Naim Ovator S-400 still worth it? Upgrade from LS50

Hi All,

I am currently using Kef LS50 + Naim XS3 + Arcam IRDacII + Ifi Zen Stream with two Rel 5ti subs.
I found a decent deal on used S400s in good condition.

How does the S400 compare to LS50s in terms of sound characteristic (birighter / warmer) and is it worthile upgrade from LS50 or should I purchase a more modern option i.e. Spendor A7, Amphion 3LS, Neat SX1 (these are my favourites so far).

I can get the S400 for around 1500 pounds. Room is circa 32sqm.

Thanks for all the help.

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The Ovators are some what divisive as they present the music differently due to the bmr driver being almost a point source. It covers the high end and mid range and down-into some of the low frequency region. So you end up not really hearing the effect of a crossover…….i have s600 and love them. You really need to listen to them as they do-not easily compare to other speakers, that being said you could move them on easily.

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Owning S600 as well and am really happy with them. Reading through many experiences here on the forum, my impression is their performance is very much depending on room and placement, maybe more so than with some more forgiving speakers.

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I think they need a bigger room than most speakers of their size and heard that Naim came to the conclusion that some dealer demo rooms were too small……
hence they got a bad rap.

I can’t answer your direct question.

What I can say is that over the years, I have gained the general impression that the forum’s Ovator detractors have been unable to follow Naim’s placement guidelines for them. As one of my brothers would say, ‘you can take a horse to a disco but you can’t make it dance.’

The guidelines are worth checking imo if you have not already done so. They are in the Ovator manual, online.

Hope it turns out for you, whichever path you choose.

Distance to the sidewalls is key. They are ‘wide dispertion’ loudspeakers and are therefore extra sensitive for reflections. It they are too close to the sidewall, the tonal balance gets distorted and they don’t sound natural.

This is a good setup since the left loudspeaker has the baywindow to avoid early reflections and the right loudspeaker has a large opening to the kitchen to avoid early reflections.

(These are the 600’s, I’ll consider to replace them overnight with 800’s and hope my wife doesn’t notice …)

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I was told the 800;s were only made as active……if she does not notice the improved sound, enormous size,……the extra hifi kit……you will be very happy👍

These 600’s are already active only need to change the loudspeakers themselves :slight_smile:

(Only nap 200’s at the moment)

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I have S400s. I bought them in 2013. At first I used a NAC-N 172 - NAP 200 combo. They worked fine. Since then a NDX and NAC 202 have arrived, along with a couple of power supplies, Witch Hat cables and other toys. Sounding better and better.

They are fast, open and have great bass control. And they emote!

In my view £1500 is a steal.

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Another fan of the S400 here. I use mine with a Supernait 2. I would notes about placement being key with this loudspeaker. Distance to sidewalls is not a problem for, getting the amount of toe-in right (to a margin of less than 1 degree) was vital. With a sympathetic room and the right placement then the S400 is an excellent speaker.

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I used a pair of S400 with a Nait XS 2 for a very short while before upgrading to a SN 2 and they were fabulous. If memory serves me right I believe someone mentioned to me that the S400’s were in the system recommendation section on the Naim website with the Nait XS 2 when they first came out.

I enjoyed my S400 speakers but eventually traded them in for my current ProAc D30RS speakers.


Picture with the ND5 XS with a Nait XS 2.

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I bought my S400 without demoing them and they sounded great with my SU and now 250DR. They’re great looking as well and I don’t like the looks of most speakers. I don’t know if or why they’re divisive. Sounds like internet folklore to me.

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Yes! That’s the sort of thing I would have done! Though it was a Nait XS.

I was ridiculed. Yet it was Naim’s recommendation. Naysayers said, well, naturally Naim would say that, pretty much a Mandy Rice-Davies response. As you can see, all these years later, it still hurts!

And while we are are on the subject, what’s a bloke got to do round here to get a few likes for flagging up the Ovator placement issue??!!! Jeez!!

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How dares he :slight_smile:

Than you for all the replies. My LS50 are around 1.0m from each wall and 1.0m between front baffle and the rear (front) wall, so I should be ok in regards to the placement.

I am still unsure what is the sound characteristic of the Ovators in comaprison to let say Focal, Spendor, Kef, PMC or Amphion form those manufacturers who I was able to demo.