Naim Supernait 3 Speakers - budget 2.5k

ChrisGTL

Well-known Member
Just bought a Supernait 3 and next to be upgraded are my Q Acoustics 3030i bookshelf speakers.

Speakers are approx 10 inches from wall. I can't bring them out any further than that and ideally I'd like to push them back slightly if the speaker allows.

Budget is 2.5k, I'm open to the second hand market too.

I demonstrated the Supernait 3 with the Dynaudio Evoke 50 and loved the combination. My room is smaller than the place I auditioned the SN3 + Evoke 50 so floorstanders may be too much for my room.

Questions;

1) What is the difference between front and rear ported bookshelf speakers? Aesthetics or more?

2) My ears are sensitive to bright/harsh sounding treble. Maybe this is why I enjoyed the Dynaudio Evoke 50 as they use soft dome tweeters. Are soft dome tweeters best suited for my needs or is that a misplaced statement?

3) Do sealed cabinets go as low as ported cabinets?

I do enjoy my bass as I listen to Parov Stelar and JK type music. The bass is massively important and I don't want to add a subwoofer.

The only music I don't listen to is heavy rock/metal.

Any recommendations? I need a shortlist to go demo.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Front ported speakers can be placed closer to the walls. Rear ported in most case does not.

Still this not entirely true. You need to try the speakers in the room first. As example my old Dali speakers (rear ported) needs around 80 cm from the walls sound ideal.

My current Monitor Audio do not. They are also rear ported. They only need 30 cm.

I believe this is because of the Hive bass technology, which MA has.

Soft dome vs aluminum, it depends on the speaker design. I’ve heard soft dome speakers which sounds very harsh.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Is the music style you listen to well recorded? If not I’d chose more laid back speakers.

That’s why I believe QA is good choice. But I believe the QA speakers are large book shelves speakers.

You might need more distance from the walls.

Are you planning to put them on speaker stands? If so buy some soft feet’s. They are excellent at controlling the bass vibrations. The last thing you want is muddy bass. Many swear to old fashioned Blu-tack also.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hey. ATC SCM's are seal and very easy to place. They also sound phenomenal. The 19 would be in budget, goes loud and could be placed that close to the wall without issue. Most importantly, that tweeter sounds so swewt. To my wars anyway.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Do you use subwoofer too? Arg, this upgrade thoughts.

Must stop. Stop!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Am happy with my speakers, however there’s always this annoying nagging.

“Could it be better”...
 

lindsayt

Active Member
3) Do sealed cabinets go as low as ported cabinets?
Sealed cabinet speakers do go as low as ported cabinets - IF the sealed cabinets have the right size and type of woofer.
20hz is the target for bass extension amongst hi-fi speakers. There are sealed cabinet speakers that go this low. The ones I know of have huge woofers.
40hz is a reasonable target to aim for. What you gain by getting 20hz extension instead of 40hz is a better sense of the hall acoustics - especially for classical recordings. As well as additional house vibrating energy for specialised ultra bass instruments - eg cathedral organs.

If we're looking at tiny sealed bookshelf speakers, such as ATC 11's, they are so unextended in the bass that they aren't suitable on their own for serious listening to pop music because they filter out the bass drum and bass guitar too much. A sub would mitigate the bass extension deficiency.

Tiny bookshelf ported speakers suffer from either the same lack of extension as the ATC 11's or they use port stunts to gain bass extension with this - in every example I've heard so far - coming at the expense of bass quality. With the port stunts resulting in bass bloom. A mushiness and lack of clarity in the bass resulting in them producing bass noise that bears little resemblance to the bass instruments on the recording.

The Dynaudio Evoke 50's have cabinets that are approximately 100 litres in size. If you'd be happy to have speakers that are 80 litres that work well with their backs to the wall I could point you towards speakers you could get for £500 to £700 that would suit your ears and room and amplifier.


Am happy with my speakers, however there’s always this annoying nagging.

