Naim Statement + Stella Utopia

I just took delivery of a pair of Stella Utopia. After the initial day of honeymooning, I now find myself a bit apprehensive over the bright sounding tweeter section of the speakers. Need some insight and assurance from anyone in the know. Dealer did mention that the tweeters will take about 200hours to settle but I am, as usual, a bit overthinking things and fraught with insecurity. When I auditioned the speakers with Naim 500 series amplification and DCS front end all seemed good. Well, right now I am using the backup CD555 as the DCS transport is on the way to UK for repairs.

Help ?

I’ve heard Stellas sounding absolutely sublime and unbelievably awful and imho it’s down to two things: system setup and room acoustics. They need an even neutral room and will expose an over lively room. Give it a few days of solid running then concentrate on setup. Just getting the settings right on the LF will take some time. The best I ever heard Stellas was with Statement driven from NDS with two PS555 and connected with Super Lumina. What is your room like acoustically? Any chance of using REW to measure it? And finally your dealer should be using to help you if he wishes to stay your dealer.

Thanks for that. Dealer supposed to fly in to help with the setup but unfortunately parts of the country is under lock down at the moment. Will likely be a while before they can come. The room is optimised for my previous speakers - ProAc Carbon 8. I use XTZ to ensure minimum standing wave, acceptable reverb time and fairly even frequency response across the range. Not done any measurements for the new speakers yet.

Room treatment consists of a mixture of diffusers and aborbers with Helmholtz resonators thrown in for good measure and 2 PSI PIAA active bass absorbers in appropriate locations

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Hi,
I suggest you to read the thread “ Focal Scala Evo”. It may help you, as some has bigger Focal here with Nap 500dr, like @emrei and others.
But the majority use Sopra 2.

Let them do a few hundred hours before worrying about the sound too much.

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Nice system and room treatment!

I’m considering some PSI AVAA C20 Active Bass Traps myself.

As for the brightness problem, it could be due to many things.

Comb filtering might be culprit. But you first reflexion points (left and right walls, floor and ceiling) are probably well treated. If you use diffusers for your first reflexion points, try covering them with a few heavy blankets. Worth trying!

Speakers positioning is another option. Less toe in…

And finally, speakers burn in or, more precisely, speaker’s crossover burn in. It’ll take at least 100 hours to stabilise your crossover’s caps.

Enjoy your system!

It’s the rubber surrounds. Once they free up they will produce a fuller bass. You can actually hear the difference with a big woofer like yours you tapping your fingers on the cone. Tap on the cone now and they will be firm and taught. Tap on it in 2 months time and you will hear a deep thud. I think this is more relevant with a big woofer as the rubber is thicker and there is obviously more of it. Yes crossovers will burn in but mechanical speaker break in is more audible in my experience.

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At those prices, just like an EB Chiron owner, I would expect them to fly someone in within 24hs to have it sorted out. Are you listening, Naim?:sunglasses:

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I own a pair of Focal Maestro Utopia’s about 4 years old. It did take a while for them to settle in. I have a 500dr/552/555 with 1 ps. Full sl loop including speaker cables. With certain music, especially old rock, it is bright and weak. Physical Graffiti is horrible, the Doors is worse. But listen to Bonamassa’s Live at Royal Albert Hall Slow Gin and it’s magical. Most music made in the last 20 years is great, old stuff is hit or miss. It can only reproduce what’s on the recording. Play Buddy Guy’s I’ve Got Dreams to Remember featuring John Mayer or Sail from Awolnation, if they are too Bright then there may be a problem.

So you’re basically saying it’s not very good with old AAA recordings but it’s is fine with, mostly, digital ones. I think the problem may lie somewhere else…

Nope that’s not it completely. But you are correct in that the percentages of older stuff is not as good on My System. It’s just a few of the older stuff is just bad recordings. Take Zeppelin, Stairway, Lotta Love, Levee Breaks, all great. Kashmir or anything PG is just awful. It’s just certain tunes, it sounds great on PF Dark Side of the Moon. In the old days you would just push the loudness button or turn up the bass. Nowadays that’s heresy to suggest a loudness button.

Do you notice it at all listening levels? Is it worse when playing low to allow normal conversation.

Got to agree. Zep’s first two albums are fantastic but subsequent albums we’re not known for their SQ, some of them real dogs. I was referring more to late 60’s AAA recordings of different labels as well, ie Decca, Blue Note and Island (early years)…

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I have PG on Vinyl now(again), and have to agree that it is not the best recording. I don’t remember ever owning it on CD, but I did own it on cassette tape, and thought that version sounded really good…but that was with 18 year old ears.

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Sounds like you have spent time already on the acoustics and the fact you have diffusers as well as absorbers is encouraging. I’d suggest many hours of running with a varied program of music then concentrating on setup. The stellas do need careful positioning. Good luck

Curious? Did you consider the ProAc K10?

Thanks guys for the various insights. I am burning in the speakers with my trusty 20 year old XLO burn in track on repeat for the next few days.

ChrisBell, I live in a relatively small city away from the capital city in Malaysia. Finding a suitable avenue to audition the potential replacement candidate is quite a task. I bought Naim because I listened to a friend’s C8 with 500 series electronics. Great match. However, I am puzzled why ProAc would tout Kevlar as being a superior material to Carbon.

My original intention was actually to audition a pair of Stenheim. I’d heard the bigger brother a couple of years ago & was quite impressed. Unfortunately, the dealer was all sold out but they did have a pair of Stella on demo belonging to a customer who’d left them in their hands for burning in. Focal was never in my intended list of candidates for audition, much less consideration, as replacement for the ProAc. I’d heard so many stories that they r bright and unforgiving. Anyway, I thought to myself that since I am already here why not. At least give face to the dealer. In the end, I was quite impressed but equipment upstream was different to what I have. I requested for a second audition a little later with upstream equipment as close to mine as possible. I was lucky in a sense because the said dealer also carries Naim & DCS. They were able to set up a 500 series amplification and DCS front end.

I also auditioned PMC Fenestria and Vivid Gaia 1 Spirit. I wanted to audition Magico M3 but no opportunity to do so.

Bought in Nov 2019, delivered in October 2020. Dealer was supposed to fly in to supervise the installation but due to escalating cases, was unable to travel.

I have diffusers at the first and second reflection points on the side walls. Also ceiling and carpet for the floor.

Side wall

ceiling

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Offending frequency played through system. For me - 68hz