A small number of us here heard the 500 series against a full Statement into very large and expensive Focal speakers in Naim’s newly-upgraded demo room, just before Covid.
I thought myself that there was an easily heard improvement between the two systems. My memory of exactly how things improved is vague now and anyway it wasn’t my choice of music and was played very loud as usual. But it was clearly better, not a subtle change.
The Statement costs £208,000. The 552/500 costs £52,000, exactly a quarter.
For a quadrupling of the price, one would hope for one of those proverbial night and day differences, along with a multitude of veils being lifted and jaws hitting the floor.
Maybe the Statement has run its course as a demonstration project. It takes up a good deal of space at the factory, which could easily be used for something more profitable. Like a new 500 series, which while not exactly pocket money is at least vaguely real world.
The Basilaudio and David’s posts echo my experience with Statement. Additionally when I owned an Audio Note system each time that I upgraded I found that although the sound could be described as better from a hifi perspective I can’t say that I listened to music for longer periods (around 2 hours most days) or that I played more albums or enjoyed those albums any more. The sweet spot from that perspective was around the middle of the AN range. My experience with the S1 was very different. It’s a music lovers delight and although I have only bought the pre I feel very fortunate to have it in my system. It’s a shame that Statement is out of the financial reach for so many folk. Oh well it’s all relative as even a 30 year old 52/250 will stir the emotions.
An updated mk2 version of the uniti range, maybe incorporating any design advances and ideally a MM phono stage to make them complete all in ones.
Lose the si and xs range and replace with a 100 series, as a gateway into the more expensive seperates. Maybe make half width as there is a demand and market for this - look at rega, cyrus, exposure etc.
Supernait 5 as a standalone product, effectively a 200 series integrated.
That’s why it good that the new naim gear is using tec from the statement, namely the volume control as this is the main area where the much better quality is coming from, or should i say not lost at this point.
Obviously other differences as well, but the volume pot is the biggie
Interesting. I remember Peter Qvortrup explaining to me why and how the volume attenuator is so important to the performance of a pre. Then when I visited the factory Steve Sells told me that the analogue stage of the two stage attenuator on the S1 was based on the stepped AN design.
I was thinking that the best comparison for 500 series to Statement was 42.5 to 52 but fairer I think is 72 or 102 to 52 since it took so long for the 52 to develop and Naim had presumably learned from the 52 when they introduced the 72 in 1989 one year before the 52. Nevertheless, the ratio is similar, actually the 72 was less than a quarter of the 52. I suppose some of the cost is in the control electronics of the 102 so taking an average of 102 and 72 the ratio is almost the same as 500/S1. For the preamp alone the S1 NAC/552 ratio is a little less than a quarter. Taking into account the cost of the 52 power supply, which became the Supercap, the Statement pre vs 552 looks to be a bargain.
I didn’t know Naim at the time but I’m sure the price tag of the 52 was considered astronomic then. As at one time the lucky owner of a used one (sadly I sold it and should never have) I can concur it was and presumably still is an amazing piece of kit.
The value of having Statement isn’t just in the profit made from selling them but the halo effect that producing such ‘state of the art’ kit has on the brand and rest of the range. I’m sure that this is factored into the decision-making at Naim
Sorry, don’t understand this. Are you implying that they can now stop production of Statement as there is no longer any need - the impression having been created. If so, how long do you think the halo effect would last before there was a need to start over with a similar flagship??
IF Statement is analogized to something like the Rega NAIAD – partly/mostly a ‘concept’ piece resulting from a significant push forward with certain technology(-ies), then yes the tech development has long been completed and apparently translated down the lines e.g. to New Classic.
Rega today announced the NAIA. Mission accomplished for them.
Do Naim still sell enough Statements to merit keeping it in the production facility, having completed tech development and translation? I have no idea. But it sure seems like the marketing halo of “look at what we can do” is fully amortized now, and tech transfer if not finished doesn’t need continued production. It could well be a good time to reallocate those resources.
IMHO they’d be better off doing a new ‘Statement’ system as a limited run. Putting the time and effort in is a great learning curve and will result in trickle down tech for the other stuff, but as an ongoing product, I’m less convinced.
It’s impossible to quantify the importance of having a statement product. There is of course the profit they make on each unit(s) sold (significant I’d expect/hope), but I’d expect there are also significant opportunity costs associated with the ongoing production of such a product. I have no detailed knowledge of what went into Statement as an R&D project, nor have I been to the factory to know how much resource it uses up on a daily/operational basis, but might some of/all of that not be better used elsewhere in the business? The need for outsourcing some production/assembly suggests that the factory space would be welcome.
Statement is like a super car, as you say not real world, but boundaries should be pushed. Having got a place in that part of the market I’d be sorry to see them give it up. VAG no doubt make most from Skodas, Golfs and A3s but they still sustain the R8.
Maybe just let Naim decide on their strategy and continue to implement what has made them the company we appreciate. I doubt many of us are in a position to better know what is best than Naim themselves.