Hello everyone. I have accreted over the years a bunch of Naim pre-amps + an integrated. Some have balance controls (32-5, 42-5, 82, 92). Some don’t have balance control (112, Nait 5i).
What is going on here? I’d expect a balance control on any pre/integrated amp. The manufacturer has no idea about eg where the speakers will be placed in a room, whether an older user might have better hearing in one ear than the other etc
And it can’t be because a balance control would somehow ‘degrade’ the signal. The NAC 112 has no external balance control, but accidentally pressing the wrong buttons on the handset will certainly shift the balance. So if there’s already balance adjustment inside the amp, why on earth not provide easy access by adding an external control?
Is this just Naim buying into the “the fewer controls the harder to use, and the harder to use the better it sounds” folk legend? Kind of similar to their ignoring L and R in favour of Channel 1 and Channel 2 on their earlier pre-amps?
love and hugs to all, Stevie xx
What does anyone think? I can’t see any benefit in refusing to cater to people with different hearing patterns, other than a sort of minimalist arrogance!
Stevie, I think that there’s no doubt that Naim like to do things their own way, although they are probably more ‘mainstream’ now than they were in their Salt Lane days when Julian Vereker had just started the company.
I think that I’m right in saying that the earliest Naim control (or pre) amps (eg NAC12) didn’t have a balance control. That was serious, bare-chested stuff in those days. I fear that they’re going soft these days.
PS I’m totally wrong. I’ve looked at photos, of the NAC12S, and the balance control knob is there, as clear as the nose on one’s face! (What a prat I am sometimes.)
A post in the other thread prompts a thought: do they have balance controls internally, operated by the remote, rather than having an external knob? Some Naim preamps apparently do that, which doesn’t seem unreasonable given that in most cases the balance control is only infrequently operated, unlike the volume control.
But doesn’t that make it even more puzzling? If the obviously sensible thing to do is have an internal balance control operated from the handset, then why include an external balance control on eg the NACs 32-5, 42-5, 82, 92? The 32-5 and 42-5 must be pretty early stages of Naim’s thinking about the design of pre-amps. Why change? xx