I’m looking for an integrated amp to use in a 2nd system and so have bought a
Naim Nait 5 and a Linx Nebula both built in the U.K both around 20 years old and both around the same cost when new and used the Nait was £300 and the Nebula £250.
Slight differences are that the Linx on paper has double the power of the Nait and also has a built in MM,MC phono stage. Both will be used with a Rega turntable, Dynaudio Audience 52’s and Van Damme LCOFC speaker cable.
First up tonight was the Linx, I’ll play the same three records
Linval Thompson - Look How Me Sexy
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours 45rpm remaster
Chet Baker Quartet - Chet Baker Quartet - Sam Records remaster.
Firstly the Linx does need a service these units do run hot to the touch but this one runs very hot and also the volume pot is a bit noisy but even taking that into account it sounds very, very good especially the low end which is deep and full and drove the Dynaudios with ease. Excellent PRAT and I have to say a really early Naim like sound which was evident whilst playing all three records like both Olive and CB Pre/Power separates very easy to listen to.
For the money this is an excellent buy but like Naim amps of this age will need a service which can be done by the Amp Doctor starting from £129.
I’ll play the same three records with the Nait tomorrow evening.
I’m still pleased with a nait 5 here.I’ve used it with success with Ovator 400 Audiovector floor standers and now its’s in the conservatory system.
It made a huge difference sorting out the input trimming!
I swapped out an audiolab power amp into the Wharfedale speakers in the conservatory and the difference was night and day. The nait has more presence and far fuller bas. Quite amazing for its 30w
I’d have thought safer ground to stick with naim…
I once had a Nebula, briefly - it was partnered with the Theta tuner I also had. It was fine, but a bit boring overall, and frankly no match for the NAIT 5. I sold it on. However, the Theta tuner was a different kettle of fish entirely, and I kept that for a long time.
If you want to try a classic alternative integrated amp to Naim then I’d recommend you look out for an Ion Obelisk; Not the 1, which is adequate but rather unexciting, but the 2 (great), 3 ( greater by a bit) or best by a mile, the 3X with X-Pak (brilliant).
Well we will see it’s the Nait’s turn this evening but I have to say so far the Nebula even unserviced has been far from boring but of course we all hear things differently.
Because I’m a glutton for punishment and my other half is away (living room looks like a hifi repair shop) I’ve also fitted the Hadcock 228 rewired with Silver Litz onto my Technics 1210 and am listening to it through the Nebula/Dynaudio Audience 52 and I have to say it sounds excellent listening to the Tone Poet Grant Green reissue at the moment.
Well I’ve just played the same three records with the same Rega deck, Van Damme Cables and Dynaudio speakers but with the Nait 5 in place of the Nebula.
The Nait has that familiar Naim sound excellent PRAT and is an enjoyable listen in fact it’s hard to fault my only quibbles are the same quibbles I’ve always had with Naim a very centred, narrow sound stage and at loud levels sound begins to suffer although less so this Nait because of the input has been trimmed to allow fuller use of the volume pot.
Now like the Linx it could be argued that at about 18 years old the Nait is also in need of a service and was played from a standing start so I’ll leave it on over night and give it another try tomorrow after it’s fully warmed up.
So with all the above taken into account it has to be said that at the moment the Nebula is in the lead and by quite a margin there is just a greater sense of excitement with it and the bass is in a different class altogether it just gets a hold of the speakers and doesn’t let go best of all sounds as good very loud as at moderate levels.
As I said I’ll let the Nait warm up and give it another go tomorrow as I remember listening to it when I first got it a couple of weeks ago and it brought a big smile to my face I was perfectly happy with it and it sounded great with the Dyns too so perhaps itjust needs warming up.
Well I’ve been playing lots of different records this morning through the Nait 5 and it’s a cracking little amp it’s difficult to fault it really across the board it just performs. It’s harsh to really hold the the fact it has a narrow sound stage against it when that’s inherent in all Naim amps and the fact it can’t drive the 4ohm Dyns to party levels isn’t really a huge issue but the Nebula surpasses it for two main reasons it can get a grip on the Dyns in a way that the Nait cannot and even at party levels in doesn’t even break into a sweat and second and most important is the bass it produces deep, full and delicious bass lines.
