Modern Naim Integrated Amps

Heard a Nait 5i at the weekend. Second one in fact. I liked it a lot except it seemed in a hurry to finish the music at times, like the choke is out in an old car. We compared to a couple of other integrated amps (one was a NAD, can’t recall the other) and they didn’t have this quality but they didn’t have the rhythm and power either. I recall this effect last time as well - in a different system. Both had Naim speaker cable.

If looking at second hand Naim integrateds that are not too old (i.e. 5, XS, XS2, SN1, SN2) then do any not have this slight rushed feeling?

Perhaps think of another way?

Were you hearing the famed PRAT i.e. the attack and fast decay, unlike some hi-fi I’ve heard which can be a tad blurry.

Yeah, I guess so, although my old 12/160 is not like that but perhaps PRAT has been dialled up over the years.

Try another way - I’ve read posts that the XS and SN are quite different. Which of them is the more laid back?

Have they been factory serviced and had a new SNAIC? If your NAC12/NAP160 haven’t been serviced for a while then they will be sounding pretty soft and a bit soggy by now. With a proper factory service though, and a new SNAIC 5 then this combination can still be very impressive and “PRAT” aplenty.

The NAP was serviced several years ago. The NAC hasn’t been.

My recently serviced Nait 1 doesn’t have the 5i’s slightly quick feeling either.

Was it serviced at the Naim factory? I ask this because a couple of years back I purchased a NAIT locally that a couple of years previously had been serviced by well known (but not Naim approved - I mention no names here) servicer. I was shocked when I compared it against my recently factory serviced NAIT - it sounded quite different, and lacked a certain drive and “get up and go” - a bit laid back, I guess you could say.

Class A did it. I wouldn’t use a non-approved agent since I know the (cheaper) caps used by some other servicing companies are not as musical.

The Nait doesn’t sound laid back. It doesn’t sound too attacking either.

OK good, Class A do a proper job to factory spec.

Many years ago I visited a dealer who had the various ranges set up in different rooms. The striking factor was how mid-range forward the lower ranges were when compared to the likes of 52/552/500. Thing is, as you come up the range you hear more and understand what more can be delivered. Going the other way through the rooms was enlightening as to what was removed/not there.

I had an SN2 as a loaner and to my ears it has the same general sound as the more expensive amps but without the added bass/clarity and, of course, power when it comes to it. From what I’ve read (seems like you), the XS seems to have ‘beans’, which suggests a mid-range forwardness, which is what many like and insodoing it may not deliver the deeper bass which can ‘annoy’ some listening rooms? Some may think the SN2 removes some PRaT - perhaps so in relative terms, given it offers a wider window to the music.

The SN3 seems to provide even more of the larger-amp sound if the reviews/blurb are reliable - and if I were to trade down, this is what I’d target to hear.

Cheers HL for your thoughts on this topic. I have since read comments on another forum that the XS is slightly more laid back than the 5i so perhaps both amps would suit my ears. I’m buying second hand so can always sell on but ideally want to land an amp I want to keep. Sounds like the SN2 is the best one to start with though.

Plenty of ‘beans’ is a good way to describe the Nait 5i compared to my Nait 1 or other amps I’ve heard. I wonder if it’s fast leading edge notes that does it. Maybe I’m picky about something most people don’t notice.

‘Laid back’ to my ears means ‘offers greater composure’, a trait which the better amps exhibit to my ears (as you would hope!).

Above said, I like a visceral presentation (or ‘live vibe’) and many years ago auditioned a non-DR NAP 300 against my beloved Olive NAP 250. I didn’t like the relative presentation of the 300, which sounded over-relaxed to my ears. Sure it did more detail but an exciting edginess was gone.

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