Is it okay to stack Naim audio equipment or do you have to use racks?


Sorry if my question is a little silly.
Can we arrange Naim audio equipment by arranging it directly without using an audio / self rack or is it not permissible or in the sense that every Naim equipment must be placed on a shelf and cannot stack it directly?


Do not stack.

To get the most from your Naim electronics, each component should have it’s own shelf on a dedicated hi-fi rack, like the Fraim. In larger systems several racks are often used, one for the power supples and one for sources/preamp to allow the greatest distance from each other. Often called the “brain” & “brawn” method.

Set up is key to get the best sound. You will hear the difference.


Telltale scuffs will drastically reduce resale value (due in part to the widely-held belief that stacking undercuts performance, implying a careless owner), which is worth protecting at these prices, and because trading up or down is part of the fun for many of us.

Better performance is icing on the cake.

Sincerely trying not to (seem to) be the maniacs that we (the Naim market) are.



The most important thing is to keep the boxes separate from each other. Powerful transformers can interfere with the delicate low level signals in sources and preamps. That’s why Naim build preamps with their power supplies in separate boxes.
If you don’t want a dedicated HiFi rack such as Naim’s Fraim you can still get decent results using regular furniture as long as you use separate shelves, or sometimes on a wide unit you can put boxes side by side.
An important part of this is the cables. Ideally they should hang free and not touch the floor, a shelf, or any other cable. This is rarely achievable without a dedicated rack, but keeping the low level cables between source and preamp away from other cables, especially mains power cables, is the most important thing.


The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. While a dedicated rack provides better performance, many find that is not permissible for reasons of domestic harmony. While you cannot stack the units, you can do other things.

The system pics thread is a great way to see all the different arrangements. Some is side by side on very nice credenzas. Others on deep bookshelves with some rear ventilation and wire space.

I strongly suggest you have a look at that thread and get ideas of what might work for you if a rack is out of the question.


Even if you do stack it, the (fraim) police won’t come to your house and it should still sound great. So yes, you can.

But, having it properly set up as others have indicated supposedly will help you to get more performance from it.


Given the confinement of space, would shielded power cables helps?

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You can stack them onto each other and there is no must for racks. If we head into sound quality performance territory it’s another thing. Easy for you to validate the pros and cons by ear.


if you do have to stack them, put something between the feet and the other case to stop them marking, maybe thin cork or felt or something


Whilst we’re on the subject, could someone enlighten me as to why the common (recommended?) method is to have brains on the left and brawn on the right? I imagine that it’s to keep the transformers - or some such - as far to one side as possible, but what are the implications of having brawn on the left - as that is what would suit my room/system best.

You have answered your own question Mr Stilts.
However, if it doesn’t suit, dont do it.


It used to be common back in the mists of time.

This was a sought after Linn/Naim system back in the 80s, though I think this was a picture for a hifi mag and maybe you wouldn’t have your LP12 that close to an isobarik even then.
Separating the boxes, was found to improve things and Mana Racks were all the rage for a while but surrounding your Naim in angle iron has gone out of fashion.
Preferred racks these days are Naim Fraim, if you can afford it or isoblue if you can’t. A modular system like these gives flexibility for future expansion.


Yep, a superb stereo back four decades ago.
I’m sure this would be hard to better nowadays, at least on certain areas.

It will need the Isobarik stands and a rack of course.

Even back then they knew Isobariks didn’t sit on the floor. It’s a famous picture but one that has always struck me as bonkers on multiple levels.

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I would use a rack if at all possible.

However, my second system is in the bedroom which makes this a challenge due to lack of floor space. I use two hifi wall shelves, one is for brawn and the other for brains. So there is some stacking. It is a practical compromise and avoids the risk of bumping into the gear in the middle of the night!

I happened to try it with brawn on the left in my system but the leads from the 552 power supply to the 300 were too short due to the socket positions. Probably not a general problem but something to be aware of.

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Brawn goes on the right for a specific reason. The transformers in units are on the right. And the most delicate preamp circuits for the volume control and analogue output stages of sources is on the left.

It puts maximum distance between these two functions.


It also means that the mains leads are on the extreme right, and the signal interconnect on the extreme left, so it’s much easier to organise.


As others have said, you can only do what you can do in your own situation.
I always preferred to rack than stack before I got my Naim equipment, and I found each box having it’s own space both protects it from scuffs but also improved SQ (to my ears).
Again, there are many makes of racks and different ways of racking so the systems pics thread is a great way of exploring what might be possible.
People attach turntable shelves directly to walls, so this could also be an option.

Actually it’s not a good idea to stack any audio equipment on top of each other let alone Naim. Or any electrical equipment for that matter.

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