Naim’s Ovator S-600 Speaker Promises High Performance, Ease of Set-Up

Naim Audio Ovator S-600
Naim’s Ovator S-600 Speaker Promises High Performance, Ease of Set-Up

At the Munich High End Show 2009, the British firm Naim Audio Limited announced its innovative Ovator S-600 high-end loudspeaker, which breaks new ground not only in terms of outright sonic performance, but also in terms of ease of set-up and placement within the listening room.

The importance of those last two variables can’t be overstressed, since a Naim press release concedes that some previous Naim speaker designs could be likened to “driving an early Ferrari—fantastic fun, exhilarating performance but requiring considerable setup to get the best performance.” The release adds that, “Naim found retailers were shying away from demonstrating the existing Naim speakers in favour of models that might not deliver all the emotion and communication but were easier to set up.” Accordingly, the Ovator S-600 was designed with an eye toward raising the performance bar while at the same time offering a speaker that would be easy to place and to “dial-in” within most any listening space.

The Ovator S-600 took three years to develop and is the result of a collaborative effort between Naim’s UK-based team and a German design team led by Karl-Heinz Fink. Several key design goals were pursued:

 Overall Characteristics:

  • “Delivers the performance and emotional connection to music expected of a Naim product.”
  •  “Easy to setup.”
  •  “Designed for free field use to ease room positioning.”

Midrange/Treble Reproduction:

  • Evenly balanced directivity (or dispersion) from the mid-bass region on up.
  • Midrange/treble drive units decoupled from the main loudspeaker enclosure.
  • No crossovers whatsoever within the critical midrange frequency band.

Bass Reproduction:

  • Low distortion and high linearity.
  • By design, the speaker does not rely on solid listening room wall surfaces in order to achieve satisfactory performance.
  • Main loudspeaker isolated from the plinth (and thus from the floor)·
  • Bass-to-midrange crossover network isolated from the main loudspeaker enclosure.

 To address these design goals, the S-600 offers a number of innovative technical solutions, as outlined below.

Ovator S-600 Technical Highlights:

  • Naim Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR) driver: Naim’s distinctive BMR driver handles all frequencies from the mid-bass region on up. Interestingly, the BMR driver behaves like a piston-type driver at the lower end of its operating range, but then transitions to behave as a multi-modal “bending wave device a high frequencies.” Two benefits of the BMR driver are its balanced directivity characteristic over its entire operating range, plus the fact that the BMR driver eliminates the need for typical midrange-to-tweeter crossover networks.
  • Isolated BMR enclosure: the BMR driver is housed in massive, internally damped, die cast enclosure that is isolated from the Ovator’s main enclosure by a set of leaf springs.
  • Dual, high-linearity bass drivers with motor systems developed through finite element analysis, which Naim says offer, “linearity previously only dreamt about.”
  • Die-cast floor plinth acts as mounting plate for the Ovator, and as an isolated housing for the bass driver-to-BMR-driver crossover network.
  • Crossover fabricated from “the finest components chosen by listening.”
  • Main Ovator speaker enclosure is isolated from the floor plinth by leaf springs.

 Given the innovative technologies and obvious attention to detail lavished on this speaker, we can’t wait to hear the Ovator S-600 in action.

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