Vintage Speakers for Naim XS3

Hello.

I hope they are well.

I make this post to ask for suggestions:

I have a Naim Nait XS3 for 3 years ago (since its publication), with PMC Twenty5.22 speakers. Everything is fine, however, I would like to try vintage speakers. What suggestions could they make? What vintage speakers can match Naim’s sound quality? I hope you can help me and I thank you in advance for your help. Greeting!

Pd: sorry for my bad english

The obvious choice has to be Naim speakers, they are all vintage now, more or less. They will need to match your room though.
I would also look at Royds, they were a great match for Naim amps and are mostly quite easy to drive.
Be aware that with many of these older models it can be difficult to find spares, especially if a driver need to be replaced.

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i am listening Ariva, very good with my little nait 5i. Maybe… they will replace my JMR Bliss.

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I am running an xs2 with a hicap and Linn Kans, Sounds good, plenty of detail and layering to the presentation.

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Obviously I would be the first one to second that advice, with a general word of caution though:

If we here embrace the concept of servicing the electronics of our Naim gear every 10 or 15 years, it’s not alien to also consider servicing older speakers after much longer. Even more so as they are electro-mechanical devices and deteriorate in two areas. My 1987 vintage Royd Coniston Rs are currently at a Royd specialist for a restoration to their original glory.

Having heard several models there, already serviced and ready for their owners, I have high hopes for what I will be able to enjoy again soon. They put quite a lot of work into that, beating corrosion and desintegration. It involves renewing al soldering, recapping the crossovers, dismantling drive units, re-glueing / re-foaming / re-coning, fixing cabinets and sometimes more. The cost is moderate compared to new speakers, but it’s more of a project also for you than just buying something new.

Projects can be fun though and it’s often surprising what these older designs from Royd, Naim, Linn, Rega, Epos can bring in enjoyment. That said, you now have quite capable modern speakers and amplification, so I’m also wondering a bit what you hope to achieve.

Ps: Regarding vintage speakers, as much as I like Royds, I must also point you to single-wire Epos ES14s on their matching stands. See recent pictures here by @ratrat to see how cool they are!

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That’s one vintage speaker I’d still like to try (with vintage Naim amps). Didn’t realise you could get them restored. A hifi pal used to sell them and said they were one of his favourites along with Kan 1s

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Well that’s somewhat the same story here. At the time Royd had a very active distributor for the Netherlands. Located in a very remote area up north in Friesland, somewhat like Wales in the UK with even their own language. There people tend to buy on trust from someone they know, so it is funny that in every local little village you find quite a few people (still) using Royd speakers! The service center is also local but they get sent in Royds for restoration from a host of places nowadays.

Yes, hence my question what @ithor is hoping to a achieve with vintage speakers for a current XS3 that is so capable with modern speakers.
The Royds make the Nait 2 shine, same era, whereas modern speakers can do great but…

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Bit more, for anyone interested in Epos ES14

I have used mine with XS2 + HC in the recent past. Works a treat.

Currently paired with 72-HC-140. Which is probably their spiritual home. (Same period)

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Just found a more recent image - in our new home - as they are now…

The indomitable Epos ES14, c/w matching stands

Evolved from BBC style design thinking. One of the most natural (neutral) speakers you will ever encounter. Their super accurate mid-range is their strength.

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Great pic…again…stop doing that! Gives me the idea I have to clean / upgrade / reshuffle something somewhere :grinning:

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I really wouldn’t be too keen on getting some vintage speakers. A lot of those venerated today, such as the Linn Kan and Epos ES14, and the various Naims such as IBL and SBL, worked well when coupled to top level Naim amps and a high spec turntable. The Kan and ES14 really need an Nap 250 to perform well. I had a Linn with 72, Hicap, 250 and Kans for years. It was great but was of its time. A lot of the older speakers around are shagged from years of hard use and good examples are hard to find. By all means have a play but it’s worth asking yourself why?

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Because it’s a hobby and it’s fun to do these things :wink:

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I’ve never understood the idea of collecting hifi. Fine if you have two systems but why have two pairs of speakers and only one system? Each to their own of course but buying more records is surely better than buying speakers you don’t need.

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I tried a dozen or so modern speakers but couldn’t find what I was looking for and ended up with Kans and Briks. That was never the plan. But like you say, difficult to find cared for and good sounding examples. Things have changed over the years and there are one or two key things that I really enjoy in (some) older speakers. If I could buy a new speaker that did what I want then I would in a flash. Don’t really want aging drive units and caps in my systems.

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Don’t know where you are located, but there are businesses in the UK that specialise in restoring iconic Linn speakers, Kans and Briks (and Saras). Much like Goldring rebuilds/restores Linn Troika cartridges as discussed here. Best of both worlds then perhaps? All wonderful with Naim gear.

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I agree with you HH

Whilst I have a few systems in different locations I live , the oldest speakers I have in a small system are naim nSats. Personally I wouldn’t go back any further than those , I can’t see the point as plenty of great speakers these days to go with XS3

My brother has my Allaes with his uniti star and it sounds fine but again they are not vintage

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Have you tried any of the Neat Acoustics speaker range Murmur

Naim and Neat go very well together

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Not tried Neat - there are so many speakers out there and I kinda ran out of steam. I would like to hear them though, but at the same time, I’ve kinda made my bed now and happy sleeping in it.

I did think about it but they are quite expensive and always been concerned they wouldn’t come back as musically engaging. Definitely not ruling it out though. I do have a name of someone that will do the Kans. There is also guy on the Internet, Simon someone, that specialises in Briks but he’s so expensive that I couldn’t justify the cost.

I’m lucky with both pairs in that they were never put into storage and spent their lives daily playing classical LPs/radio and never pushed too hard. The Kan 1s in particular are a step up from the half a dozen or so pairs I’ve bought and sold, and I can only think that’s the reason - i.e. constant use.

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Here’s another vintage speaker that has at least one specialist repairer / restorer in the UK. I restored my own pair 10+ years ago and they’re still sounding mighty fine. Not bad for 40+ years of use (and sometimes misuse :grimacing:). I recently read a post by someone who reckons they stand up well compared to Magico S3s. Whether that’s good or bad I couldn’t say, but the Gales can be had an awful lot cheaper!




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