So we’ve moved from a house with brick walls to a flat with cardboard walls.
272 + 250DR and some book shelves on stands. The living room is substantially bigger than what we used to have, 35mp compared to the old 20mp room.
The sound is lifeless and lacks any kind of energy or authority to the point I realize some keys are missing all together. I’ve tried everything, triple checked everything. I even deployed my Cyrus 8Dac and used my macbook as source, and it sounds better. It has more bass meat than the Naim combo, which tells me something is perhaps wrong with my kit. Now, if I crank up the music, exceeding my normal comfortable listening levels, things are better and we can feel the bass and everything else but still not happy.
Could it be the room? In which case, how come the Cyrus, which traditionally has a lean bass, has more meatier down end at any listening level than the Naim kit?
One more thing, powering the 250DR triggered my main power switch box a couple of times. Other than that, cant detect any dip in quality, except the general lack of energy.
What the hell is going on? This drives me insane. I’m listening to the Cyrus now, knowing I much prefer the Naim signature sound which at the moment sucks…
Obviously the room plays a major role in affecting the sound of the system. Nevertheless, assuming that there is nothing wrong with your Naim kit and it’s all properly connected, there may be some explanation to the lack of bass of the 272 which you are currently experiencing. I have read few comments from existing owners who reported on the lack of bass of the 272. An ex-owner of a 272 upgraded to the 282 and the bass was reported to come in spades. Perhaps that was the reason you found the Cyrus kit to produce more bass than the 272?@
I am not sure if a power supply such as the XPS DR will improve on the bass performance of the 272. Perhaps existing owners of the 272 could shed some light on this matter.
Welcome Dan. Intriguing. I guess you have checked the polarity and L/R of the speaker cables remembering the 250 right and left may be opposite to what you think? Other than that I would guess new speakers will need to be tried at home. The 272/250 should fill the space without issue.
It sounds a little bit like when I moved 10 years ago. In my old house I had my Audiolab/Radford/Castle system firing across the short dimension of a rather rectangular living room, with the speakers quite far apart on open stands. Despite what might be thought of as suboptimal positioning it worked very well.
The new house had a much larger, squarer living room which I thought would give the system room to breathe. I switched on and still remember my disappointment, where’s the bass gone?!
Both houses had solid walls so this wasn’t a factor. An old rule of hifi was that big rooms need big speakers. Due to other priorities I put up with the sound. Eventually I got round to auditioning speakers and chose the much larger Focal 726s. These drove the room much better and the bass was back. Finally the icing on the cake was adding a NAP160 which really told the Focals who was boss and tightened and deepened the bass even further.
Finally I have better sound than the old house!
You don’t say what your speakers are, but it would be worth trying some alternatives. The bottom line is that the speakers need to match the room and the room needs to match the speakers. Good luck!
My fears are related to the fact I shipped the units across continents, and due to shocks or vibrations, something happened inside one of the units. I’m suspecting the power, as I’ve used the 272 to feed the Cyrus and it sounds ok to my ears. Regardless of the room, the Cyrus gives far less bass and authority than the 250DR, this being the reason I’m suspecting something is physically wrong with one if the Naim boxes.
I have even inspected the fuses, used different power cables, different speaker cables, checked the power/speaker polarities…have no idea what’s wrong.
Could it be something physically wrong with my 250DR?
Had a similar problem when I moved house a few years ago. I can sympathise with your pain. Went from firing across the width in a concrete based construction, system sounded great, excellent bass and engaging music. New house with plasterboard walls and floating parquet had lack of deep bass and with the emotion sucked out. I’ve always wondered whether its the plasterboard having an effect. I already had a 282 but went from a 200 to a 250.2 which helped quite bit and from Proac D18 to D30R which also helped but it still isnt near where I think it ought to be unfortunately. Just bought a microphone to make some room measurements with REW. Hoping that might shed some light on the problem. You might want to try it too. Good luck.
I think it’s very unlikely that there is anything wrong with the 250DR. Tripping the mains circuit on switch on is a not in common Naim problem because of the surge if you happen to turn the unit on when the ac mains is at a maximum voltage. It shouldn’t happen if the trip is properly specified, but that can easily be fixed by an electrician.
Also, having a 272 and 250DR I can say there is definitely no shortage of bass. Adding a power supply to the 272 is well worth doing but if it’s not working well in the room without a power supply then that needs fixing first.
So I think this is a loudspeaker issue first and foremost. They may need positioning differently or they may need changing. But anyway the electronics is unlikely to be the problem in my opinion.
Interesting thread…I do think also it’s unlikely to be damaged electronics. The other variable to speaker placement is room reflections. They have can have a huge effect on how you appreciate music… if you are really concerned then it’s worth doing a frequency scan at your listening position to see if you have some deep nulls… (REW is example software that can do this with some hardware)…
You may find moving speakers and listening position changes these nulls markedly. Having much furniture and irregular decorations in a room can also help diffuse strong reflections.
Generally speaking, when a well working system is moved and no longer sounds optimal or even good, the first 2 thing I would look to are mains supply and speaker positioning. Given that alternative electronics does help, I would tend towards mains supply. How are you powering your Naim kit? Standard sockets on a standard household mains ring? Power Strip?
The fact that powering up your 250 causes your mains to trip is a certain sign that all is not well. Your mains should be strong enough to cope with the inrush current without any problems and certainly should not cause the power to trip. Also wall plugs may be old and dirty, while mains rings wiring will have dozens of crudely made twisted joins in the cables so power is poor and earth is high impedance…neither good for audio.
