Simpli-Fi - A journey towards simplicity

So I’ve been giving this a bit more thought lately, in particular in relation to the value I’m getting from my main Naim system and how it fits in with my chaotic life. Firstly it works very well, is enjoyable and performs admirably and in many respects may do a better job than where I think I may want to go but bare with me.
My thinking was could I get a decent system from just a streaming speaker, if not could I get a decent system from an active speaker and a streaming preamp. I’d appreciated the hive mind sharing their thoughts in where I seem to have shortlisted down to, mindful of the fact it’s a modestly sized listening room a little under 4x4m but only contains the Hifi and seating.

Integrated source + preamp option:

  • Repurpose my existing Linn Selekt DSM with XLR Pre output module + Active speakers
  • Linn Klimax DSM 2 (Katalyst initially maybe Organik down the road, nice option) + Active speakers

Both providing options regards speakers (Linn Ekakt or XLR) as well as phono input on the Selekt (MM/MC)

Active speakers:

  • Various studio/pro options from the likes of PMC, ATC etc
  • Consumer options from Linn (Exakt) ATC, kii, Buchardt etc

This got me to thinking and looking at a “do it all speaker”

  • Kef LS60, Dynaudio Focus 30, Dali do a few, Elac Navis.

I’m going for a Linn DSM show down tomorrow and to listen to the kii Three and possibly the Kef LS60’s as time allows to start to paint a picture of what makes sense and what will integrate best.

On cost alone, these options have the potential to deliver a lot of enjoyment with a lot less Hi-Fi intrusion in the room, be keen to hear if any others have tried or perhaps own these combinations, particularly how they may work in a smaller room and ideally at lower volume levels, I’ve read for example the ATC actives whilst great speakers really need to be pumped up to get going, so hence my mix of interest in smarter speakers and smaller standmount types.


I’ll be interested in how you get on. I do like a simple system. Naim need to get that next gen 272 released !

I went for a demo of the Dutch & Dutch 8c and the Kii3 speakers a while back. Very impressive indeed. I put down a few thoughts which may be of interest.

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Thanks James, yes may have forgot to add the Dutch & Dutch, both those and the Buchardt being appealing given you can tune the speaker to the room rather than having to take pot luck and hope whatever you pick works well in your own space.
I had been fairly set on some ATC actives, I need to revisit that option still to refresh my memory, I know they are very competent speakers but I don’t play hard and loud and the room is not massive to let them breathe as much as maybe they’d need to.
WiSA was also something I forgot to mention in the first post as some of these options also support that so you could actually remove even the XLR cables with that solution, the Buchardt ones seem to provide a number of options to support that including the Primare SC15 (I know nothing about that, still reading up on it)


I’m a big fan of streaming pre + active speakers. It’s neat, with few boxes and has the potential for very high SQ. Until recently, I’ve been using Auralic Vega G2 with my active SCM 40s. For the type of music I listen to, I found the SQ improved on the 272/XPSDR/250DR/PMC Fact 3s I move from. I have recently changed electronics to Linn DS with Organic upgrade. This has made another significant improvement, but in a rather different direction: more “analogue” would be a simple way to summarise it. If a load of pound notes fell from the skies, I’d happily gather them up and go out and buy a DSM/3.

As for ATC vs other alternatives at a recent show I attended, active SCM 40s and big Kiis were in adjacent rooms. I have to say I preferred the ATC’s presentation: less hifi, more musical and at least one other forum member reached the same conclusion. But that was at a show, not my choice of music and with different electronics.

Do ATCs need to be played loud to really sing? I’m a fan, so take that into account, but I would say no more than other speakers I have had in the past, including my PMC Facts. The thing about active ATCs is that they will go very loud without distortion, so there is a temptation to play them at a realistic level, when they sound quite remarkable, but I enjoy them most of the time at a more house-frienely volume. The other night I was listening to a new download of piano rags by William Bolcom and the piano sound was so convincing they were enjoyable at any volume including concert hall levels.

Enjoy your search and keep us posted how it’s going.



I merely speculate but I wonder if in 5 years time the Naim range will be a series of streamer/pre amps designed to be used with Focal actives?


Agreed, I need to go refresh my impressions of what ATC offers with my musical tastes and at realistic volume levels, I’m a fan of their speakers, over the years I’ve predominantly listened to PMC speakers and even today have a pair of DB1i on my office desk which I probably listen to most of the speakers I have in use. My GB1i’s are just spares now, they need a new home probably.
The stimulus for this thread was how good could just a pair of intelligent speakers get and would that be a compromise vs my most recent plan which was Linn DSM + ATC Active’s.
The main aspect regards ATC is which ones will work best in that 4x4m listening space. They do appear to do smaller standmount studio ones for example, I need to navigate through their range basically and find somewhere local I can listen to a few of the possible options.

I am also looking for a streaming pre + active speaker.

Have the idea of selling my 555+552 to try Linn Klimax DSM + ATC SCM 100 active.

But then I am scare to move away from Naim also. It sound quite good.

