Naim 500 system upgrade planned

Having lived with my system unchanged for about 6 years, I’m now upgrading… I’ve got a non DR 500, S800’s, 555 DR pre amp with single power supply, ND555 streamer at the moment.
Planned upgrades;
DR 500
Replace speakers with Scala’s
Add Melco
Add Melco switch

Any thoughts on these ideas? Main reason to upgrade for me is I find my system too hard and edgy when playing rock and full band sounds. It’s great with detailed music like Sinne Eegg (female voice with double bass) but hard work with full bands.

Or am I loosing the plot!?
Cheers
Martin

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I have heard the scala,s and never liked the top end, too shrill for me. I have a melco n10 which brought a more natural presentation than the Uniti Core it replaced. The Melco switch i found too soft and mellow and bought a Innuos Phoenix net which had more detail and timing.

I am surprised the s800 is not performing on rock music, though i admit to not having heard them, perhaps another owner like @Darkebear could comment.

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I’m surprised that rock is hard and edgy - I don’t get this with my 252/250. I wonder if there are some room interaction issues, or whether the mix of DR and non DR is an issue. All things being equally, your system should be right up there sound wise.

I doubt there is any harm in doing the DR on the 500, but I wonder about the room interaction….

I’m surprised by the description of the S800, too. I had a pair on loan for a while, and was highly impressed (settled for S600 because I couldn’t afford S800).

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I don’t know the S800 but Klipsch Scala’s(?) are like a jump to another universe?

I suggest that you check out Vivid speakers particularly check out the Kaya 45’s … they are incredible. In satin silver they superbly organic…and will fit into most environments… agh if you are talking Focals …at that price range try the Kaya 90 even better!!! Having said that…the Focals are very good … speakers are so personal. DR’ing the 500 is a good idea…which you will enjoy…

He could mean Scala Utopias, not sure Focals are a cure for a hard and edgy sound though. I’d start with cable dressing, Fram setup and box and plug order before spending more money, except for DRing that which isn’t. Assuming NACA5, Highline and standard Naim cables.

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Possibly… Your system is way above my pay grade, but… if its not sounding good, then something must - surely - be ‘wrong’.

Is everything fully serviced and up to date…? If not… :thinking:

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The quest for improving things never really ends its a great and potentially very expensive hobby…the more revealing the system the greater the ability to hear tweaks or upgrades

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That’s a fantastic system and should sound wonderful. Do you have it all on Fraim and using a good dedicated mains. If not, that can do a lot to relax the sound and improve communication. Maybe you could post a picture, which may help?

I have only heard the Focal Scala Utopia Evo III on one occasion and they could be the perfect speaker if you like your music to sound screamingly bright and very unnatural. You are potentially spending a lot of money and I’d suggest enlisting the help of a really good dealer is the best step. Everyone will suggest their latest favourites and what works for one is highly unlikely to work for all.

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I would start with the DR of the 500 and see what this brings but before going further, I would ask have you reviewed your room and considered/addressed room treatment (?), as this can be needed to supress top-end brightness, as well as addressing bottom-end issues, and sorting the latter also often tidies up the former.

It could also be that a physically smaller speaker may be better?

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Hi Martin and welcome to the forum.

I am surprised you describe the sound as hard and edgy, I found the S800’s far from that. If that is true you will hate the Scala’s with your current set up.

A DR upgrade is a sensible suggestion but have a look at the whole set up and make sure its all working properly first,

Kind regards

PB

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They are an excellent speaker on both Rock and Classical - seamless, detailed and fast.
I run mine Active with 3x 500DR so that may give me more of that - but my strong advice is to listen to what a DR 500 driving them does, as it is an entirely different Amplifier than the non-DR 500.

The DR upgrade to 500 was a revelation and brings it into a totally different league of performance - it is capable way-above the partnering 552DR which is why it works so well with the S1 Pre, but you should find it gets a real grip on the S800 and reveals what they can do.

Also - if you have not had the S800 re-torqued since acquiring them - do it!
They only need - I found - one re-torque back to their correct settings (get from Naim.Dealer) but you do need to do it as the initial shrinkage over the first nine months to a year of the wood in the cabinet under the drive units gasket makes it go off and it really suffers if not correct.

  • do not do this without a torque driver with the correct setting or you may easy damage the drivers by distorting them and then you are in trouble - but other than not being silly it is very easy to do.
  • slightly slacken each bolt and then re-tighten in sequence in a loop following the circle of the drive unit - it takes a few minutes and then is done for many years - well mine were!
  • Begin with the spring under the speaker - insert BMR locking bolts first - tilt Speaker 90 degrees (with help from a strong friend - they are HEAVY) onto something soft (a cushion) on its back and tighten the leaf-spring and other bolts underneath first to the correct settings - they will be off if it has not been done since purchase - and it does impact bass clarity and especially timing. Then put upright again and do the drivers as above mentioned.

I’m trying to be helpful in suggesting the least cost option assuming you do get the 500DR - and even without that it is the thing to do first as I noticed a big improvement with my non-DR amps I was using when I purchased my S800.

But no - they should not be poor at rock music - they have the best timing and sure-footed bass I have every heard from any speaker, so check you have then set-up correct.

DB.

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Thanks Darkbear……thats what i thought you might advise, but in the detail and knowledge of an owner……cheers.

Martin…do you have one psu to the ND555? I think Darkebear is right re DR500 … but also important at your level is adding a second 555dr to the ND555…I would do 500 first then add a second supply…I think that would totally transform the speaker output… the Vivid speakers are fab…but it has to be source 1st…

Hard and edgy is a BMR torque setting problem.
If you have not tightened then it won’t be the BMR bolts at front - in fact if you have not touched these I advise do not do it, as these do not tend to go off-torque.
In fact I’d to the entire Speaker re-torque first and do not even touch the BMR bolts and then listen - if you like the end result leave it there - if not then carefully do the BMR bolts and not ever tighter than the specified torque.

  • What does cause bright edginess is the BMR housing bolts at the rear of the speaker - four around the circumference securing to the speaker. If they are too loose it sounds bright and too tight it sounds over-dull, so get them all set correct.

With all these bolts - get then all set to identical torque and not some random by-hand thing as that will sound awful and ruin the sound.
I found it critical that the drivers and housing were set correctly and done in a circle gradually nipping them up to torque. Trying it side to side across the speaker sounded poor by comparison - if you have the torque driver and settings you can easy try and it takes a few minutes - do it listen to something you know well - then re-try…I eventually tuned mine slightly away (lower) than Naim’s settings as I got more easy fast detail with a slightly lower torque.

DB.

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Cables are super lumina, set up as photo with Focal Scalas.

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Well thanks all for the extensive advice and suggestions, sorry I wasn’t clear about the speakers, it’s the Focal Scala s I was considering. 500 off being DR’d now, borrowed 250DR with Melco switch is sounding much better already. DB’s experience with the 800s is very interesting, I did get the Naim guys down and they were really helpful and did change a few things but never really solved my problem. I suspect active DR 500 setup is a different world again. I so wanted to love the 800s but having borrowed and lived with the Focals for a few weeks now I’m back enjoying the full range of music, the improved sound stage is so much better. Will report back when 500 returns! Thanks again. Martin

And at the moment just 1 power supply to pre-amp, everyone says the 2nd is very worthwhile, so that’s an option i’ll Probably add at some point!