“Could it be better”...
In your case, yes you could get significantly better sounding speakers. However, this would involve getting off the slimline ported low efficiency band-wagon. And would involve either spending a chunk of money or going down the used / DIY route...
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
If we're looking at tiny sealed bookshelf speakers, such as ATC 11's, they are so unextended in the bass that they aren't suitable on their own for serious listening to pop music
A mate has these. They sound pretty awesome. Best for dance music? Probably not, but do they sound excellent for electro, rock, post punk? Definitely. They just need to be properly driven.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
A mate has these. They sound pretty awesome. Best for dance music? Probably not, but do they sound excellent for electro, rock, post punk? Definitely. They just need to be properly driven.
Caveat. He has a normal UK terraced house living room. In a large open plan area you'd probably be correct.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
@lindsayt, making the cabinets yourself, getting the perfect drivers is a possibility.

However am not good at getting the right capacitors and such.

Still I don’t see your logic.

Getting two subwoofers (correctly calibrated) in the room. Surely most be the same as having speakers with 15 inch bass drivers.

Only use one subwoofer also helps.
 

raptor

Well-known Member
Neat speakers work well with Naim amp's, might be worth checking them out.
 

Orobas

Well-known Member
Just bought a Supernait 3 and next to be upgraded are my Q Acoustics 3030i bookshelf speakers.

Speakers are approx 10 inches from wall. I can't bring them out any further than that and ideally I'd like to push them back slightly if the speaker allows.

Budget is 2.5k, I'm open to the second hand market too.

I demonstrated the Supernait 3 with the Dynaudio Evoke 50 and loved the combination. My room is smaller than the place I auditioned the SN3 + Evoke 50 so floorstanders may be too much for my room.

Questions;

1) What is the difference between front and rear ported bookshelf speakers? Aesthetics or more?

2) My ears are sensitive to bright/harsh sounding treble. Maybe this is why I enjoyed the Dynaudio Evoke 50 as they use soft dome tweeters. Are soft dome tweeters best suited for my needs or is that a misplaced statement?

3) Do sealed cabinets go as low as ported cabinets?

I do enjoy my bass as I listen to Parov Stelar and JK type music. The bass is massively important and I don't want to add a subwoofer.

The only music I don't listen to is heavy rock/metal.

Any recommendations? I need a shortlist to go demo.
As you liked the sound of the Evoke 50.... I would say Special 40's ... or the Evoke 20 for standmounter on the dynaudio front.. just make sure you have a heavy decent set of stands for them.

Neat speakers... again well suited for the Naim.. the Neat Motive SX2 or the odd looking mini floorstanding Iota Alpha .. they are not the loudest or deepest in the bass department.. but for an allrounder in a small uk terraced house.. they are a good choice to demo

Otherwise .. Spendor A2 floorstander or the A1 standmount on a heavy speaker stand..

All the above work really well with the Naim :)

My Roksan Kandy with the Dynaudio DM2/6 (about same size as the Emit 10) work really good with Parov's catgroove (as an example) delivering surprisingly good bass even at low volume (25%).. my room is just 13ft x 15ft.. 2 walls are plasterboard.. 1 wall is brick.. the 3rd wall is a window wall. My speakers are between 6 and 9inches from the rear wall :)

Dynaudio always do well with Parov/Caravan Palace. It's one genre where they do really shine in a small room / low volume.
 

lindsayt

Active Member
@lindsayt, making the cabinets yourself, getting the perfect drivers is a possibility.

However am not good at getting the right capacitors and such.

Still I don’t see your logic.

Getting two subwoofers (correctly calibrated) in the room. Surely most be the same as having speakers with 15 inch bass drivers.

Only use one subwoofer also helps.
Tiny two way low efficiency speakers mated to 1 or even better 2 properly positioned and integrated sub-woofers is a step in the right direction.
However properly integrating them is a challenge.

Plus it all depends on the quality of the sub-woofers and the quality of the 15" woofers built into fuller sized speakers.

