Naim Atom with Larsen 4 speakers?

Morning all,

I am looking to put together a 2.0 system for my lounge to include HiFi audio and to connect to my TV.

I am very interested in the Larsen 4s as I only have a lounge roughly 15ft by 12ft. I have been doing a lot of reading during lockdown and nearly at the point of demoing and making a purchase.

In my head it seems sensible to consider the Hegel range or Naim Atom as it integrates everything in one simple box from source > DAC > AMP. My only concern is that these single boxes will become obsolete in 1-2 years as tech moves quickly.

On the other hand a high quality amp and less expensive streaming box is more clutter to house in the lounge.

I am kind of on a music journey so tastes have been 90s/00s Rock and Indie, but also listen to 70s rock, blues, blues rock, a bit of jazz. Essentially I want a good all round system as I discover more genres and artists.

All my music is digital with a limited CD collection converted to FLAC and stored on my homeserver with the rest streamed from either Spotify or Qobuz.

Interested to hear where I should start here, my budget for Integrated AMP or separates is total around £3k. Speaker money excluded. If I can do it for less than 3k and like the sound then great.

Hopefully I haven’t rambled too much.

The Larsen’s are interesting speakers (I had the 6s on loan for a while). Although they’d work well with the Atom, stretching your budget could be worthwhile to get the most from them.

One box - A pre-loved Nova otherwise the Hegels you mention are fine one box solutions too.

A few more boxes - ND5XS2 and a Nait 5si (new) or Nait XS2 (pre-loved)

The Atom will work fine with the Larsen speakers. I ran the 4.2’s with a Uniti1 for almost five years, very enjoyable! In fact for me, I struggled to really find anything I didn’t like about that simple system!

Your room size should be fine as well. Should be a really nice setup. Have fun!

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I thought about the “aging” of the “computer part” in streaming as well, before I jumped into my Atom in 2018.

However, the potential upgrades for 2.0 digital formats are limited; surely the current (HiRes) formats are more than enough to fully utilize the analoge parts of a Uniti device. It will miss out on totally new stuff (like MQA), but otherwise the integrated protocols (UPnP, Chromecast, Airplay) are open enough, that they should work for another decade or so.
They will miss things like “AI processing of audio” (“Computational Audio” as Apple puts it: tweaking sound based on volume, and whatever their machine learning tells it; which surely Naim would never do) and the “room adjustment stuff” (which Naim also does not seem to want to do so far).
But playing 2.0 stereo as it is: this won’t change much in the future; also the available inputs (analog/digital) are pretty standardized and will survive the decade, e.g. allowing other streaming sources to be connected.

One issue with integrates is of course always, that if 1 critical component breaks, the whole thing might have to be replaced. But with all the integration happening, that’s the case for most smartphones, laptops, TVs, and other “digital stuff”.

Maybe this helps…

… otherwise I found the solution (Atom) very nice; playing all the sources I needed/wanted, and also TV sound via SPDIF. (HDMI-ARC has additional features with CEC/remote control, but since my TV is on a movable platform, the SPDIF cable is much leaner/more flexibel to handle.)

I auditioned a used pair of Larsen 4’s last year at the dealers and was pretty okay with them at first playing some jazz etc and then went to put on one of my favorite Cat Power albums and it was shocking - not in a good way. It was as if they just decided to entirely remaster the album on their own with a really hollowed out sound. I had to check several times and go back and forth to make sure it was the same record I’d been listening to all these years. It sounded fine on the other speakers I was auditioning at the time. Of course YMMV but I would definitely audition first. I quickly moved on.

I will always highly recommend you listen to ProAc Tabelette 10 Signature with the Atom. Superb combination and for a room your size perfect.

Thank you all for posting, all sage advise.

What I have done is bought some used Larsen 4s for £300. They pre-date the 4.2 model I think.

That way I knew they would in my room with no wall issues, were cheap, good condition and being a small tower I also didnt need to spend a couple of hundred on stands.

It is very interesting you mention the ProAc Tab 10s, as my research over the last couple of weeks pointed to them being the speaker for me, I think there near wall character istics and their sound description online made me think they were winners. However most people were recommending amps from other much smaller company from West Yorkshire. But I think I need to be realistic and not clutter up my lounge again with boxes and power leads everywhere.

So I think my strategy is Naim Atom purchase soon, quality speaker cable into my cheapo £300 Larsen 4s.

Then get a new gas boiler and kitchen for the house, then in a year once I have experienced more music and genres splash the cash and high quality stands and ProAc Tab 10s or 11s if they come out.

