102/180 or 122x/150x?

Log time lurker, first time poster. Greetings from Belgium.

I recently picked up a Naim Nait 3, which is my first Naim purchase. It brought me back to the Naim sound of the system my Dad had when I was a kid. Something magical I can’t necessarily put into words.

I’m thinking to move the NN3 into the dining room for a small system and purchase an upgrade to something with a bit more oomph for the living room.

Within my budget it seems that I can afford a 102/180 with power supply or a 122x/150x which I seem to be able to get for a bit cheaper.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Olive design and the 102/180 seems a popular choice but maybe saving a couple of hundred on the 122x/150x could give me some change to spend on something to further enhance that setup?

Would greatly appreciate the thoughts of the community on this. Many thanks in advance.

If you go for the 102 then factor in a NAPSC - very worthwhile on these. What is the rest of the system, source and speaker wise ?

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Yes, I forgot to mention that I was hoping to get a NAPSC with the 102.

My source is a Pi running Volumio running through an AroioDAC.

Speakers for the moment are T+A Spectrum ADL PIIIs.

I run the later iterations of the 122x and 150x, ie. the 152XS and 155XS. This doesn’t stop it being hard to advise.

One thing to bear in mind is that the 102 and 180 were forerunners of today’s 202 and 200 respectively. So if you bought them, you would be buying at a nominally higher level in Naim’s amplifier range.


I would also dial-in the option of 72/180 which would be far more musical than either of the above, and buy a hi-cap as soon as funds allow.


Ah yes, that’s a good idea. Definitely pushing my budget somewhat but seems a good path to start on. I like the idea of the 72 sitting alongside a hi-cap.


Many thanks to those who shared their thoughts and experience.

Here’s a recap of what I learnt.

  • 122x/150x would be my cheapest option but are entry models (so likely I’ll end up selling them and moving on to the other options)
  • 102/180 with a NAPSC would be a slighter higher cost but better that the x models
  • 72/180 could be a way to go and leave open the door for a future upgrade of the hi-cap. Seems 72’s are around the same price as 102s at the moment and people like the musical quality and fact you can tweak it.

Whilst poking around I then stumbled upon the 140 too. Adding a further combo to the mix 72/140. Advantage would be that it’ll be the same size as one full sized unit but seems the power is not as great as a 180. But given my speakers (and unlikely the scenario I’ll be paying thousands for speaker upgrade) maybe it’s enough for me? Can you add a hi-cap to 72/140?

Yes, you can upgrade the 72 or 102 with a Hicap. The 72, being an older design, has no remote control, if that’s important to you. Also, remember that older Naim amps sometimes need a service to get them sounding as they should, and some have had all manner of DIY modifications made to them, so you should check their provenance carefully.


Not wishing to throw a spanner in the works, but …

I’d take a 102/140 over a 72/180 any day of the week. Why ? To my ears the 102/140 is faster, more ‘on the beat’, more tuneful, and simply truer to whatever source is playing. Nothing wrong with those who would prefer the 72/180 sound, just be aware some of us think differently :wink:

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Recaped 102/180👌

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Great, thanks for the additional thoughts.

My original question has definitely been answered. I’ll pass on the x models.

It now comes down to the hi-fi gods (ie the best deal I can find) for a 72 or a 102 to go with a 180 or a 140. Giving a few variations.

  • 72/140
  • 102/140
  • 72/180
  • 102/180

From what I gather, Hi-Cap would help boost all of these. Also, from what I gather each of these combos will have their own merits.

No doubt I’m probably gonna end up buying all of them at some point!

Not sure what happened with me but I replaced (well, I kept the Nait) my Nait 2 with 102/180 and, whilst there was an obvious increase in power to the speakers I really did not get on with the sound quality. Perhaps I should have added in a napsc, but I upgraded very shortly afterwards. That was my shortest ownership experience of any naim components!


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