NBL away from wall

Anyone experimented with NBLs setup away from the rear wall? Curious. Lots of effort involved so any input appreciated.

We did Naim evenings with Naim reps at local hotels back in the 90s. It wasn’t possible to position Naim speakers close to a rear wall sometimes. So Naim reos brought their own walls!

In truth, they used free standing office partitions but absolutely the heaviest they could find.

I suspect that says something about the importance of the rear wall.

Yea, kinda expected that. Thanks, I would have wasted my Sunday.

Hi Walter-

   In most cases, the reasons to consider locating a speaker off the wall behind it are to improve the bass performance, and to enhance the depth of field in the soundstage.    I will address these individually.    If you are getting too much bass in your room, and it is competing with the midrange sonically, certainly trying the NBL's at least a little off the rear wall might be a useful experiment.    Bass performance is the sonic area most impacted by room acoustics, and there are tons of variables at work in most rooms.    While the NBL was a larger speaker, it was just like the other Naim speakers from that era in the sense that the SBL's and even the DBL's were intended to be located very near to the wall behind them.     They were all very sensitive to expert set up, and so if your speakers have been well set up, you have to weigh how much work you want to put into moving them.    The Naim speakers of that era need to be rock solid on their spikes, and generally sound best with little or no toe in.    That said, if you are careful in moving them, or get someone to help you, many music lovers do not experiment enough with speaker placement in order to find the optimal locations for their speakers, and this is true across brands.

    Any general guidelines about speaker placement are no substitute for actual listening in your room.   When we sold the NBL's most customers preferred them near the rear walls to lower their perceived footprint, but there were some rooms in which they performed far better off the rear wall.    The NBL's are not Linn Kans, which were so lean tonally that if they didn't have the bass reinforcement of near wall placement, they would veer very quickly into being far too thin sounding, at least for some listeners.    The NBL's are in that respect far more flexible.     The key thing to work to retain with the NBL's is the sense of the midrange being absolutely free breathing and not obscured by the bass whatsoever.     When they are really singing, you can easily sense this, but it can take some time to find the best locations in your room.

   In my experience, depth of field was not the area in which the NBL's excelled, but having some additional room behind the speakers might help in this respect if your room is large enough to allow for this sort of installation.    

   Good luck,


Much appreciated.

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