Hi Joe… my first post on the Forum after a long hiatus of 20 years from Hifi. Was in the old Forum then, nice to be back in the Naim fraternity.
I understand your sentiments about planning for retirement and it’s good to do this early… when we have a little time and aren’t rushed, we make better informed decisions after nosing around… Have fun!
Your Statement will drive anything today. So getting your speaker, as some members here have so succinctly pointed out, is really about what you like - personal preference. So many to choose from. If it’s vocals, staging, then bass as your speaker requisites - in your future room, I think the present generation Wilsons will be a good match, at least a Daw for what you might be looking for, or if it’s a final retirement speaker without having to do the overkill into the Chronsonic XVX or WAMM, the Alexx V seems a promising candidate. I was not convinced with the Alexia 2s for nearly double the outlay - a Daw would be more than enough to fill your room with enough qualitative volume.
The “challenge” with Wilson speakers seems to be their ‘frequent’ upgrade changes every 5 years - but I think I would be shot for sharing this as it would seem ubiquitous for most speaker manufacturers to constantly innovate and rejuvenate… - if you buy them, don’t look anymore at hardware and just get back to the music… I loved the Naim SBL and DBL speakers - Roy George’s classics which stood the test of time for many years while they were still manufactured by Naim.
A very experienced dealer here in Singapore shared good succinct advice recently - the first thing he said immediately when I was asking him for feedback - fit your speaker choice into your room first, with the right matching amps as the basis, then work on adding the rest, with “the-best-source-you-can-afford” rule quickly coming into effect to match the rest of the set-up. Old news generally not to squeeze a full range speaker into the confines of a smaller room… [the “sealed box, non-ported” likes of the Titan 808s, SBLs and DBLs being a few accommodating exceptions to this] - or to place a small speaker to try and fill a huge cavernous room. But anyone of us can do anything… from personal choice - whatever makes each of us happiest when listening.
I couldn’t agree more with Peter R’s feedback on room acoustics - I have enjoyed his careful set-up for his system - if we pay our money for hi-end hi fi, then don’t just “plug and play” - wring every ounce from the set-up - where all the fun really is!? FR’s Sonus Faber Aida recommendation will certainly be interesting for warmer vocal mid-ranges… beautiful speakers. If looks don’t matter to you, the very boxy but commanding ATC 150s are hard to fault with their driver selection and build quality, another excellent recommendation by Innocent_Bystander. Try the SE versions? I couldn’t live with the looks of the ATC 150s - matter of taste.
I’m personally not a fan of sublimely huge speakers but will share my sordid love affair with the Naim DBLs which I sadly never owned. Heard them just recently again at a friend’s place - after 20 years, they still sounded every bit the true monsters they are. Hard to beat them at their best. They are just wonderful for my kinda sound. Heard the Kudos 808s - no one can say they’re not a great match with the bigger Naims. For what they do, they’re quite ‘compact’ by large speaker standards.
Have fun, Joe! Enjoy your auditions and please post when you can your exploration escapades.