And then there's the upper bass and lower midrange. There are certain classic 12" to 16" Altec woofers, for example, that are masters in this area.

And most important of all, there's the midrange. The mid-woofers used in low efficiency slimline ported speakers have a lot of moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. High efficiency midrange units tend to have much lower moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. This shows in the detail, clarity and dynamics of the speakers.

There are online tools that will help you to design passive crossovers. Or you could go down the full range driver route and not bother with a crossover at all.
 

D.D.D.

Active Member
Questions;

1) What is the difference between front and rear ported bookshelf speakers? Aesthetics or more?

2) My ears are sensitive to bright/harsh sounding treble. Maybe this is why I enjoyed the Dynaudio Evoke 50 as they use soft dome tweeters. Are soft dome tweeters best suited for my needs or is that a misplaced statement?

3) Do sealed cabinets go as low as ported cabinets?

I do enjoy my bass as I listen to Parov Stelar and JK type music. The bass is massively important and I don't want to add a subwoofer.

The only music I don't listen to is heavy rock/metal.

Any recommendations? I need a shortlist to go demo.
1&3. lot of differences with different consequences. If port is on a small bookshelf, the it is a part of front baffle and it's hole have impact on frequency response of tweeter and midbas, depends on where it located. Ports have own resonances, typical y in 300-900Hz, depend on the size, if mounted on front, you may here it. With rear-ported speaker you less hear this resonance. But with extremely dynamic bass with low frequencies, speaker may push air to wall (if too close), flow will be slowed, so, all frequencies what go out of port will be slightly affected, it will work as partially closed port, a a kind of different port tuning. More power you apply, more important distance from port to wall.
It does not mean that ported speaker and sealed behave differently near the wall. Both will have wall bounce, no mater if it ported or not. Ported with the same cabinet size may go lower then sealed, thus there might be different affect to room resonances if speaker is too close to the wall. Ported bookshelf may play 45Hz and sealed 70Hz for same size of midwoofers, wavelength is equal to 7m and 4.7m, and in different rooms they will behave differently if they are near the wall.

2. tweeters sound differently, beryllium domes vs silk domes have more details even if frequency response is same, they pairs differently with midwoofers and overall picture is the result of how speaker was designed - cabinets, drivers, crossover, wiring, connectors, crossover components, etc.

3. Depends on cabinet size, driver type/size, sensitivity, etc - all related to driver's TS parameters.

With your budget, take a look on custom builds based on DIY - the performance vs value is extremely high there:
SB Acoustics ARA Beryllium dome Textreme Light Edition - FineTuning by StereoArt

sb-acoustics-ara-beryllium-dome-textreme-light-edition-finetuning-by-stereoart-black-high-gloss.jpg

ARA%20Beryllium%20Textreme%20On%20tweeter%20axis%20complex%20summ.jpg
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’m surprised more people haven’t suggested Neat...

Some bargains at the mo’.

These at a bit less than half price for instance.


Or these splendid looking speakers.



Neat are famously agnostic about positioning too.
 
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Orobas

Well-known Member
I’m surprised more people haven’t suggested Neat...

Some bargains at the mo’.

These at a bit less than half price for instance.


Or these splendid looking speakers.



Neat are famously agnostic about positioning too.
i did on my post!!!

Neat speakers... again well suited for the Naim.. the Neat Motive SX2 or the odd looking mini floorstanding Iota Alpha .. they are not the loudest or deepest in the bass department.. but for an allrounder in a small uk terraced house.. they are a good choice to demo

I thought the SX2 was a better suitor than the SX5i though .. but that's just me lol
 

lindsayt

Active Member
At first glance, this looks like a really good frequency response.
ARA%20Beryllium%20Textreme%20On%20tweeter%20axis%20complex%20summ.jpg

And then a closer look indicates why one should always be careful when it comes to frequency response charts. Especially ones provided by the manufacturer.

For one, we don't know what smoothing has been applied?

