Shahinian Arc 2 Advice

Have recently come into a set of Shahinian Arc 2 and having a bit of difficulty between my experience and what I’ve read about these lovely speakers.

As a bit of background, I’m looking to downsize my speakers (physically) following a house move, coming from a pair of B&W 804s which I’ve loved for over a decade now. I run them (and now the Arc 2) off a Naim Supernait 2 w/HiCap.

My goals in attempting the switch were: reduce the physical size to fit better in the room, reduce fatigue from tweeters, maintain a deep and full sound, have the speakers sonically “disappear” to a greater extent.

My experience thus far has been a bit different. What I’m hearing is a more pronounced high end, less mid and low end, and a somewhat directional sound. The bass is there and very controlled but seemingly light.

Wonder what I may have gotten wrong as the sonic picture seems a bit different than the usual writings about these neat little floorstanders. Any advice from folks who are familiar with the Arc 2?

Strange…they should work well with the SN2 and from the sound you are describing, that just doesn’t sound right. @ChrisSU is your man for Arc 2s

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And @GaryYeowell too. He had 3 different Shahinian.

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Hi, my first though is that you might possibly need to run the Arcs for a while to get the best from them. I bought mine ex-dem from a Shahinian dealer, so you might think that they were well and truly run in, but at first they didn’t sound that great. In particular they had no more deep bass than the little Kudos X2s they replaced, a far cry from the ‘shake the foundation’s’ performance they are said to have.
Over the first 2 or 3 weeks of regular use the performance of mine was completely transformed, and they do now have plenty of deep, controlled bass.

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That’s very interesting. I bought mine second hand so would have assumed the same, but I can find out a bit more about how much they’ve been used. Have been running them most of the day yesterday and today at least.

It’s not speaker A vs Speaker B it’s room /speaker interaction.

It’s a bit like saying my Lexus LS430 was disappointing on boreens in Connemara whereas my Land Rover was suboptimal on the M7 motorway.

It’s not burn in, it’s not cables, it’s not your electrical provider- it’s the room.

If you have a way to use convolution filters (Roon being an example) see what Home Audio Fidelity can do for you.


I’m not sure how relevant this is, but the guy who sets up my Linn insists on a NAP250 with his Arcs. They are Arcs though, not Arc2s.

Hope it works out.

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Hear you on that. Somehow when I moved house my B&W sounded just as full even in a different room with different orientation. That said, I didn’t have the Shahinians before so no comparison point and wasn’t possible for me to demo (cardinal sin, I realise). Had gone on so many write-ups about how they have a neutral sound and aren’t fussy about placement.

Can you post a pic of your setup showing the Arc placement ?

I’d second the above thought from @Christopher_M . Try to borrow a 250 from your dealer to see if that changes things. I don’t know the Arc 2’s, but I ran Arc 1’s on a 250, then 135’s with great results.
Supernait2 power rating sounds enough, but I just wonder.
For a short period I ran my Arc’s with a SuperUniti. On paper it should have been fine, but it was pretty hopeless. Thin, dull, not worth listening to. I then took the pre out from the SU into my old CB 250. Bingo, the magic was back.


The general placement is not really changeable though ultimately if the Shahinians stay, they’ll be a little further spread outwards.


That’s a shame. I’ve a hunch they’d sound awesome sat either side of the Piano and listen across the room. Shahinian’s love being away from corners - the further the better.
Possible they just aren’t for you/and or your room, but try a 250 if you can. It could be an old generation, used 250 too, so shouldn’t cost the earth.


Arc 2s are said to be an easier load than the Mk1s, although I suspect they still like a decent amount of power. My Mk2s certainly sounded more controlled with my more powerful Chord Étude than they did with my 250DR.

I have Arc Mark 1s and previously B&W 802s. I found the treble on the B&Ws harsh but find the Arcs less so (and I understand that the 2 have a more refined treble!).

I find the bass nice and big, preferring it to the B&Ws but take your point about directionality. Arcs are more directional than I expected when I bought them.

I tried them with both an olive 250 and a 180. I settled for the 180 as it had a much better ‘thwack’ factor and is less ‘tame’ (refined?) than the 250… this might be due to it being unregulated, I don’t know.

I find placement against the wall quite a big factor for the bass. Corners are bad and I suspect that the angle of the bay window (and the wooden panelling perhaps?) is not helping you. After much too-ing and fro-ing I settled on about 18" from a flat wall with at least that space either side of the speakers. I also toe them in about 5 degrees. I tend to think, without any evidence, that a brick wall would get better results than a plasterboard one.

I do like them and for my set up, where I have to have them either side of the sofa I sit on (grrr…), they are about the best I could hope to get I think.

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I only have experience with the Obelisks and Diapasons, but I’d say that your placement there - close together and in the front of the bay - probably aren’t helping. Having the B&Ws there is, in addition, likely making things worse - especially where the bass and mids are concerned. Could you perhaps get them out of the room while auditioning and then experiment with getting the Arcs closer to the walls and a bit further out widthways from the bay?

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Have just had another look at your room. It’s not unlike mine except where you have your piano I have a whacking great fireplace and a large screen TV… which is why I have my speakers either side of the sofa, which is why I have Shahinian Arcs… they still sound great when I’m sitting on the sofa and I still get reasonable instrument placement (stereo separation).

Interesting @MC2 . I also had my Arcs either side of a sofa in a previous listening room. Mostly, I listened from another sofa opposite, but occasionally sat between the speakers and was always pleasantly surprised at the articulate sound. It gave a different view into the acoustic of a Classical recording for instance.

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I’m always surprised how well Dire Straits self-named album sounds, but I also listen to a fair bit of experimental electronic music too, which always sounds pretty good. But yes, they do choral and vocal music extremely well.

That is interesting. I used to have my B&W either side of the piano at my previous home. The room was similar configuration. Somehow they sound even better here, despite the right side bass drivers firing directly into the sofa!

Dire Straits pretty much always sounds good to me, like Steely Dan. These and a handful of others, I could listen to all day.

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