Help, Naim nait 5i vs 5i (italic)

Hi there
I’m new to the forum, I am wanting to buy either the naim nait 5i or 5i (italic), maybe even the nait 5. My main reason for wanting one of these is due them all having balance controls on the remote, I don’t need tone controls but balance is important due to my poor listening room.
Does anyone here know which one is the least bright sounding? I’m really not fond of overly bright amplifiers.
My setup currently is a pair of dynaudio emit m20’s, a denon pma 720 ae amplifier, a Rega P3 turntable and soon the Rega ania cartridge and Rega fono mc.
The dynaudio’s are actually easy to drive due to not dipping below 4 ohms and my current amp drives them extremely well so any of the nait above should be fine.
Which one is the least bright?
Are they muscular sounding amps?
Any advice and comparisons on these would be greatly appreciated.


My Nait 5i does not have a balance control.

Neither the 5i NAITs have balance control - the balance buttons on the remote are for amps further up the range. However, the NAIT 5 does - this being a function afforded by its use of an electronic resistor ladder volume control.

The NAIT 5 is a very nice amp, and a great introduction to Naim. Only thing to be wary of is the encoder, which can fail, although I’d imagine most that were affected (after TI moved factory) have been repaired or updated by Naim by now.

It’s rated at 30W/channel into 8 ohms, and around 50W/channel into 4 ohms. It’s probably best to avoid going lower than that although it should work into 2 ohms before protection kicks in.

Also note it’s DIN only, so you’ll need an RCA Phono to DIN interconnect for your Rega Fono. I would suggest either the Naim lavender/grey interconnect or else a late Chord Chrysalis, as these are a great match.

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Okay so that rules out the 5i’s.
I read that the 5 can be used as a pre-amp? If I go this route can I still use the balance controls? Also is this a much more expensive route to go down? What would the bare minimum I need to get this all working how I want it?
Also is the 5 a bright amp?

Yes, it can be used as a pre-amp with either a Naim power amp that can also provide power to it, or by powering from a dedicated power supply like a Flatcap. However, it’s not really worthwhile doing that - if you want a pre-amp then buy a proper Naim pre-amp; you’ll get a better pre-amp for similar money that way.

Naim is usually only overly “bright” where there’s a bad mismatch in the system or, in the case of an amp, an unsuitable speaker cable has been used. Generally I find that compared to a lot of the other alternatives, Naim is generally on the dark side. However it is perhaps a little forward rather than laid back, so if that’s your definition of “bright”…

If you do go for a Naim amp, especially if it’s a NAIT 5 or a pre/power, then do follow Naim’s guidance on speaker cable (see FAQ) as it’s really important in getting the best from these bits of kit.

Otherwise, if you want a Naim amp that’s an integrated, sounds really muscular, is probably the least “bright” sounding Naim amp, should drive your Dynaudios with ease, isn’t quite so fussy about requiring NACA5 speaker cable, and has a proper balance control, then you might want to consider the original Supernait, second-hand examples of which may well be within reach. This may just be exactly what you’re after.*

*it also has a rather useful onboard DAC, should you need it.

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Nait 3?

It has a physical balance control, but if it’s listening room dynamics you need the function for, I don’t think you’ll need the convenience of balance on the remote?

I had a Nait 5 whilst my 3 was being serviced. Back to back on the return of the 3, the 5 did have the edge, but not by much*.

*To my ears :slight_smile:

The Nait 5 and SuperNait 1 - suggested by Richard - are both very nice amps. I have them both. The SuperNait 1 has the benefit of power and you can crank up the volume to extreme levels and the SuperNait 1 remains a cool and relaxed amp. This is something you cannot do with the Nait 5.

They are both a bit on the warm sounding side of the spectrum. If time is there, both react well by getting an external power supply.

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My current amp is rated 50 watts into 8ohms and powers the dynaudios fine so would the nait 5 be good enough? I’m hoping it will sound a little better and more gutsy than the denon I’m currently using.
The balance control is something I need so the nait 5 seems to be the most affordable option for me.
Does the nait 5 definitely have balance control? If so I’ll get a used one and save for a little while longer for the supernait.

The original Nait 5 defo has a balance control. Once the balance is centered, the green light on the volume knob flashses, but tuning by ear is much better. Use the remote to change the balance.

Take into account that most Nait 5’s are almost 20 years old and in need for a proper service. If you are UK based, this is no issue. If you are EU or elsewhere based, this can be an issue. Expect to pay more for a service than you pay for the Nait 5 in that case.

‘Markymark’ suggests that you are UK based. A colleague of mine was easy to get upset by calling him that way.

Yeah, I’m in the u.k. As long as I get a fully working nait 5 it’ll be okay, I’d be selling it later down the line once I’ve got the cash for a supernait.

If I did really like it and decided to stick with the nait 5 out of curiosity how much would it be for a service in the u.k?

I’m a little concerned a nait 5 will sound weak due to its lower power compared to my denon, however I do imagine it’ll be a step up.
Will it sound much better?

There’s only one way to know for sure - to try it and see. As for service cost, if you’re on a budget then maybe drop Darran at Class A an email (he’s a naim approved servicer, using Naim supplied parts, but runs a little bit cheaper than the factory) for an estimate.

If in doubt, save a bit more for an XS. The original model (cheaper than XS2) would I suspect suit you down to the ground.
It doesn’t have balance control. Do you really need that? You could possibly resolve your “bad room” by repositioning the speakers.

Been tempted myself by an early XS as an upgrade for a Nait 3. Is/was the XS a decent step from a Nait 5?

Dynaudio usually need some power, afraid the Nait 5 will be too klein. I had it up against a Nait 3 & Nait 2, admittedly the #2 won in my setup.
Any Supernait is much more powerfull, early ones are good s/h purchases.
Nait XS also in another league, early ones are bargains.

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@PerF nails it already.

I had my Nait 5 paired with difficult loudspeakers and the result was a very boring sound. The SuperNait had no problems and gave a punchy colourful sound.

The same Nait 5 was brilliant with more efficient loudspeakers.

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