Need recommendations for a warmer sounding speaker

Good Morning,

I have tinnitus now and need to change my speakers. It’s the high frequencies that bother me. I am totally unaffected by percussion tracks with only drums. Naim Nait XS-2, Chord Cables, a TDA1541A Single Crown CD player, B&W 804. (I also swapped in other CD players which were all shaper in the highs)

The room is about 3.5M wide and the listening position is 2.8M from the front of his speakers. The room has vinyl plank flooring that looks like wood but it’s very hard and probably very reflective. I have a large area rug in front of the speakers.

DALI, Sonus Faber, ProAc, Spendor, and Wharfedale are mentioned in audio forums as being warm, but all of these are impossible to for me to hear locally. US audio stores have mostly closed down and the only audio chain left sells B&W/KEF/Martin Logan. I will need buy new or second hand from the internet and hope I that made a good choice. (New B&Ws and KEFs both sound sharp to me)

I have heard the ProAc DT8 about six years ago powered by an all-Naim stack of separates and they sounded warm (softer highs) but that was in a massive room. The DT8’s might over-power for my current much smaller room? (comments welcome)

I am wondering if I need to switch to monitor size speakers for near-field listening that won’t interact with the room walls making my high frequency problems worse? (comments welcome)

I want to find speakers that sound tuneful and with good pace at lower volume levels. The B&Ws need to be played somewhat loud or they sound dead and lifeless. I have read that speakers with high efficiency ratings sound more dynamic and fun at lower volume levels. My budget is up to $6,000 US. (New or Used)

I am hoping someone has heard these mostly British speaker brands and could guide me as to which ones might be better or worse for:

  • Warmer sound with rolled-off (more gentle) highs
  • Won’t over power my room size (maybe I need monitors instead of floor standing speakers?)
  • Will still sound “lively and pace-ful” at lower volume levels.

Thank you for any suggestions or comparisons you can offer me.

PS: I don’t have any problems listening in my 2023 Mazda which has separate tweeters on the window pillars and I am betting the difference is that the car stereo produces nothing over 15,000 Hz.

Have a look at Fern and Roby Raven IIs given your requirements. Not a recommendation as I’ve never heard them but I tend to take note of sealed box speakers and these stuck in my memory. The tweeter won’t trouble you as there isn’t one. If you do get to listen to some please report back.
Made in Richmond VA.

Difficult to make a firm suggestion as speaker choice is so personal. However, from experience I would suggest Sonus Faber which I feel have a gentle high end. (I have Sonus Faber Olympics II floor standers, but the Olympics I bookshelf also exhibits a similar softer top end). Hope this helps!

Sonus Faber is a good suggestion, I run Classic Spendor 3/1’s which would fit the bill perfectly but you may have difficulty sourcing. I chose them for the same reasons.

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As you live in the States, may I suggest you to try the Klipsch Forte 4? Maybe it will be easier for you to find a dealer and try them in your room.

I assume disconnecting the tweeter would be too drastic a cut (I don’t know its range in that speaker)? Otherwise this is a classic case where a DSP box could work wonders, whether as a simple HF roll-off that you could tune to suit your ears (and easily readjusted if needed in the future), or if it is specific frequencies that cause problems cutting those but leaving rest normal. Unfortunately I don’t have a suggestion as to what is available, but might be worth exploring.

Before making any changes so drastic as changing your speakers - which may or may not solve your problem - I would firstly look at set-up details and room furnishings. I love Chord cables and use them extensively in my system, but they are perhaps not the best choice for someone who is looking for a warmer smoother sound. So I would investigate cables from Atlas or other manufacturers, which tend to have a smoother warmer presentation. Also, depending on the room, add things to deaden the sound like rugs and curtains.

I would proceed with great care here. You could waste a lot of money.

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Suffering from tinnitus as well and also trying to find a hifi I can enjoy.
I recently bought used Tannoy speakers, as they have adjustable crossover for high frequency rolloff and energy.
And I switched my speaker cables to Duelund tinned copper 12ga which have a darker/warmer sound than the Naca5 or Chord cables I have heard.

I can enjoy music better now, but still not ideal unfortunately.

Good luck

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Maybe some omni directional loudspeakers.
They can sound a bit confuse and paint a picture rather than throwing sound against listener. Hard to describe.

As always, speakers are a personal thing, so I only mention these for the rolled off treble criteria.
I too have tinnitus and have ended up with Graham LS5/9. These and LS3/5a have treble that rolls off above 16 kHz, deliberately done because of the way FM radio works.
There is a US distributor, but whether you can hear before buying, I don’t know.

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You could try putting a 2 uF capacitor across the speaker terminals (ideally across just the rweeter’s terminals), which would start rolling off from 10KHz (assuming 8 ohm speaker) at 6dB per octave so 6dB down at 20KHz. A larger capacitor would start roll off lower,: 2.7 uF would start rolling pff about 7.5 kHz and 6dB down at 15. More such filtering is possible to give sharper roll-off, but a bit more complex

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Buy a pair of Wharfedale Linton’s ($1500) and put the other $4500 into your source. Nice big warm sound and they only get better as you improve your source.

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The Nait xs will have not enough power to drive the Sonus Faber.
You risk to have a bit dull sound.
Harbeth , the same problem.
Maybe Tannoy.

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I’m thinking Quad 303 is a lovely vintage amp with no high frequencies that bother, not a good match to B&W 804 though, maybe some Spendor or LS3/5a

try dynaudio evoke series…i had the 10’s and craved a brighter balance on the end of SN3

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This is what I am looking for…
Which speakers are warmer than others.
Which speakers sound zippy (pace-y) at low volumes.
And maybe a discussion if my room is too small for floor standers.
(I suspect monitors might be 1/2 of the solution)

You can’t be serious. There isn’t an once of refinement left in music when played through Klipsch speakers. One might as well sell their Naim and buy the cheapest receiver and CD player available from Amazon. You’re just having fun with me yes ?

You’ve given the width (a not uncommon measurement for some even moderately large British rooms), but I don’t think you’ve stated the length? (Nor height). A room of, say, 3.5 x 5m by 2.7m height is certainly not too small for moderately large floorstanders, but not sure about sone if the largest, and of course slme speakers are better than others.

A Nait XS2 will really struggle to control B&W804 speakers.

Given your amplifier and a desire for a smoother top end, I would be thinking along the lines of Proac D2 standmount (with the dome tweeter, not the D2R with the ribbon tweeter) or one of the many Proac Tablettes.

Sonus Faber would also be a good option.
I’d be wary about spending too much (i.e. anything more demanding than the Proac D2) on the speakers, as your Nait lacks the control to get the best out of them.
If you want better speakers and for them to sound good, then you may need to swap your Nait for something like a Supernait 2 or 3 first.

Hope this helps, if only a little.

Best regards, BF

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My automatic choice would be a Harberth model to suit room size but the amp might hold the sound back driving a pair.

As always, it’s your ears that have to be pleased so anything shortlisted needs demonstration.