Not so greatest hits

With a very tenuous link to a discussion point on magazine reviews - magazines don’t waste their time reviewing bad products because their customers only want to read positive reviews.
It made me wonder is there a product in the past that Naim produced that is now accepted to be - how shall I put it - less than good by customers and indeed Naim themselves?

now that is a tough one. I’m sure there are loads of things that people were personally not taking a liking to but universally disliked?

Ovators perhaps?

or the 4 channel non Dolby Digital AV1 released at a time when 5.1 was already the de-facto standard?

The Nac 112 and the Nap 250-2 where not favoured by a lot of customers.

The IXO was a self powered single box active Xover available as a cheaper route into active systems. I went for one (without demo) to build my first active system with Credos but although it ‘worked’ the performance against a SNAXO plus PS was leagues apart. My dealer at the time gave me my money back against that upgrade as we accepted it was not worth continuing with. It was the first, and I suspect the last, he sold.

Naim dropped it quite quickly I think, and it doesn’t even appear in the product history on their webpage.

The NAP250.2 was great and very popular too. An excellent amp, highly regarded. No shame there.

I concede that the NAC112 was not Naim’s best pre-amp but only because it was Naim’s entry level and Naim made better ones in the range. It was otherwise a good bit of kit and became the even better NAC112x, and then the superb NAC122x.

AV1? An interesting idea, somewhat similar to Dynavector’s Superstereo. Julian used one and I want one, so it can’t be that bad, surely?

IXO? Yes, a SNAXO with PSU was so much better, but the IXO makes a compelling case these days if it’s going cheap secondhand. It’s a great way to get a taste of what to expect going active for the cost of a round of beers in a London pub. If you like what it does then you can eventually lay down the big money on that SNAXO. File under “interesting”.

Let’s see, anything else?

Naim’s AV kit performed brilliantly, even if it could be a bit flakey at times, especially the n-Vi. However, high performance when working well was never in doubt.

The original NAP90 perhaps. This one Naim didn’t initially want to make, but was persuaded to do so by everyone else. It was a good power amp. I even have one myself. But the NAP110 was so much better for not so much more money.

NAP6-50. Essentially three NAP90s in one box with extra inductance on the outputs. Must have seemed like a good idea but nobody seemed to notice.

Naimnet. This seemed like the future, until it wasn’t really. But Naim learned a lot here and we got the wonderful HDX and a big head start into the streaming revolution, so nothing to be ashamed of there…

Arivas or Intros perhaps? If you liked one then you probably hated the other. Arivas were the answer to all those who disliked the Intros. Nobody bought either. I really enjoyed the Arivas with the 5i pairing, especially on less than stellar rock recordings. They really came good when replacing the front n-Sats in the 5.1 n-System, particularly in a larger space. Like most Naim speakers, some sort of cult status probably looms in the future.

I’m racking my brains here now, however, I reckon if you want to find the real performance dud in Naim’s portfolio then look no further than the Aro-matic. A hateful thing, that had a nasty habit of acting like a trebuchet and catapulting your precious Aro arm-top off an LP. Such was the same with this one they were all hidden away in a cupboard at the far end of the factory and quietly forgotten.


Definitely the Ovator 600, sounded lovely but the BMR drivers tended to fail on a regular basis and were expensive and a bit of a bugger to replace.





Is there a hint that’s it’s a French invention like the designer of the Aro?

My vote would be for the Parti-Pak - at least that’s what I think it was called - an entirely pointless attachable silver cover, with a hole cut out for the logo, that you could fit to the central section of 5 series components and make them look rubbish. So useless that I can’t even find a picture of it.

I’m not sure Naim have ever made anything genuinely bad, it’s simply that some things aren’t really that great. It’s surely better to try and fail than not to try at all.

1 Like

HighLine. Far from being a dud from a performance perspective but an utter flop from a practicality/durability perspective. Such a fragile thing, apt to fall apart just by giving it a sideways glance.


Ah yes, the Parti-pak… These were so bad, I’d banished them from my mind, like a bad dream, they never really happened.

Does anybody still have one?

But as you say, better to try and fail than not try at all.

I am intrigued……no pics Richard?

I think I do (much to my own shame). Otherwise I know that @Adam.Meredith has a picture or two.

1 Like

I didn’t have any but I thought they were okay. When fitted, if one had, say, three 5 series units, then at a quick glance it looked a bit like six shoeboxes.

So a nod to Naim’s heritage but with a more contemporary look.

Just an opinion.

I hope that doesn’t happen to mine - I really like the Ovator 600 (and loved the sound of the 800, but money, space and WAF meant they were not for me). I don’t understand the hate that is directed at them.


IIRC, it was an attempted solution to a pressing dilemma. We’d been told that if Naim wanted to make any headway in the far east then the company had to offer a silver casework option, as black was not at all favoured. So, a variety of solutions were attempted. Some will have seen the chrome plated fascias on the 5 series kit that used to be in the sales office. Unfortunately the zinc magnesium casting used for the 5 series fascia didn’t lend itself well to the chrome finish. Untimately nobody really much liked the chrome anyway. There was a silver fronted 552 special done for a dealer’s own system and I felt that just looked all wrong too. So black it was to remain.


FYI i’ve edited the original title of this thread. This city has suffered enough recently - no need to drag its name into things.


Yeah, Salisbury ain’t that bad……apart from the ring road during rush hour :laughing:


Naim NAG-20. I owned one. A friend owned one. Both died with failed internal capacitors. Somewhere at home I still have the typewritten letter from Julian Vereker explaining the inner workings of tantalum electrolytics.

I am going to stick up for the unloved here, both the 112 and the 90 suffered from a bad marketing decision imo. They are both fine amps with a flatcap powering their respective pre amp in combination and is absolutely needed. The decision to allow them to be powered by or power a pre amp was, and still is hiding the Naim light under a bushel. Naim have had and continue to have excellent one box systems with the Nait product line. The separates design philosophy should be just that, separate psu, pre, and power.