Overator S-800

Hi, I am a very happy NBL owner and have just been offered a mint pair of S-800’s for what seems to be a reasonable price subject to listening to them in my home. Before I commit to the demo does anyone have any opinion on these speakers generally and how much of an upgrade NBL -> S-800 is ? Also, does anyone know whether they have been reviewed anywhere - I can’t find anything online.

M, have you run a search of the old forum? Some members posted their thoughts on running S800s. And of course Naim’s former MD Paul S is a great source of knowledge and info on getting the best from the S800.

Will you be running them passively or actively?

Hi Richard, passively with Statement. I’m just trying to get a feel for whether the S-800’s are enough of a upgrade from NBL’s to make it worth trying them, given that I wasn’t sold on the S-600’s. Because of the effort involved, once they are in my house I’m going to find it hard to say no.

I’ll have a look on the old forum.

For what it’s worth, while I only heard the S800s in a few short demos at the factory, I did feel that in the same room they were much more to my liking compared to the S600s. I heard them with the prototype Statement and it was definitely one of those “oh gosh” moments…

Thanks. I had a look at the old forum and there isn’t a lot there. Maybe I’m not searching for the right thing. It’s strange that I don’t seem to able to find any sort of review anywhere. Quite a bit about the release and then nothing.

The search function of the forum archive only looks at thread titles. Unfortunately it doesn’t search content, so you may need to do a bit of digging.

Yes, the search function of the forum archive is a bit limited. Naim hope to improve in time and of course the major search engines will eventually be able to help too.

Hopefully @Pauls will see this thread at some point and add some info for you.

@darkbear has a pair with active 500,s and i am sure he can provide a lot of insight.

I’ve heard them with active 500s and they are incredible speakers and beautifully made. I’m sure you know that they are enormous, and with that comes a very large soundstage. Perhaps it was a bit larger than life? You’d need a large room to allow them to work to their potential. If the price is good you have nothing to lose by trying them. That said, no Ovator I’ve heard communicated the music as well as my SL2s.


I’d say the same about my NBL’s (active with 3 x 250’s)

The S800 is an incredible speaker that - as good as the NBL is - is in a different league in terms of music reproduction of scale, detail and fluidity of timing info. But you need to get a demo.

They really should be more properly compared to the DBL as the bass extension and control is similar but achieved differently - the S800 uses two 11 inch Bass drivers and it is the cross-sectional area of these combine that gives some measure of low-bass handling (so 2x 11X11 for S800 vs 15x15 for DBL).

I really like the NBL but they are not on the same level - probably sitting somewhere between S600 and S800 but different in presentation.

I run mine Active and they are my final speakers - they are excellent in terms of accurate portrayal of spacial information and beautiful rendering of harmonic structure of instruments and voice - and they sound seamless without any peaks or bumps. I love them and bemoan that Naim do not make them anymore - but very glad I have mine.

People have similar feelings about other great Naim speakers, like the DBL - and the NBL fits in that class of very special designs. Have a demo and decide - they give a far bigger sound than you may be used to hearing.


I have Ovator S-800’s and NBL’s both active and the S-800’s are a big upgrade in all the areas Darkebear mentioned.
If you already have the Statement I think you would be wasting what you spent on it by sticking with the NBL and not upgrading. UHES used to demonstrate S-800 with the statement which was excellent. Of course there could be other speakers you might prefer at the price of the Ovators but just comparing the NBL and S-800 which I have experience of the S-800 is worth it. NBL’s are also getting quite old now.


Brilliant, thanks everyone. I’ve organized a demo in the next few weeks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I also have NBLs with active Nap 250s. I have thought about replacing them due to age but they still sound good. Never heard DBLs or 800s but these surpass other Naim speakers I have auditioned. I have heard other speakers which sounded very good however I cannot justify paying $15-20K.

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