Is there somewhere that de-mystifies the names/purpose/properties of the various Naim components?

I don’t know if it is just me but the names of the various Naim components are very confusing. I mean there’s like 6 external power supplies to start with and God knows why or which one is better or which one goes with what. Likewise with the preamps. Even the way they are listed on the Naim website is confusing as hell.

Is there somewhere that explains the hierarchy and what goes with what?

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You are right, it is confusing. Your best bet is a good Naim dealer to guide you through the Naim product line maze.

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flat - high - super

xps2Dr - 555DR

atom- star - nova

standard - super lumina

snaic - hi-Line

pre-power
1-2-(3)-5- statement

Honestly is this not just as plain as day?

.sjb

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Preamps 3 digits ending in 2. 202,282,252,552
Poweramps 3 digits ending in 0. 200,250,300,500
The higher the value the better the component. Except for 282 before 252.

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Nope, not at all. At least not to someone like me who has recently joined the Naim camp.

All those words that you mentioned above mean absolutely zilch to me. Apart from the Atom Star Nova which is very easy to understand since it’s quite visual as well (you see the three of them and you understand most of what they are and do straight away).

The power amps are also relatively easy to understand.

But why the hell are there 6 external power supplies? And what about the different pre-amps? Throw in the integrateds, streaming pre, etc and you have one confusing minestrone.

Yeah, the 282 before the 252 threw me when looking at the website. . Bizarre.

Also, am I right in thinking that the Atom/Star/Nova can act as a preamp as well?

One evening I stayed late as I was collecting from Salisbury train station. That’s alright, I think, I’ll spend an hour or more in the dem room. So in I go. There’s every component you can think of, from statement down. Pair of kanta 2s if I remember. Ok how do I drive this thing? I follow the speaker cables back to one of the power amps. The ipad is there charging. What’s the passcode? And if it doesn’t have one, how do I know which preamp and source is connected? Brief look at the snakes nest of snaics, hilines etc. I’m momentarily tempted to hook up one of the integrateds. In the end I sat in the dem room with all this kit to play with and just listened to my ipad speaker. So yes it can be bewildering to consumers and even employees!

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Nope ++

And what about all the legacy stuff? Is there a hierarchy for that? Especially the pre amps.

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Richard will be along to explain it
But I’ll start
NAC 12 ( first 2 channel pre )
NAC 82 ( eighth 2 channel pre )
NAC 282 ( second revision of the eighth 2 channel pre amp )
The 52 came out after the 62 and 72 but I believe it was on the drawing board for some time but I’m sure Richard will go into more detail

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Thanks Steve.

Let’s begin at the beginning…

First there was the NAP160 and NAP200 (which become the NAP250). Taking the NAP160 as an example, NAP = Naim Audio Poweramp. 160 is the combined power output of L+R channels into a 4 ohm load (80w/channel into 4 ohms).

Then there was the NAC12. NAC = Naim Audio Control. The first number (1) indicates it was the first pre-amp designed by Naim, and the second number refers to the number of channels, 2. After this followed the NAC22, NAC32, NAC42, NAC52, NAC62, NAC72, NAC82, NAC92 and NAC102. IN the case of the NAC52, it actually was released after the NAC62 and NAC72 as it took so long to develop.

When the range was updated to the current Classic/Reference look, the old NAC102, 82, and 52, became the NAC202, 282, and 252. In addition a pre-amp above and beyond the NAC52 was developed, called the NAC552.

As for the pre-amp power supplies, first came the NAPS (Naim Audio Power Supply), then the SNAPS (Super Naim Audio Power Supply), then the HICAP (High capacity), Then Supercap (Super capacity), and Flatcap (some humour - a small PSU in a slimline - flat - case).

NAIT - Naim Audio InTegrated. This pretty straightforward, NAITs 1, 2, 3 and 5 were introduced between 1983 and 2000. Then a back to basics lower cost NAIT was introduced called the NAIT 5i, which went through a couple of iterations and still exists in latest form as the NAIT 5Si. The NAIT XS/XS2/XS3 was more of a continuation from where the old NAIT 5 left off. The Supernait a higher level integrated with more power at greater cost. Currenty in its third iteration as the Supernait 3.

