Sounds too bright

I’m quite new to this forum and have just started the naim journey.
Need advice please where to go next? I Have a nac 282 hicap DR and nap 250dr. Source is ND5 SX which I use 80% of the time. Speakers are MA studio 20se with naca5 speaker cable. It just so bright compared to what I’m used too. Plenty of base but top end is not great. Should I look to upgrading the steamer to NDS / NDX or would it be worth adding a power supply to the nd5 sx?

I’d say that the source is well out of depth for the amplification. I have a NDX2/XPS DR for example on a SN2 and the 282/250 really needs that as a minimum.

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Setting aside the speakers about which I know nothing and might be really really bright, or quite the opposite, your source is letting you down. I’d get hold of an NDX2, which will balance things nicely and give you improved functionality too.

Depending on the budget a Naim DAC may be worth considering. Then you would use the ND5 as transport.

I would say that (when permissable) a trip to your dealer is needed to see where the issue is (speakers or source) before any money is thrown at this


For a long time I owned speakers which were too bright for my ears. I upgraded electronics numerous times and although this brought some more refinement to the upper frequencies the problem never really went away. This was in three different rooms/houses two of which had separate dedicated consumer unit. Tried repositioning speakers, toe in, no toe in, three different locations in my current room, changed from naca5 to WH Phantom (some more refinement achieved). It was not until I changed my speakers that the problem was solved to my satisfaction.
Any system is the sum of the parts but the biggest change in tonal characteristics is always likely to be the speakers.


Same experience here. Get another pair of speakers.


My experience with the MA20SEs along with a number of other MA speakers of recent years is that they tend to be rather bright. I briefly had a very expensive set of the stand mounts here and I concluded that they just weren’t a good match with Naim.


While your source is not up to the same level as the pre/power I’d be surprised if it was the cause of it sounding bright. I don’t think I’ve heard a Naim DAC that sounded overly bright. I’d start with the speakers… could be that they aren’t a good match to Naim.

Edit… it might also be useful to know what coaxial/bcc cable that’s being used from the source… just in case!

While most of the newer/current generations of MA speakers seem to be a bit more laid back/neutral, their older stuff was generally regarded as bright/forward. I have never heard your specific model but from Google they appear as a model older then what I have heard (I’ve heard a number of different models over the past 10 years or so). So I wouldn’t be surprised if they were on the brighter side. The 282 itself is generally regarded as a bit more forward sounding, now add in how your room is treated & I could see where this could be a bright sounding combo.

True. I have one pair that confirm this

My thoughts are as follows:

  1. If you haven’t already tried one audition a Hi-line, to me it seemed to take the rough edges off a bit when it replace the lavender interconnect in my system when I owned an ND5XS, 282, 200, Hicap (non dr).

  2. Try an XPS2. It seemed to fill the sound out and also take the rough edges off. Haven’t heard the DR version. Also will be worthwhile if you upgrade streamer.

  3. Try different speakers. I haven’t heard this model but MAs with the metal dome tweeters have a bit of a reputation for being bright.

Hope this helps.

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Key question should probably be ‘what are you used to?’…


What age is your kit, any of it new and burning in?

Speakers are often the easiest component to hear huge changes when making a change. At a guess I’d suspect the speakers but their are ways to figure this out before making any changes. Did you make a single change that made this harshness more noticeable? Had you heard this working well in your room, at some previous time or did this system come all at once. If the nd5x is used 80% of the time, what is your other source(s)? and how does it sound with another source - if you have the same result with another source then it is likely not the source. Fwiw, I have the same 282/250 combo with Harbeth M30.1 and ndx2/linn lp - 12,cd-5 or nat-5, ,with any of the sources,I have a balanced highly listenable system.

Ok thank you. lots of replies and some helpful info. The 250 is 2017, & the 282 is ex-demo. 2019. Hicap 2018. So I guess should be burnt in now.? Record Deck is Lp12 / naim Aro / Dynavector XX2 which Sounds ok - also have a superunity with another set of MA studio 20s in a different Room and this really does sound good and I find myself listening to this more and at quite high volumes for several hours. My original system which I had for 20 plus years audiolab 8000q & 8000ms monoblocs I’ve kept the original speakers in the system as I’ve always loved their sound. So far I’m not that impressed at all and wonder where it will lead in terms of cost. I know the room it’s all set up in is probably not ideal due to it’s irregular shape/ size, lots of windows and no curtains but is carpeted. I feel the need to visit my dealer and demo the NDX and maybe some different speakers. And maybe demo an SPX as this I can maybe use with the NDX if I end up with one.
Thanks for you’re replies.

On the other hand here I am happy with my MA Gold GX200, and there is NigelB with GX300 similarly happy. As always, depends

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I have had nd5xs, nds, nd555 in my main system (in that order) and recently an ndx in second system. The nd5xs is quite a long way from all the others. The nds was really fab (though you would have to get XPS or 555 to power it). The nd5xs never quite did it for me though following a cds2 perhaps it didn’t have a chance. I really liked the ndx for the six months I had it (sold to help finance upgrade in main system) and they are quite cheap now (though more than nd5xs) so in bang for Buck terms a move to ndx will probably be quite decent

Thats the way to go

Most of us (myself included) do not have the option of an ideal room, but it seems to me that room treatment may be your best bet. I know it may be a lot of work - beer/pizza for 6 of your strongest friends !! but perhaps You should temporarily swap out the 2 systems (not for the long-term) and see how each system sounds in a different room.