How to improve 252 / SUPERCAP DR / NDS / PS555DR / 300DR / PROAC D48R

Hello everybody.

I am a lover of the Naim brand from Italy.

My system is:

252 + SUPERCAP DR
NDS + PS555DR
300 DR
HiLine, NAC A5
PROAC D48R + ISOACOUSTICS GAIA II
VPI PRIME 21 TURNTABLE + ISOACOUSTICS DELOS
Professional acoustic treatment of walls and ceiling

I have a large salon.

The Proac D48Rs are well spaced from the side and back walls and I have installed quality Bass Traps in the corners.

All the electronics are placed in quality racks to try to eliminate the noise that comes from the acoustic waves of the music.

Each electronics has its own dedicated Naim Powerline cable, I have a dedicated power line for the audio system, I have star strips and each electronics are in phase.

I would like your opinion on an upgrade for my loudspeakers Proac D48R.

What other loudspeakers could be better than the Proac D48R for my system?

Could Focal Sopra 2 be better than Proac D48R?

What is my problem?

The problem is that the desire to improve seems to never end.

In particular, the Proac D48R seem to find it difficult to reproduce beyond a certain volume.

I can turn the volume up to max just before the middle of the 252’s potentiometer.

After the music is played with too much emphasis in my opinion the mids and the bass start to be excessive, almost having the impression that the speakers may break and that they do not have the ability to play the music properly.

Even the treble at about half of the potentiometer is excessive in my opinion and the reproduction of music becomes tiring as well as the voices.

It is strange because the Proac D48R have a recommended maximum of 250W while the Naim 300 DR is declared as 90W.

But at lower volumes the Proacs give exquisite music, in my system with a very high soundstage as well as a “cloud” of beautiful sounds and details.

In short, the general impression is that the Proac D48Rs beyond a certain volume (generally just before halfway through the Naim 252 volume potentiometer) are unable to reproduce the music correctly in my system.

The D48Rs have two 16.5 cm mid woofers and a ribbon tweeter in my case (D48 ribbon in fact).

Are the Proac D48R the weak side of the system?

What other alternative speakers to the Proac D48R could make me make a worthy leap in quality without spending too much money?

Thanks for your valuable opinions and comments.

Not from personal experience, but a few members have PMC Fact 8’s, and are thrilled with them. I don’t know if the price is acceptable to you or not, but they might be worth a listen.
Also, the Proac D20r and D30r seem to have a good following with Naim owners.

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You’re in the right place then…

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How loud are you listening ?
In a full blown naim set-up dialing halfway upwards would distort and even at just before sounds you’ve almost reached that point.
You’re loading the room too much, methinks.

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As I wrote before I already have Proac D48R

I’m sure about this :slight_smile:

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The volume controlled by the 252 can be increased to the maximum just before the middle of the potentiometer otherwise the speakers seem to explode and the sounds are no longer reproduced correctly.

My room is large and spacious and is already acoustically treated on the walls and roof.

Could the problem be the Proac D48R (4 ohm max 250W)?

Could I have better sound with other better speakers?

Which speakers could I buy instead of the Proac D48R?

I want to try to upgrade.

The issue you describe sounds like a ‘control’ issue, which is typically the job of the preamp. If it’s an option, have you tried a 552? I’ve not compared a 252 with a 552 but many here feel there is a big leap in performance between 252 and 552. As always the old caveat of ‘your mileage may vary’ applies here. However, I think a 552 should bring about the order your after; I would be surprised if your 300 isn’t up to the job and your sources are excellent, so that’s where I would be looking intially. Try and get a home demo if you can?

Edit: Should have mentioned that I don’t know about the Proacs but I think they are well-liked by many Naim users and they appear at a decent level so, in theory, should match your electronics quite well. Before you buy anything, I would just try and demo the preamp option (unless your 252 and/or supercap need a service, which could also be the issue?)

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I meant you can’t go past the middle of the potentiometer that wouldn’t be safe and and not advisable soundwise accordingly.

@aristoweb our systems are very similar

I have always said on here 252/SCDR/300DR is 4 boxes of NAIM black magic, there is music in abundance, so where to go? make your speakers work better or change them?

you don’t mention budget?? assuming keeping matched through source to speakers?

from my point of view - you don’t mention your system rack - at your level Fraim or similar is a must IMO to max out electronics - on source ND555 or NDX2 to demo

On speakers a really personal choice which to be honest only you can make, I am about to move to Kudos Titans which suit my ear and my system

good luck in your search

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Just buy more music and enjoy!

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A burndy massage might solve the issue.

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Or perhaps some knicker elastic

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Yes, that might produce a happy ending

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Whats the zise of your listeningroom? If it`s huge you might need another speaker to “fill it”

Yes, I get the fun about the comment, but in a more serious note, I had similar issues for a while and after replacing an interconnect to a power amp the issue was solved and I could turn up the volume much higher. It was if the power amp was out of control and the trebles were harsh above a certain volume level. It was like the power amp finally could do a proper job.

With a very similar system but lesser speakers and a 45 sqm room (not treated), I can go to 10 o’clock on the potentiometer before I find it way too loud. At that point, a dB measuring app on the phone shows around 90dB and more. I cannot imagine going to 12 o’ clock on the potentiometer. 9 o’clock is the sweet spot for me most of the time.

Hifi speakers that go that loud with high quality probably exist, but I expect them to be very expensive and they might require special designs for this purpose

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Hi Aristoweb,
May I first check what you mean by “just before the middle of the 252’s potentiometer”?

Does this mean that the volume knob is pointing up at the 12 o’clock position?
If so, I suspect that your power amplifier is running flat out and beginning to lose control of the loudspeakers.
Could you therefore confirm this for me first?

If this is the case, then you either need a more powerful power amplifier and keep the Proac D48R, or keep the NAP300 and look for a more sensitive loudspeaker.

I remember auditioning a pair of Vienna Acoustic floor standers on the end of an 82/Supercap/250 in a very large room (10m by 8m, with 3.5m high ceiling). The amplifier was working flat out yet the sound seemed weak and malnourished. We then swapped the speakers for a pair of Naim NBLs and had to turn the volume right back down to the 9 o’clock position, at which point the room was filled with gorgeous music. This was a clear case of mis-match between the speakers & the room. We ordered a pair of NBLs, which we enjoy to this day.

In your case, it really depends on what you mean by “half way around the volume dial”.

You have a great amplifier. You also have wonderful speakers that can go very loud indeed without distorting. It is important therefore to work out whether your amp is running out of puff or you have a speaker-room mismatch.

Hope this helps, if only to diagnose the issue.

Best regards, BF

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Surely the upgrade from 252 to 552 is my goal and will bring improvements.

But I would like to focus now on the upgrade on the loudspeakers front.

The 252, the Supercap DR and the 300 DR are about 4 months new even if they have not played much yet.

I don’t necessarily want to go past the middle of the pot.

But I was wondering why I can’t go if I wanted to since Proacs can handle up to 250W and the Naim 300 is only 90W?

Also, already going close to half the sound is not reproduced at best by the Proacs in my opinion.

And for this I was wondering if it was appropriate to upgrade the speakers