Volume Imbalance on the SN3

Hi Everyone,

I hope you guys are doing well!

I was listening to music today and suddenly noticed that the vocals are off balance; it seemed that the vocals have leaned to the left. I then paid closer attention and realized that the volume from the left speaker is higher than the volume from the right, and that the sound from the left speaker is a lot more fuller than the sound from the right. While playing some songs that I am quite familiar with, it seemed that the sound of certain instruments was completely missing from the right speaker.

This issue only showed up today, and I haven’t touched the balance knob before this issue. I usually listen to music with the volume knob turned to 10 or 11 o’clock, and the vocals have been almost dead centered before this issue appeared.

My SN3 is currently connected with a hicapdr and a nd5xs2, and the entire system including the speakers is less than a month old. I almost never turn the system off, but I only play music for around 4 to 5 hours per week. Therefore I wonder if this issue is caused by the equipments being too new and not properly ran in(I heard that the performance of Naim equipments tend to fluctuate at the beginning of use).

I tried adjusting the balance knob to the right but found that, while the vocals were centered, the overall music presentation is still off. I also switched the cables around and the issue still remained.

So I wonder if you guys have any suggestion on what I should do. I am still not sure whether the issue is in the speakers or in the amp.

Best Regards,

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Try switching the channels to the speakers (best to swap at the speaker end to avoid making an error at the amp end) - if the problem changes sides then you know it’s not the speakers, but if it stays on the same side you know you have a speaker problem.

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My SN3 is exactly the same, swopping speaker and source cables proved its the amp, the latest instalment is that the remote no longer operates the balance, maybe it’s all related somehow.

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Could be, anything has to be a possibility at this stage. Has it gone to your dealer to be checked?

No not yet, waiting a few weeks for restrictions to lift here, I may well part with it anyway but not until such time as I can demo alternatives

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Just got my SN3 two weeks ago. Exact same issue. Exact same.

Troubleshooting confirmed, as noted here.

I’m in the PNW in the US.

Have a great dealer here, so will leave it on another two weeks solid before discussing.

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I switched the cables as well as the speakers, but the issue still remained. Right now I am wondering whether the issue is in the amp, streamer, or the power supply. Do you have any suggestion on what I can do?

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Do you have another source?

I do not unfortunately:)

I use a Bluesound Node2i Streamer that sends a coaxial digital out to my RME ADI-2 DAC. I then run that at unity gain (3.46v RMS) via RCA into the stream input on the SN3.

I have swapped the following LR/RL with the issue remaining on the right channel of the SN3: the RCA going to the SN3, the actual input on the SN3, the speaker cables, and even inverting the channels in my DAC.

The left channel is more illuminated, has more air, and has more output than the right channel with the balance knob centered.

I also listen to lots of mono jazz recordings and this lopsided effect is especially present on those.

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Note that I’m currently using Belden 10awg twisted pair (2 conductor) speaker cables right now; 10ft pair. I have a 3.5m pair of Witch Hat Phantom on order.

But after swapping speaker cables left → right, I don’t expect this to be the solution.

I’m new to The Naim family and loving my two week old SN3. Curious about this issue and hope it gets resolved for those affected.

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Did you mean you already talked to your dealer? Or did you mean you will wait and see.

I am trying to let the equipments play for a little bit longer before I talk to my dealer; I also want to try another source before I confirm the issue. Hopefully it will work out, dealing with this sort of issue during the pandemic is a bit frustrating.

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I have a great local dealer. I’m in touch with them but I’m also going to wait and see.

I’ll reevaluate once I’m at 4 weeks of usage (leaving mine on 24/7 and listening to music 12 hours a day at low levels). Hoping it self-rectifies as well.

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Oh mine sounds incredible, despite this issue z

I’m sure it will get resolved.

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Allow me to elaborate and let me know if you folks are heading the same things.

The left channel sounds more full, but it also creates that realistic sonic hologram that reaches both out into the room and back behind the speakers. The right channel, on top of being quieter, sounds very flat in terms of that hologram. It’s basically just not there… much like listening to a pair of headphones where you have one ear cup peeled off your ear partially to listen to somebody else speak to you.

I don’t hear any distortion in the right speaker, but adjusting the balance pot to 1:45-2:00 seems to nearly center the image for most songs. However, none of the above deficiencies are addressed. And this perceived “fix” requires tinkering depending on the song.

Will advise after I speak to a local SME tomorrow.

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Wow, this is EXACTLY what I am experiencing! To me it sounded like the right channel is bit muted and it’s soundstage is cut off while still making sound. With this issue, the listening experience has become a bit irritating for my ears due to the imbalance of the sound.

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Ditto, I wonder are there issues with the ALPS balance pots? Anyway glad I’m not imagining it, either way it’s poor qc.

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There’s def an issue, but it’s not just output related.

Even when volume matched, the right side is fully inferior.

But I am not familiar with the construction of an Alps pot behind my basic understanding of how pots function. It’s certainly possible that a non linearity that isn’t directly related to attenuation could be at play.

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