likely different than yours. I’ll try to help if I can. Speaking from experience the SN3 works wonderfully with the D2Rs.

This ^^

If it’s NAC A5 then they should be expertly terminated at their recommended lengths using the proper plugs done by a competent and experienced dealer.

My first thought was speaker cables if you are using anything with silver, this is a trait that I have always suffered with and Naims NACA5 solved.

As an Amsterdam resident I am shocked. This is intolerable.

3 Likes

A set of NAC A5 cables should be owned by all Naim users if only as a reference.

2 Likes

Limburg?

Cable is VLS ultra ofc. I bought it some 17 years back. Length is some 8 meters (:face_with_raised_eyebrow:). It worked for the musical fidelity 3.2 which I used with the dynaudio’s mentioned before. Probably not up to par with todays or this forum’s high end standards. The thing is, I used to listento music, not to stuff reproducing it. That changed unfortunately. I did try, on loan, 2x1,5 meter chord epic reference. Different?, yes. Problem solved?, no. Can a more powerfull amp like the sn3 make a big difference in the delicate treble department? I have been sniffing on the internet for ‘warm’ sounding amps but I wonder whether this will be rhe miracle thing . Anyway, I ll get back on some annoying recordings later this week. I appreciate all the response uptill now!

Haarlem

You need to try Naim speaker cable before anything else to rule out that as the issue. My dad just bought an xs3. Sounded too bright. I recommended he get some NAC A5. He did. Problem solved.

1 Like

Chord epic is awful in my opinion and would likely make things worse not better. It is what I had prior to NACA5 and harsh/bright/brittle high ends was the reason I got rid of them!
If you do a search, I am sure I had a topic on this and this exact cable a few years ago.
Chord epic is a copper cable with silver plating. Ditch anything with the silver as a test and see what you think, I think you will be very pleasantly surprised.

Best

Popeye

I think you’re maybe slightly misunderstanding things a little here. It’s ok. NAC A5 is the correct (electrically) cable for your Atom. So is the speaker plugs it came with. This will have an impact on it’s overall performance. It’s what the unit was designed with. Ask your dealer to make some up of equal lengths. You won’t regret it. Please try to forget about what other cables you used with other manufacturers gear. This won’t help you.

It seems that you have come here a little unhappy with the performance from your Atom. We are here to help you, drawing from our own experiences along with the advice from Naim to help you get the best from your Atom. Once sorted i think you will be very happy with your choices. By all accounts it’s a fantastic product and one that you should be really enjoying “like really enjoying.”

2 Likes