An emotional response

After many many years away from ‘hi fi’… since December I’ve put together a system. I started with an Atom and got a bit carried away. It struck me tonight that songs I have heard many times before are eliciting a feeling of joy different from anything I have encountered before.

Not the tune, singing, playing, recording, but the togetherness of all those things. And I ‘get’ what I have been reading about.

If this sounds familiar or indeed like soppy BS, I’d be interested to hear. Certainly I think PRaT is very real in this brand. Otherwise it is difficult to explain and old and good friends are are most amused when I try.

I have a XPSDR and Supercap on route. If they improve things even further as I am reliably informed. Well…

In passing this is a pretty cool forum. As a musician, it is infinitely more restrained, helpful and polite than some other forums I have inhabited.


Yes I think you have hit on something I identify with. That emotional response and connection is something that I seem to experience more with Naim kit.


Since I was 18, so for 30+years, had had systems that “normal” people thought were crazy, but were lowly in the greater scheme. Rega P3 during the whole time, various amps, the last set was a Rotel RC-1070 pre and RB-1080 power, then briefly a NAD C658 pre/streamer instead. With Monitory Audio Gold GX200 in the past decade. I thought this was pretty nice. (But in reality always wanted Naim, just never happened).

Then pandemic and all, and 1.5 years ago bought the NDX2/555/252/SC/300 (and P10), still used with the same speakers at first. And suddenly everything just came together, as you say (though all the details are also there and enjoyable, but are not in the foreground). It was a huge delight.

What’s best is that I have played music every day since, and the feeling has not diminished (as it quickly had done with lesser upgrades in the past). Every single day I notice how well it all fits together, and every time I enjoy it and am happy about my decision. The MAs were nice but new speakers in the past months added to this. Whatever music I play (and it goes from singer/songwriter to jazz to heavy rock and noise guitars to weird electronic) is just right, and at every level.

Enjoy your coming upgrades


Could have written this myself - completely agree.


Yes - you have hit the nail on the head there!


This mirrors my thoughts exactly and the situation isn’t so far different either! I picked up my P3 from a pawn shop back when I was at university, spending my loan on the important things!

When the pandemic happened, my job became impossible and I had to change careers entirely, I went from a hairstylist to history author overnight and bought a new Hi-Fi to keep me company whilst working at home, tapping away at the keyboard all day. I had always wanted Naim ever since hearing a friend’s dad’s kit many years ago, olive boxes and Isobariks.

My system is a little more modest than your own, Supernait 3/HCDR with a P8, but it’s bought me so much joy, almost caused a few tears and had me thrashing out all my old records from post-punk to old British folk and a recent rabbit-hole quest through the mires of some old Japanese Jazz. Every single day since having my system I wake up excited at what I’m going to listen to that day.

Could I have got the same emotional connection with other kit? Maybe? I dunno. But I’m not especially bothered to find out. That direct, exhilarating sound I remember from my mate’s dad’s old kit is here and I love it.


Me too. I listen to a couple of LPs each morning while reading the paper (in hardcopy) before heading to work. Pre-pandemic, I’d wake up, fall out of bed, drag a comb across my head and trudge straight into work. Now it’s a daily 90 min morning session with the Hifi before the office - love it. Fridays are WFH , so the amps burn particularly hot that day.


Could make a song about that.


Not sloppy at all. You have just captured the essence of what makes Naim systems special.
It’s all about the music and the emotional connection, not the hifi trap of ultimate but sterile resolution.

Best regards, BF

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ND555+552+500= :cry:

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I get this too, every day I look forward to playing music and each time there are moments I drop even deeper and stop thinking about anything at all - just enjoying the what I am hearing.
Occasionally I will even press <<, just to hear that sound again…
Even on the 5si’s it is a great pleasure.


Same here. I’ve owned full Naim systems (sans speakers) for more than 2 decades. But if there’s one component that completely changed and re-ignited my love for music, it’s the addition of a streamer. I never listened to music as much as I do now.

I use Tidal and something ‘simple’ like their Daily Discovery playlist has introduced me to so much new music. Artists and albums I never listened to before. I also serves as a jump off point to ‘wander off’ exploring new music from virtually the entire global music library, right at your fingertips. Music that is mentioned here, in reviews, newspapers/magazines etc. It’s never further away than a few taps on a screen. Priceless… and unthinkable when a CDX2 was my main source (boxed up now).

So getting back to the quote; in our house we developed kind of a daily routine to listen to the Daily Discovery around happy hour, curious to what it brings us today.

For me, this makes the NDX2 a bargain and worth its weight in gold.


