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Is my Atom a bad match for my R3 Metas?

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Some days back I got the KEF R3 Metas (in indigo!) to replace my 13 year old B&W CM1 bookshelf speakers. Needless to say, the KEFs are a big upgrade in neutrality, and without the screechy highlights I had to avoid before on some tracks. My amplifier is the Naim Atom, which I know doesn’t get much love around here, but I especially like the Naim streamer. (I tried the BlueSound Node but didn’t find I liked using it.). I listen to jazz and small group or solo acoustic classical for the most part and the room is quite small at 10ft x 12 ft, with the speakers across the room on the shorter side.

It may be a case of an improvement in one area uncovering weaknesses in another, but I am wondering if the Atom has enough power to properly drive the R3 Metas. From the testing on this site I see that the KEFs have quite low impedance (3-4 Ohms) over significant parts of the spectrum, while the Atom can produce about 58 Watts into 4 Ohms and less at lower frequencies. When I am listening at moderate to loud volume (40% on the dial) I would assume I am using about 2 Watts nominal. (Is that a fair assumption?). Going up 10 dB for ‘normal’ transients would require 20 Watts, and 20 dB for real peaks would require 200 Watts, which I don’t have. My questions: How important is the amplifier max power? Should I look for an external power amp? What would it sound like if the amp is not reaching the peaks – noticeable distortion, or just lack of ‘drive’?

Keep in mind that I would like to keep a Naim streamer (which unfortunately may take up a fair amount of money if I need to make a change), but I don’t care what the rest of the electronics consists of, as long as it does a good job.

Thanks for any answers.
 

fpitas

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FWIW:


If you listen loud, it's possible you're clipping peaks.
 

Ron Texas

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How big is the room?
 
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W
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FWIW:


If you listen loud, it's possible you're clipping peaks.
Can you say what “clipping peaks” would sound like? Is there a way to tell?
 

Ron Texas

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As I said: 10 ft by 12 ft (with 9 ft ceiling).
You probably have enough power already for that size room. I suspect what you believe to be a 2W base power usage is probably a lot less.
 

fpitas

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Can you say what “clipping peaks” would sound like? Is there a way to tell?
There's a thread where they explore that:


Although there, the peaks are clipped in an orderly fashion.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Highly unlikely you will clip that amp in that room and even if you get an amp with double its power, you will only gain an extra 3 db of headroom. If you clip, you will know, and given that the sensitivity for that speaker is 87 db @ 2.83v, you won't need much more than 10-20 watts to get them to play at 96 db at a listening position of 2 meters. 96 db is really loud btw. Playing continuously at that level will generate hearing damage and/or an eviction level event.
 
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