Ovator S-400 BMR failure?

This morning I woke to the sound of no sound coming from one of the BMRs in my 2011 Ovator S400. This may have been user error (mine) during an over-enthusiastic listening session last night. It is without a doubt my most regretful Saturday morning in a very, very long time.

Conditions: no sound at all comes from the BMR; there is not a noticeable burnt smell, but both the functioning and non-functioning BMRs have a similar ‘electronics’ smell; swapping channels does not change the absence of sound.

The forum and web are fairly quiet on this subject (one poster seems to have had a repair completed and another found spares to replace their failed BMRs).


  • Is there a diagnostic test to determine if it’s a failed BMR, crossover or something else? Measure resistance across the terminals?
  • Does anyone have any familiarity with S-400 BMR parts availability or repair prospects in North America?

I’ll open a ticket with Focal/Naim on Monday but am curious if anyone here has an easy fix (hehe), stories of recent successes correcting this problem, encouraging words to share or a even proper scolding. :slight_smile:


ND5 XS > SN2 > Ovator S-400

That’s a new one to me. I have to ask have you checked balance controls. Do both either or both Naim boxes have balance options?

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I don’t know what the parts situation is for Ovators, but your dealer should be able to find out for you. I fear though that after so many years and so few sold it may not be good. In which case, it may mean trying to find someone to repair rather than replace.

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Music is to be enjoyed Jim, so understandable but not a great situation after, my sympathies as a fellow Ovator owner.
In the uk, which doesn’t help you directly, but may yet have more experience than in your parts, there are a number of specialist repairers.
If Naim, which sadly I think likely, are unable to suggest a source for a replacement, that may be an avenue worth exploring. I recently used a specialist speaker repairer (for non-Naim) and they appeared very knowledgeable. Without doubt a good repairer will be able to test your unit(s), once you know the spares availability. Good luck, keep us updated please.

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A great speaker (range), imho which after the tricky set up if SBL/DBLs needed to be moved, Naim speakers weren’t perhaps so popular. As many of us know, set up properly, they performed, but demo wasn’t easy. I had an issue with a SBL tweeter which never got reliably resolved despite lots of effort from MR - serviced boxes, changed boxes and more - a real example of Naim going above and beyond - all well out of warranty!

Hence my move to active Ovators. When the range was discontinued I acquired the smaller ones in addition. In case of a catastrophe, I now have a spare Snaxo for a different speaker.
The new classic NSC222 + NC250 on S400s is a really great combination (replacing a Nova, which was a little mismatched); apologies to the OP for the slight thread drift.

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Pretty sure on a previous thread we were told there were no spare bmr drivers. I think they were made in Germany, designed by Karl Heinz Fink……might be worth contacting them?


I had issues with my S600 BMR units, not a total failure like this, but a sort of resonance/sibilance @ 3k hz iirc. This occured on my first year of ownership going through no less than three units replaced. Since then, crossing fingers, they have been working faultlessy, i have still a spare unit available. No issues with S400 s instead. It’s a shame that Naim or Focale ditched this range, so well engineered and good looking, worth of further development imho.


Being an active S600 owner i would love to see what the bmr unit looks like outside the speaker ,can you possibly load a picture or 2.


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I remember hearing S600 of the very early ones.
I was disappointed.
Later editions seem to be better, no idea why.

Finally a pair of S400 passed my way and I grabbed them.
They are wonderful performers and fit close to rear wall in my room, just not a fan of the look really, I sort of hate the raised upper back cabinet, heck I need to live with that compromise.

I remember Cambridge did some speakers long ago, they had BMR as drivers, could they be Karl-Heinz origin and will they match Ovators ?
Rega RS10 are also with BMR.

Its a stunning driver, a pity they seem to be out in the dark and that Naim didn’t secure extra stock for future support.


Thanks for all the responses.

  • Yes, it’s always good to check the obvious (gas in the tank, etc.). The SN2 has a balance control and it’s centered.
  • I’ll call my dealer in Seattle on Monday. He seems to know a thing or two. He’s especially good at listening to my needs and offering a product that fills the void. :wink:
  • Use of he BMR by other brands may mean there’s stock elsewhere. I’m wary of turning this into a DIY project but buying replacement speakers is unfunded at this point. I’ll consult the Treasurer.
  • I’ll follow-up with KHF if my dealer and Focal-Naim NA aren’t able to assist.

I sure do enjoy the S-400s and the performance of the BMR is what hooked me. Here’s hoping there’s a positive resolution. I’ll keep in touch.

p.s. I’ve opened a ticket with Focal Naim America. I’ve used their ticket system in the past for a failed display panel and the response has always been good.

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My sympathies as a fellow Ovator owner, fingers crossed!


The S400 is probably one of the best speakers I’ve heard in the range, so happy with mine and it was a huge pleasant surprise after reading the comments about Ovators here. It’s common to read outlandish statements here and comments about speakers attract more hyperbole compared to other components in my view.

It sounds like the OP pushed his too hard which seems difficult to me b/c I have occasional sessions of high volume listening and the components never seem to be under any duress as a result. No excessive heat or distortion. It makes me wonder if the OP was going to uncomfortable listening levels.

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I owned a pair of the Ovator S-400 with an ND5 XS > NAIT XS 2 and then with a SN 2 and they were fabulous.

No suggestion regarding the problem you’re experiencing but hopefully your dealer (Hawthore’s?) will be able to provide some assistance.


Particulary later S400 has been improved from earlier generation which was quite shut in and grey in presentation.

Interesting, do you have any idea where we are regarding serial numbers ?

Mine is 368xxx if memory serve, 2014 vintage, so five years in since release ( 2009 - 2017 )

No matter what, they have surprised me really, they replaced a number of Neat, Rega and Kef loudspeakers, never really came on with Momentum SX5i while Iota Alpha and Motive SX1 amo performed better in my room.
Strange world.

S400 was launched in 2011 or so, The pair i heard at Milan Top Audio was probably the worst. Next year at the same Place and apparently not so good room driven by Unitilte was much better. Mine are Naim staff buil s.n. in rosewood.
S600 are 2010 with 2012 BMR

FWIW, my BMR is dated 10.05.2011, SN 3177xx.

Hi, sorry to hear about you blown driver. I am not familiar with the BMR drivers, and by looking at the photos posted above it appears the connection is made on opposite sides of the speaker…never seen that before.
Anyway, I have had a blown woofer before on a regular type speaker, and the way I tested it was to press a 9 volt battery against the + and /- terminals. If it is blown, nothing will happen, if it is good the woofer should move in and out.
You may be able to try this with a small piece of wire connected to the battery.
Good luck figuring it out.