Naim Olive

@Bevo sorry mate, we understand your pain.


Yes agree

Although system sold on ( now have chrome bumper gear as 3rd system) this olive system was repositioned in this small room (not shown ) for better placement of speakers and nsub

You may well ask me why did I sell on ??

Because I’m a goose :weary: I deeply regret it


We sell these things on and then regret it. I regret selling my CDS2 and XPS on. We live with it.

Or we buy the same again in the attempt to recapture the spirit that was.

Hopefully your other fantastic systems give you enjoyment!

It does indeed Dan

32.5/hicap/250 CB and piano black nSATs

Oh and I have a NAIT 2 ( fully serviced at Salisbury HQ) which I interchange from time to time



You’ll never out-cool a system cobbled together from two systems by a couple of heavy drinking ex-pats seeing out their last few weeks in Saudi, 1999.

Thanks to Mate Hifi, Al Khobar, Eastern Province.


PROJECT OLIVE : The Full Story
Starting at the end of this story, our Olive boxes shown as they are now, in June 2022 :
Naim NAC 72 pre-amplifier ; NAP 140 power amplifier ; Naim HiCap power supply.

The idea for “Project Olive” germinated in Autumn 2020, with two thoughts : (1) an impending house move, enabling a long-harboured desire to create a music room, for vinyl record playback ; (2) to build a simple second system around our existing Linn LP12 and Epos ES14’s.

At that point, we had already committed to refurbishing and upgrading our Linn LP12, which was a separate engineering project that unfolded into the following year.

So, a search began for a nice two or three box system - based on Naim Olive shoe boxes - from the same period in time as our record player and loudspeakers.

This forum, in particular the “Naim Olive” thread should be credited with a little inspiration. So much knowledge can be easily found using the “Search” feature.

When Stars Align
We had already decided on the diminutive Olive shoe boxes. Known for their great build quality, excellent sound and distinctive 80’s design. For us, this was also a homage to that same period. So, for some time, we watched for a good condition NAC62 or NAC72, ideally with a NAP140. The search was on.

It was maybe March 2021, I finally came across a good condition NAC72, c/w K phono cards. Then, a NAP140 appeared for sale at a Naim dealer. About the same time, by chance, an Olive HiCap was offered in a private sale. All three items appearing in the same few days seemed like too good an opportunity to pass.

Good Friends
Brought together, we played a lot of music with these three boxes for about a month. They became good friends as we got to know them and how they worked.

The NAC72 came from HQ in Oct 1989, which makes it an earlier version of the NAC72. The inclusion of K phono boards made it attractive.

The NAP140 was born in Sep 1996. I bought it from a Naim dealer in Hertfordshire, well known for “pre-loved”. But this NAP140 started out life being originally sold by “Loud and Clear” in Scotland.

Lastly, the HiCap came out of HQ in Dec 1999. It didn’t go far, as records show it was originally sold by Winchester HiFi and I bought it from a private owner nearby.

A Tip Top Service
At 32, 25, 22 years young respectively, Naim HQ confirmed they did not have any service history recorded.

Having got used to what these three little cuties could do with music, they were all dispatched off to Sheffield to see “Uncle Darran” for a full service.

Whilst with Class A, the BNC sockets on the rear panel of the NAC72 were replaced for the more useable RCA Phono sockets. (A thoughtful suggestion prompted by another forum member).

Along the way, an issue with one of the Logo LED lights in the HiCap was fixed too. Darran was also able to supply a replacement box for the NAP140, which was lost.

Two is Better than One
The K phono cards were a nice bonus, as I already knew we would be using a rebuilt Linn Troika LO MC on our existing Linn LP12.

The internal NA323 (K) phono cards were identified as version 3. Back to the Naim Forum for help. It turned out v.3 was probably about right for the age of the NAC72. But, later and likely improved versions were produced.

After more waiting and watching, a pair of v.5 cards appeared. Back to Darran who was able to help with a service for these additional cards (replace just a few aged components) at short notice. It took maybe 45mins, which was time well spent in the record shop downstairs, whilst the work was done…

My thinking was this allowed the flexibility to use two record players, with the NAC72. I also wished for the latest version, just in case this offered any improvement ?

One thing I have come to admire about the ubiquitous NAC72 is its adaptability. Which is due to its open and flexible design. The fact that its internal cards can be configured (to suit) is genius and such a joy.

