Fraim colour variations

I have a Fraim in Cherry, which is second hand (apparently only a year old). I recently had another couple of shelves added which are brand new and there is quite a considerable colour variation - more than I was expecting. Obviously I am talking to my dealer about options but does anyone know if Naim have changed the veneer colours (at lot) in recent times. I was expecting the new ones to be darker as they are not lightened by the sun.

However whilst the old ones are dark and have a rich red colour, new ones are very much lighter. Indeed there is considerable colour variation between the new ones. One is light, the other is really light, almost like an oak or maple. It almost looks like there is a variation in the staining of the wood on one of them.

Appreciate any insights from the forum on this.

There were two varieties of the Cherry veneer. One was more red than the other. I think they were known as stained or non-stained. Over time the veneers darkened, but remained distinctly different in appearance.

1 Like

Wood is a natural material - there is no small amount of natural sample variation.

Perhaps even more significant, some woods, IME cherry included, are prone to change colour if exposed to significant light, almost always becoming paler. Assuming I am understanding you correctly, it may be some of your shelves have been sat in a bright place.

1 Like

Yes I am aware of that, the ones I have are the same type. Do you mean the shelves got darker in use, or darker from new - over time

Some woods are bleached and lightened, whereas others are darkened. Cherry darkens and tends to become more orange with age, especially in bright sunlight.
Some wood finishes contain a UV filter to reduce this effect. Not sure if Naim use such a finish on Fraim.

I expect sample variation, but this is significant differences.

My “new” shelves are considerably lighter (new, boxed and unopened from Naim).
My “old” shelves are considerably darker.

As Graeme explains above, initially the Cherry veneer on the Fraim had quite a reddish tint. There was then a change to untinted cherry, and since then, with the demise of Castle who used to make the veneered shelves, there’s perhaps variation again.

The good news though is that as oscpercy explains above, the shelves will change tint with light and eventually you’ll reach a reasonably happy median. Take my own three stacks of Cherry Fraim as an example. There are early, middle and later wooden shelves and I have mixed them up a bit, which really helped, and with a bit of time, they have all blended together nicely. See the picture of my main system below:


Hard to say. I got all mine from new at the same time. They have all darkened at the same rate, so they all look the same. My understanding (provided they are all either stained or unstained) is that your new ones will darken to more closely match your older ones.

1 Like

Thanks Richard.

These look quite different to my stack. The new one is the top shelf. It doesn’t look as different on the photo but in the room its a stark difference.

I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. However, if it really does concern you, one thing you could do is to swap the new shelves with the lower of the base shelves. Then you’d only see the front edge of the lighter shelves.

I have all black, some of which were purchased later and, although there’s no colour difference per se, the veneer and finish on the newer shelves is nowhere near as good as the older ones.

noted, and thank you. I do agree that the latest revision (at least on my rack) is not as good quality, the finish in particular the staining, and variation in colour doesnt meet my expectations.

It is really irritating me to be honest, not sure I can live with it. It will be an expensive mistake if I have to replace it all but I think thats probably the route I am going to have to take.

If you’re not satisfied with the new ones you can just return them to your dealer and look out for some older used ones instead, or?:thinking:

It could be that your original shelves were either original cherry or the more recent tinted cherry (which are more similar than different) and the last shelf is standard cherry (which is quite a bit lighter). Photo shows a mixture of original and tinted, the originals bought many years ago and the second base and one shelf added in 2020. The photos show up differences more than they do in “real life” and even then, you would be hard pressed to determine what’s different vs what’s just a play of the light.

There will always be some variation as it’s real wood veneer - it’s not possible to avoid that with a colour like cherry. However, as my rack shows, the colour all pretty much blends, and the reddish tint fades after some years in the room.

1 Like

Is tinted vs non tinted still an option? When I bought my Fraim levels, you could specify either option to better match what you already had, as Richard has mentioned, there have been a few different colour variations over the years. Looks like your new level is non tinted & you’d be better off with a tinted level.

If @Richard.Dane is agreeable, I can post a pic from hq, which shows each of the fraim colours.

The other option for the OP, @haydj is to take all the Fraims to a french polisher, a good one will be able to allay some of your concerns. Bear in mind, as commented earlier, wood and veneer is a natural product and colours will vary; age also plays a significant factor.

While it doesn’t affect the sound, it may be frustrating. I have lots of Fraim, across four stacks and it was far from bought at the same time - colours vary but despite being keen on such matching, I accept that it does vary.

1 Like

Sure, no problem S-H

1 Like

Hi Richard, Is that a 552 and 300 I your main system?

It’s a 552 and 250DR. Speakers are SL2s.