I would check to check with long time Naim fans on your opinion between the 42.5/140 or something newer like a Nait 5si or XS assuming the price is the same or close enough. Which would be a better choice in 2021?
to be honest, if you are not a Naim ‘enthusiast’ I’d stick with something newer, esp if you’re going to run a predominantly digital frontend. The old CB’s sound great but they don’t sound the same as the later Naim stuff and in a lot of ways are less compromising of the Naim house sound, they’ve also often been tinkered about with and you really need to know what you’re looking at to get a good one. If you decide to go down the vintage route for anything like this then you need to do your homework and audition a few. Budget for a proper assessment and recap too… All that being said they are a fantastic sounding piece of great industrial design…
My heart says get a 42.5/140. Those two little silver edged boxes are lovely. My first Naim was a 42/110, which I bought in 1983. Even from day 1 I used it with a power supply, which gives a real boost. But this is 2021, 38 years later and if buying the 42.5/140 you need to know it’s been looked after properly over all those years. Has is been serviced and the 140 recapped? Has it been modified? Does it come with a black Snaic 4, which is much better than the original grey one?
There are also logistical considerations: have you the space to keep the 42.5 and 140 apart? Are you happy without a remote control of volume? Do you need a built in phono stage?
The boxes are from a first owner who said that the pre-amp has been recapped and the potentiometer in the volume control has been upgraded. I am not sure what these changes were exactly.
My source will be digital - an Auralic Aries mini streamer. I do not need a phono stage. I guess no remote is not ideal but I can live with it if the sound is superior to that from something newer like a 5si or XS. I have no experience with vintage amps which is why I am trying to do some homework here.
At this price, I could also opt for something non-Naim like Exposure. I can get an Exposure VII/VIII for 20-30% less.
The power amp needs recapping at least every ten years, so check if that’s been done. It’s probably more important than the recapping of the preamp. Another thing to be aware of is that the Naim - the 42.5/140 more so - and the Exposure are very very high quality amplifiers, designed to be used with a top notch vinyl source. They may be very affordable now but in their day were pretty high end. The Aries mini, on the other hand, is very much an entry level digital source, so it’s really not an ideal match, so don’t be surprised if the sound isn’t as good as you might hope.
I just confirmed that the 140 is stock original. Thanks for all the advice. So I would be better off with a newer amp like a 5si?
If you were to go with the 140 then I’d strongly advise a full service immediately. There is a possibility that an amplifier in dire need of recapping can go unstable and take out your speakers, so you’d be taking a risk if you don’t do it. You don’t say where you are so it may or may not be an easy and / or cheap thing to do.
If you went with the Nait 5si, which is very nice, you’d have no such problems. You may be able to move to an ND5XS2 streamer in due course, which would make a lovely system. That said, the Nait doesn’t have the romantic appeal of the CB set. But I probably only find it a romantic appeal because it reminds me of when I was young!
I’m sure serviced classic old amplifiers sound lovely, but naim have spent a lot of time effort and money over decades moving on to new designs.If there was no benefit in doing so why did they bother? I’d buy newer and warrantied every day.
I don’t suppose you can buy both and compare yourself? Easy enough to sell Naim on. Otherwise, think I’d also play safe with the modern amp.
For the price of a Nait5si you can pickup a used 152/155xs combo, just saying…
I was comparing with a used Nait 5si and XS….
A fully serviced 42.5/140 will blow the Nait away big time IMHO.
I had a 42.5 and now have a 72 both of which sound great with CD, but I don’t know your front end so can’t comment on synergy with the 42.5/140.
It’s also important to note that CB/Olive overall is not worse sounding than newer black boxes. Different yes, but worse by no means.
The Aries Mini is an excellent source. The DAC inside is rather good and if you have a separate linear power supply even better performance can be achieved. Go through an external DAC and it can shame some ‘higher’ priced gear.
I believe it was discontinued as it was eating into AURALiC’s sales further up the ladder.
(I’m not sure that HH has ever heard one).
I do have a SBooster linear power supply and recently acquired a Denafrips Ares II DAC to it.
And I bet it sounds wonderful. I have a MCRU LPS and a Chord Qutest connected to my Mini. The internal SSD has my library on it. The footprint is minimal. Good UI. What is not to like?
As to the amps: The newer amps have a different sound to the Chrome Bumper range. I don’t know where you are based and if it is possible to listen to the two? If you buy the CB and don’t like it, you should be able to sell it for what you paid (assuming you have not had the 140 serviced). I love the CB sound but you may not.
Unfortunately, the only way to listen to both is the buy them.
Commercial considerations, loss of focus, who knows…. The plain fact is a 140 trounces a 100 for example and it’s not even close.
Personally, I would take a punt on the 42.5/140 if it is reasonably priced. They are fantastic sounding and look beautiful IMO. Allow £200 for the 140 service (depending on your location - Class A is highly regarded in the U.K.) if you like what you hear then get the 140 serviced which will improve the sound further.
Over to you……
Quick update: I went with the heart instead of the mind and bought the 42.5/140. The condition is mint and on first listen sounds great to me. I think I am going to like it. Thanks to all who provided me with the advice.