Is this sensible without jumping to far on the Audio crazy train?

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Sounds like a plan !

That is just a silly plan there! :grin: Really a pretty good plan. See how you get along with the Larsen sound in your room. There isn’t much difference overall between the 4 and 4.2, so don’t fret over that part. Enjoy your music, that is the important bit!

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Well that was a good deal, about 2.5 times less than what my dealer was asking so you can’t go wrong there. I recommend checking out the Audio Physic line as well, but they seem to be pretty lean as far as dealers, at least here in the States, not sure about the UK. Seem more of a Euro continent product. The Compact Classics (mine were first version half price demos - what I auditioned after the Larsens and a pair of SBL’s) work very well near the wall, look great too and absolutely disappear music wise.

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Thats good to know there isn’t a lot of different from the original to the 4.2.

I took half a days leave yesterday and drove 4 hours to collect them and 4 hours back :slight_smile: seemed worth it to save £1050 compared too RRP.

I had to go yesterday as the area went into lockdown today.

I have finally got a plan for something that won’t drain my wallet by needless upgrades or mistakes!

May just stick with the Larsens if I enjoy the unique presentation. If not I will keep them still but buy Tab 10s on top :slight_smile:

They do look nice, but I will likely stick to stuff easily sourced in the UK with local repairs.

My house is 4 miles away from Harberth HQ, 15 miles away from Audio Note and Exposure, rougly 25miles from Spendor to name a few :smiley:

I wouldn’t worry about the tech getting out of date unless you are a must-have-the-latest type of guy. I reckon other things like phones and TVs go out of date much more quickly. And if Naim do bring out a successor in a few years (more than 1 or 2, I suspect) your Atom will continue to stream your CD rips and Qobuz and Spotify as long as they continue in business.

The Atom is a great product. I hope it gives you years of musical pleasure.

Roger

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Thanks, i’ll likely end up on the Roon train too at some point, takes the hassle out and the whole app thing and search is supposed to be amazing alongside streaming and HDD integration.

I’m not overly concerned about it becoming old tech, I would be very cautious down the line if Naim dropped support after a handful of years considering its £2,300 which isnt a lot I have learnt in this audio world but for the common man is a lot of money, especially in the financially dificault years and decades ahead.

On a more positive outlook I still run my beautiful Panasonic 1080p Plasma, its picture is awesome!

Well, all we have is Blue Jean Cables down the road, and Shunyata across the Sound. And some sort of strange wood single driver speaker mfg I forget the name of the looks of do nothing for me. These Audio Physics don’t concern me repair wise - unless I or somebody else do something really stupid and knock them over. @CrystalGipsy’s recent journey with Proac would be a bit concerning though to me. The Tabs are great speakers though (my dealer carries them). Got these AP’s at half price - $1295 plus $800 for trade in for my two year old Rega RX3’s (that were B-stock at $1100 to begin with) so was pretty happy with the deal. These trounce the Regas.

Not sure what you mean about my journey with ProAcs I had one duff pair hardly reason to not buy them considering I have read more issues with Naim kit than ProAc and my dealer was very shocked they where duff as he’s never had a bad pair sold. Or so you mean something else?

My apologies. I recall glancing at the thread and it seemed as if you had several back and forth but it could have been somebody else or a conflagration of stories from several users. My dealer in Seattle here swears by Proac but they were more than a bit out of my price range (and none used or demo). EDIT: actually looks like they carry Spendor and ATC. Thought at one time Proac and Harbeth as well. I don’t know, easy to get all those British wood boxes mixed up!

It was the same pair, but yes I had one driver replaced then the other went as well. So it was a bad pair in the end. Was a little annoying but nothing more. Got a full replacement pair and they are just dandy.

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@HumbleAudioGuy
How is the masterplan progressing?

Well interestingly I’ve gone on a very different path.

I heard a Sugden A21SE amplifier with a Sudgen CD player a local hifi shop had in used.

So I listened and feel in love with the sound. I heard a range of speakers but fell in love with the Totem Sky bookshelf speakers paired with the sugden.

It felt like magical, so I bought them at with some official stands.

The amp and CD player is at my house now and also sounds great with my Larsen 4s but the totems are on a different level.

I’m collecting the speakers and stands after Christmas as I’ve got to replace my boiler this month too!

A very different system in the end to the Atom option :slight_smile:

I got Mark Grant cables to which sounds excellent and not crazy money.

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