CD players are pretty straightforward; First there was the CDS with CDPS power supply. Then an integrated version called the CDI. Then a slimline 3 series version called the CD3 (matched the look of the NAIT 3). CDS, became CDS2 (with XPS), and then CDS3 (with XPS2). CDI became CD2, then CDX, then CDX2. CD3 became CD3.5, then CD5, CD5x, CD5xs. At the same time as the NAIT 5i, a less expensive CD player was introduced at a lower cost to match, called the CD5i. Current version is the CD5Si. There was also a 500 series top end player introduced above the CDS3, called the CD555 and powered by the 555PS, which happily could also be used in place of an XPS on other appropriate players.

There’s more of course (have a read through the forum FAQ for info on SNAICs DINs etc…), but that’s the basic foundation.

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AND they all look the same.

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A basic clue for power supplies is that xxxxCap is a pre-amp power supply, and one with xxxPS (XPS, 555PS) is a CD player/streamer power supply. The confusing one is the 272 which is a streamer pre, you can’t use a Cap on the pre part, it uses PS supplies.

For an overview, each head unit lists its power supply options on its product page on naimaudio.com, at the bottom under Specifications. According to my recollection this is complete and accurate.

Unfortunately, it is not this clear when you look at the product pages of the power supplies, because those are wildly out of date. E.g., they say “can be used with NDX” although the NDX was discontinued and replaced by NDX2 in 2018. The same PS can be used with the NDX2, but if you are new to Naim this is not obvious and should be fixed on the website. The product history in the Support And Information section of the website gives a bit of an overview

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It’s not as if many other companies’ naming logic is necessarily any more intuitive though so singling Naim out for criticism doesn’t seem particularly even-handed.

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Absolutely no! IMO

We appreciate we have quite some range to navigate, but there are a couple of excellent reasons for its apparent complexity.

  1. Naim products have a long life span. The full product range has grown organically, over many years. Some naming conventions perhaps were a little clearer when there were less products in the range, but as the Naim line-up has expanded over the years to accommodate new technologies and additional options, it’s become quite some extended family.
  2. Naim offers a choice of upgrade paths. If you want to increase the performance of your Naim system, we offer you several ways to do it, depending on the size of your budget (and how many boxes you’re happy with!) That can be seen as complex, but so does any situation involving several choices.

As noted, your dealer can guide you through your options - as can all the helpful Forumites

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Clare, I believe these are all good, understandable reasons. And certainly a good dealer is invaluable (so is the forum but maybe not as accessible to all depending on their internet habits etc.)

However, the website could be more helpful. Updating the out of date product names and links (e.g. 555PS linking to NDX as mentioned) would be doable in minutes on the current pages, even though a new website seems to be in development as Richard mentioned before. (And our Hungry Halibut is so right in repeatedly pointing out that the main picture on the 252 product page is actually a 552)

On the new website, maybe there could be a better overview, with pictures, of the upgrade paths and PS options. And maybe also a more interactive and graphic overview of the product history in addition to the text table. This would also be an opportunity to better showcase Naim’s rich history

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I’d like that new past knowledge to include the ‘suggested’ combinations at each level, right up to the present ( although I know the current pages do show that)
I need a list :slight_smile:
ie.
flatcap - 112- 150 and iterations up to current what?
Hicap-202-200 and iterations goes to?
etc.

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Another suggestion that might help for the preamps is to look at the different product classes at the top of the product pages, i.e. Mu-so - Uniti - SI - XS - Classic - 500. The progression through the classes is quite straightforward, and you will see that most classes in themselves are straightforward as well. E.g. in the 500 class there is one streamer, one preamp, and one poweramp. The Classic series is of course the most complex with three preamps and three power amps, but the number progression is fairly ok: power amps are 200, 250, 300. Pres are of course not totally obvious with 202 > 282 > 252, but this is really the only big deviation. Well ok and the NAC-N 272 is a bit on the outside of logic