Why this naim system sounds harsh?

I understand, but they are not available for demo.


I have some empathy with the inability to demo desired Naim amplification. It’s a real issue outside the UK. Although ideal to demo, the reality is that once you have decided you like the Naim presentation, if you are looking at the classic range and up, you often have to buy without demo.

The ideal outcome would be for the OP to buy on a “return if not satisfied” basis. We had that option in NZ before the change in dealers. Alas, now, we are pretty much stuck with buy and hope for the best with new Naim gear here now. Sad, but that is way it seems to be going.


That’s not going to happened here. They will definitely not give me a return for sure.

The part that I’m worried about the most is fatigue. I want a system that I can listen to it for over 10 hours a day without fatiguing.

Beautiful speakers. I bet they sound sensational with the Mac stuff. Never heard Sonus sound good with Naim but only heard the lower echelons. ND555 is a great source and I bet it works superbly with the Mac. Good luck

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Purely from the point of view of impedance, given that it is a bridged design, is the 500 best? Bridged amps commonly have greater limitation on low impedance than single-ended amps. 500, 300 and 250 specs all say minimum 2 ohms.

Power wise, my guess would have been at least 300 and 500 probably best, though I say that without direct experience of them.

I have no idea of what height is ‘regular’ where you live. In UK modern homes most commonly are 2.4m, before that 2.7 or even 3m was not uncommon, and before that maybe 2-2.2m.

40cm from side walls is very close and is likely to have significant early reflections mixed with the main sound if not very absorbant or diffusing. Similarly if you are close to the wall behind you that is another source of significant early reflections.

This indeed is important - a fatiguing system is not a good system. The limitation should be your wish to listen, not heaving too much of it.

Given that you have predominantly hard surfaces I still think you need to look to the room, whether or not you change anything else. An overly reflective room with its confusion of early reflections is likely to be tiring on the brain - as well as making the sound less clear which you identified as your primary problem.

Given the cost of your system, if it were me I wouldn’t spend more on it without at least checking the rooms - and being prepared to spend maybe the equivalent of £2-£3k on treating it. Peanuts compared to the rest of the system. I suggest download REW software (which is free), buy a measuring microphone for the equivalent of about £100 or less secondhand (and recoverable on sale if not wanted further), do some measurements at the listening position, and submit to an expert in room treatment (in Uk some suppliers, e.g. GIK, provide a free service and can accept and interpret REW files, or post on the forum where a few people have experience and may be able to make suggestions.

Have a look at this thread:

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Yeah, this is not great. The customer service for new Naim outside the UK is certainly falling away sadly. I think you are probably best staying with the Macintosh personally. I would forget about Naim if they can’t/won’t demo.

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Thank you, they sound very musical together , very smooth, warm, never fatigued. But not as detailed as naim.

For me it’s not just about the opportunity to demo the kit. Traditionally Naim expected their dealers to instal it, and they are your main point of contact for future servicing, advice and repairs. I don’t think a dealer who only sells lower level stuff is going to be the best place to support you with a full 500 series system, and I would want to buy from a dealer who had a commitment to this.
Of course it’s difficult to see which dealers have a long term commitment to Naim while supply chain issues persist, and for that reason I think I would postpone any purchase until things have settled down.

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I think the ceiling hight is about 2.5 meters.
the mcintosh amp with naim source never sound fatigue in my non treating room, but I’m sure I can get better after room treatment.
but Mcintosh just don’t offer me as much details as naim.

thanks for the advice.
my dealer will help me for room treatment.
I will watch the video now

My dealer got the longest dealership in Vancover , they are selling naim systems for decades, and many people have bought separates from them back then. they used to have 500 series even Statements on the floor many years ago. but only for a short period of time, and they sold all the demos couple years ago.
My dealer told me naim is still popular with them, but most customers will only buy entry level equipments, like Atom, Nova or Supernait3.

Until recently there was no one Naim dealer with 500 series as demo here in France. I don’t think it had prevented some to buy a 552/500 and Nd555.
Does it really demand such a great expertise to connect correctly the burndys, destress them, and split power supplies and other components in two different racks ?

Nope…but for me the real revelation was getting a really good quality ethernet switch and Russ Andrews evolution power cords…
I think both items reduced rfi … massively…so be mindful or rfi…

Do you have pictures wha they look like ? So you don’t use naim powerline for power cable ?

No this is a personal choice…the powerlines are good…but they are not that effective at filtering rfi…do a bit of research…its not fair to Naim for me to preach this and that…but rfi is definitely really important…you could try really good grounding that should do a similar job…I hope this helps…I certainly found it did.

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Surely if there is a way to improve what ND555 does through stopping RF reaching it, then it is helpful to users, and hence to Naim, to shout about it!?

Regardless, are the cables and switch blocking RFI, or just changing what RF gets through?

Some people may consider the modulating effect of RF to improve sound quality (ground plane modulation reportedly increases apparent “brightness”, which for some people/systems may be perceived as beneficial, even if a departure from true fidelity.). If blocking is critical, might it not be more effective to do that just at the entry to the streamer? And, perhaps, completely isolate the source or the DAC from ground, to stop ground plane modulation by RF (as opposed to digital signal modulation), reportedly a cause of sound quality changes in the DAC even with the greatest attention to trying to block RF…

It appears that the speakers have about a feet (or less) from the ceiling that is sloped out into the room? Are you able to push the speakers further out into the room so that they are not so close to the ceiling?

I cannot agree more on this. I suspect this close placement to the side walls may have exacerbated the bright or harsh sound with the Naim. The McIntosh amps may have toned down the detail and energy with their smooth presentation.

FWIW my smaller stand mount speakers have about 62cm from the side walls, clear distance from side of cabinet to wall. Anything less than 60cm they don’t sound good. I assume the much larger Sonus Faber floorstanders require more space from the side and possibly rear wall for optimal performance.

Apart from the amps, I believe more effort to optimise the speaker placement in the room will help improve things.


ok, Thanks for sharing.

yes I can , I have try that with mcintosh system before, but there was no brightness problems.
I will try it again.