I would be very grateful for some guidance and/or advice regarding a substantial upgrade to an old LInn/Naim system that I have owned for about 40 years. My LP12 is being upgraded and serviced right now so my attention has turned to preamps (I currently have a NAC 62 but it would have to be repaired). My intention would be to use a NAP 250 of similar as the power amp since I used to own one and really liked it.
I do not really need digital or remote control preamp. I really just need something that can be used with my LP12 and a MC cartridge and perhaps one of Naim’s phono stages. I might add a streamer later but that is not a priority right now. I was thinking that a NAC 202 might fit the bill although I understand that it would need a power supply. I am not sure what the other alternatives are, perhaps a 252 although that is pushing my budget a bit.
Any guidance you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
I presume you’re talking used. Used 202s and 200s are going for peanuts right now, but you would need a Hicap (and possibly NAPSC). A 252/Supercap and 250 starts busting the budget some!
Alternatively, a Supernait 3 with a MC Stageline would fit the bill. Also, I wouldn’t exclude a good MM cartridge from consideration - a very good MM can be every bit as good as a similarly priced (under $1000) MC.
The NAC72/HiCap/NAP250 was once Naim’s top-of the line system, and it’s still bloody good today. They will all benefit from going back to Naim for service/recap, if that has not been done.
I would stretch to a 252/SC and 250 DR myself. Buy cheap and factor in servicing is one way to do it. Pay a bit more for newer or recently serviced kit. There are bargains out there to be had.
Consider buying from a dealer as you will get a limited guarantee for peace of mind, and you can dem the gear to make sure you like it.
It would be useful to know what you feel is lacking in your current set up before suggesting options.
If you are sure the 250 is where you want to go regarding power amp then the pre needs to be either self powered or would need a power supply. Convention suggests a 282 is a match which requires a hicap (or two or supercap) if looking at the bb2k era.
Given the range has changed I assume you are considering pre-owned… how far back in time are you considering?
The NAC252/Supercap is clearly a much more sophisticated control amp unit than the NAC72/HiCap, but they are priced accordingly.
If Philip just wants to play his LP12, and perhaps add a streamer later, I think that the NAC72/HiCap is hard to beat for the price.
If you are keeping with the cb or olive 250 then your 62 serviced and with the appropriate phono cards to match your mc cart will sound amazing. If looking to go classic then HC/282/250 would be my choice, DR versions if you can run to it.
My Olive system with a hc/62/140 in a small room 3x3m with fyne 302 floorstanders.
I think the 202 is a nice preamp, but it really isn’t a good match for a 250. A few years ago I thought that might have been no more than a bit of forum folklore, but when I mentioned it to my dealer he set up a demo which showed very clearly that they just weren’t good partners. So I would suggest that you look for a 282 (or an 82) if you really want a 250.
If your speakers are not too demanding I would even say go for a 200, partnered with either a 202 or a 282. If you don’t like the idea of too many boxes, consider a 200DR, as this does a pretty decent job of powering a preamp without the need for a Hicap.
So… get it repaired & serviced.
Then look for a Naim power amp which can power a preamp. Almost anything, except for a 250 (and above). NAP90, 110, 140, 160, 180 or 200. Factor in a service for the NAP, if its more than 8 to 10 years old.
Thank you so much for all of your thoughtful advice.
I had not seriously thought of getting the 62 serviced but I am now considering it. I am in the US so I need to check if Naim has a service center here or if it needs to go back to the UK. That might free up some money to add a power supply to the 62 preamp (When I owned a 32 preamp I found that adding a SNAPS made a great difference compared to running it off the power amp).
I am not fixed on a 250. My main reason for being interested in something like that is that years ago I owned an early 250 and it always impressed me.
Thanks again everyone.
You can certainly get your 62 serviced by a Naim authorised centre in the US. That sounds like a good idea to me as long as you don’t want the extra functions of the newer preamp such as remote control.
Adding a Hicap and a 250 would give you a great amp, although there are cheaper options lower down the range too.
I tend to think in systems as I’m a bit picky about getting things well balanced.
I had a serviced CB 62/Hi/140 for a short while and that was well balanced as was the olive 72/Hi/250.
Whilst the 62 doesn’t need a Hicap when partnered with a 140, I felt it needed that to sound right.
My fav CB amp is 42.5/110 without any PSU.
Never got to hear 72/Hi/140 but felt 72/140 was like a runaway train and, like the 62, probably needs a Hicap to restore balance.
All these setups were with a pre-Cirkus LP12s, either '89 Valhalla/Ittok or '92 Lingo1/Ekos2. Not sure how well a more modern spec LP12 would work with these older amps. Certainly the 42.5/110 would probably sound too thin although an MC cart will help a bit.
Thank you Chris and Murmur,
I did find the Naim service site in the US. If I am reading their price list correctly looks like a 62 service costs around $500 but a rebuild is around $1,000. I am not sure which one I would need. If it is a rebuild then getting a recent used 202 at a good price might be an alternative option. Thanks again!
Seems expensive to me but I’m used to Class A pricing.
I doubt the 62 is worth rebuilding at that price.
If you liked the 250 then I’d search across the UK forums/dealers for a recently serviced 72/Hi/250 with MC cards and then import them to the US - mint setup with original boxes should be about £2k. I appreciate you’d have import duty on top. Bear in mind a 250 will need servicing every 8-10 years and that ain’t cheap.
Olive 72/Hi/140 would be cheaper to purchase and run, say £1,500 recently serviced, mint, with original boxes, cables, and MC cards. You wouldn’t need to service for 15-20 years. Obviously the 250 gives you more flexibility in terms of difficult to drive speakers but the 140 can power late-Isobariks (not early ones) without much trouble.
I concur entirely. The 72/Hi/250 is a classic system, and was once Naim’s very best. That doesn’t change, even though other improved components have been released.
Bear in mind that units of that age need to return home to Salisbury for full service and recap.
I am actually about to travel to the UK so I was thinking of buying the preamp there and bringing it back since prices are quite a bit less than in the US and the import duty is around 5% of anything in excess of $750. The advantage of buying a non mains powered preamp would be that there would be no need for a voltage conversion although I understand that for many models the transformer has both 110V and 240V primaries so it is just a matter of swapping the primary connections.
Sounds like a plan.
I was looking for a 140 about two years ago and contacted all the UK dealers. Found 3-4 so these old amps are out there. My dealer has a lovely Naim-serviced pair of olive 135s for sale but you’d probably have to double your budget. Also worth trying Darran at Class A as he sometimes has the odd item for sale and of course they will be freshly serviced with Naim-supplied components.
The 282 would be the better option, whether you use it with a 200 or a 250.
There is considerable variability between individual Naim preamps of this generation, due to age, and to variable component selection when they were built. The basic preamp design was extremely similar across all models, so changing to a different model (as opposed to a different individual unit) is no guarantee in terms of sound quality.
Still, if you can find a serviced pre at the right price it may still be more cost effective to buy that and sell your 62.
Thanks again for your advice!