Naim N-Vi

I have an N-Vi sitting in its smart Naim packaging at home which I have never really used. I bought it, new and unused from eBay about 20 years ago, intending to use it at the heart of a ‘spare’ system in my previous home, but the idea never really got going at the time. I tried out the N-Vi when I first bought it, and it worked fine, aIthough it had an odd habit of ‘clipping’ the first microsecond or so of the music, as if the player was surprised at being woken up to play.

Quite independently, I posted a thread on these boards, a couple of weeks ago, that I want to press into service a lovely (virtually unused) Nait2 and NAT-02 in a new bedroom system, with a pair of cherrywood Falcon LS3/5As, which I am in the process of buying from James at TomTom in St Albans. And I had been musing on whether I should try to pick up a nice second hand Naim CD player, so that I have a source other than FM radio in the bedroom.

And then - and you will have seen this coming - I had a lightbulb go off in my head a few minutes ago, just before I started typing this: combine these different things that I have in boxes in different parts the house already, and I have my bedroom system ready to go. So all that I need (apart from the speakers) are a pair of suitably terminated NACA5 cables, and whatever SNAICs and/or interconnects that I need to connect things up.

So I have just experienced what I understand Homer Simpson would call a "doh’ moment! (In my defence, I will plead that I haven’t been home for almost ten months now, but I must allow that this is what I believe is called a pretty serious ‘senior moment’ on my part!)

I shall report in a couple of weeks.

In doing what I’m proposing to do, I am probably about to increase the working population of N-Vis in the country by about 10%. That is undoubtedly far too low a percentage, but the N-Vi is probably Naim’s least successful product. - or should that be the Aromatic?

I realise that, for my plan to work, I only want to use the n-Vi as a sort of CD player, which assumes that I can take a line input from the N-Vi into the Nait. If that’s not possible, I suppose that I’ll be scuppered.

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Morning Graham,

You certainly could do that. You just need a DIN5 interconnect (the standard Lavender one) to connect between one of the inputs on the Nait 2 and the Analogue output (a DIN5 socket labelled left and right) on the n-Vi. You can also set the internal power amps off from the front panel display when using the n-Vi in this way.

The only thing I’d say is that the n-Vi, great as it was when it worked (I had one for a few years when it was first introduced), is a bit of a unreliable and buggy thing. Naim did some updates through the lifetime of the unit which improved things. The displays are prone to failing too.

Personally, I’d get rid and get a nice pre-loved Naim CD player - a CD5XS or even better, a CDX2. It’ll sound better, be more reliable and be nicer to use.

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Thank you, James, that’s tremendously helpful - other than your final advice to bin it!!!

I got the unit ‘new’ for not a lot, and it went back to Naim under warranty to fix some bugs. I hope (but am not massively confident) that I may have the UK’s working n-Vi now. The way I see it is that I have nothing to lose by trying it.

As explained, I have the rest of the small system already (or I will have, once the LS3/5s are delivered) and I was about to start looking for a CD player.

If it doesn’t work, I’ll send it off for landfill (although I would hate to do so), and try to find a nice Naim CD player - unless I stumble upon one of those lying hidden in the house somewhere - I can but dream!

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Yes, certainly no harm in trying it and if it has already been back to Naim then it may have a lot of the fixes done. I’d just suggest that your Nait 2 and LS3/5s deserve a better source.

Anyway. good luck with it - I’ll be interested in how you get on.

James, you may well be right. I’ll try the n-Vi and see how I get on.

Things in the Naim CD world are not rosy at the moment, though. My proper player, a CDS II, is not working and definitely needs to go to Salisbury for repair. But there are so many conflicting stories flying around about whether or not the players can be repaired, whether new old stock mechanisms can be found, and whether they will work, that I will have no certainty until I have my own player back and working properly in the ‘big’ system.

So the prospect of trying to find yet another (presumably second hand and working) Naim CD player is not thrilling. Which is a r*ddy shame, as I have always hugely enjoyed buying new Naim stuff.

So all is up in the air, and I have not a clue how it will all come down.

You could try speaking to Darran at class A repairs in Sheffield. I had him replace the mechanism and laser in my cds2 over a decade ago I think. He will be able to answer your questions. Receives consistently high praise from all who have used him - he is approved Naim repair agent (maybe the only one in uk now?)

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After 20 years unused I’m not sure I’d put money on everything working perfectly still, however, nothing ventured… If there are issues then, usual idiosynchrasies aside, mech, display and video processing boards are the usual culprits, and I seem to recall that both mech versions for the n-Vi are long gone, as are the video boards, which were made for Naim by a third party, although @NeilS may be able to clarify here.

Either way, as a DVD player, it’s not really ideal operationally as a CD player, and quite frankly a secondhand CD3 for £150-250 would walk all over it musically.

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Thank you, Tim, that’s kind.

My local Audio T were trying to organise things for me with Naim HQ (my NAT-01 tuner isn’t tuning either!). They may well have done so, but I’ve been away from home for almost a year, and no one can get into my home to collect the stuff. I don’t want to start making alternative arrangements myself, as this would only increase the cluster*ck potential.

I’m just trying to imagine the bright blue uplands next Spring when I shall be home with one or even two fully working systems!

Thanks, Richard, as you may imagine, that has cheered me up no end!

I’ll see how I get on. The ‘bedroom’ system, if ever it gets going, will be replacing a Tivoli Model Two pair of wooden boxes, so - if it works at all - it should outperform that by some margin. It’s only music (mostly Radio 3) to have playing quietly overnight - no raucous din will be permitted.

Noisy stuff will all be done upstairs.

Hi Richard,

We have now exhausted our stock of displays for the n-Vi, leading to a reluctance to raise RMAs for them these days.
Sorry to say, that if something has failed, it spells the end of the road I’m afraid. :frowning_face:

Regards
Neil.

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I had an nVi for a number of year which was fab for av purposes - but I remember it sounding average at best as a cd player (though I had a cds2 at the time which was rather excellent) so my experience ties in with that

Ah, didn’t realise!

Chaps, if I get this little system going, it will not be the last word in music reproduction. It is not meant to be - that Is what I do when I’m awake in a different part of the house.

All that this proposed little system has to do to earn its keep is to better the Tivoli Model Two in picking up Radio 3 at nights. If, in addition, I can bring the occasional CD into the bedroom to listen to a particular piece of music, that will be a very considerable bonus. (The Tivoli will be redeployed to the kitchen downstairs, where it in turn will be an improvement on the wall-mounted TV.)

I have the tuner and the amp, which were paid for well over ten years ago, long before I moved to my current home. So the cost to me now to get a much wider choice of music will be the cables and interconnects - plus the cost of a new pair of LS3/5As - which I think is a reasonable price to pay.

As Richard and Neil have warned, the n-Vi may refuse to play ball (well, music anyway), but that’s a risk that I’m prepared to take. I’m certainly not going to rush out to buy a new (to me) CD player to use instead of the n-Vi, as Naim appears to have a few problems with the old CD players at the moment.

A final consideration for me is that, if I can get it to work, I could link this little system (with a long lead) to the TV in the room beyond the far end of the bed. Which would be rather splendid. But I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

We shall see.

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