Like Hens Teeth…!
Forum advice was the NA326 Link cards were “rare as hens teeth”. Undeterred, another search started for an item which might be usefully added. Link wires can be made and do the same job okay. But my mind was made up to use the correct item. In the end, a chance conversation with a PCB supplier ended with a small number of modern clone boards being engineered for me, as new alternatives. These were fitted and worked a treat, just perfectly.

The way we use our NAC72, the NA323 v.5 cards are installed into “PHONO” line input. (Corresponding to the first pair of RCA phono sockets on the rear panel). On the AUX input, the NA328 cards are removed. Instead, it has clone NA326 link or “straight through” cards inserted into “AUX” line input (Corresponding to the second pair of RCA phono sockets on the rear panel). This arrangement allows us to use “AUX” with an external Phono stage.

We have yet to experiment with a popular idea that NA324 time buffers are best removed from the “TAPE” inputs. Maybe that is another experiment for the future?

Obsessive about Manuals
Only the NAC72 came with its manual. Being an obsessive collector, (of everything), it bothered me these Olive boxes were without their original owners manuals / instruction booklet. A little research on the “Naim Olive” thread helped identify the correct types, which then provided focus for a short search and several purchases…

These owners manuals and Olive sales brochures were sourced from several private sellers and Naim dealers (having spares for their own reference).

The Icing on the Cake : Naim Interconnects
The final piece of this jigsaw was to swap the ageing original SNAIC cables with new and modern alternatives.

As the power cables were also older variants, these were upgraded too by adding the more recent PowerLine Lite instead.

An Epilogue
Project Olive was a tremendous amount of learning and fun too. An Olive shoe box system - serviced and fully restored - that will provide superlative music making services for another 25+ years.

With some know-how and learning - just start with the Forum “Search” - there is little that can’t be fixed and returned to near perfect order. It can be very rewarding.

I hope this brief story encourages others to try “pre-loved” and have fun collecting and refurbishing fabulous older Naim pieces.


Superb work :sunglasses:

Thanks for posting.

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I see that you have an old friend over for dinner or perhaps vice versa. I don’t see the nice bottle of Chianti though

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Had a temporary forum break and found this when logging in again.

What a wonderful inspiring story of going all the way to getting everything just right and beyond!

Enjoy the results, although I am certain there was as much satisfaction in the journey itself.

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What a great and interesting read, well done and I’m sure your system will give at least 25 years! Thank you for posting.

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A fascinating story, thanks for sharing.

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Thank you, to you.
Sincere thanks for sharing the inside info’ on manuals and brochures.

The story is just paying back to the forum :wink:


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Happy to contribute and help. :+1:

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Love your journey and end result :+1:

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How would you rate the NDAC compared to alternatives? I’ve always been curious about the NDAC. I am surprised it’s not as ubiquitous as chord source gear for instance. I only ask as my DAC is stupid £££. I mean it’s very very good but I’ve always wondered whether a NDAC-555ps would be a more cost effective solution.

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The Olive and CB kit is relatively new to me. I have put together a ‘vintage’ system including CDS Olive CD player with 32.5/110 CB amps.

Anyone have experience with 4X 135S versus 2X250DR / 300 DR in active format with S600?
I mean in the end result test.

Something that I’ve always found amusing/confusing (I’ll admit it doesn’t take much these days). When, where and/or who first coined the descriptor “Olive” for this range? Did it come from Naim themselves?
At the time I bought a NAC72/Nap140 combo from new, I cannot remember the phrase being used. Did the “Olive” moniker only start to distinguish it from the “Classic” range once that came into being?
I’ve seen many units from this range (currently have NAC72, 52, HiCap, Supercap and Nap250) and, being a pedant, I have never seen one I would regard as Olive colour (usually defined as shade of Green).
“Mud” or “Grey Mud” would seem more appropriate…they should have made the marketing dept work for their living. :grin:


See @Richard.Dane for the full story!

Some are a good deal browner and some more grey/green.

At a time when 99% of boxes were black with black highlights, the odd thing about the pre-olive design was the chrome bumper, not the black fascia.

I suspect that even Naim wouldn’t have actively encouraged us developing the habit of referring to the olive colour range with (depending on fascia shade) the right mix of body waste products or Thames estuary mud tones…

‘Olive’ probably sounded nicer to someone somewhere at some point….


I’m sure the marketeers could have come up with something…
“Buy our pre-amps, power amps and power supplies too,
our whole range is coloured like poo”!

Catchy n’est-ce pas? :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
(or maybe it’s just the heat getting to me).

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