So I have an old hifi, that was somewhat cobbled together from bits that I bought back in the late 90s, and put to service currently for the living room TV. Just renewed my speakers (I was rocking an ancient and half dead set of 25+ year old Rega Elas) with the Focal 926s, and have caught the hifi bug again.
Current setup for music & TV: Synology NAS (FLAC) → samsung smart tv (UPnP) → optical → Naim Dac v1 → cheap interconnect → Naim Nait 3 → NACA → Focal 926.
Focals sound great, but a bit bass boomy (great for TV, not so much for music) and stereo imaging is not quite there. Im sure the room doesnt help - it has a tiled floor, and the speakers are just sat on their bases without spikes as I dont want to damage the tile.
I’ll spend some time fiddling with the speaker positioning, but I suspect theres more to it than that e.g. my nait 3 is getting on for 30 years old and i never got around to servicing.
I also plan to strip and reterminate my speaker cables in any case. i’ve ordered some sliver plated bananas and spades from Gothic audio to replace my existing ancient, freyed, slightly corroded connetors.
Any thoughts on where i should start looking to improve the sound?
- Nait 3, i’m guessing wont be worth servicing - it’s not broken per-se, and will cost more to service than it’s worth.
- I could recap the Nait 3 myself I suppose, I’m confortable with eletronics, but its a bit of a faff plus the amp will be out of use while i do it and i dont have a backup in case i break something
- Could look at changing the Dac v1 to a second hand NDX into the Nait 3. Not sure the degree to which the streaming module would improve on my current UPnP/toslink input though? surely its all digital anyway, its more for convinience than sound?
- I could replace the Nait 3 with a second hand Supernait 2
- I could just run the Dac v1 direct into a second hand Nap200 or 250, though the Focals are loud enough with the Nait 3, so it doesnt feel like the power is lacking. i’ve read mixed comments on this forum around the tradeoffs of v1 direct into power vs. via a pre.
any thoughts welcome!
Welcome to the Forum. I’m afraid I really don’t know any of your equipment but I’m sure others will be along to help soon. I would say though from various listening sessions the SN2 is a killer amp.
I’d use the Naim plugs at the amp end of your speaker cables.
Rest depends on budget.
I personally had my NAIT 3 serviced and enjoyed a year or two of use before part exing against a XS3. They deserve to be looked after, though I understand not everyone is so sentimental
Buy eight Fraim chips or similar, so you can spike your Focals onto the tiles.
I’d get the Nait 3 serviced too, and use it with your properly terminated NACA speaker cables.
Doing these things would give you a decent base reference point imo. You might find them enough. You might not. But having done them, at least you would have an understanding of where you are at the moment, and you could go on from there if you wanted to…
Given the price of a Nait 3 service, and some expected residual value, and the fact that I saw a serviced NAP200 for 1000 euros recently (so probably even better in the UK), I would consider this a very viable option. Including proper Naca5 and soldered plugs of course.
A used Bluesound NODE (130 model) could be added for little money as well. Then you have Christmas to see how you like it and make more or other plans? The DAC-V1 is both nice to keep and good money to sell off. Good luck choosing a way forward!
Interesting. XS3 wasnt on my radar. How did you feel it compared against your Nait3?
Good shout! i’ve ordered some pucks so i can spike the speakers and seem if that helps control the bass.
XS3 is a cracking amp, combines the fun of CB and Olive with the refinement and resolution of black slimline.
Totally different option though. If you want a full digital system (only, no analogue), you could also aspire to an Atom HE with the NAP200 and go there in steps starting with the DAC-V1.
Lot of options, leading to different systems with different sounds. You might want to browse some of the recent threads here, like those with the search keywords “budget streamer”.
My son has a Nait 3 which is used with Rega Elas and sounds wonderful in a very small room.
The Nait 3 costs about £300 to £350 used. To service it as Darran at Class A. I would have thought the cost would be £200 to £300.
A used Supernait 2 or 3 maybe a better option and sell the Nait 3. Nait XS3 could be a good move as well. The newer amps should work well with your speakers as well. Focal and Naim are in partnership after all. The newer amps have more power and should give you a more modern sound if that’s what you want.
The speakers should be very good. I have the Focal Aria 936s in my conservatory running off the main system on a switch. I used them in the main listening room for several years and was very happy with their power and bass.
My listening room is carpeted. With tiles this will create more echo and isn’t ideal for room acoustics.
Maybe a big rug would help acoustics or some room treatment. I found moving a shelving unit to a different wall helped with bass issues.
The XS3 is better
But my NAIT3 wasn’t disgraced by any means.
I think budget is key. There’s no end to what you could spend, but that doesn’t mean spending less means a terrible system.
To offer another position, I’d see if Naim can still do the NAC92 change on your Nait3 when serviced, then find and service a second hand NAP180 power amp. I reckon that would be immense cost performance if you aren’t keen on the expense of a new current amp.
I was reminded forcibly of this around 3 years ago when I dug out my unitiqute (around 7 years old then?) and mission 70 speakers (bought new in 1985!) to give to my nephew. At the time my main system was nd555, 552, 300 maybe into SL2s (not sure of the exact date) but I tested the unitiqute and 70s and was blown away by how much fun the sound was
I love the Nait 3 - it’s where my life with Naim started and if I still had it (I sold to move onto a narrowboat) I would continue to use it. But you might be right, using a 3rd party refurbisher could be more cost effective for such an old unit as even Naim seem to struggle to support this now. Make sure it’s someone people talk about though (I design electronics so I would do my own myself, for example but I normally renovate synths).
I miss elements of the Nait 3 in modern Naim but still find their gear engaging and the DAC v1 is a product of its time but still excellent.
Can I ask what you think Naim struggle with regarding servicing a NAIT3? Servicing it full stop? Or doing so cost effectively? Genuinely curious, I haven’t seen anything about their lack of ability to service their old amplifiers which is why I’m asking. I do get that spending the likely second hand value of the item on servicing costs would be a strange decision for some/many people, if that’s what you mean?
Agree with @pragmatic_audio here. I am not aware of Naim having any problems servicing older units. Cost and using 3rd parties (Naim approved or not - your choice) is a separate argument.
There’s another thread on here that indicates Naim are unable to supply at least one (trivial) replacement part on this unit. A replacement is still available commercially and they were given the part number. This is a part which is present on all the 3 series units (at least all the ones I ever had).
Best if @NeilS responds to this.
What @NeilS said -
“They were manufactured by Jet Press, part number BUR015 if it helps.”
Whilst accepting that ‘source first’ can be an over-used mantra, at the end of the day your Samsung TV isn’t the best streaming source. I’d consider looking at acquiring a dedicated music streamer before spending on anything else., although clearly the Nait is in need of servicing and the cheap interconnect isn’t helping…