Hi - I’m after some advice and first-hand experience regarding bookshelf speakers that pair well with the Atom. Speaker placement will initially be on a desk, either side of a large computer monitor, then later on bookshelves once some renovation work is completed. Room size is 3.5m x 4.0m.
I recently demo’d the Atom at a local dealer with Spendor A1 and Proac Tablette 10 Signatures, both on stands. I preferred the Tablette’s with their excellent mids and trebles, but found the bass rather lightweight and thin. I expected the closed box design to limit the bass (a positive in terms of being able to position them close to the wall), but I didn’t expect it to be so thin. The Spendor’s had slightly better bass, but it was still light and I also felt they lost a bit on the mids and trebles from the Tablette’s. I then tried a Supernait 3 and Auralic streamer in place of the Atom and this delivered the missing bass as well as a wonderful overall presentation, but obviously at much higher cost and additional boxes.
So, some of the thoughts and questions swirling around in my head:
- the Tablette’s are (on paper) the easiest speakers to drive, yet they only seem to come into themselves when driven by a more powerful amp
- will the bass on the Tablette’s be better when they’re placed close to the rear wall, rather than on stands, or does this make little difference given the closed back design?
- is the Atom naturally quite bass shy or I am just partnering the wrong speakers?
- what other closed back speakers are worth trying with the Atom (PMC 25i - bit large, but should be ok to drive; Neat Iota - some people report it to be less good at low volumes; ATC SCM7 - look harder to drive; others such as Harbeth p3esr either look harder to drive or otherwise too big for desktop use?)
- am I right to dismiss rear ported speakers as the bass will be hard to control when placed close to the wall?
- I’m not looking for big bass, just a more balanced sound across the bass, mid and trebles. I’m not interested in a sub.
- a Nova or separates might help with their extra power and quality, but I would prefer to find a solution with the Atom
- why is this so difficult?
Any advice or ideas gratefully received. I’m ready to buy an Atom, but unless I can find some bookshelf speakers with a more balanced sound I’m going to have start looking at alternative options.
Reviews of both those speakers mention them being on the bass-light side - and indeed, the Tablette reviews single out them performing better against a rear wall…
If you want some welly, i’d go for these
Is a small sub out of the question?
The Tablette 10 Signature is a very high quality speaker. I use mine with an NDX2, PS555DR and Supernait 3. They sit on high quality stands, about 3” from the wall. To me they are superb and the bass quality is excellent. Speakers such as this will never work at their best plonked on a bookshelf and I’d say that good stands are essential.
If you prefer quantity to quality, and cannot support the speakers as intended, a pair of Focals could well be ideal.
See if you can hear the Neat Iota.
The ATC HTS7 might work for you.
The Neat Iota is definitely worth trying
Attention to detail always a challenge for me….
Thanks @Naim.Marketing - hadn’t considered the Focals. They look worth a demo and it looks like there are still some Atom+Focal deals out there which make them financially attractive. The only negative I can see is that the Focals are a little larger than some of the other options that I’ve been looking at, but if that’s the only compromise it might be a worthwhile one.
Adding a sub just feels wrong
If I go this route I feel like I’ll be lowering my car suspension and goin’ full gangsta before I know it
Yes, they’re not the smallest speakers, but that extra cabinet volume really helps in the bass game. Definitely worth a demo.
I used Tab 10’s (on a shelf) with an Atom and it is a match made in heaven. They work beautifully together
Atom and Tab 10 Sigs here, but they are on stands and close to the wall. Bass is fine for the size they are but better amp might help. I tried the Spendors when demoing and found them lacking all round. Getting any decent bas out of shelf mounted speaker is not easy.
I loved the Tab’s with the SN3 and am sorely tempted to go down that route, but I would much to prefer to spend less and go with an Atom. I want quality, not quantity, but at the moment the bass with the Atoms/Tabs just isn’t doing it for me. Will try moving them closer to the wall next time I demo them, but not sure that’s going to make enough difference…
Thanks @LindsayM - definitely on the list, just a little harder to track down a Naim and Neat dealer to hear them together.
Do I understand that you don’t yet have the Atom? If that is the case I understand the difficulty (otherwise you can take it with you).
Thanks @anon56814208 - I’ve got the Sonetto I on my shortlist as the dealer I visited also carries these. I guess the II’s are also an option, though they are starting to get on the larger size. My only hesitation is that they look hard to drive (4 ohm and 40-200W) so not sure the Atom’s going to get them singing. Nevertheless, will give them a whirl.
Yeah - at the moment I’m fronting a 15 year old Denon mini with Mission speakers. The bar is set pretty low to find something better The rest of the house is “Sonos’fied” - Sonos 1, 5’s and a playbar, which are great, but really looking to get back into real hi-fi after a 15yr absence. Really looking just to stream and open minded on system and spend. The Atom appeals because of the form factor and sound quality per £.