Naim 'Lost' Designs

Wouldn’t it be fascinating to be able to see Naim’s prototype products that were in development but never made it to the marketplace.

I am thinking particularly of the FL-1 electrostatic loudspeaker, designed by Guy Lamotte - who was behind development of the ARO - before he left Naim to return to his native France. It was said to be built like a battleship, based largely on design principles that are exemplified in QUAD ESL57s. I have an old hifi mag somewhere in which a prototype was reviewed.

Or there was a cassette recorder/player that was based upon the NEAL mechanism, which I believe is still used by many UK Police forces to tape interviews of suspects. I am pretty sure that I read that work on the prototypes was dropped when Naim turned R&D efforts to developing the first CD players.

And I am pretty sure that I have seen photos of an early two-box NAT tuner which was capable of receiving AM, as well as FM, broadcasts.

Are there other Naim products that never made it to market?


I’m not sure that it ever got to the prototype stage but I think there were some plans for a SACD/DVD-A player but then along came streaming.

The original NAPST for the NAT01 had both FM and AM positions on a switch. The idea was that an AM head unit could be added, but it never came to fruition. It additionally had an aux position; no idea what that was intended to do.


As to the FL-1, you may find this interesting.



I remember seeing a 2 x full width case AM / FM tuner at a hi fi show at the Heatrow Hotel which i think was a prototype. They were transmitting their own AM signal from the roof of the hotel.

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That sounds like the NAT301 - just a few pre-production prototypes were made. It was redesigned and became the two-box, FM only NAT01.


Were you able to listen to that prototype, Richard, and compare it with a production model NAT-01?

No, I never listened to a NAT301 - that in spite of having one sat on the window sill behind my desk in the office for ages!

Not sure what to say………in good hands, but not used is the old dilemma of passing on to an unknown or even known person.

Imagine how much better the football commentary would have been if Naim had done AM!

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So good, perhaps, that it might have affected the results!

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@Richard.Dane do any still exist back at the factory?

I don’t know. I think there were only three. IIRC the one that was in the office is now owned by James at Tom Tom Audio.


That’s interesting, as he has a prototype NAP500 too.

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Yes, one of three that used to be used by Julian and were then raffled to all at the factory bar us in sales. They were cosmetically a bit bashed about but a rub down and a new coat of flat black paint (applied in the soak test area, IIRC!) brought at least this one up really nicely.


And a rather nice 52 prototype with a flip down front panel. Oh, and a pair of DBL prototypes. I wonder if he’s ever fired up a “prototype system”?

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Would love Naim to make a shoe box FM tuner once again, until then a Nat 05 it is!

I will make you envious, Lindsay, by telling you that I am just about to press into service a NAT-02, which has been sitting in a box for at least 10 years.


That looks lovely.

Commercial AM transmission is actually capable of far higher fidelity than the UK allows - I could even start talking about AM stereo that the US ran for many years…

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