The vertical scaling on the chart has been chosen to be flattering for the speaker.
Here's a chart from Stereophile for the B&W 804 D4 speakers:
1221BW804fig4.jpg

The vertical scale that Stereophile uses is about twice as large (zoomed in) as the scale used on the Audio Hobby website.

The Stereophile chart starts at 10hz. Compared to 40 hz.

Stereophile also provides a chart showing the contribution of the port to the frequency response (in red, with the woofers in blue):
1221BW804fig3.jpg
 

D.D.D.

Active Member
At first glance, this looks like a really good frequency response.
ARA%20Beryllium%20Textreme%20On%20tweeter%20axis%20complex%20summ.jpg

And then a closer look indicates why one should always be careful when it comes to frequency response charts. Especially ones provided by the manufacturer.

For one, we don't know what smoothing has been applied?

The vertical scaling on the chart has been chosen to be flattering for the speaker.
Here's a chart from Stereophile for the B&W 804 D4 speakers:
1221BW804fig4.jpg

The vertical scale that Stereophile uses is about twice as large (zoomed in) as the scale used on the Audio Hobby website.

The Stereophile chart starts at 10hz. Compared to 40 hz.

Stereophile also provides a chart showing the contribution of the port to the frequency response (in red, with the woofers in blue):
1221BW804fig3.jpg
lindsayt,
we know what smoothing applied - on the bottom of the graph there are some details of measurements with Clio.
This graph is same method like Stereophile use "complex sum of port, woofer's nearfield and gated far field on tweeter axis": nearfield of woofer summarized with port response and added to gated farfield. You may find it in Dr. Joseph D’Appolito's presentation:

On the graph:
From left to right - you will see there "unsmoothed", means "no smoothing applied", start-stop 2.08-6,72mS = window size = 4,65ms - it is time to cut off first reflection for far field measurements, what allows to measure speaker itself without room influence.

Scale: Clio and other softwares (REW, DATS, ARTA, etc...) have different view and scale, you see there is scale of 2dB ib Clio's measurements.

If we take main average of 87db, then graph fits to +-2db in 55Hz-20kHz and F3=50Hz.
If we go from 500Hz to 20K, graph fits to +-1dB, what is incredibly good!

If you look on B&W, you'll see -3dB @900Hz and +5dB in area 4K-10K, it is +-4dB, and F3=50Hz (if ref= +1dB)

As you see here, view/scale is not a problem and all what you need is seen on both graphs.
 

lindsayt

Active Member
That chart on the audio hobby website is NOT unsmoothed. IE it IS smoothed.

Check out figure 8 on this page for what raw data looks like (green) vs a nominal logchirp frequency response (blue).
https://www.thinksrs.com/downloads/pdfs/applicationnotes/SR1_SweptSine.pdf

Here's an example of an in room frequency response for left and right channels that has been smoothed to 1/48 octave. That's a relatively small amount of smoothing. Anyone believing that the SB Acoustics ARA speakers have an unsmoothed frequency response that is amazingly less jagged than this example, has been severely mislead.
acoustics-insider-article-frequency-response-broken-03-left-right.png

My Room's Frequency Response Seems Very Uneven — Acoustics Insider

It's impossible to say whether the B&W 804 D4 or the SB Acoustics ARA has a flatter frequency response because they have not been measured using the same test equipment with the same methodology and then the results presented in the same way.

Frequency response charts are largely a relative thing. When we have multiple speakers that have been measured in the same way we can start to compare them and infer information from them - especially if we've listened to a few of them to translate the charts into what it means when it comes to how they sound.
 

D.D.D.

Active Member
That chart on the audio hobby website is NOT unsmoothed. IE it IS smoothed.

