Looking for an axis - and for what revolves around it. (Alert: Verbosity at work.)

I can see how you’d come to that conclusion. IBLs need far more than a Nait 5 to show what they can do. I had mine initially with a 102/180 and they were ok but very thin sounding. But with a 282/250 they were wonderful. I can only imagine what they’d be like with a 52 and four pack of active 135s. The nSats are a far better match to a Nait 5. I tried them briefly with a 552/300 and they were really something.

@MaxBertola I find with hi-fi that when all the talk, theories, planning, excitement, and whatever else is over that our listening habits are the true measure of what’s working and how valuable it really is, and there’s no hiding from that.

In other words, several weeks later, do I still want to spend my spare time listening to music or do I instead choose one of several other hobbies and past times available.

1 Like

If I remember correctly - keeping track of my changes is not easy :slight_smile: - I have had 282/SC/250/Sats for some time. The Sats had suddenly grown in size and scale, but I wasn’t enamored with the ‘masculine’ presentation of the amp.

Having heard IBLS at RSCH’s with 202, HC, SNAXO and 2 x 200s I still think that in spite of a mature, accurate and revealing handling of complex textures, they miss the je ne sais quoi that makes the Sats brighten the dull moments and rescue a boring listening session.

I have been tempted to buy a 2nd hand set of 252/SCDR/300DR my dealer has, but then I’d need who knows what source and the box count would become absurd again.
Not to mention the cost.

I do, yes. I can’t live without music.
My Tivoli internet radio is on all the time the system is off, and that makes up what remains when I am not sleeping (or am not playing piano or guitar).
My inesauribile need and desire to have musical sounds coming out of something is what keeps me trying and experimenting. If it were not so, I’d have given up HiFi years ago.

I suppose it then comes down to what feels comfortable in terms of spending. I know what you mean about a built in protection system. But you’ve come to the right place for encouragement :slight_smile:


When I had my first pair of IBLs, Max, with a Nait 5 and FC2, I found my Valhalla, non-Cirkus Sondek with Ittok and Supex-derived A&R P77 very satisfying.

We obsess about amps here on the forum, but fail to consider the warmth of the sources that were available when the IBLs etc were developed.

A Supex-derived MM could be found for your Thorens for loose change compared with 252/300 prices, and imo, would make either your IBLs or Sats sing with your Stageline N and Nait 5.

Presumably there are warmish CD players out there too. Rega? Valve hybrids? Surely they are worth a look.

I posted this in another thread, but copying it here as I think it has at least some relevance.

Whilst I recognise the process of getting used to the sound and it becoming normal, forgetting the old, I’ve never got bored with it - I forget the “sound” and simply listen to the music - and that can be as boring or stimulating as one wants. Perhaps I am lucky and that is just my psyche (I have never been “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” kind of guy), or perhaps my choices of hifi gear in my progression over the decades have somehow just suited my sound preference.

If as a person you are easily bored, always wanting something new, then there is probably nothing that would actually keep you satisfied, and the answer might be to have a collection of so many components that every month or so you change to a different combination, keeping enough kit for numerous permutations, and periodically swap out any piece that consistently doesn’t give you even a couple of weeks of satisfaction. But if normally you are not easily bored and constantly wanting change, this being unique to hifi, perhaps the answer is either find a new style of music(!), or ditch all your kit and go out to find something completely different, pointedly not buying anything you have previously had, maybe no brands you have previously had (but remain on this forum to report!).

I somehow overlooked the glaringly obvious Naim CD5.

1 Like


thanks. I care to clarify a few points though - my ‘issue’ with the IBLs is not related to their balance; yes they are voiced to compensate for the warmish sources of the time, but then the CDS3 was voiced for the bright sounding, early CD transfers of the time and those were the way they were because they had been transferred from analogue recordings with enhanced trebles due to the losses in the vinyl pressing… Let’s not go back to Edison’s cylinders…! :slight_smile:

My ‘issue’ with IBLs is that they seem to belong to the family of mini monitors such as the LS3/5as, but designed to sit against a solid wall and without the intention to recreate a 3D soundstage; and of course they are floor standing units. As such, I found their voice tending to remain inside the speakers and to mainly occupy the left and right positions with less ‘stuff’ between the two. As I said, Sats are unbeatable in this respect.

I don’t think that having a ‘warmer’ or ‘period’ source would significantly change my perspective; first, the VRDS-9 is not harsh or bright sounding at all - we risk falling into a similar, opposite cliché about Japanese HiFi of the early 2Ks - and, second, I happen to like it.

