My HiFi story, and the way forward. Long overdue

First off, if a topic like this is in any way, shape or form inapropriate, please accept my apologies in advance for most of it is out of context of the actual questions at hand.
Second. It has been a while since i’ve been active on these forums (or any other for that matter) and have been enjoying my life for the most of the time without being active online.

With that said, i’ve started this topic because due to recent events, my life has changed drastically and i feel the need to reach out to a community (in English, not native, none the less) where i respect oppinions and feel comfortable.

After 11 years, 8 of wich we have been living together and 3 of those as a family with a lovely son. My girfriend pulled the plug in august of 2020 and decided it was time to break up. Without going into too much detail i can honestly say that the breakup wasn’t at all unexpected, since we both felt thing were not they way they should. The only difference is that i was not at all ready to give up on what we had. Unfortunately, as these things go, it taked two to tango. All of this ment that i had to rethink the way my life was going to be going forward. Break ups like these take up a lot of time and energy to get right, and i believe we got that part right! We found a way for her to keep the house and live there with our son for most of the time, and i started the extremely tedious road in an overstressed market to a new place to call my own home. In this journey lies the true core of this topic. For a new house means new priorities and a new listening space.

The whole HiFi hobby has started back when i was just a teen, with a nice vintage Sansui amp from my dad into some pretty good Bose speakers wich became obsolete when the whole 5.1 surround minispeaker systems were a thing. This translated to in car entertainment back when SQ vsn SPL was a thing. I was on the less popular side of the equation whereas my friends all had boomcars. In the years following, i had upped the bedroom system to a modest Marantz stereo amp (which i still have) and matching CDP and a variety of speakers from B&W and the dutch make Driade, always trought the secondary market. You can say, this was quite the hobby for me, and apart from listening and enjoying the sound and technical side, i was also trading up every time. When my girlfriend and i decided to buy a house together, she accepted the hobby but she always thought it was a little much, but could also appreciate the sound quality over more modest systems.
Then and there i decided to sell off the car and the whole car audio system and spend that money on a pair of realy nice speakers and matching electronics.

Enter Naim and Sonus Faber. The system i settled on for a very long time consisted of a Naim Nait and CD-5i2 playing trough a truly lovely pair of Piano Black Sonus Faber Concerto Domus’ speakers.
My only other source was a modest Pro-Ject debut carbon turntable.
I could thoroughly enjoy this system for its pure musicality, and never fatiguing sound. Trough the smallest of black box naits the system was capable of filling the whole typical Dutch 90~00s living space with open floorplan with sound. Never sounding harsh of anything other that full.
The electronics where situated in a self designed and built cabinet. I knew that i would eventually might want to upgrade, so it was ready to accept full hight naim boxes from the get go. For TV duties i was uning a cheap outboard DAC from project.
With that in mind, the Supernait was always on my mind from the very beginning, but was way out of my price range from the introduction.
After living with this setup for 4 to 5 years, i noticed dealers started to sell trade-in models and i bit the bullet on a Supernait. The amp brought considerable advanteges over the little nait in bass depth, power and control. All in all it was more transparent of the source, and the DAC which the internet back in the day tought was not of a very high standard was very good with the TV source.
The biggest transformation came when i found a preloved CDX2 for the right price at the right time. From this day on i had my dream set up and for the first time in a very long time, i thought of my speakers as the weakest link eventhough they had been able the clearly show all the changes i made to the system. I always had that feeling they just lacked a little in the bass dynamics department to be truely all round. Every now and then i love some hard electronic music of heavy metal, and they just never really gave me that gut punch from the kickdrums or electronic bassline. Note, they did do low bass in my room, it was just a little to slow to be But the speakers were also the single item that could not be changed/bettered in the eyes of the lady and i have to agree with her. While i certainly like a wide variety of well built speaker cabinets, none of them come close to my domuses in terms of build and finish for their price.

