After a couple of years searching for a pair of Allaes, I finally installed them a few days ago. To say I’m underwhelmed would be an understatement.
The speakers sound slow, constrained and boomy and quite different in character from my IBLs.
Are there any pointers to what I should be checking/adjusting to improve their performance?
Thank you in anticipation…
Can you describe your system components, what speakers you had before, the layout of the room, and the position of the speakers currently. How far from the wall are they, and are they toed in?
My Allaes sounded great when I moved them to a room with concrete floors under carpet, and positioned them as close as possible to a continuous wall. They sounded fantastic with my AV-2 and NAP-V175.
On suspended wood floors with uneven back wall, even with a 500 system they failed to inspire me.
I did find torquing the drivers precisely to spec improved things.
Beautifully made, and ideal in certain rooms, to be sure.
From memory, the manual suggests Allaes shoul be up to 4m apart, have between 10cm and 40cm to a solid wall behind them, and be away from corners. Are these guidelines met?
Are you satisfied that the suspension is working properly? Do a search if not. The front face of the lower box will slope backwards slightly until the weight of the top box brings it vertical when placed in position.
Nice speakers, good luck.
Being a reflex design Allaes won’t necessarily work best positioned where IBLs work best. Backs hard up to a solid wall is not ideal here and corners should be avoided.
Also, like any Naim speaker, ensuring they are set up properly is key; use a spirit level to ensure the boxes are level and make sure the spikes are evenly adjusted and tightened up fully.
System is: CDi, NAT02, 52, S/cap, 135s, A5. S/cap and 135s serviced at Class A in 2021. Previous speakers were IBLs which I’d enjoyed for 30 years!
Room measures 5.0m by 3.2m, with speakers 2.1m apart firing across the 3.2m dimension. Gap to back (solid) wall is 8cm with slight toe-in. Floor is carpet over concrete.
Previous threads suggest speakers should feel slightly springy on the plinth suspension - my Allaes feel quite rigid.
Any further advice warmly welcomed.
The rear part of the base on the Alleas is sprung and there should be some movement here.
I’ve had them in three rooms. The first. just shy of 12 square metres, was nearly square with only a half metre square added in one corner where the door was. Suspended floor with carpet and solid walls.
I tried using the Sumiko masterset method once I’d discovered that hard against the wall didn’t work. That wasn’t entirely successful, possibly due to furniture derived constraints, but I did find a couple of spots where they worked well around 21cm out. There was only 5mm between one note and even bass so some patience and precision was required. This was my “escape from Downton Abbey” system in the spare room and used my old Rega amps.
I later moved the same system into the maim living room. The circumstances involve both Brexit and Covid so I’ll skip over those but I was back in our UK house for a couple of months to put it on the market. There was still a fair bit of furniture and my old second system so I set it up in the livingroom, placing the allaes the same distance from the back wall as they’d been upstairs but centred where I’d had my NBLs. The room was a bit bigger at 16 square metres than the spare room and less square but the floor was boards on batons resting on concrete. The bass was much fuller here but even enough and they still had that boogie going on.
Lastly I used them with my 500 system in a 36 square metre room with plasterboard walls and a tiled floor. I spent a long time on positioning, using Herbie’s small gliders made it easy on the tiles, and found some spots where they seemed to come alive but they still felt out of their depth. Replacing them with my NBLs, which I didn’t expect much from given the wall construction has nearly removed my urge to audition other speakers.
Both the allaes and NBLs hit the spot with their fronts in the same plane, around 77cm out and again there wasn’t much leeway in this.
The Allae is the only Naim speaker that I couldn’t get to work in my room, whereas IBLs, SBLs and SL2s all worked brilliantly. The Allaes gave a chuffy bass that I just couldn’t remedy no matter where I put them. I think the issue here is that the IBL is simply a far better speaker, so long as you are able to live with its limited bottom end. The Allae will never match it for speed and control, and your 52/135s are pretty much perfect for them.
Thank you for your various inputs and advice. I’ll revisit the plinth set-up process and try different locations. Moving them out into the room may be challenging within a 3.2m dimension, but I’ll experiment.
It may be as little as 5cm, perhaps less.
There isn’t set up process as such, it’s really just a case of getting them level. I don’t recall if there are adjustable bolts underneath - if so someone may have overtightened them over the years.
My spare room was 11’, around 3.25m a side and probably the best of the three, I didn’t have IBLs as a yardstick though. The allaes are a ported speaker, via the gap between the boxes, so interact with a room differently to the *BL series.
And all the worse for it. Ported speakers are the Devil’s work.
I thought Pro Ac Tabs are a ported design?
Update regarding my confusion:
One review says Tablette has always been a ported design but then says " the new Tab 10s non–ported design works".
Allaes are not really a ported design. They have a slot between the two enclosures around the circumference of the speaker. This creates an air gap but is intended to negate the issue sometimes associated with ported designs eg chuffing
To add to Richards comment earlier. The Allaes rest on a leaf spring in the base.
With the speakers properly levelled, a gentle tap or push to the top of the front face of the top cabinet should cause the whole speaker to spring back and forth a couple of times then rest.
If this isnt happening something is amiss. Check the leaf spring in the base is slightly loose, turn the speaker upside down and tap the spring it should appear slightly loose. Make sure the wood screws securing the speaker to the spring are snug but not tight. Likewise the allen bolts.
Check the woodscrews mounting the tweeter leaf spring are not distorting the spring. They should be snug against the rubber grommets but without squashing them.
Remove the bolts mounting the main driver carefully and check the wavy washers arent flattened, replace if they are. Be careful but check the driver is still bonded/sealed to the cabinet, a blue liquid gasket type material (hylomar) is used as a seal.
If you have a suitable torgue wrench iirc the correct settings are 3.6nm for the bolts/main driver and 0.8nm for the woodscrews.
These settings are not very tight at all, a torque wrench isnt essential in my view and my dealer believes this is best done by ear. Just nip the bolts, screw them in untill the heads make contact then no more than a quarter turn. Tighten the bolts in a diagonal sequence. The woodscrews simply need to make a lightly snug contact with the head of screw and leaf spring in the base. Similarly the woodscrews should just snugly contact the rubber grommets without squashing or distorting the spring.
I would be reluctant to mess with any screws to do with the spring base. But I agree with Dread that a gentle knuckle tap on the top box should have the speaker briefly oscillating, front to back.
I have a broadly similar room and olive set-up. My recently bought Allaes are 20cm out from the long wall and 2m apart, no toe-in. I didn’t experiment with positioning though, but they sound great.
As Richard said, make sure they are vertical. Also, just to be sure, you have all the pips in place separating the top and bottom boxes?
I think 0.8Nm is for the tweeter to its mounting plate, the wood screws should barely compress the rubber grommets, just so they’re not loose.