I simply prefer the Sats. And even if I optimized the IBLs with a more powerful amp and a more matching source, it’d still be the reconstruction of a sound I am not interested in anymore, the restoration of a Source First approach I was never totally convinced about, something like having a bear pedaling on a bicycle to prove that stronger legs can make it run faster…


I will. :slight_smile:

I used IBL’s for 17 years. I started with slimline compoenets of CD3 and 92/90, which was basically the Nait 3 in two boxes. They sounded excellent with that little system. Yes they were much better when I got a CDX and 82/250, and finally a CDS3 and 252. You would expect that of course. But the little system was in no way inadequate.

Later I had nSats for a while and they are ‘nicer’ sounding with digital sources than IBL’s IMO. But they don’t have the strengths of the IBL’s. The IBL’s belong to the analogue era and need an LP12 to ignite the magic in them. I always preferred them to SBL’s, which to me sounded thick and slow in comparison. The IBL’s lacked the bass weight and depth of SBL’s but they made up for it by being lightening fast throughout, including the bass. The bass was lightweight but surprisingly deep.

Not sure whether I preferred Kans or IBL’s actually. The IBL’s lacked the drive, bounce and solidity of the Kans, but they sounded clearer and were faster. Both great speakers and good as nSats are they are just not in the same league IMO.

I used to be a staunch advocate of the source first approach but I’m now much less convinced. Source is important of course, but not to the extent that the rest of a system should be compromised in order to maximise the source. All this applies within sensible limits of course and there will always be exceptions and special cases. I’ve read reports of a Nova driving £20K speakers and sounding superb. And why not? I’ve heard a Rega 3 sounding magnificent with Naim amplification and Kans. The rules can and should be bent on occasion. Let’s be sensible about this - use your ears!

We built our retirement system around the speakers - Klipsch Forte III’s. Source is a Melco N100/Plixir PSU, Chord Qutest DAC and Moon340ix amp. So a relatively humble system, certainly not in the stratosphere of audiophilia, but it sounds superb. If you like the Heresy’s then the Forte III’s take things to a new level. I have genuinely never heard any speaker anywhere sound so much like real live music. If you want to hear what your favourite music sounds like played live then I think you’ll need to spend quite a bit more to better these. And then it’s likely to be something horn-loaded and more costly from either Klipsch or JBL. These are music speakers, not hi-fi speakers. About as far from the BBC sound as it’s possible to get.

1 Like

I’ve acquired the same (plus NDS / 555PS), as it represents (for me) the last rung of sanity on the Ladder of Diminishing Returns, especially with the recent price drops.

Perhaps you could revisit your dealer and simply hand over the cash for the above gear, along with a parting gift – a small token of your appreciation – as you explain you won’t be needing to see him again :grinning:


I’ll think of it… :slight_smile:


Nice to read someone highlighting this topic. I try to keep systems in-period to a degree and LP12s too. I’ve also found specific periods of Hi-Fi suit the primary source and sound of that time. For example, 70s LPs sound particularly good on 70s/early 80s gear. And whilst I only play vinyl, this topic is the one reason that draws me to streaming where you have more of an even playing field as older recordings are remastered to better match the current sound.


I think I’ve reached this conclusion too.

1 Like

As a summary - I’m now using IBLs at the end of Nait 5/FC2, and I find their sound strange with CDs but extremely enjoyable and engaging with vinyl. I love the refined, coherent, detailed presentation of the Nait but bass is really too light. Yet, IBLs seem to have something that cannot be renounced easily.

A more ‘full’ cartridge on the Thorens TD145 is a must, but I wonder what amp would retain the extreme listenability of the Nait while making the small woofers wake from their dogmatic sleep…


I wonder if the answer might be a Nait 50!? It sounds great with my SL2s. But I have never heard IBLs.

I might try one at home tonight, my dealer has it in stock. I know it has a very good phono stage. I’ve heard it several times there and at a couple of friends’. It’s an excellent small amp that can drive difficult speakers easily, but I somehow miss the classic Naim voice it lacks… It’s a sensible suggestion though, thanks.

1 Like

He’s in Munich now, but I am seriously thinking this could be an idea. Fact is, I am using the IBLs now and the thought of how they would sound with a 300 is tempting.
On the No side, if I bought it then I’d be crucified until I change the TEAC VRDS-9 for something else. For the sake of mental and financial balance, I’d need a Nait 5 like mine that sounds exactly like a 300.