Naim Ovator S-600 Speaker

Naim is a name well known to audiophiles. This British high-end company makes virtually all types of audio products, from CD players and hard-disk servers to preamps, power amps, speakers, and everything in between (except cables). New to Naim's speaker lineup is the flagship Ovator S-600, which has taken three years to bring to market and features some innovative elements.

At the top of the innovation list—and the speaker itself—is Naim's Balanced Mode Radiator (BMR), in which a completely flat, 4-inch Nomex-honeycomb disc reproduces six octaves from 380Hz to well over 20kHz with no crossover discontinuities. Also, its dispersion is said to be far more even than conventional drivers as the frequency varies. The BMR driver is mounted at one end of an aluminum-alloy cylinder suspended within the main enclosure on two leaf-spring shock absorbers, which decouples the system above 4Hz.

Bass is handled by two 8-inch paper-cone woofers, each in its own sealed enclosure within the cabinet, which sits on a die-cast aluminum base—what the Brits call a plinth—supported by another leaf-spring shock absorber to decouple the cabinet from the plinth and crossover. The cabinet itself is curved to minimize diffraction and made from nine laminated layers of MDF, incorporating constrained-layer damping to create an extremely rigid and non-resonant structure with little need for internal bracing.

The bottom line is a frequency response from 28Hz to 35kHz—not bad for around $11,000/pair (the exact price depends on selected finish). In addition, Naim claims that the Ovator S-600 is much easier to set up and more flexible in its placement than its predecessors, allowing it to perform at its peak in a wide variety of environments. Sounds good to me, at least in theory.