Balanced? Are you sure?

So why dont the Naim preamplifiers have a detent on the balance knob??? Otherwise how do you actually know youre dead centre?

1 Like

Because Naim balance knobs are the audio equalivalent of a black hole :sunglasses:


Naim reckon its best to use your ears rather than rely on a pre-determined “centre”. Room acoustics will often mean that a small adjustment one way or the other may be necessary in order to get a properly centralised and balanced image between the speakers. Also, analogue volume pots are at their weakest in terms of perfectly even balance at their lowest setting so the balance pot allows you to compensate for this.

p.s. Note that the NAC202 does have a pre-determined centre position but that’s because the pot is hidden and there’s no manual knob, so it’s essential to have a centre point from which to work the remote balance keys.


The 82 pre has markings to indicate positions on the facia, including a nominal central position.

1 Like

This has been my greatest irritation with Naim pre-amps. They are made to be operated mainly in the 7-10 o’clock range, where they are weakest. So we need to adjust the balance continously depending on volume setting.


1 Like

Also some of us imbalanced ears and I wouldn’t mind guessing this is more prevalent than many people realise.


I don’t find this to be true for me. I have a 552, a 252 and an 82 all left with the balance control static. All are slightly off centre one way or another but are then not moved.

1 Like

I have also had several Naim pre-amps and the problem has been consistant with late evening, low level (6-7.30 o’clock) listening. I suspect also that sound quality is better with lower attenuation as there us kess wire for the signal to pass though.

Ah, 6’30 to 7 0 clock position is perhaps more sensitive than 7- 10 o clock as previously suggested. I am sitting listening at

Average 47 db. No imbalance.

What’s the reason behind having such a super small sweet spot on the volume pot? Going from the super smooth volume on 272 to 552 made me quickly remember the pain managing super sensitive volume controls on naim.

I guess if you listen to digital, especially recent releases and remasters, which seem so loud compared to earlier releases, then you may well be listening with the control right at the start of its travel. With my Naim DAC a lot of my listening is around the 8-10 o’clock position on the 552, although with classical and early CDs, up to 11 or even sometimes 12. With the Superline, it’s anywhere from around 8-12, and similar with the NAT tuner. Rarely if ever do I have to alter the channel balance, except on rare occasions where the recording necessitates a slight adjustment.


??? What do you mean less wire?

If you do you mean lower attenuation, =louder, then sound quality is likely to be better because unless the system has “loudness” compensation the frequency spectrum is effectively suppressed at both bass and treble ends due to one’s ears being progressively less sensitive at low sound levels, and any background noise in the room is more intrusive.

I think it’s down to the pre-amp gain. For some reason it sounds a lot better with a higher gain. Past experiments with lowering it didn’t sound quite as good.

1 Like

Early ish morning background listening Richard. :slightly_smiling_face:

Although to be fair I rarely go past the 9 o clock position.

1 Like

Having a balance control is the only way that some of us realise that we have wired up the speakers the wrong way round :roll_eyes:


Volyme pots generally consist of wound resistive wire. More attenuation requires the signal to pass through more of this resistive wire. I agree that higher vokyme leads to better sound quality. Drawing conclusion about the independant effect of either is therefore diffucult.

Potentiometers may have one of a number of different types of resistive element. My question was because I’m not sure that the Alps unit used in Naim preamps is wirewound (I suspect it isn’t, not least because I would expect a wirewound type to have more consistent pairing of resistance at all positions including close to one end, so not exhibit the imbalance often reported with Naim units, but I could be wrong).

Online search suggests you are right, on the Hifi Collective site they refer to metallised conductive plastic.
It is a long time since I have taken anything apart, my recollection of the ones that could be bought at Tandy was a carbon film on SRPB board.

I’m picking up Richard’s point but just to confirm that it’s consistent with my experience.

Prior to joining this community I would always have assumed the centre point was essential but having a) been given the impetus by the comments of others to try and b) being able to use the remote on my 82, I have for some years had this set just to the left of centre, at say the 11.30 position. This has the effect of opening up the sound stage and in terms of the setting, there was a sweet spot that just sounded better.

As I’m using 135s I have checked this isn’t down to the equipment but rather room acoustics.

I suppose if centring the balance was optimal there’d be no need for the function at all. It helps that the 82 does have markings. My Nait 1 balance control doesn’t have markings or an detent and it took a while playing with it before I realised I needed an ear-driven solution!

first time I have this explanation, that helps understanding the concept, and actually it makes sense. Now I know , thank you!