The nice thing and appealing aspect of the KDSM 2 is that at a later stage I can put an Organik board in it. It’s a good compromise vs a KDSM 3, if you can try one (latest KDSM 3) I think you’ll be impressed, I know I have been whenever I’ve heard one. They are now popping up ex demo now as well around £24k if you keep an eye out.

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I considered active ATCs for a while, and the balanced output from my Chord DAC would have been ideal (available on both TT2 and Dave). I chose a different route in the end, by moving to a Chord power amp that allowed me to get rid of my 3 box preamp, so I was still able to reduce box count significantly and improve sound quality at the same time.
Dynaudio actives also piqued my interest for a while following a couple of very strong recommendations from prople who had heard them, so maybe worth a listen if you get the chance.

I had the Dynaudio Focus 30 on my listening list.

Whilst a bit bigger than yours my room is not that large (just under 4 x 6m) and I was also worried how the ATCs would work in the room. Fortunately, my dealer offered a reasonably lengthy home trial so I could be sure before purchase.

If you did go with the Linn streamer, that offers space optimisation which might help with the room. I assume you’ve played with it on your Selekt, so you may already know the answer to that.


Indeed I’m familiar with the Linn DSM ecosystem and have explored these options on my Selekt, a great built in feature.
I’m still drawn to the Buchardt out of curiosity!

I am interested to hear how you get on. I imposed a limit of four boxes on my system when I had an SN3 based system in a tiny flat, and I still have 4 boxes, just now an ND555 and NAC552 with PSs into active ATC SCM50ASLs. I love how it sounds, but see that Linn can do everything my Naim can do in a single box. Of course, I built my Naim system over time, so sticking with the brand, and my long standing non-Linn dealer sort of made sense, but I still wonder whether that little Linn all in one would be better.


I’ve got the benefit of having multiple systems including Naim and Linn. The start of this thought process was probably making a choice between the Selekt DSM and a Nova, I wanted a box I could adapt to my needs and comparing the two, whilst the Nova performs well, lacked the flexibility of the Selekt, I have been able to configure that as a one box integrated covering multiple scenarios and now options to do more configuring it with XLR pre outputs to active speakers and for relatively modest cost to do that.
I did say I’d give my current system based on SN3 + NDX2 a decent length of time before deciding what to do with it. I added some Kanta 1’s and they do a good job, I’m not inclined to start adding more and more boxes (namely HiCap and XPS for starters) chasing performance rainbows with money I don’t have these days, I went back to NAIT’s to avoid that ages ago.
The appeal of being able to just put a DSM on a piece of furniture and turn on active speakers is desirable given what’s possible at decent price points. A KDSM 2 Katalyst as a capable source and as yet to be determined speakers although ATC remain strong candidates.
I think as well it’s the fact I don’t get regular use from that system so can simplify it whilst not loosing my Atom in the lounge and Selekt DSM in my office.
I’m reluctant to replace it but seeing what’s possible for less (boxes and cash) whilst not sacrificing a major chunk of enjoyment got me thinking and far enough to socialise it here.

I think whatever you choose you have to be able to live with the compromises and not be obsessively focused on what performance lies above and beyond.
I heard a Klimax DSM 3 in to a full Statement + Utopia system and was given a chance to A/B that against multiple top spec vinyl sources including a Solstice and Klimax LP12 and a rebuilt Garrard 301 as well as a dual PS ND555.
The audience were all listening to it for the first time and it was relatively new and barely run in and it capably held court with all those sources.
Yes it presents itself differently and there are subtleties if you listen really hard and get analytical about it, but considering it’s one box and can be considered a capable preamp that alone warrants further investigation relative to cost and performance and domestic suitability.
That combined with Linn’s agility to retrofit new enhancements like the Organik DAC in to legacy devices only increases the interest further with more options to explore.
I would add should Naim release a higher spec streaming preamp that sat capably at a Classic level of performance and had XLR preamp outputs (a higher spec Atom HE / 272 v2 in essence) of course I’d be looking there first but alas, whilst it gets talked about often enough it remains allusive hence my attention and budget looking elsewhere.

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Hi @Mr.M
There is a very insightful episode on John Darko’s YouTube channel about what he is calling ‘Future Fi’. Search for IsTHIS the future of hifi? (I think it might be).
He runs through a range of changes and trends that are all about minimal box count. Naim is mentioned for those interested.

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Indeed I know the episode you’re refering to, an interesting reference.

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I recently sold nap300, super lumina speaker and connector and bought Active Atc 40’s that now front my 552, NDS/555. Something very impressive about active.

I tried the 30k linn DSM to replace 552 / NDS and it was lovely and had a level of transparency and detail that was really very good - one box into active speakers and done, however, as good as the Linn is it didn’t have that Naim drive and punch so it didn’t stay……

Right approach to do the demo thing.

Good luck



Another way to simplify, as you all know of course, is to go with a high end integrated and one box streamer. I have never heard but some here went for the 2 Aavik boxes. They look nice too.


Many thanks for guidance FR, will certainly take a look.
What I’m also now realising is my cupboards are stuffed with high value “spares” as well, I really need to start doing a spring clean to raise useable funs to begin a new journey.
The other consideration is UK availability, most of the candidate brands are very local and easy to demo and source especially the ex demo units which save meaningful amounts in a budget.

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