Hi, here I am with my first post and asking for opinion/advice. Sorry its a long one, to set the scene…
I’ve had Naim way back, as the heart of my system (the old Nait with the big round knobs) I can’t remember the model but bought from the long gone Image Hi-Fi in Headingley (had a sister shop in Wakefield I think) However, there has been a good few decades in between, until I jumped back in with a Mu-So 2nd Generation as a rather fancy put-me-on whilst the main hifi was in storage. With money ‘borrowed’ from the house refurb’.
Anyway, I digress, I’m in to my 60s now and finding my hearing is trailing off in the higher frequencies. I’ve been told and trust it to be right, that the old Icon Audio integrated valve amp I bought because I favoured its (cliche alarm) warm and engaging sound, doesn’t have the clarity I now miss. This being especially so at low volumes. Whereas, a good transistor (?) amp may well prove a better bet. This feels right as the amplified stethoscope I now qualify for at work, is a revelation.
So, I’ve seen a dealer selling a Nait 5i, which from the serial number appears to be circa 2007, for less than a third of a new one. At this point I should explain that I’m still having to work at what should be retirement age, so my budget is tight. However, being impulsive, I have put a deposit on it and the Icon has sold PDQ for about the same money. I know I may regret my impulsiveness, but hay-ho.
To the point now, would you buy an amp as old as this and what features, if any, do you think I might be missing out on? If not, what else would you consider at a max budget of £450?
Thank you for your time and comments.
If it’s 17 years old, it will ideally need a service soon which could set you back over £300 if Naim do it. Darran at Class A HiFi will be able to do it for less.
Might be an idea to spend more and get one which is 5 years old or newer.
I’m looking at a ‘Classic amplifier group test’ in Hi-Fi World of December 2006.
It features Icon Audio Stereo 40i, Vincent SV-236, Sugden A21a and Naim Nait 5i. There were two reviewers. Each made a personal choice from the four amps, and it wasn’t the Nait. “Yet, we both would acknowledge it was the Naim [Nait] 5i that made most sense, most of the time; in many systems only this amplifier would be able to cope - and just look at the price.”
They praised the Naim’s “wonderful ability to exert vice-like control over speakers that have a tendency towards waywardness and bring them back into line, which should make it very popular with many listeners.”
Only you can consider the price of the 5i you are considering, and whether the added cost of service represents good value.
Enjoy your music whichever path you choose.
I think with your budget, the rega io is pretty hard to ignore brand new £420.
Thanks for the heads-up re Class A. I’m in HD8 so not too far, but a guy in Denby Dale also did well with the Icon and an iffy input selector switch, valve balancing etc.
Thank you for dining that review up. My current speakers are the ATC SCM 7s. I get what you’re saying re the price consideration, it is very much personal circumstances, that is true.
It certainly gets good reviews. The only Rega I’ve ever had was an original Planet CD player. Oh, and the obligatory Planar!
I had the Nait5i myself. If I recall, this is the model with the passive preamp/volume control. No dynamics, as I recall. These amps really do need a preamp in the mix. We liked the Nait5 XS much better, Better yet with a Flatcap XS. More of everything.
Hi @Stevie_Catch_Bacon. Welcome to the forum and membership of the age-related hearing loss club!
An unserviced 17 yo Nait really is going to need a service immediately and the additional cost is likely to push the total expenditure over £450, however cheap the Nait is. Also ATC 7s are not the easiest speakers to drive and I wonder how well they’d match with with a Nait 5i.
Is there any chance that if you persevered with your present amp for a few months, there’d be enough in the kitty for a Nait XS2, as @Skip suggests? It’s a significantly better amp to my ears and would, I suspect, make a better job of handling the ATCs. It should also not need an immediate service.
Thank you Roger, I’ve pushed my budget right out to max and obtained a 5Si, so I see a fair bit of overtime in near future! I might just sell the Mu-So 2nd Generation though as it is effectively playing the role of a glorified sounder at the moment…