Dear NIAM-ers

I am a devoted NAIM fan. I bought, and still have, an original Nait. It continues to deliver through a pair of Linn Kan(s) fed by a Linn turntable. I still like to sit and listen. It delivers a sound that is from my youth and un-substitutable. As by-note I bought the KANs in the later 1980s in NZ and was told that the reason they sounded so much brighter from those of my friend was that they were assembled in NZ from native NZ hardwood. It is true that mine were brighter, but was it really true that Linn relied on the cabinet making from other countries? I marked mine as extra special if true!

But I digress. I have recently had problems. Two problems. Both with brand new pieces of NAIM equipment. The first a Hi Cap DR, the second, a SuperNAIT 3. Is this just bad (BAD) luck?

The DR – bought mid 2019 – was a dud from the outset (muddy sound, weird logo light presence / absence issues, regular tripping of the fuse to the room on power-up). I sent it back. The same DR was returned with the problem unaltered. I again sent it back suggesting that if the DR was connected and switched on the problem might manifest. I guess this advice was taken, as I then received a new DR. What a magnificent revelation that was.

Additionally, this (2019) year I purchased a SN3. The combo of SN3 + DR driving Totem Tribe Towers was better than good. But, then, suddenly, sound from the right channel of the SN3 died. Last week. No warning. No bang, no smoke, no nothing. I changed things around and confirmed that the problem is with the SN3 and have now sent it back.

One failure is bad luck. But two failures in a year hints at other issues? Is this just bad BAD luck? One possibility is the electrical supply to my house. My house is brand-spanking new. I had it built. I have had two independent sets of electricians check the supply and both confirm no problems.

Any advice / comment gratefully received.

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I’ve got identical problem with my SN3. One channel lost without any warnings or signs. Total silence. Will have it in for repair shortly. Have had SN1 and SN2 for total 3 years in same setup without problems so in my case it is product problem.

So I am not alone! Interesting. And as you indicate… no obvious reason? And total silence from the defective channel? Such as is in my case. From the phone jack I have both channels but from the speaker out put, the right is completely absent. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. On reverting to a SN1 all was fine.

Nope no reason at all. In my case it worked perfect the day I muted it before going to bed and when unmuting and start playing day after one channel is totally dead. It’s like it’s stuck in mute. Not even a hiss. Until that happened there was zero problems from what I can tell. In my case it is the channel marked LEFT meaning right side seen from the front. Putting in my SN2 in the identical setup and it plays great. Glad I still had my SN2 left.

Slamdam, seems we have a snap. Although on my SN3, it is the other channel that is affected.

Like you, I was similarly pleased to have a previous SN, but it is definitely less of a beast. But it is doubly frustrating because it took a few months to correct the DR problem before my SN3 arrived and I had managed to throw out the connecter necessary to use a SN without a DR (duh!). I therefore had no sound throughout. Ugh.

I sent my SN3 back to Focal Naim in Germany yesterday. I will post an update and very interested to learn of the solution to your deadness.

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I have a SN2 and HiCap, both bought new in NZ this year. I haven’t had any issues with them, which is of no benefit for you I’m afraid. But there is a slightly worrying trend of quality issues with new products being raised frequently on the Forum. Most noticeably with the Nova, the SN3 and the new streamer range.


Thank you Mike. Interesting to learn. I am glad you have had no issues (your gear possibly bought from John on the Shore?).

Having struggled to believe the DR problem really was the DR and not some electrical problem stemming from my new home (which it wasn’t), I was simply floored to experience the death – two months later – of my new SN3! Truly. I just couldn’t believe it. I disconnected, powered down, reconnected, powered up, disconnected, powered down, powered up, changed amplifiers, changed speakers, changed the goddamn speaker cables. But there was no escaping the fact that the SN3, at least on channel R had died. Dead. Mort. Gestorben.

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Yes, and he’s very reliable, so should be able to sort things out for you.

I just missed the SN3 by a month or so, how does it compare for you with the SN2?

It sounds like you like the Totem Tribe Towers, I been impressed when hearing them. I run Forest Signatures with my SN2 and Hawks with my Nova.

I hope you get the SN3 resolved, but the quality control is a concern at this investment level.

I used to live in Auckland, but now I live in Germany. John was always a source of sound advice. In fact my decision to invest in TTT was provoked by correspondence with John.

I skipped the SN2. I had (and still have) a SN1 although this had been in storage for 7 years and in the mean time I acquired, for my small apartment in Paris, a UnitiQute II (and totem dream catchers) – from Shore HiFi (and took them all the way!).

The initial comparison between the SN1 and SN3 left me less impressed than addition of the DR to the SN1. But I do very much notice the difference having had to go back from SN3 to SN1. The definition, especially in the bass, is much reduced, and the overall vibrancy of the music is less.

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In my experience, it’s always a revelation to go back to the previous kit, about three months after a new purchase. Not always possible, I know, but a revelation if you can.

Hope you get your SN3 sorted quickly and sound wise, to your absolute delight.

Don, you are very right. And yet, although the latest typically delivers more power / clarity / dynamism / detail / etc, there is something that is lost. Maybe just nostalgia, but listening to my LP collection – and especially my collection of 78s – after 25+ years of storage (and my turntable having been mothballed the same time) on my original NAIT through my first bought Linn Kans, there is something in that setup, especially with the 78s, that is just not present when I stream the same 78s from Tidal through the DR SN3 + TTT. There is something about the immediacy, the vibrancy that is not captured. It’s probably all there in the scratchy 78s. Maybe it’s just that they turned so fast. They caught more of life.

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Ah, Records, CDs, DVDs, Cassettes, Reel-to-Reel, FM Radio … yes.
Probably, as you say, a touch of nostalgia !
But incredibly enjoyable !

Don - does that explain the multiple tivoli radios filling up the closets? Also the tandberg tcd-340 and tandberg td20 rtr taking up valuable real estate on my double width quadraspire rack (I can’t bring myself to getting rid of either or hide them away. And oh yes, a pair of tandberg fasett speakers - now relegated to the attic - one of their first uses was mounted in the rear of a 1976 toyota corolla lift-back. It was basically a hatched station wagon and the tandberg were 5 sided and could be tilted - WHAT SOUND L

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