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NAIM NOVA and BW 705S2

gfunk

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Feb 21, 2021
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Guys, I just got this setup, and I love the clarity, detail and soundstage, but the setup sounds harsh--bright at best. High hat is and even snare, even though clear are harsh. Trumpets blare even audience cheers leave a ringing sound in my head. Hate to send everything back. I don't think any settings can be adjusted with the NAIM. Anyone else demo this? Any thoughts?
 
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gfunk

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Feb 21, 2021
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Update: this could be a break-in issue for both the NAIM and BW speakers. I'm running continuous and will keep updates coming.
 

Gray

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Nov 27, 2015
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It's more likely to be 'brain burn-in' that's required.
Different sound can seem quite shocking to some people - especially after years of listening to a different tonal balance.
You've actually described a sound I like.
Hope you get to like it.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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Whilst I, to some degree, agree with both previous comments, if the balance is that unlikeable to you now, no amount of running/burning in, cable changes etc will likely yield the results you are aiming for.

We all have different preferences.

Perhaps best to start again or choose which component you'd rather keep and change the other one?

In my experience, once you are aware of something irritating it rarely goes away. - Just ask my other half.
 
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millennia_one

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Sep 1, 2014
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Break-in, almost as controversial as cables.

The BW have a very forward top end it will lessen as you get used to it/as it breaks in .
But in general, id say the BW's aren't really the speaker for the Naim nova. A little too much of a good thing ie to upfront products.

Upfront with smooth is what you want, opposites attract as they say.

But if you grow to love the sound over the refundable period then leave as is, there's no wrong nor right.
 
I would agree with RoA. I wonder why you purchased them if they sound like that. Is it just in your listening room the combo sounds like this?
I don't think burn in will help much although speaker positioning might help with treble brightness.
If you replace the speakers try Focal.
 

gfunk

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Feb 21, 2021
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Thanks for all of the comments! ROA, great point with the spousal perspective. I made the mistake of buying without trying. I have only heard B&W in stores paired with other sources not the NAIM units. I also own several FOCAL speakers and love their sound but wanted to try something new. I think there is also some degree of me not being used to the new sound (brain burn in)--and the other comment is right, it would be hard to shake the nagging feeling that it is too much, but i'm very open minded and will give it another couple weeks. I'll also toy around with speaker positioning to try to warm the brightness. I have to say again that I love the detail of the setup. I just wish I could get more "warmth".

AI ears is there a particular FOCAL o rother speaker you would recommend? Millennia_one, any recommendations for pairing with the NAIM--i like the idea of the all-in-one system without requiring separates.

cheers!
 
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insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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Guys, I just got this setup, and I love the clarity, detail and soundstage, but the setup sounds harsh--bright at best. High hat is and even snare, even though clear are harsh. Trumpets blare even audience cheers leave a ringing sound in my head. Hate to send everything back. I don't think any settings can be adjusted with the NAIM. Anyone else demo this? Any thoughts?
Sounds like setup and room could be contributing here. Have you tried different toe in? Have you got a lot of glass or other reflective surfaces that would amplify the harshness?
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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To the OP I know it sounds bright, but is it overly sibilant? If not so, give your ears a week or so to acclimatise then decide.

Once long ago I had to do the same with a source as I wasn't used to the amount of detail. Give yourself a week.

Also note the 702 S2 seems a bit forward by default.
 
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Ris101

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May 16, 2020
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Hi gfunk

I've got a set of 706 s2 with a rega elex r. I can relate to what you are saying. I initially used them with qed speaker cable and eventually changed it to audioquest and it brought about a warm sound and devolved the brightness.

Good luck!! I think these are great speakers and not looking to change them.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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......I wasn't used to the amount of detail.
I really think this could be the issue, depending on what you've previously been used to gfunk.
I'm not saying that you will (or should) get to like it.
I certainly agree with the comment that there are no rights and wrongs when it comes to individual tastes.
However, there are obvious rights and wrongs in the way a speaker reproduces what it's given.
It might sound corny (not least because nothing is going to match live sound) but how else can you judge the fidelity other than by comparing to actual music?

So it comes down to the simple question of how realistic does it sound?
If you'd been sitting where the recording mics were, is that how the hi-hat would have sounded? A hi-hat is a bright sound - obviously too bright during playback is no good. But some people don't like the natural sound of hi-fi hats - they actively seek speakers that veil HF to make it more listenable.
I know because I briefly owned a pair of such speakers - that went back to the shop like a rocket.
So no rights and wrongs with taste. But with speakers in particular, regardless of personal tastes, some are actually more right than others (more true to the source - sounds obvious but it's just too much for some tastes).
 

gfunk

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Feb 21, 2021
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To the OP I know it sounds bright, but is it overly sibilant? If not so, give your ears a week or so to acclimatise then decide.

Once long ago I had to do the same with a source as I wasn't used to the amount of detail. Give yourself a week.

Also note the 702 S2 seems a bit forward by default.
I think you're right what I'm not liking is some of the sibilance? I'm not sure how to exactly describe what I'm hearing beyond "bright" except maybe that the highs tend to hang in the air and in your head kind of like a piercing quality. Perhaps I do need to acclimate.

I think overall the sound is very clear and accurate tonally, it's just the highs are very piercing and "in your face".

