Digital flexibility

Surely Naim could facilitate those who only stream their music by producing a one box NDX2 with volume control so that we can have one less box, or am I missing something?

You are missing the fact that it does have a volume control, but it sounds better if you disable it.

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Thanks ChrisSU, why can’t they build it with a volume control that does not affect sound quality?
Surely we are at a point where we should not need all these separate boxes.

Nice idea, but it doesn’t seem to work that way. If you search the forum, you will see a number of posts from people who have tried to use no preamp, or a non-Naim preamp, between a Naim source and power amp, and they have generally found it to be unsuccessful.
As I understand it, Naim put the digital volume control in the new streamers only because it was required in order to comply with Apple requirements for AirPlay certification.

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Volume can only be controlled in either analogue or digital domains. The digital method involves altering the data stream which means processing it - with potential for degrading the sound. An analogue volume control needs an analogue section to operate on…

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That’s the fabled NAC-N272-2 (or perhaps the equally fabled NAC-N372).

I was hoping for a two box solution that would improve on the 272 and save on boxes as I don’t like racks of equipment.
Everything processed to a high level into separate amplification.
I’ve heard an NDX2 into a Super Nait 2 which sounded good but required racks for the power supplies.

I know what you mean. For me I accept a larger number of boxes as that means a better sound

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Not required exactly, just improved by having them. Maybe try a bare NDX2 with other integrateds if the supernait 2 doesn’t do it for you. One member here traded his for a Nait xs and prefers that and there are plenty of other makes around, the Rega Oasis is somewhat sympathetic on the end of a Naim source for one. Naim come from a tradition where the sound justified the means and the means was lots of boxes, 6 mono blocks for instance plus active crossover and preamp with outboard supplies. If lifestyl is your thing Naim have made concessions over the years culminating in the current unitis but they’re more sort of bait than an end in itself. Try a Devialet perhaps.

I thought the range of Naim preamps was there to drive the Naim power amplifier with increasing fidelity up the range at a larger power level (the volume control being an indicator of scaling required). Sources just don’t have the driving power required by the amp and this will result in loss of fidelity. Naively I thought each application stage could be characterised by an effective impedance which gets smaller at each stage.


There is an earlier thread that seriously overlaps the subject of this one, which may be worth visiting as it had quite a few contributions from all angles.

[Is the pre-amp a thing of the past?]

Thanks, I’ve seen the pre amp and 272/372 topics before.
I hope Naim take note of the topics on this site because I believe a significant number of people wish for a minimalist approach as they no longer wish to clutter their lounge with equipment.
At the speed electronic knowledge has advanced surely its worth considering a different approach.

I think you’ll find that Naim have always understood this desire for smaller systems. That’s why they made the Naits, Unitis and NAC-N streamer/preamps. They all compromise performance to provide the convenience many people want.

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I really don’t get this “minimalist” thing! Why is it fashionable to want bare rooms with nothing in, no carpet, everything white, and small. So harsh and uncomfortable. Tidiness is one thing, but some people’s home look as if they’re living in hospitals or some other institution!


I would argue that racks of hi fi equipment appear institutional. I would prefer to have other items in a room. I also think a neutral colour palette is relaxing.

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The established institution of rack proud audiophiles ?


How dare people suggest our boxes should be taken away from us! I’ve spent years (and a few quid) increasing my box count, and I for one am not going to reduce now, not for anyone.

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Sbls, a Nait and an LP12 with nice wooden plinth make every room look nice.

But on topic, a nice integrated digital crossover would make it much easier to run loudspeakers active.

Agree re ranked racks of black boxes, though industrial rather than institutional. Of course, apart from speakers, and anything receiving an infrared remote signal, hifi stuff doesnt have to be on show. My amps are in a cupboard.

Pale walls are good for light in the room, and plain walls are good for dosplaying pictures - both pale colours and dark boldly coloured.

Institutional as in old folks homes!

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