Personally, if it were my system I’d start by giving it a dedicated mains supply with proven (tested) low impedance earth.
When turning on a Naim power amp causes the MCB to trip, that is not at all unusual. Once successfully turned on, it is no longer an issue. Changing a type B MCB for a type C of the same rating generally prevents this from happening, but it is not a sound quality issue.
I moved my system from its usual room to a larger room expecting it to soar, and had the same as you - all the bass energy and drive disappeared. For various reasons it can’t be in the bigger room anyway so it went back to its smaller cell until this week when it had another run out in the bigger room. This time with more careful positioning of speakers etc it was a lot better, still not great but listenable.
Try some judicious speaker repositioning as a start. There was a thread on here recently all about that, I’ll have a look and put the link up shortly.
I suspect the change from brick to “cardboard” walls will have altered the sound significantly from what you heard in your previous room, though I acknowledge this does not explain the comparison with the Cyrus. I agree with those who have suggested you will probably need a change of speakers, but before looking into that, is there a Naim dealer close enough to talk to and perhaps ask to come round and take a listen?
If you do go for new speakers and the budget allows you might want to audition active ATCs which are not typically bass shy.
I used to run a six pack of 135s. How would I manage to get that lot turned on if each power amp tripped the mains? When the mains trips it highlights that the circuit breaker is at or over its limits. If its not functioning well at switch on, with the extra in-rush current the chances are very good that its not functioning well while playing either. It may be common for Naim amps to trip circuits. That doesn’t mean its desirable or a sign that everything is healthy. It simply means that a lot of mains circuits are under specified for moderately powerful hi-fi amps.
I’ve noticed that with almost every thread that involves sub par performance, a proportion of all answers are that an upgrade is required. I simply don’t buy this. In days of yore I’ve heard systems based on Naim amps with Linn Kans SBLs or LS3-5As sound perfectly good in large rooms, listened to in the near field obviously.
Amps are specified with flat frequency response, ditto speakers, so they shouldn’t need room reinforcement to sound decent. Generally speaking, poor rooms will cause bass frequency anomalies or poor imaging due to reflections. Poor speaker positioning can effect bass, but if swapping amps to something less powerful resolves bass issues, you can logically rule out speakers and speaker positioning and start looking for something that affects the amp, hence mains power. When the mains is tripping at switch on, it may be a common occurrence, but I would take that as an indication that there may be some current limiting going an. And what do amps need to produce bass? Current.
Start with a system that’s been on a week or two, then try try the ideas in the speaker set up thread mentioned above. I’ve had several things sound off when recently moved, my 250 sounded slow and flat the day after I brought it home on the back of a motorcycle and I’ve had speakers sound really harsh after a 1000 road and ferry trip, in both cases the solution was to let them settle for at least a week. You might just need replacement speakers at the end of it but don’t give up without a fight.
Just to say, contrary to what several people have said in this thread, I completely agree with Chris that Naim units sometimes or even often tripping a circuit breaker at turn on isn’t a sign of a poor or inadequate mains supply. And it doesn’t affect sound quality once on.
It’s because the wrong type of circuit breaker has been fitted in the consumer unit for an application where there are high transient peaks. It’s a trivial job for an electrician to change the circuit breaker.
We’re talking an 80 watt amplifier that draws around 350 watts operationally, so your current surge could be ca 10x the operating current without triggering a 15A MCB.
BUT…you don’t know the current draw of the other items connected to that ring, nor do you know if the MCB is good for its rated current. In fact all you know is that switching on your amp triggers a fault condition. Over the years I’ve owned a fair number of Naim boxes including stereo, bi-amp and active arrangements and probably a dozen power supplies and they’ve never once triggered an over current situation despite sometimes being used on standard household mains rings. Triggering an MCB is a fault condition and should be looked into…assuming you care about optimal performance
Apologies if your first response to this question is ‘of course, that’s the first thing I checked, you fool’, but from the symptoms it could be the speakers on the Naim system are connected out of phase - are you certain this hasn’t happened?
You obviously don’t know much about the way electrical circuits work. The switch on current surge on Naim equipment is well known, often rupturing equipment fuses on switch on. It’s caused by the very low resistance of the primary circuit of the toroidal transformers that Naim uses. The resistance increases rapidly when the winding warms up and of course there is no current surge if the user happens to turn the unit on as the ac voltage crosses zero. A peak at switch on of more than 10 or 20 times the static current is entirely reasonable.
This is not a fault condition in the Naim unit and it merely indicates that the circuit breaker in the house electrical supply us not correctly specified for high peak currents. It’s not a fault in the supply, just poor design, but of course the designed wouldn’t have known a future user’s liking for Naim equipment. Changing the circuit breaker is simple and cheap, but something for someone with electrical knowledge to do, not a DIY job.
@davidhendon is spot on… you may need to look to changing your MCB to a higher surge curve rated type. Remember we are talking AC not DC, and the large toroidal transformers used in the larger Naim power supplies are highly inductive with high efficiency, that is low resistance., so the surge current is significant.
We moved 18 months ago, and I found much the same problem, the new room which was about the same area seemed to absorb more sound than the last house. Both homes were drywall on block and brick outer skin, but the new home needed more volume and as I say seemed to absorb sound, less life. I put it down to the lighter blocks they use in new construction.
Over time I have got used to the new sound and more recently I bought larger speakers which probably goes some way to heal the differences