The idea behind this week’s system is to offer a simple yet interesting combination that will sound great and fit nicely in any room. The key piece to achieving this is the inclusion of the wonderful McIntosh MA252 at the heart of the system. This is a hybrid valve amplifier which offers the detail and resolution of a solid state amplifier but with the warmth and charm of a valve design.
The source comes from legendary British manufacturer Naim Audio. Their NDX 2 streamer was released earlier this year and not only is it a great sounding and well built product but the user interface and app are among the best in the industry. A lot of companies are playing catch up with their apps, but Naim were one of the first companies to really get on board with digital streaming and as such have perfected their UI over many years. The NDX 2 is extremely versatile and can stream almost any digital file, from DSD from a server to Tidal to Bluetooth and Airplay to internet radio.
Naim is well known for giving a lot of detail in its presentation and McIntosh is regarded as a very musical sound. We felt that the Harbeth P3ESR 40th Anniversary edition bookshelf speakers were an excellent fit. They are a every natural speaker but also have heritage from BBC studio monitors so they have excellent detail particularly in the mid-range. A great match with the Naim streamer.
The 40th Anniversary editions are a limited run of speakers which have been tweaked with changes to the internal wiring and other components like the speaker terminals. What seems like small changes on paper adds up to a lot in terms of sound. In fact, we find that the space offered by these speakers comes close to that of the 30.1 compared to the regular P3. Somehow they are able to make a bookshelf speaker sound like much larger and more powerful. Perfect for someone who might not have a large amount space but wants to get the best out of what they have.
The system is placed on an extremely attractive stand from German manufacturer Spectral. It is the Brick model. We have the equipment sat on top of the unit but it is also designed to house products inside too with great ventilation. Spectral racks are pieces of art and have a fantastic quality of build.
The cables used are from the Vertere D-Fi range. This is their entry level line, but it does not sound like it. They are thin, easy to hide and sound excellent.
If you are interested to hear this system for yourself, please get in touch and arrange a demonstration in our Central London showroom.