Does HT Bypass change sound quality?

The manual states the HT bypass feature on my Naim preamp will “effectively bypass the Naim volume control”

Besides the volume control circuit, will all other aspects of the signal path remain the same? By routing the signal to my Naim preamp via the HT bypass, do I still receive the all benefits of running the signal through a matched Naim pre & power amp?

My source is a NAD streamer/DAC with its own volume control and some other modern features (high pass filter for subs, Dirac, etc). If I connect the NAD unit via HT bypass, will I be sacrificing some of the Naim synergy? I’ve never used the HT feather in the past.


It’s effectively direct input to the power amp.

Thank you Robert. I’m not sure if that means I’m completely bypassing the Naim preamp benefits though.

It’s also likely I’m replacing the NAD unit for a multi channel receiver with streaming/DAC for a future surround sound system. The new receiver would tackle multi channel during movies as well as streaming music for two channel.

I just don’t know if streaming music via HT bypass would somehow compromise the traditional Naim sound.

I asked a very similar question last month…

Probably one for the Naim engineers to be honest. Seeing as a non frequency normalised signal can cause Naim power amps to become unstable in rare sutuations (leading to the generalisation that a Naim preamp can be happily paired with any power amp but a Naimp power amp needs a Naim preamp), I’d hope that this bypasses only the volume and balance pots leaving the rest in-place. But I certainly don’t know that.

Thank you for the reply’s. It seems like this is a tough question to answer. Has anyone tried this before and noticed a difference in sound quality?

Do Naim engineers periodically pop into three forum and answers questions? Or is there a way to contact Naim fir clarification? Thanks
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Hi Adeotec,
Your system may or may not include the sorts of products home theater bypass was mainly intended for. The concept of a home theater being combined with a Naim stereo was very popular since the 90’s when home theater become popular. The idea is that a stereo system would have had one or more analog sources; often a CD player or a turntable, less commonly an FM tuner. Those would be wired directly to a Naim pre-amp like yours with the intention of no loss of quality for music sources. In many surround systems, the primary sources would be wired directly to a home theater receiver or pre-amp processor for the multi-channel playback that a full surround system is capable of offering. These sources were typically Cable boxes, or a Satellite equivalent, a DVD player (later on Blue Ray players) etc. One idea of a home theater bypass as Naim implemented it was to create a stereo independent of the often lower quality home theater amps for the rears, sides, and center channel. The Naim pre-amp and amp still serve as the amps for the front channels. The other goal that Naim and other high end firms embraced was to only have one volume control operational at a time. When you wire from a home theater receiver or pre-amp into a Naim pre-amp, what would normally get wired to the home theater bypass input is the front R + L output of the receiver, not a source in the conventional sense. If I understand your comments, you are trying to use an NAD streamer with its own volume control into your Naim pre-amp. This may or may not be possible, but you have not made clear whether you have any additional channels of amplification beyond your Naim stereo amp. If you are just using the NAD in stereo, I expect it would sound best set for a fixed volume output and wire it to your Naim pre-amp as a conventional source.

Good luck,


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