Speakers, upgrade route

So, I have a 272/250DR/XPS DR, currently into Ruarks, and need to change the Ruarks.

Looked at Bartok into ATC SCM40a’s - very nice, until I heard the Rossini and clock, and then into 50a’s - exceptionally nice. So have decided am happy to spend more on hifi, but this has doubled my spend and at that money there are bound to be other options.

(Trying Dutch & Dutch 8c’s but not convinced - slightly digital sound and forward vocals, less presence, though excellent for a standmount at their price)

But what else? If I extend my Naim kit then I’ll need a preamp and probably an NDX2 and another XPS DR, into… Focal? Harbeth?

or do I keep the Rossini but look for a preamp and speakers (but will I get anything like the ATC SCM50a performance for similar price (~£11k))

or move to an ND555…

Decisions, decisions - but I’m sure many have had similar thoughts and want to comment - so please do!

All the trials are done in my house, and I know it’s my ears that must judge (and Mrs Xcentric’s too) - but narrowing down the options would help…

That’s a fairly big spread of budget and options there.

I would try and limit it down to what will work, speaker wise, first in your room. Then see if passive or active is better for your needs.

Then decide options from that.

Good luck.

The question is so broad it’s impossible to answer. Starting with ‘I want new speakers’ it then covers assorted high cost sources and allsorts. Perhaps the OP could think things through, work out the budget and explain what is being sought. Options range from adding a 555 to the 272 and getting new speakers to canning the lot and starting again.

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I agree :frowning:

It started as a simple upgrade to speakers and has got more complex and expensive over time. Part of the problem is that there is an ok budget to upgrade but I don’t want to go step by step by step as that’s always very expensive… but changing everything is proving hard to manage. Perhaps it’s more of a philosophical question - how does one step up a few levels at once, in a sensible way?

Rephrase as:
change speakers, then source?
or decide active versus passive first?
or source first, then speakers/amplification?

With electronics such as yours, my dealer is a huge fan of Focal Sopra 1s. It’s possible that they could be such an upgrade over your existing Ruarks that you put everything else onto the back burner.

@xcentric I had the exact same system when I first entered the Naim world. I did have sopra 3 speakers (should have used sopra 2’s). I quickly upgraded to 252/300/nds same speakers. A year later went to 552/500/555 with Focal Maestro Utopia’s. Now according to some members on here this upgraditis is a mental problem that I should be spending money on a therapist and be satisfied with what I have, it’s been a fun journey that I would probably undertake again. For the money your system is a great system. I don’t know if this is possible, but my recommendation to you is either: (1) buy a nice pair of speakers that you enjoy the sound, or (2) trade in all of it and buy what’s fits your budget, (3) second hand equipment if purchased from reputable dealer is perfectly fine. The problem with buying one piece at a time is the break in or run in time. There really is such a thing. I would never have believed it, but it’s true. I especially found this with all the 500 series equipment and definitely in the super lumina speaker cables and connectors. If possible you really need to hear your system with different speakers (at least 2). Try something warm (Sonus Faber or Harbeth) and then something brighter (focal or atc ). At least go to a shop and hear them on their same equipment. This advise is worth what you paid for it.

Thanks for the inputs. Fully aware of the benefits of used - in fact, the vfm is so much better that buying new is actually quite hard to do!

Agree too about running in. Might try some Focals with what I have though heard a pair a while ago and found them too harsh and bright. But that wasn’t at home, though driven by same system as I have.

The simple upgrade (excellently reviewed Bartok into excellently reviewed ATC SCM40a’s) is indeed an upgrade and excellent, but as there’s clearly better out there I need to experiment some more…

Hi @Zackwater
Can you explain what you meant when you said I did have sopra 3 speakers (should have used sopra 2’s). Was it room size?

I always felt as if the 250/272 would have been better balanced with the Sopra 2’s. When I moved up to the 252/300 the Sopra 3’s were much better.

so, focussing on speakers: current shortlist to audition are
Sopra 2 (or maybe 3, used)
Harbeth 40.2
Harbeth Super HL5 Plus XD

and probably 252 with current amps

and either dcs Rossini/clock or Naim NDX2/xps dr or 555 as source.

What else would be on your audition list?

I have used Ruark Sceptres for years because I really like the drum sound from them. I have recently moved house and have a (small) dedicated listening room. On a smaller budget than you, I had a demo last week. I finally settled on Proac DB3s. Just waiting on supply now.

What is the size of your room? Let us know your impressions if you managed to try these speakers.

6m x 5m
brick wall one side (long side), 2 plasterboard walls at ends, plasterboard/French window opposite brick. Vaulted ceiling, so 2.5m lowest point rising to 5m at peak, across room. Relatively neutral room, resonance at ~40Hz.

Soft furnishings, rug, canvas paintings on wall infilled with fibreglass insulation = acoustically absorbent. Only hi-fi (separate AV system).

listening position about 1.5m from rear wall.

Good sized room. I’ve got to recommend: ProAc K6, Magnepan 20.7, Dynaudio Contour or Confidence series, Magico, Wilson Audio, YG Acoustics

wow quite a list! thx for recommendations

I am using Franco Serblin Essence and the synergy with Naim is outstanding!

Thoroughly recommend you audition them.

Listened to a few today - Kudos Titan 707’s were great, but the Dynaudio Confidence 50’s were epic. Focal Sopra 2’s were nice, B&W 803’s were too bright for me.

The search continues…

Are PMC Fact 12’s on your list?

Sonus Faber?

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