I have been thinking of upgrading my speakers (B&W CM1 with B&W powered sub) for something like the KEF LS50 Meta and KEF KC62 sub. (The B&Ws are quite old, and somewhat harsh in the highs with some music.)
One suggested way (by KEF) to connect up is to take the ‘preamp out’ into the KC62, which has an adjustable high pass filter, and then take the KC62 output back to the power amp inputs for normal amplification for the LS50 Metas. This prevents the power amp from sending low frequencies to the LS 50’s. KEF does not say it, but the reason for this is that smaller satellite speakers tend to produce a lot of THD in the lower range where they don’t produce much sound. This obviously avoids that problem, and would be a good thing I would think for any system.
I have an Atom at present, so to go down this route gives me another problem! The Atom does have a pre out, (which I use for the B&W subwoofer), but no ‘power amp in’, so I just use the speaker outputs in the normal way. I would need at least to step up to something like the SN3 as I see that it has a rear connector to join the pre out and power in. The SN3 manual lists uses, but does not specify the case I outline here.
Does anyone do this with a SN3 or some other components?
I would obviously have to provide the streaming capability somehow if I did this, so it’s getting pretty costly just to upgrade my speakers . A pretty major upgrade. Please don’t suggest towers or such. I like small speakers for the (lack of) room presence, and I find they often sound better when assisted by a sub for the low notes.
I will be taking this possible upgrade v…e…r…y slowly. We move from our detached house to a condo (flat) in a few months, so nothing before then, except auditions. I might just get the KEF system and see how it works with the Atom first without any HP filtering, but only after the move.
Yes that’s the best way to use the dedicated sub out from the SN3 as this output is able to drive longer cables. The way KEF has recommended to the OP has added complications with the pre power split (and its 24v rail feed across this link) with the SN3.
I use a SuperNait 1 as a dac / pre and use the power amp jn to power the low frequency of my Ovators. The crossover is a snaxo, not a power amp. That works, SuperNait are very versatile devices.
I have cm1’s too, and they require a SuperNait level amp I’m afraid. I have tried to drive them with lower level amps but that gave a grey and dull sound. One the SuperNait was back, they could set the room on fire again. Great little speakers.
In your situation, I would replace them. If not Kef (great stuff too) you can consider the CM5’s which are easier to drive and do sound better with amps like atoms.
Actually really simple. You just go out of the source to the sub. And the sub goes to any input of the amp. I don’t think this will work if source and amp are one device.
I too have kef ls50 meta and kef r400b sub. My sub doesn’t have the high pass filter output (i think), so I just go out of the sub out from my amp. The Kef LS50 are not small satellite speakers, they handle everything good in my room.
A sub is a must with those speakers. I have the crossover set to 80Hz and am very happy with the results. Even if I get the new big kef sub, I don’t know if I want to go from the source to the sub and from the sub to the amp. If I do, I have to use all rca cables because of the length. But actually really want to use din cbles.
That is pretty much what I will do, but I think the likelihood of me being satisfied without the low registers is remote, so the KC62 (which is quite small for a sub) is almost certain to come as well.
It just makes things more complicated as you need a custom link cable, a longish signal cable to the sub, the signal run through the sub’s high pass filter and then back via another longish cable to the amp. Not good for quality and the amp may not be happy driving these longer cables.
Use the dedicated sub out - it’ll work much better.
When you say “lower level amps”, do you mean “lower power”? The Atom only has 40W per channel of course, and the CM1’s are not very sensitive (about 84db or slightly less). So that would suggest that even going to the KEF LS50 Meta I would need a different amp.
I’m not an expert on Kefs, what I’ve heared I liked it. I’ve tried the cm1s with my Nait 5 which has 30 watts and that was dull / grey sounding. The sn1 was a massive step up. It was like the sn1 and cm1’s were made for each other.
I must add that I’ve grown in my experiences now, and think that however the cm1’s are fun, they are not too refined.
“Not too refined” is a good way to put it! They work well with The Rolling Stones recordings from the 60’s (which I have been listening to since then ), but they do sometimes mangle The Chiaroscuro Quartet playing the Haydn ‘Sun’ Quartets. Tastes evolve - or just get more encompassing.
@IvoB I appreciate your comments, but the reason for the Atom was to reduce the box count and keep it all as simple as possible. So anything involving a miniDSP or hicap is not going to fly. Breaking the Atom into two boxes (streamer + amp) is about the limit.
Interesting that you like the KEF LS50 Meta. I am more and more leaning to the idea of just getting the LS50/KC62 and see how it goes.
I have a SN3, LS50 Meta’s and KC62, in my environment works like a dream. I just use the pre-out’s on the SN3 straight to the KC62 and run the Meta’s full range. Then spend some time on the cross over point, the output volume and actually most recently the room DSP settings, which although my sub isn’t in a corner it integrates best when set to this setting.
For streaming I use the ridiculous bargain that is the Yamaha WX-AD10, £125-£150 which seems to gel really nicely with Naim presentation, it has burr brown DAC in it like many of the Naim components.
I had an XS2 before the SN3 and having checked out the connections on the current XS3 I see it also has the sub out connectors so you could do exactly the same using an XS3 instead of the SN3.
The Meta’s are lowish sensitivity compared to alot of stand mounts but I’m sure the XS3 would be more than able to drive them, the Meta’s are a bit of a bargain and a very capable design that can soak up a good few upgrades downstream of them.
Thanks for the response. It is good to hear that this works. The Meta’s are reported to need a beefy amp as they have low impedance over a good part of the spectrum as well as being of relatively low sensitivity. So if I need to upgrade my Atom I have at least a couple of options.