This elaboration brings me to the case in point. With new priorities in mind, i needed to free up as much funds as i could. I was determined to keep the Supernait and CDX2, but figured i could let go if my beloved pair of speakers. For i had no guarantee those would work in my unkown new living space. After some patience i’ve been in the sad but very lucky position that some enthousiast came along that was willing to pay the exact same amount for them as i once paid for my ex-dem pair. To they went. The turntable and Stageline Pre-Amp are probably the next thing to go, but only to get a nice HIcap in return.

The whole breaking up and searching for a house in an overstressed market has been tedious as stated before, but all this has led me, with some luck, to an awesome appartment close to where i grew up. It needs some love but it can be made exactly the way i want, and the positive thing about this. I don’t need any approval for the way i style it and what i would put into it. So, i’ll be geting a new pair of nice speakers. Which actuatly has got me pretty excited, except that with corona i’m not going to be able to do alot of demoing. I also don’t mint going preloved again if the speakers are worth it.
The living space actually doesn’t differ much from my old. It’s a little shorter, but the width and hight is the same, with the exact same layout. 5,75x5,11x2,44m with an open kitchen of 2,40x2,40m. concrete walls with spack (less reflective than plaster) and solid hardwood floor. The new system will be situated on the longest wall on the open side of the room and i will sit across. Furnishings, rug and windowdressing will be heavy enough to help tame the sound a bit.
I don’t want, nor need extreme sub levels of bass, but i do need the qualities of my old domus’es in terms of room filling capabilities and midrange magic complimented with faster more dynamic bass output. I want to be able to “feel” a little more of the dynamics without shaking/rattling the room. For this reason i think a pair of nice standmount monitors would fit the bill. Added bonus would be improved imaging and probably a smidgen more treble sparkle/refinement.

On my shortlist of previously demo’ed and well known speakers that left a very good lasting impression:
Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor M
Totem Rainmaker
Neat Momentum/Ultimatum Series (floorstanding)
Sonus Faber Liuto (floorstanding)

I’ve always been wanting to hear offerings from Spendor/Harbeth, but haven’t been able to yet. I’m also very unfamiliar with the lineup of the latter and i wouldn’t know what would be an approriate contender in the line up.
I also love to hear the lower ranges of Neat (Motive/Elite) for their size looks to be great for my intended use. Same goes for Totem’s offerings (Hawk/Forest)
Heard Kudos and wasn’t at all impressed by them, same thing with Monitor Audio (though the GXs sounded stunning on the end of an MFA5 system).

I’m curious to hear from the community if you would think standmound speakers are capable of the desired characteristics in terms of output and quality withouth harrasing the neigbours that much and what else should be on my radar. I’m looking to spend anywhere from €1000,- to €2500,- for a pair (preloved of ex-dem no problem) but won’t bite the bullit any time soon. Budget may also change for better or for worse, depending on the job in the house.

For those who have read the whole thing, thank you very much for your time and for those who want to take the time to react, thank you even more!


Im just off for a quick lie down.

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Quite a story! You may find that Proac D2 or D20 will gel really well with your Supernait, as Proac speakers are normally a fairly benign load. I have found the Neat Ultimatum series to need at least a NAP250 to come on song.

Speakers are the most fascinating & frustrating part of a system to get just right, due to speaker-room interactions. Hence you really need a good, patient dealer who will let you tray several.

Happy hunting, BF

Longterm relationship breakups are never easy, and can be very destructive if there is animosity or if one party is greedy and unscrupulous and resorts to lawyers that screw the other party for all they’re worth. As far as conveyed by your description it sounds as if your breakup has been amicable and has sought a balanced outcome, which as far as these things can be is a good thing. To have survived with your hifi system just needing speakers is very positive!

I have to leave it to others to make suggestions, not having any direct experience with standmounts myself.

Very best of luck on the personal side of things.

Not much to say on the speaker front other than I’m exceptionally happy with my Motive SX3s, and when I substituted my Iotas into my main system for a few days I was amazed at their imaging and mid range, I think they image better than the SX3s. They’re wasted stuck either side of the TV! I wonder if the ribbon tweeters are something to do with that, so possibly worth an audition of the larger cabinet Iotas with their ‘funny’ HF drivers.

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