With almost 50 years of listening to music and making upgrades I have defined 2 basic types of improvement. Cosmetic, where sound improvements can clearly be heard but are soon assimilated and enjoyment levels over the long term remain the same and; Fundamental, where upgrades change the level of appreciation of the music and continue to impact and fundamentally uplift the level of enjoyment at every listen.
For sure the type of equipment you use can have a major fundamental impact on your enjoyment level, but once there, its more likely that subsequent upgrades to individual components, while thrilling at first will be more cosmetic in nature over the long term.
But one area that I’ve found to consistently deliver the kind of fundamental upgrades we all love is the network. Now I know that bits are bits and that theoretically any change that doesn’t change the bits gets pooh poohed by many, but the more I improve my network, the more I enjoy the music, the more deep and strong my emotional responses and the more I get that little tizz of excitement before each listening session. Many would claim that the cause is confirmation bias, but here’s the thing. The improvements are so fundamental that a. They weren’t at all expected to be what they are b. They are almost impossible to describe using typical hi-fi terminology and c. The majority are about my subconscious reaction to the music……whoops of joy, shivers down the spine and tears of emotion at the sheer beauty of what I’m hearing. Essentially, if I try to describe what I hear I have found that the network has a major impact on the presentation of the music, especially on those areas that typically separate live from recorded music like PR&T, presentation of the venue’s acoustics, size and atmosphere, that buzz of excitement and presence, the enjoyment of the musicians as they boogie together, dynamics and especially the initial dynamic of each note, spacial definition, presence of real musicians playing real instruments and greater instrument timbre and individual identity . As you see, my descriptions of the improvements deviate substantially from the usual hi-fi related adjectives. It seems that the more perfect the network stream in terms of contaminations, distortions and losses, the more perfect and believable the rendition of the resulting music. Putting my money where my mouth is, all my upgrade budget this past 2 years and this coming year will go on further network refinements. What’s really great about this direction is that contrary to the law of diminishing returns, the better the network gets, the greater the sonic impact of further improvements.
I have travelled the long road of owning and fully upgrading a Naim system, so I’m very familiar with what adding a better or additional power supply, amp or CDP can bring. All I’m saying is that your network is no less an important ingredient to your sonic outcome and improvements to it generally fall into the fundamental category.


I’m with you there. Streaming along with discovering Radio Paradise has opened my mind to so many different genres. You suddenly find you have hundreds of thousands of albums available in CD or better quality through an app. I know we sometimes moan about technology but it can also be a marvellous thing.


+1 for streaming. I listen to more music than ever and my digital is now very close to my analog in sound quality.


I agree. My dealer recently suggested I try a couple of the recently introduced Chord Ground Arays, one on the router and one on the switch feeding my 272 and wow! In line with your terminology they are a fundamental improvement, providing all the benefits you describe. Neither are directly connected to the signal path when listening to streamed music from my NAS so I was initially perplexed as to why this is. I now understand that networks can be noisy and lowering the noise floor enables the music to shine through. A simple upgrade which has had a bigger impact than my last black box upgrade.


Completely agree, I bought an atom in december soon to be followed by bowers 705 s2 standmounts. What a combo. I listen every day for a couple hours. You can hear the music and the groove.

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Gold. Thanks for sharing, Blackmorec. Cheers

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I’m completely with you @Kipstryker. 35+ years ago I procured a very good turntable based system ( LP12, Ittok, Lingo). My amp unfortunately never let the quality shine through, Naim Nait was the next target then children came along, funds were re-prioritised and after a house move (and thoughtful of risk from small/sticky hands) the system was unfortunately confined to the attic. It came out a few years later but still wasn’t shining, the LP12 needed servicing and funds were still tight, plus new vinyl was almost non-existent in favour of CDs. So I made the mistake of selling the Linn components (and sadly the vinyl) and confined my listening to radio and iPod (docked to my lesser amp).
It wasn’t until 2019 that I bought a Muso 1, which I throughly enjoyed, then during first UK lockdown in 2020 when I was confined away from home that I invested in an Atom and Acoustic Energy AE500s. Whilst that was a revelation, somewhat like you I then went a little mad, retired from work early and invested pension savings in an NDX 2, Supernait 3, Ty XPS, TyCap SE, Chord 8Switch, WitchHat Morgana I/C and Phantom speaker cables. Never has my system sounded so involving, realistic and toe-tappingly good! Whilst my SN3 was back with Naim for a defect, I was kindly loaned a McIntosh MA252 by my dealer, definitely nowhere near the same level of involvement!
With my SN3 back, I now get that same emotional response every day as even very old recordings come to scintillating life with PRaT, detail, depth and feeling I’ve never experienced, even bringing tears to my eyes on a few occasions!
Kudos to Naim and their design teams, they’ve made me very happy and it’s obviously a sentiment shared by many of their customers. Thanks @Kipstryker for sharing your experience!


Interesting on the McIntosh. Admirable build quality. I listened to one whilst demoing some speakers a while back.
My reaction was it lacked involvement and was quite bland.
Reminded me of the slushy hifi my dad had in the 70s.

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