Also the Nebula has an onboard Phono stage and a headphone socket.
If I could keep both and get a less fussy set of speakers I would and if I hadn’t heard the Nebula I’d be more than happy with the Nait 5 even with the small issues I’ve described above.
I have to say if you are looking for a used integrated for not very much money then you will not go wrong with a Nait 5 it’s an exceptionally versatile little amp and looks pretty damn good two.
I have two Nait 5 amps, one serviced and one not, yes i’m a fan. The 1st is played with a CDS3 upfront and a FC2 on the amp into Shahinian Compass. The second in my office system with an LP12/Lingo/Nima/DV17D3/Chord Huei and Linn Kabers. Both Naits have beaten out every other Nait i’ve owned with the exception of a Nait2 i had for a very long time. I have owned and used for long periods of time Nait1, Nait2,Nait5i, Nait5Si, NaitXS, NaitXS2, SN1, SN2, with and without FC2X/HicapDR.
Strangely i also have a Linx Nebula in the attic which i don’t use. I ran it for a while against a SN2 and was surprised by how good it was. I prefer the Nait 5 by some considerable margin however, and can’t see me moving from either of them such is the sound and simplicity of the setup. In my view i would just improve the source before changing the amp, as i know that’s where the really important gains are made.
Perhaps I have faulty Nait 5 but for me so far and with these Dynaudios the Nebula has just more excitement and the bass is on another level but of course I’m one of those strange individuals the prefers my Quad QSP power amp to any Naim I’ve had except maybe the 82/SC/250 into my speakers of course.
By coincidence Gary I came across your posts regarding the Nebula on pfm yesterday where you describe it as being more Nap250 than Nait and better than an SN2 into the Compasses’s so it does go to show in what high regard you hold the Nait 5.
Gary can I ask you if you play your music loud ever because my main issue with this Nait and every other Naim amp is that driving my Dynaudio Contours 3.4’s at full volume they start to come apart.
Anyway I’ve decided to hold off selling the Nait until I’ve had the Nebula serviced because I know that sometimes the presentation of an amp that is at first great can end up grating so you never know things could change.
Yes Bob, i do think the Nebula has ‘balls’ for sure, and that’s what my reference to the 250 was about i’m sure. The Nait 5 has some beguiling characteristics that move it above all the other Naits for me (‘2’ excepted) and has a fair old dose of older Naim to boot. The midband is where the ‘5’ really does shine over other Naits, and quite frankly made a decent 5Si sound course and fatiguing.
Yes i do play music loud often, but i live in a small house and both listening rooms are small/smallish. Considering i’ve owned a few Nap300/135 in my time in the same rooms, i really don’t feel the amp is the weak point, but i’ve always maintained that the source is way more important than the amp.
I spoke to Gordon Taylor at The Amp Doctor today and he said that as my Nebula is UK made rather than New Zealand then it would have been him who would have originally set it up and built it.
The cost of a new Alps pot, upgrade to the onboard Phono Stage, full service and return courier would come too £141.00.
Looking forward to getting it back and seeing how it sounds.
Finally got my Linx Nebula back after it’s service/upgrade and after playing a few records Friday and Saturday it’s now all packed in my hand luggage ready for it’s trip to Spain.
I can’t get the Dynaudio Audience 52’s over there yet so at first it will be driving the little JBL Control 1 mini monitors.
I’m very happy with the sound it’s giving after it’s trip to Gordon Taylor The Amp Doctor it’s perfect for living in a flat as it sounds very good at lower levels.
I’ve decided to parcel up the speakers after all and will be dropping them off at couriers tomorrow hopefully they will arrive not long after me by the end of the week no record player yet though just Tidal and CD Rips.
Dynaudio Audience 52’s have arrived safe and sound here in Valencia via DPD a bargain at £26 took 7 days though as soon as I have them hooked up to the Nebula I’ll post some pictures.
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