I recently moved into a new ground floor apartment. It’s considerably larger than my previous digs with a main living space around 9x7m2 with a vaulted ceiling that’s nearly 5m high. A lot of space to fill.
At the moment I have DeVore Fidelity 3XL stand mounts which I loved in my old apartment, but they are now sounding a little lacklustre in such a cavernous space (though still great if I listen in the near field). I am after some speakers that will work in this space, but I don’t want lots more black boxes. I would be prepared to swap our my beloved Supernait 3 for a NAC282 to accommodate some active speakers, but not prepared to go too much further than that.
So far I have a shortlist of three speakers:
- ATC SCM50 A (replacing my SN3 with 282)
- DeVore Fidelity Gibbon X (having owned DeVore’s before I know these will work, but they’re expensive in the U.K. and very hard to audition)
- JBL Classic 100 (Much cheaper, but fun and musical, so I’ve heard. Although seems they have some wickedly high phase angles in the bass, so may be too tough for my Supernait to get the most from?)
I will try to demonstrate each, obviously, but they’re not the usual stock of U.K. naim dealers, so it won’t be easy, especially AB comparisons.
I’d be interested in hearing from anyone that has experience of filling a large room with sound, or more accessible U.K. based solutions.
Go active …
When I took my SBLs abroad I found with high ceilings an active system (4x135s and a 52) filled the space.
A shame I’d have to trade in my nearly new Supernait, but I think this probably makes a lot sense overall.
It is difficult to recommend as tastes vary so much, but I suggest trying the PMC MB2. Of course, in a big room like that the Tannoy Westminster Royals may fit and have room to sing…
Yes, I agree of course, but thanks for the recommendations. It’s probably a good idea to create a long list first, so that gives me a couple of other options to consider.
I did think about some of the smaller Tannoy Legacy speakers (as they seem pretty easy to drive) but unfortunately they seem hard to audition. I guess they’re a bit out of the Naim mainstream.
I’ll check them out.
Wow! I didn’t realise the Westminster’s were quite so pricey. I’m afraid my budget’s maxing out at around fifteen thousand pounds not fifty! But I realise I probably should have said that. Tannoys are a great shout though, the large drivers in the Legacy speakers should certainly move some air!
Could it be, you talk 2 types of “active” here?
Active speaker - speaker with inbuilt power amp, connecting to a pre-amp. The amps are obviously “fitted” to their respective speakers; the speakers need a power cord.
Active crossover - connecting the preamp via a crossover to multiple power amps. And from each power amp connect to each (passive) speaker, essentially 1 power amp per membrane (or “way”) of each speaker.
I once heard Tannoy Westminster Royal SE in a huge room, maybe 40ft by 30ft. I was buying the guys LP12 and he demoed it through the Tannoy on an Icon Audio valve amp of around 10 watts. Both speakers sat in the far corners of the room and we sat on a leather sofa at the opposite end of the room. I can still remember the military marching music he played, and the drums literally astounded me with their impact. Never forgotten that and opened my eyes to efficient large paper drivers with valves.
I heard both the ATC SCM 40A and SCM50 ASLT at a demo and both were fantastic. Yes the 50’s were out of this world but was so the price. I would think that the 40A’s would work well in your apartment.
I do hope you have friendly neighbors in your apartment building.
£15k I think two of the best are ProAc and Dynaudio. Also Magnepan’s are amazing in bigger spaces. They need lots power to drive but wow! Then there’s Magico… think they will be hard to get at your price except for pre owed.
Haha, thanks Gary. They sound like astounding speakers, they certainly look it! Not quite my thing looks wise, or price wise.
I certainly like the idea of the amps built into the speakers, rather than all the crossovers and amps in separate racks.
I’m hoping to retain good relationships with neighbours, our apartments are converted from old workshops, so are reasonably well isolated. But I’m hoping for a sound that’s satisfying and full at low levels too.
Big room and a budget of £15K is a nice place to be! You should be spared driving the room upper bass problem so common in smaller rooms. At this price point you are due a home demo without even asking .Enjoy.
Sorry, the Westminster Royals were a bit tongue-in-cheek, though as you say you hadn’t identified budget, and they are rather wonderful!
I hope so! @Douglas
But I only want to audition serious contenders. With such a variety of options I’ll need to narrow things down a lot first. Without going crazy on extra boxes the ATCs are probably favourites.
Years ago when I was thinking of new speakers my dealer at the time suggested I P/X my Naim 135s for a pair of active ATCs driven directly from my existing 52 pre-amp. In the event I didn’t go down that route. ATCs have a reputation for being very truthfull hence their use often as studio monitors.
Speakers? Always the most difficult to choose. Each maker has their own idea of what sounds right.
The SCM40As will likely go loud enough and save a good deal of money. The SCM50s will go lower in the bass and you’ve a much bigger choice of veneers etc. They also sport the “super” versions of the drivers. The cheaper speakers might allow for a 252, or even a used 552, rather than a 282. But a home demo would seem to be essential.
One left-field option to consider is ATC’s own SCA2 preamp. It’s a serious bit of kit, designed as a pre to use with ATC’s active speakers. It has a balanced output which might be useful if the OP is running long leads from pre to speakers.
If you can find a pair of second hand Ovator 400’s you will not be disappointed. The last of the best Naim speakers capable of filling your room.
I went active with ATC40A being fed from Auralic Vega G2, from all Naim system, 252/SCDR/300DR, NDX/nDAC and never regretted it for a minute.
Loved my. Naim gear, but love this active system so much more !
That’s a broad assumption, given the variation in speaker taste between people!