Have just acquired a pair of Wilson Benesch Vertex speakers for a first system at a bargain price, and now it’s time to consider electronics. Hence posting here.
By way of context, listening preferences range from Bach to today, albeit at the poppier end of the spectrum - think Pink Floyd and J-M Jarre rather than Kanye or Lil Baby; and I live in Hong Kong, where flats are small…my listening space is about 3.3m deep by 3m, although that 3m width then extends another 3.3m to one side. Speakers will be 2m apart and maybe 2.4m to the listening position. Listening tends to be in the 60-70dB range, not much louder, out of consideration to both my ears and my neighbours.
So to the question of what to drive the speakers with. I’ve been thinking Roon and maybe splurging on an NDX + Nait combination of some sort, or maybe a Hegel streaming integrated for one-box simplicity - at least as a jumping-off point, this being the start of a journey, I’m sure.
Well, She Who Must Be Obeyed hath 1) decreed that boxes must be small (not even full-width) and few; and 2) fallen in love with the Uniti Atom - after all, it is small and fits in the space available, cute, does everything needed, has great display / controls, etc…she even went so far as to find a pretty good deal on one. I did test a display Atom with some ProAcs and Magico A1s in a similar space, and it was able to drive them loud enough; sound quality, I suppose, might be a different question - at least if compared to other components.
And that’s the crux of it: I worry that we are creating a mullet system. Of course there’s always the possibility of upgrading later down the line if/when we become dissatisfied. I suppose my question is - what advice would you more seasoned people have? Start with this, keep domestic peace and then agitate for further exploration in a year’s time? Is there something else out there (Naim or otherwise) which would be better to start with? Or guns blazing to a bigger system from the get-go?
You have a good grasp of the system and yes, you absolutely are creating a mullet system. The Vertex is a very high quality speaker that thrives on both power and critically, quality. It’s not hard to drive and an Atom will get noise out of them but it won’t be a high quality, balanced system. I’m sure you know that they need to be about 90cm from the walls and that they are a free space design.
In the Naim range I’d suggest you are looking at an NDX2 and SN3 as a minimum, and ideally a 282/250DR. It’s a common mistake to buy illustrious speakers secondhand and then need to buy the electronics to match. If space is a constraint, and domestic harmony is important, should you go with the Atom you’d be better looking at speakers such as the ProAc Tablette 10. Even that thrives with better electronics but it’s a better match than the Vertex.
You’ll get people saying to get the speakers you love and then build the system around them, but you should only go that way if suitable electronics are really on the cards in the near future.
I am one of those in the ‘speaker is most important’ camp, and if you truly love their sound above anything else affordable then in my view you have not erred in buying them - but now indeed you need to be sure that you get an amp that will at the very least drive them sufficiently well to not disappoint you. I am unfamiliar with those speakers so cannot even begin to advise - but as well as asking on this forum you could do worse than speak to dealers who sell them, speak to Wilson Benesch directly, and maybe even see if you can find any reviews and what reviewers have used.
Put them on lively sound electronics and they sound completely different to something warm and relaxing. In that respect, the Vertex is more of a chimera. The speakers aren’t power hungry, but they come to life on the end of both quantity and quality. The specs (89dB sensitivity, four ohm minimum impedance) belie the Vertex speakers’ desire to be well-fed. We found they got what they crave from the Devialet D-Premier (Wilson Benesch have used one in its own demonstrations) and the Burmester system (ohne speakers) featured in this issue. With such a system, they simply ‘resolved’.