Room comes alive only with high listening levels, need speaker change?

Hi guys. I have a system that consists of NDS/555dr, 282/SC, 250.2, Proac D30r speakers.
My problem is that my room only comes alive and that I somewhat engage with music only when I get to 95-105db’s (measured my with ipad). I love listening to music but I’m becoming preoccupied with the possible/probable damage that comes with high volume listening. My room construction is probably working against me, its double layered plasterboard throughout. The floor is parquet on concrete but with a layer of felt between (floating). Size 4.10m wide x 5.80m long x 2.55m high (aprox 25sqm). Firing down the length of the room. Musical preferences are rock and jazz.
I have already fitted GIK room treatments: Soffit bass traps in 4 corners, 1st reflection absorbers and Moster traps with scatterplates on back wall. These were fitted to improve bass response and to try to improve engagement with the music. There has certainly been an improvement with bass (even though it’s still not where I would like it to be) but I still don’t get the chills/goosebump emotional connection with my music. As I mentioned it does improve a bit and the music comes more alive by pumping up the volume.
So basically I would be looking to be able to listen at slightly healthier volume levels whist having good bass and improving on the emotional connection with the music.
Don’t know why but I feel that the speakers might be the limiting factor. Any suggestions as to what I should be looking to change?

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What cables are you running ?
Naims recommendation against using high definition aftermarket cables can be a green herring.
Other cables can get a lot more resolution and music out without having to upgrade your system.

Hi Toby, Naca5 speaker cables, hiline interconnect.

Have you tried the 250 DR in the system?

Hi Mike, no I haven’t. Unfortunately where I live it’s not possible to get home demo’s with equipment, most of my gear has been bought ex-demo or second hand.

Any chance you can post a few pics of your system and room ?

Sure, will do, probably tomorrow.

Got to be the speakers Spud in that room I’m thinking - I’m very familiar with your Naim gear so maybe a slight mis- match there


Listening reset.

Hi Spud not trying to teach you to suck eggs but it might be worthwhile doing a listening reset. That is using your volume control as a focusing tool. ( you may already know this so please ignore the following ). Instead of using the volume control as a power output of your amp ( Loudnes ) Try thinking of your volume control as a focusing device in that the volume is used to bring the image of the musicians into the plane of the speakers especially if its a closed mike studio recording. A recording of a live performance will most likely be a more open and the focus control will be used to bring the musicians into focus behind the plane of the speakers. If I have any visitors around my place and they show any interest in my entry level hi fi, I usually give them a quick demonstration using the following records and tracks that more often or not can bring them to tears as the music is so emotive and real. It doesn’t have to be very loud. Remember each recording should have a correct focusing point at a normal listening level .

Norah Jones LP Come Away With Me Track 12: Nightingale
This is a great track to focus Norah voice in front of you, and let the swirl music surround you. Hairs on the back of your neck feeling.

Eric Bibb LP Get Onboard Track 7: River Blues
This song will conjure up so many feelings.

Eric Clapton LP Unplugged Live Track 5: Lonely Stranger
This Song/Album embodies PRAT a Reference Standard of work made for Naim equipment. The bass twang you can hear at about the last 24 -22 seconds is superb and should go very low. Even the audience clapping at the end of the song says it all.

I hope this helps as the equipment you have should be giving you a fantastic engaging feeling.

Good luck

Old Quad amp user


You said hardwood floor. Any carpet? Also what about placement can you give us distances : between speakers, from side walls, to the wall behind them, how far to listening position, how much or how little toe in.

Thanks Wolf, interesting, I’ll give that a try later and see how it is.

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Thanks Opus, yes wooden parquet flooring laid on concrete but with a felt layer between the two. There is a carpet laid down between the listening position and the speakers. I haven’t got the exact measurements of the positions on me at the moment but I used REW to find the best spot for the settee in the room and then for the speakers. I use about a 20 degree toe-in. I’ll post a picture of the room later.

Hi Toby, good point about cables but had never considered it maybe because I wanted to avoid falling into that particular rabbit hole. Do you think cables can make that big a difference?

@Spudgun ‘Spudgun’? Yeah, I remember them! :grinning: iu

Sorry, back to the topic.


@Spudgun Is it a recent problem or has it been there from day one? Only asking as unless i’s been done, the 250.2 could be in need of a service. It doesn’t have many fans on here even when it’s running in spec. I thought it was a great amp when I had one.

Long time ago eh? :grinning:

Not recent, had problems since moving into the new house about 7 years ago. In that time I’ve gone from a Cyprus CD7/Naim Dac to the Nds/555dr, from a 200 to a 250.2 (2012) and from Proac D18 to D30r. All excellent improvements in their own way. The previous house had concrete walls and the system sounded fantastic on an emotional level. Here admittedly the details, space and soundstage are much better, I’m hearing alot more nuances than I did before but the sound is very much flat, recessed and unemotional. Thought it might just be me but my wife totally agrees.

Maybe too much room treatment? Hard to say until you’re able to post a few pics for proper context though.

Cheers, Rack.

I suspect that @Mike_S has hit the nail on the head for you.

The Proac D30R is a relatively easy speaker to drive and I find it to be delightfully engaging and musical.
However, the NAP250.2 lacks bass definition, speed & control whenever I have heard one in a system.
The NAP250DR, on the other hand, is a real return to form by Naim. So very much more engaging, tuneful and musical than its predecessor. If your 2012 vintage NAP250 hasn’t had a service, then I would absolutely book it in for one ASAP and have the DR upgrade at the same time.

Other than this, it may be worth a trial of Isoacoustic Gaia or Townshend Podium speaker isolation feet/supports. They don’t work in every case but they made a quite remarkable improvement to bass definition, imaging and the clarity of singers’ voices when we tried them. If they don’t work, you can always return them in the trial period.

Hope this helps, BF



That 250 is probably coming up for a service very soon. Would it be possible to accelerate that and get the DR upgrade done as well?

Also I wonder if you’ve overdone the damping as part of your room treatment. If it’s easily moveable, can you experiment with temporarily moving or even removing some of it?

I assume you’re using standard Naim cables. If so, a system like yours should be singing and I wouldn’t start cable swapping until you’re at that stage. I wouldn’t look to cables to solve what seems to be a deeper problem.


The description of the room sounds possibly a bit over damped to me.

Cheaper to try changing than new amps.

Does anything need a service?

Check connections between everything (maybe plug and unplug) and check for any cable dressing issues are all cheap and easy too.