What component should I upgrade?

MrBuffy

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Aug 2, 2023
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My current system is: Macbook Air -> HRT Music Streamer II DAC -> NAIM Nait 5i mk 2 -> Tannoy DC6T
Streaming Spotify and various other web sources.
To my ears the system sounds good but a bit flat. The bass can get muddy but that could be the room rather than the system.

Any suggestions for upgrades?
 

Al ears

Well-known member
Not too sure about the streaming quality of Spotify but generally it's either end of a system that needs looking at, iif nothing wrong with the source then it's time to audition different speakers
 
Not too sure about the streaming quality of Spotify but generally it's either end of a system that needs looking at, iif nothing wrong with the source then it's time to audition different speakers
May also be true about Spotify. I find it good enough for background listening, but when you are really paying attention bass is less taut. The very start of Blue Monday is a case in point. But then I'm also using Bluetooth to stream.
 

MrBuffy

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Aug 2, 2023
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How big is the room, and where are the speakers in relation to walls/corners? A bit of experimentation might be enough, which would be the cheapest upgrade available.
Room is 5 x 5 m, 3m ceiling i.e. a box. Not much in the way of soft furnishings but one sound absorbing panel opposite speakers, wood floor covered in carpet. Speakers are 1.2 m in from the sides and about 0.4 m into the room.
 

MrBuffy

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Aug 2, 2023
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Not too sure about the streaming quality of Spotify but generally it's either end of a system that needs looking at, iif nothing wrong with the source then it's time to audition different speakers
I do wonder about the speakers. I have a Minirig 3 and that delivers clearer bass, each note precisely delivered.
 

abacus

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Sep 24, 2008
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Naim are pretty decent, so its most likely the speakers are the problem, listen to a few at your nearest dealer (Preferably with your amp) to find something that better suits.

Bill
 

nopiano

Well-known member
It's always bothered me slightly. Very clear and detailed midrange, not much sparkle to the highs and muddy bass.
With a Naim amp, your description suggests to me you might like PMC or Neat speakers. Both can be a bit ‘toppy’ but if your hearing goes beyond 10kHz (mine no longer does) they have an appealing airiness.

They have a deliberately uptilted tweeter response, but if it’s too much they can be aimed straight ahead so you sit off-axis. The new bargain is the floorstanding PMC Prodigy 5 if you don’t mind the plain black cabinet. But you haven’t stated a budget…
 
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Generally PMC and Neat speakers are a good match with Naim. That said, Tannoy are usually very open sound having demoed their Precision standmounts. Think in the OPs case it'll be a matter a process of elimination.
 

record_spot

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May 30, 2015
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Just go active. I see Sonus Faber have some new streaming actives out soon (£4k though, but if you're lashing the cash on Naim...) for cheaper budgets, then Triangle have some streaming actives too for £700. Plenty of other options in the middle bracket, or go for actives without streaming and just build the system around them, which is what I've done. Works - and sounds - a treat.
 
Just go active. I see Sonus Faber have some new streaming actives out soon (£4k though, but if you're lashing the cash on Naim...) for cheaper budgets, then Triangle have some streaming actives too for £700. Plenty of other options in the middle bracket, or go for actives without streaming and just build the system around them, which is what I've done. Works - and sounds - a treat.
Could well be a good option, it all depends whether the OP can fit it into his brief.
 
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Room is 5 x 5 m, 3m ceiling i.e. a box. Not much in the way of soft furnishings but one sound absorbing panel opposite speakers, wood floor covered in carpet. Speakers are 1.2 m in from the sides and about 0.4 m into the room.
I think I'd try them further away from the rear wall before I spent any money - might make no difference but it's not going to cost you anything to find out!
 
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MrBuffy

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Thanks everyone. I'll play around with the speaker positioning, and try out some Mission standmounts I've got in another room. At some point decision needs to be made about source (laptop vs streamer) and active vs passive speakers.
 

matthewpianist

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I agree that, if you are able, experimenting with alternative positioning should be the starting point. Time spent doing so could save you money and bring the results you are seeking.

If that fails, then I believe it's the speakers you should look to. If I've learned one thing, it's that the interaction between speakers, their placement and the room itself is the biggest factor in hi-fi performance. I currently have very compromised conditions for my system. My room brings significant challenges, and the speakers are seated on the sideboard. I've tried lots of speakers in there, but in the end the Missions have proven to be just right, helped by the strength of their cabinets.

If PMC and Neat are a step too far, I suggest you look at Dali. Their speakers consistently offer excellent levels of sparkle in the treble, and the design of them also means that the 'sweet spot' for the best sound is bigger. The Oberon 5s are a lot of speaker for the money.
 
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I agree that, if you are able, experimenting with alternative positioning should be the starting point. Time spent doing so could save you money and bring the results you are seeking.

If that fails, then I believe it's the speakers you should look to. If I've learned one thing, it's that the interaction between speakers, their placement and the room itself is the biggest factor in hi-fi performance. I currently have very compromised conditions for my system. My room brings significant challenges, and the speakers are seated on the sideboard. I've tried lots of speakers in there, but in the end the Missions have proven to be just right, helped by the strength of their cabinets.

If PMC and Neat are a step too far, I suggest you look at Dali. Their speakers consistently offer excellent levels of sparkle in the treble, and the design of them also means that the 'sweet spot' for the best sound is bigger. The Oberon 5s are a lot of speaker for the money.
Concur. Moving the speakers an inch or so can make a difference.

I can vouch for the Neat SX2s and Dalis, both are superb and cohesive.
 
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landco

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Aug 26, 2023
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My current system is: Macbook Air -> HRT Music Streamer II DAC -> NAIM Nait 5i mk 2 -> Tannoy DC6T
Streaming Spotify and various other web sources.
To my ears the system sounds good but a bit flat. The bass can get muddy but that could be the room rather than the system.

Any suggestions for upgrades?
Hello. If I were you, I would sell these 2 components: HRT Music Streamer II DAC -> NAIM Nait 5i mk 2
And I would buy an amplifier with built-in streaming, for example, Denon PMA-900HNE.

I don't like Naim, I think the quality of their products doesn't match the price

(for example, lack of certain types of electrical protection)
 
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twinkletoes

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Nov 16, 2021
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My current system is: Macbook Air -> HRT Music Streamer II DAC -> NAIM Nait 5i mk 2 -> Tannoy DC6T
Streaming Spotify and various other web sources.
To my ears the system sounds good but a bit flat. The bass can get muddy but that could be the room rather than the system.

Any suggestions for upgrades?
Spotify can sound very flat as can listening through a Mac book. I’d try a free trail of Qobuz or tidal to see if there is an uplift in sound. But streaming sounds flat across the board to me anyhow. That is solely my opinion. I’m not familiar with your streamer/dac so can’t comment.

As others have said try the free things and move the speakers about a bit to see if the sound picks up. The tannoys should sound pretty bold in my experience of the brand. If they sound muddy that would suggest they’re to close to the wall.

I have also found that if an amp is plugged into a six gang it can rob of it drive, as it fighting for power from the rest of the components. I find amps need to be plugged into there own wall outlet with nothing else sharing that said outlet. I’m not talking about specialty power strips or anything just plugging it in on its own without other items

Failing that maybe the amp is struggling to drive the speakers? Maybe a little more juice and more upfront sounding amp or easier pair of speakers to drive is in order. But that’s a big expense.

But before spending money as others have said try the free things.
 

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