I play jazz and am accustomed to live sound and the sound of high hats, but the sound of the highs (trumpets, high hats, chimes, high vocal, audience cheers, etc.) here seem to have a shrill piercing quality versus live sound...
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I play jazz and am accustomed to live sound and the sound of high hats, but the sound of the highs (trumpets, high hats, chimes, high vocal, audience cheers, etc.) here seem to have a shrill piercing quality versus live sound...
Oh that's it then, you're best placed to judge that it's harsher than just neutral.
Burn-in is unlikely to change that. Maybe time for plan B.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Thanks for all of the comments! ROA, great point with the spousal perspective. I made the mistake of buying without trying. I have only heard B&W in stores paired with other sources not the NAIM units. I also own several FOCAL speakers and love their sound but wanted to try something new. I think there is also some degree of me not being used to the new sound (brain burn in)--and the other comment is right, it would be hard to shake the nagging feeling that it is too much, but i'm very open minded and will give it another couple weeks. I'll also toy around with speaker positioning to try to warm the brightness. I have to say again that I love the detail of the setup. I just wish I could get more "warmth".

AI ears is there a particular FOCAL o rother speaker you would recommend? Millennia_one, any recommendations for pairing with the NAIM--i like the idea of the all-in-one system without requiring separates.

cheers!
Audition Revel Performa 3 m106 and maybe Harbeth stuff. Also, what speaker cable are you using?
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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I think you're right what I'm not liking is some of the sibilance? I'm not sure how to exactly describe what I'm hearing beyond "bright" except maybe that the highs tend to hang in the air and in your head kind of like a piercing quality. Perhaps I do need to acclimate.

I think overall the sound is very clear and accurate tonally, it's just the highs are very piercing and "in your face".

I play jazz and am accustomed to live sound and the sound of high hats, but the sound of the highs (trumpets, high hats, chimes, high vocal, audience cheers, etc.) here seem to have a shrill piercing quality versus live sound...
If sounds like vocal consonants are constantly piercing, and you’re actually scared of some parts of the music then it’s most likely sibilance, and yes perhaps you should look at other speakers. But try to distinguish this with huge clarity - there’s a difference.

Also as suggested above, which speaker cables are you using? And Naim insist you use their included speaker cable terminators - if supplied I strongly suggest you use them. Naim have been notoriously fickle with cables etc.
 

DougK

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Dec 8, 2013
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Not got or heard this combo but think I may have heard the same from a different combo, as in my signature. When I first got my new gear I was perturbed by what appeared to be an overly bright presentation compared to my previous Marantz system. It took a long time and a speaker change but I eventually realised it was not brightness but clarity and detail that my previous system didn't capture or reproduce. Once I got my head around what I was hearing I just needed time to adjust to it.

I've lived with it for almost a year now and it can still amaze and grate at the same time, and is very dependent on the recording fed to it. It doesn't boogie like my previous kit but at the same time I could never go back having experienced this level of reproduction, it is addictive.

Someone above has suggested Harbeth, this may be an area to explore. Also experiment with speaker positioning.
 

gfunk

Member
Feb 21, 2021
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Thanks for the additional comments all! The speaker wire I'm using is Monoprice Choice 12AWG Oxygen-Free Pure Bare Copper Speaker Wire. Roughly 2 Meter strands soldered to the NAIM plugs on one end and bare wire into the speakers.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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OP do you mind telling us more about how you set it all up? Details like distance between speakers, what are they placed on, toe in, listening position, height of tweeters vs your ears.

Harshness can mean any number of things on frequency spectrum and we are all sensitive to different frequencies. Is the harshness mostly heard on hats and brass? How about distorted guitars? Do they seem overly aggressive?

If it's siblance it would be higher up the frequency range and actually easier to deal with than what I believe is the culprit here. But more info would be needed.
 

gfunk

Member
Feb 21, 2021
10
0
20
OP do you mind telling us more about how you set it all up? Details like distance between speakers, what are they placed on, toe in, listening position, height of tweeters vs your ears.

Harshness can mean any number of things on frequency spectrum and we are all sensitive to different frequencies. Is the harshness mostly heard on hats and brass? How about distorted guitars? Do they seem overly aggressive?

If it's siblance it would be higher up the frequency range and actually easier to deal with than what I believe is the culprit here. But more info would be needed.
Sure, the speakers are about 4 feet apart on an entertainment unit on the rubber feet that they came with. They are toed straight forward, and I have tried various listening angles right in front, and off to the sides to see if there is noticeable difference. There are slight differences in angles but not enough to warm the brightness. The room is smaller, it's an office about 150sqft.
 

insider9

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Sep 20, 2016
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How much off axis on a vertical plane do you have to be for the sound to be acceptable? If you stand up does it still sound harsh?

Also being an office am I correct saying not much soft furnishing? Mostly hard surfaces? No acoustic treatment?
 
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gfunk

Member
Feb 21, 2021
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How much off axis on a vertical plane do you have to be for the sound to be acceptable? If you stand up does it still sound harsh?

Also being an office am I correct saying not much soft furnishing? Mostly hard surfaces? No acoustic treatment?
Yes all hard furnishings and hard surfaces, no acoustic treatment. Sitting or standing has only slight effect in my estimation.
 

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