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Harbeths not delivering enough dynamics

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I may be crazy but I just can’t get settled with the combination of Harbeth 30.1s and my Naim uniti Atom. There’s just not enough punch - i.e. dynamics and bass definition. Just for fun I connected the Atom as a preamp to my 1979 Marantz receiver (30 watts) and there was the punch I’d been missing. Not particularly refined punch, but punch nonetheless.


So chicken or egg? Are the Harbeths too polite for the music I like (Classic Rock, Soul, 50s Jazz)? Do they need more power than the Atom can provide? Or is this just a bad sonic pairing? I’m not sure if I need to look for better suited speakers or a higher-powered amp/streamer combo.


I should also mention that I’m in a small condominium but the speakers shoot the length of the unit, not the width. My listening chair is about 10 feet from the speakers, but I have another 10 or 12 feet behind me. Ceiling is 9 feet and the width of the room is 12 feet. 



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Your speakers are the same efficiency as my MG 1.7's, 85 db. The Uniti atom is only a 40 watt amp.  My magnepans don't come to life for "slam"  with less than the 100watts +

of my Hafler. Sounds like you may want to consider an Odyssey amp or better to get the watts/transient response you want.


PS my listening room is 12x12 with 16 ft ceiling




Audio system

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If you like the Naim sound, try the SuperNait.  If that is not enough the next step would be the 250.  You can always keep the Atom as your streamer, etc.. (I believe).

QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)


My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

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I think the previous post about your amp not having enough "grunt" for the speakers may  be correct. This is influenced not just by the power rating, but by the amount of current the amp has, and how quickly it can ramp up the power.


The other factor is if your room is possibly a bit big for your present setup, meaning not just an amp issue, but also what the speakers are designed for.


My suggestion would be to borrow a couple of more capable amps or find some you can trial to see if it solves your problem. I'd assume Harbeth or a Harbeth dealer could advise you.


Personally, I'm pretty much always on the side of feeding speakers a lot of high quality power. To me it almost always sounds better. Meaning even if you think your setup sounds fine, more better quality power will noticeably improve it. The speaker-amp interface is one of the most important factors in good/better sound.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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The timeless conflict between frequency response and sensitivity... and time response. Harbeth goes all in on the former. Agree with suggestion for more current though underlying issue remains relatively low sensitivity and a relatively large room. 



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The Harbeths are down 3dB at 50 Hz, so slightly more than the bottom octave is missing, and this could have something to do with the issue, especially in your fair-sized room.


The Naim is only specified at 8 ohms, so there is no indication of the current (amperage) that it can deliver, which does affect slam and sudden transients. The Harbeths are 6 ohms nominal, so may go considerably lower and the Naim may not be coping. Many people vastly under estimate the amount of power required by bass transients.


If you listen loud, then a better amp may be needed. It would certainly be best to audition a more powerful amp and see if that is the issue.

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