Check out figure 8 on this page for what raw data looks like (green) vs a nominal logchirp frequency response (blue).
https://www.thinksrs.com/downloads/pdfs/applicationnotes/SR1_SweptSine.pdf

Here's an example of an in room frequency response for left and right channels that has been smoothed to 1/48 octave. That's a relatively small amount of smoothing. Anyone believing that the SB Acoustics ARA speakers have an unsmoothed frequency response that is amazingly less jagged than this example, has been severely mislead.
acoustics-insider-article-frequency-response-broken-03-left-right.png

My Room's Frequency Response Seems Very Uneven — Acoustics Insider

It's impossible to say whether the B&W 804 D4 or the SB Acoustics ARA has a flatter frequency response because they have not been measured using the same test equipment with the same methodology and then the results presented in the same way.

Frequency response charts are largely a relative thing. When we have multiple speakers that have been measured in the same way we can start to compare them and infer information from them - especially if we've listened to a few of them to translate the charts into what it means when it comes to how they sound.
lindsayt,
Graphs for ARA are unsmoothed, but the graph is a complex sum of port, nearfield and gated far field measurements. This is the only approach what allows to measure speaker without anechoic chamber.

When speaker measured in far field, you take only first 4-5ms (= gated, time depends on a position of microphone and speaker). With gated approach microphone will get direct signal from speaker without floor/wall/ceiling bounce. Depending on amounts of milliseconds in gate length it have lowest frequency it can measure, and it is the point where you can join it with nearfield measurements - typically 200-300Hz. Then you measure port and woofer in nearfield, make a sum of port and woofer and join the result to far field measurements at lowest possible frequency what far field gate allows. Typically if speaker is 1m from microphone and 1.5m from nearest reflective surface it is about 200Hz. This works fine with 2-ways. With 3-ways it is more complex approach, as it depends on a speaker size and crossover points between midwoofer and woofer.
This is brief for how to do in-room measurements for speakers.

Your graphs attached are not for speakers only, they are for speaker+room.
And sure, it is very uneven, as software reads and adds to final graph direct signal from drivers + lot of reflections while microphone is on - all what microphone hears (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc reflections). Finally it show you graph with a lot of teeth, as reflections come back with positive or negative phase.

To measure speaker only in a home environment please follow Sterophile's or what is exactly same - D'Apolito's approach. No matter what software is used, if it allows gated measurements, measurements for nearfield and some math to calculate final response.

If you compare B&W 804 D4 with SB ARA BE Textreme, it is definitely possible to say which one better performs, if we talk about absolute performance.

B&W 804 D4 have [email protected] and +5dB at 5kHz, it gives 8dB in a short frequency range - brain will definitely note it!

To my ears all B&W are unpleasant, almost all their models have U-shaped frequency response with bump on lows and rings on highs with a lack of midrange. There are few factors why B&W tuned it this way and indeed some people like that kind of curve. If you google, you'll fine that good amount of people like B&W's sound curve while another hate it.

Please note, there are may other factors what affects overall sound and not all of the are measurable. Frequency response is very important, disbalance within a range easily notable by brain. There are other things in speaker measurements what magazines publish but do not comment in a right way. There are some measurements that show phase response in a different ways (Phase, Group delay, Impulse, etc - same thing but different views), these are hardly published, as it will show that may commercial speakers simply have errors in crossover development. And sure there are some unmeasurable things we hear, as ears+brain is far better signal processor then any measurements software :).
 

phil t

Well-known Member
I’m surprised more people haven’t suggested Neat...


Neat are famously agnostic about positioning too.
I don't frequent the HiFi section as often, but Neat SX1 would get my vote at this price.

If the original poster liked the Evoke 50, then the Evoke 30s should be considered if budget can be stretched. I've no first hand experience of the Dynaudio's though.
 

Steve Stifler

Well-known Member
Those SX5i models mentioned by Paul are a bargain. Doug Brady are flogging their last pair for £4250


EDIT this might be an old page as Neat reduced prices in 2020 IIRC
 
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DT79

Distinguished Member

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
@ChrisGTL if you’re still looking, these would be hard to beat for the money…


Great call. A £5000 speaker with theposdibilty of making them active later on.

Have a read of the review here. Should be persuasive.

 

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