Naim Chrome Bumper

Thanks for that, I’ll enjoy trying the various combinations I’m sure :slight_smile: The improvements the CB pair had over my XS3 were apparent straight away, I think because I was so used to the XS3, so taking my time over the different options definitely makes sense. I can afford to keep all the boxes in the medium term so no rush to swap them in and out etc.

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For me, the weakest part of my xs is the pre. The amp on the other hand is better than I expected it to be.

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I agree with you. I found that 0.5, Hicap, Black Snaic period a bit questionable at the time. I’m still not sure about it, especially given how much I love the 32/SNAPS. Rarely have I owned a product that has given me such pleasure over so many years.


I definitely preferred snaps to the three hicaps I had (all serviced).

I only had one 32 and felt it was perhaps not as good as it should be. Nice balance into snaps/250/kans though.

Had a lovely 42 that I stupidly sold.


I have a NAC32.5 that definitely sounds relatively uninspiring next to another NAC32.5 that I own, not to mention a similar age NAC42.5. It was serviced but still just didn’t really perform at the level of any of my other shoe-box pre-amps.

I’ve also had a CB HICAP that made all the shoe-box pre-amps it would power sound a bit slow and leaden - again, a service improved matters a bit, but still not as good as other examples I’ve had. I guess if they were the only units I had tried then it would leave me with a rather jaded view of the NAC32.5 and HICAP. Luckily I have other examples though that perform brilliantly, so I know what’s possible.


Can you, or the tech at HQ, explain what is going on here to have such poor results?

And was this variation in performance carried over to the NAC62?


I think that consistency has made big strides since the 70s and early 80s (at least with Naim), but age and use/abuse will take its toll eventually too.


I think we’re in potluck territory here. I’ve know a 12S to sound almost indistinguishable from a 32 - especially if you moved over the the 323 cards - and then I have also had a 12 that sounded as tatty as it looked. I suspect that last one could have done with some new capacitors as changes in value over time will directly affect the frequency response at the low end for one of them and, for the other, will affect the supply impedance the circuitry sees. It’s hard to know which one will have more effect but neither is good. And this is before the very wide tolerance ranges for capacitors back then which were standardised at ±20%. You tended to pick your suppliers based on who wouldn’t make full use of the wide latitude available, Roderstein being a top drawer choice for the '70s. I’ve no idea what the tolerance on those tants would have been, but I guess they too would have been around 20% standard.

The power supply makes a huge difference and a service is essential to get the best out of it. Using a HiCap my serviced and dual railed 12S consistently outperforms other CB pre-amps especially when fitted with 729 cards. I also have the dual railed bolt down SNAPS that Darran reported here some time ago and that is ace!!

I would love the hear the factory 12S that is powered by a SuperCap.

BTW I looked for the knobs mentioned a few posts above and the photos don’t match, are the part numbers correct?


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Many years ago on a visit to Naim, I was told that certain components were measured so that they performed within a specific tolerance and other components were not so critical so there was some leeway on the actual value used in the circuit.

My takeaway from this is that all samples of a model should sound broadly similar. Having said that I had a 42.5 which was stunning to my ears and a 32.5 and a 72 which were a bit of a disappointment. I’m now thinking that it’s more like pot luck. Having said that I have always loved the 110, 160 and 135s and not so thrilled by the 140 and 250.

If you have a cb and and you love it, be very careful about upgrading.


I’ve got a 160,
It’s not going anywhere,
Even if I get another amp or 2,
I’ll buy another 42.5 just for a bedroom system plus some kans


Annual visits to hifi shows confirm just that. My 30 odd year old 32.5/hicap/250 still plays music in an involving way - not the case with some modern stuff. Once asked Darren at Class A if I should upgrade to something more modern. His advice, don’t sell the 250 maybe consider a 72 (which I think is an Olive so just feels wrong in a CB system). Yield not to temptation to coin a phrase.


I would endorse that. I run a CB 250 with a 82…!!


Funding the 32.5/hicap/250 felt like a huge drain on the household budget at the time but it was an aspirational set up back then. The 82 was another level I guess. That said 30 odd years with the 250 makes it an absolute bargain. And it still looks beautiful, like proper hifi.


I bought my 250 new in 1985 (so, nearly 40 years ago).

I bought my 82 pre-loved in 2010 (only 14 years ago).

Both have been serviced, the 250 more than once.


Just to keep this thread alive. I’m in the process of looking for two more 32.5’s so for the very analogue AV set up