what does NAIM do to.....

make their speakers work well next to the front wall?
Are you from Montreal or have you visited the show? It only became anathema about ten-fifteen years ago to locate speakers along the front wall. I, for one, gave up on a pair of Allison One speakers because I felt that it was cool to have sound appearing to emanate from behind the speakers and that illusion just doesn’t happen with speakers along the wall; which doesn’t mean that these speakers can’t project out into the room and create a 3-D effect. A pair of speakers can be designed for the placement you suggest and, in fact, better integrate into the room insofar as a flat frequency response and good bass are concerned. However, I feel that once such speakers are in your room you will feel left out with your speakers not away from every wall, unless you are made of stern stuff. As useful as such positioning is for small rooms, such as the majority of European audiophiles have, if your room is bigger you will always feel something pulling you to get them away from the walls.

I guess I would rephrase your question and ask why is it you think that speakers always have to be away from the walls?
thanks for your reply. i have a small space to place my audio gear so i am trying to understand what the options are in an effort to maintain usable space. i assumed there would be a consession in placeing a speaker directly at a wall. it seems as if 3ft in the general minimum and more can be better especially with dipoles.. any other suggestions?
The wall acts to reinforce the sound, particularly bass energy. When a speaker is designed to be placed near the corner, the designer takes this into consideration when balancing the sound. Of course there are tradeoffs to corner or near back-wall placement -- the soundstage does not seem to float in space and have the same sense of front-to-back depth. Some corner placement speakers, like horn designs, have a relatively narrow dispersion pattern to minimize interference, at higher frequencies, with the side wall.

Naim speakers are quite good placed close to a wall. They are balanced for that. One of the best brands for such placement, in my opinion, are Audionote speakers. Another speaker that impressed me very much while being placed close to the back wall is the Gradient Revolution.
Say goodbye to soundstage with Naim speakers placed close to the wall, but you'll get great dynamics as is the Naim way. Moving the speakers increments of 1/4" in any direction will result in wild swings in tonal qualities, and I spent a looong time (too long) trying to position my SBL's when I had them.

If you look at the highly specialized SBL construction, it's a sealed dual-chamber design that will have far different acoustic impact than a standard ported/open chambered enclosure. Search the web for more information and pics and you'll see how it's so radically different from typical speaker designs.

Naim isn't known for great speakers, by the way. Many (including myself) find their speaker offerings to be the weak link in their range.