Speakers For Olive Naim Amps

I have the following setup.
52, supercap nap 250 through monitor audio studio 12 speakers.
My sources are michell gyrodec with sme IV ortofon quasar, naim cdx xps and naim nd5xs.
iwas looking to upgrade my speakers, I cannot use sbl’s as I have plasterboard walls.

I am not suggesting that you use SBL’s but mine are against a plasterboard wall now and were previously against a solid wall and they sound amazing. Lots of talk and speculation but every scenario is different. I was ready to change but they sound great.

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How long have you owned them?
were they easy to set up and get sounding right?
I used to have proac super tablettes, many years ago
but they sounded bass light with tha naim amps.
I have had the monitor audio studio 12’s for over 20yrs,
but I miss the mid range and treble of the proac’s.

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Not sure how long I have owned them exactly but I have rebuilt them twice now and them in 2 houses. The hard wall is easier with SBL’s but I only have mine about 4” from the wall. I was expecting the worst but after some settling in they sounded ok so I took the plunge and resealed them. After resealing they work even better! I was surprised. I have the Cherry colour and really like the fact they sit against the wall otherwise I might not have even tried them. My room has a hard floor, not loads of furniture. Everything says they should be wrong but they sound great.

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I use proac response 2.5 with same pre amp but with Nap300 power amp. Plenty of bass.
However they are rear ported so need to be well away from a back wall around 2-3 feet ideally.
If you like the proac sound and are able to place them away from boundaries may be worth looking at them.

I am setting up my system after having it in storage for more than 10 years. I am resealing my SBLs whilst waiting for my amps to be serviced. I have a NAC 82 and NAP 180.
I would welcome any advice on positioning my speakers. I have solid walls and a sprung timber
floor. Is a concrete base worthwhile ? Currently searching ebay for some suitable speaker cables any advice more than welcome

Rear ported speakers are not really suitable in the space I have,
My listening room is about 4mx4m.
Has anyone else been using monitor audio studio 12 speakers with olive naim system?
I was considering getting a pair of spendor A4’s.

I had a similar problem some time ago before I traded in my SBLs. In those days I used Mana frames, the speakers sat on a frame which was supported on carriage bolts screwed into the floor joists. It worked a treat …

When it comes to Olive, I have to say with your setup, I would take last spec Linn Kabers on the Kustone plinths over SBLs any day of the week.

I’m sure modern speakers would also work well and I’d not deign to make any recommendation on those since tastes are so personal and a dealer should guide you.

But if going for Olive era, yeah, Linn Kabers without question.

I bought last spec kabers at the end of a 52/sp/135 pair in a smaller room than the OP against a single skin brick plus platerboard arrangement in a previous house and was highly disappointed with them. Fundamentally the bass extension wasn’t there. I reverted to my previous cheaper speakers.

Not sure on intended budget but I was just wondering whether
a pair of Neat Ultimatums might suit. I too was against rear ported speakers but in the end after long domos comparing new with old at the circa £3k mark I settled on a pair of s/h neat ultimatum mf7s. I fully expected to have to fit the rear foam bung to control the bass but having tried in and out I settled without. I think they suit olive well. They are now in a bigger room but again I’m able to put them closeish to the wall without bungs. Would a pair of Neat standmounts be worthy of consideration?

I’m using B&W 804S on the end of 52/SC/135s, and I really like it. I recently listened to B&W 702S2 on the end of a black box system (ND555/555PSDR/252/ SCDR/300DR) and thought they worked really well, if they’re in budget and size the 700S2 series might be worth a listen.

My budget is around £2,500, But I would consider SH
Haven’t heard any linn speakers in over 30 yrs.
That was a active naim system with isobariks in a six pack at the sound organisation
London in 1986, Sounded really impressive.

I agree - the old brik/six pack combo certainly put a smile on your face at the time but maybe things move on. Very old speakers can require maintenance. Good thing is you in my view have a good budget to get a cracking set of speakers - particularly if you’ve got an option of recent s/h options. Not current but when I demoed for my last speakers tried focal, s400s, neat, shahinian, dynaudio and b&w all at the £2-3k range. I think speaker selection the most personal choice part of hifi but none of were poor imho just some float your boat better than others.

I did hear some epos es14’s when I opted for the proacs,
I really liked them through my onix OA21 at the time.
But I couldn’t afford the epos with the stands, So I opted for the super tablettes
Maybe the es14’s would have been a better match with what I have now.

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My SBLs are currently in storage and I’m using Epos ES14s driven by a NAC 282 and an older olive NAP 250 from an active setup pair for the SBLs - I really love these speakers but there must be better available these days…

(The Epos were originally paired in early 90’s with NAC 72/Hi-CAP/olive 250 and an LP12 - formidable synergistic combination of the time).


I ran ES14s on the end of a Roksan TMS and a Micromega Trio feeding 82/HC/135s until a lightning strike took out an ES14 in 2007, they’d been on the end of a Nait 1, 62/140, 72/140, 72/HC/135s before that. They were great with all of the amps, incredibly fast and responsive, lacked low bass and detail, but I loved music through them.

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When it comes down to it, that’s really all that matters. All the hifi pyrotechnics in the world can’t compensate for a lack of emotional connection. Unfortunately, so many speakers focus on the former.

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The Linn stable of that era produced some very interesting speakers designed with olive kit in mind. Keltiks may be a bit too much for a 180, but the Keilidhs would work a treat. Here in the palace we have two pairs and at the forge Thor has another 3 pairs (one for spares). The better the power amp, the greater the control, and the Linns do like to be ordered about.

Why all the recommendations for “old” speakers?
Surely a new pair of speakers with updated drivers, crossover design, etc would work well with Olive amps…


Because they were designed contemporaneously and therefore stand a chance of a being a good partnership. I had a 180 for a good 13 years and it worked very well with the Keildihs. Not bad with Allaes, though.