Olive system and bass

Equipment: LP12/Ekos SE/Benz Wood/Lingo, NAP250, NAC 82/NAPSC/Hicap x2, Headline/NAPSC, Majik 109, Oppo BDP 105, Nakamichi CR-1

Room: Concrete floor with fitted carpet. All walls are solid. Oblong shape. Equipment is against one of the narrower walls. To the right floor to ceiling are IKEA units filled with vinyl and CD’s. To the left is a door with windows either side and radiator. The speakers are 6ft apart, and the listening position is 6ft from the speakers. The speakers are 6in from the wall/storage, and 1ft from the rear wall. The other half of the room is taken up with a sofa bed.

Problem: I have tried moving around the 109’s but Charlie Haden’s bass and innumerable others is just just not right. I know what basses sound like and I am not hearing it. Do I have the right suspect?

Consider different speakers, maybe…? Something … bigger…?

An 82/HC/250 should certainly not be lacking - subject to it all having been fully serviced within the last 8 to 10 years… As Naim recommend.

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While the 109’s are fine bookshelfs, you need large speakers really.


Have you considered some SBLs? They don’t have the deepest bass in the world but it is tight as a drum. I once read that Charlie Haden said that SBLs were the only speakers that portrayed his bass properly - remember that he did some albums for Naim.

For what it’s worth, my little ProAc Tablette 10s are great on upright bass. They don’t do the sheer depth of course but it sounds right, and that’s enough to make it an enjoyable listen. I’ve been to enough jazz concerts to know how a bass should sound.

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I had Linn Kelidh floor standers which sounded pretty good but lacked oomph.

When I changed to Focal Aria 936s on the 82, 2 x hicaps, 250 CB it all came together. Modern speakers with classic vintage Naim worked. Since changed to 2 x 135s and Suoercap 2.

As @IanRobertM says make sure your amps and power supplies are all serviced.

Maybe look at floorstanding speakers, new or old they will have more bass and power for your system to shine if you want a big sound.

Speaker matching is tricky and I bought mine blind but am happy with what I have.

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SBL’s seem a good fit. I have looked around and prices seem reasonable at £400/£500. Is there much difference between early and later examples?

It’s most likely to be the room.

Get a calibrated instrumentation mic (e.g. a miniDSP UMIK-1) and a copy of REW, the measure the acoustic properties of your room, you’ll probably find that the bass is dominated by the ‘room modes’ (these are the internal room resonances caused by sound reflections bouncing between the opposing walls).

Have the 109s ever performed properly for you in your room?

Has that ever included firing the 109s across the width of the oblong room, or is that impossible?

Welcome :slight_smile:

To second or third what others have said, no, the naim components you have outlined definitely do not lack bass weight or definition. You could pair them with some speakers where the end result could even be too much. I’ve found to my detriment that the room is vital for the speakers since I’ve had to give up my solid walls and floors, which doesn’t suit my SBLs but you seem to be in a better position and I’d definitely give them a whirl, but crossovers also benefit from a service.

Thank you to all who have responded. I tend to agree with those that have mentioned room effect. There is really nothing I can do with the room at the moment. But, at some point it will be refurbished and then I will have an opportunity to make changes. I the meantime I will continue to tinker. Earlier in the year I added a second hicap. That addition made a appreciable difference. Also, I have the custom stands for the 109’s on the way.

I have a set of 109s on their original stands on my second system driven by a NaitXS and there is really no lack of bass (I’m often actually surprised by how much comes out of them). They also strike me as pretty accurate in that regard. However, of course they can’t defy the laws of physics and will not fill up a massive room with bass.

The distance to back wall you suggested is much smaller than what I’ve had them at, though - more like 2ft in my case, and way further from the side walls (which are also symmetrical, and that doesn’t seem to be the case in your space).

Lastly, whenever I experiment with speaker positioning I do not end up with an equilateral triangle as you’ve described, but rather with them a bit closer together. I’d experiment with bringing them closer to 5ft or so in between them if you are 6ft away from either of them.

I will try out your suggestions when the 109 stands arrive. Thanks

Try loudspeakers on the longest wall and well wide apart, wherever possible and probably bass and mid bass should change consistently.

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