Plan on Naim tuner - what is best to invest in?

Everyone has had very thoughtful and kind thoughts on my new to me NAT03. We have been really enjoying the tuner and I’ve been planning on having it recapped by Naim NA. However – it seems like it might be best to find a nice unit of the “best” Naim tuner and go whole hog.

So, what is the “best”? I think the 03 is quite good - context is North America, longer distance, hilly terrain in my case…what if anything should I hold out/search for? 02? 01? Move on with the 03?

BTW… my wife noticed a difference from our other tuners. She really likes the 03, without me asking.


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The best is a late NAT01 (even better with the very rare XPS-T power supply). Earlier NAT01s are also good but a riskier buy as the early displays fade and replacement is no longer possible.

Next up is the lovely NAT101 with SNAPS. Lamps can blow on these but it’s reasonably straightforward to replace, otherwise a very safe bet.

Then the NAT02 - not quite at the level of the NAT01 but a lovely thing in one box.

Note that all of the above demand a strong signal which may well mean a serious aerial properly aligned for your favourite station. The NAT03 is a brilliant tuner in its own right and you may find it’s ideal for your circumstances. It is a bit more sensitive and a bit less demanding of the aerial. It is also a bit more forgiving. Of course, I may well be biased as I have a NAT03 and I love it…


The advice I’ve always been given in respect of Naim tuners is that there is no need to do anything to them unless there is a fault. On that basis I’d forget recapping and just enjoy it.

There are examples around of chrome bumper 01s, 101s and some early 02s, which would match your 32.5 aesthetically, if you fancy a change. Bear in mind that the 01 comes with its own power supply and that the 101 needs a Snaps.

Richard, thanks - very helpful. My sense is that FM in the US is much different than in the UK. Transmitters are in multiple locations, meaning a directional aerial probably needs a rotator to work well. I think a big directional + rotator is just not in the cards for us due to hassle factor, the fact we get pretty hefty (windy) winter storms, and that our roof is right in the middle of our neighbor’s view and I don’t want to do that to them.

Given that, sounds like the NAT03 is the best bet, and we’re certainly enjoying it.

So then I go to Mr. Halibut’s comment. I’m curious as to your reasoning/experience. I’ve recapped tuners with great result. Is there something particular that makes you say this? It seems like recapping is a good thing to do generally. Even if we just got a small gain with our 03 I think it would be worth it.

Hello, Richard, I don’t remember a visual change in the appearance of the NAT01, so I wonder how anyone would be able to distinguish an early NAT01 from a later one (other than a check on the serial number)…

Is there a visual difference and, if so, could some kind soul post a couple of piccies, please?

Sorry if I’m being dense!

It was more than just a visual change. The NAT01 started out in “chrome bumper” form, with a NAPST that could also power a proposed AM head unit and AUX unit (probably some form of TV tuner) and was improved with better display and improved power supply (no AM or AUX selector) when the look changed to Olive.

It’s worth saying that (AFAIK) the NAT01, 101, and 02 used a Naim tuner head that can only be properly serviced and aligned at the factory.

Have a look at some of the old threads on the NAT01 on here. Here’s one to start;


Not to bother recapping was advice I was given by Naim, many years ago. That may have changed of course, but the tuners don’t have the large capacitors that you find in power amps and power supplies.

Thank you for the explanation, Richard. The NAT01 is a lovely piece of work (I understand why some think that it’s one of the best things that Naim ever built), and mine won’t be going anywhere (unless I were ever to luck out with an XPS-T).

Here’s my early example 01. It was serviced when I bought it a few years back but only because the power supply had failed. The stereo indicator on the head unit has died but apart from that it provides hours of pleasure. It’s playing Radio 3 as I type.


And here is my 31 year old NAT02. It’s just lovely and only takes up half a shelf.



Having only owned a NAT03 and now a NAT05, I can’t comment on best tuners.

But having had a problem with what turned out to be both my FM aerial and my NAT05, I did contact Naim directly via email. I subsequently got my NAT05 serviced and am delighted with it.

Here’s part of Naim’s reply of March 2020, to me regarding the problem. My additions are in square brackets:

"It may be worth getting an Aerial specialist to take a look at your aerial if it is mounted outside. [It is.]

It is possible that that some of the settings in the RF front end may have drifted off. This again can happen over time with analogue tuners.

Has the unit ever been serviced? [No]. We do recommend that Naim products are serviced every 10 years. This is especially true for units like tuners. "

Hope that helps.



That’s interesting, and different to what I was told. Servicing costs £399, much more than the cost of a used 03 and nearly as much as I paid for my 02. I think I can put up with it as it is. It’s lasted over 30 years and sounds perfectly fine to me.

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OK, thanks all. I think I’m going to have it serviced. The recent service of my 32.5 (no big caps) took it to a totally different level. The truth is the cost of service of many older Naim items is close to purchase cost these days.


Where are you getting it serviced? If you are in the US, I only know of two reliable sources.

Naim North America.

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Based on this thread, could this be the year that we see Naim’s tuner servicing dept break all records for throughput?!

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Today I’m again concerned about the future of FM broadcasting in the U.K. If the BBC licence fee were to be replaced by some kind of subscription service, I can’t see how FM radio will survive. It’s only the number of cars with FM receivers which has spared it thus far. It seems those campaigning for a different funding model are only concerned with BBC TV and journalistic bias and don’t think of all the additional services offered by the Beeb, especially FM radio.

I do hope this isn’t considered in any way political. It’s certainly not my intent.

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A valid concern Clive, I was pondering the same when the news broke.
Its a few years out & I don’t see anything changing in the next 5 years except maybe the ‘people’, but in the meantime, if it happens, we will learn more of what it will entail.

My thoughts exactly.

My radio listening has taken on a whole new lease of life since my Nova arrived and I discovered internet radio. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. Now (this is probably going to be considered heresy and I shall be banned from the forum) I reckon anything broadcast at 320kbps is at least as good as FM. Particularly given that all BBC FM is now compressed! And that is before we even get to full fat FLAC stations. All with no aerial, interference or hiss. So my question is: why do we need FM?

(Ducks and hides)