Preamp Max Volume in NC222

Hi All

I have my max volume set to 50% in all my Naim kit (222, Atom HE, Muso).
My question is ‘am I compromising the audio quality for the sake of protecting my speakers?’
Are we meant to keep the preamp volume always at 100%?

It would be great to get a reply from Naim staff!


It’s a safety mechanism to prevent accidental high volume. It doesn’t as far as I’m aware adjust any other factors.

If you want an official response, please email

Should be fairly easy to test? Just use an app on your phone that can measure SPL to make sure you’re listening at the identical volume when comparing.

And if you can’t hear it, does it matter if there’s a theoretical difference? I think the piece of mind of your speakers being protected should then outweigh it.

FWIW, I have mine restricted as well for the same reason, but I never compared. I have had my child when she was smaller turn up the volume fully, so I’m glad I had.

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The Spotify remote access bug is another reason people might want to reduce their max volume setting. This can allow someone to inadvertently turn the volume to max when your house is empty and nobody is there to run for the off button.


I’ve disabled the Spotify input as I don’t use it :grinning:.

My max preamp volume is set to 85%, which was the ‘out-of-the-box’ value.

I guess a lower max preamp volume means the power amp would have work harder to achieve the same spl. So maybe there is a difference in SQ there.

The problem with Spotify is that once someone has used it in your streamer, they can access it remotely, and may do so accidentally. Then, because they were expecting to hear the music playing from their phone but get silence, the first thing they will do is keep on turning up the volume, oblivious to the racket they are causing in your listening room. Disabling the Spotify input will not prevent this.

It’s never been used with my streamer. Additionally, I don’t allow access by devices that are not my own. Access over the internet is also blocked (of course).

Theoretically, that should improve the SQ, if anything. My old McIntosh Amp had Gain controls, so you could turn down the actual output, while increasing the amplifier output. Using more power seemed to make it sound even better.
As far as I know, anyway.

I don’t think that’s how it works. Setting max vol to 50% doesn’t make it quieter. It prevents you turning the volume past half way.

The only device I have with this setting is the unitiqute; the volume range goes from 0 to 100. So if you set max volume to 50, you can’t accidentally or intentionally reach volume 51. But volume 50 = volume 50 regardless of the max volume setting (as long as it’s set at 50 or higher).

Does it not work like that with your 222?

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On the Uniti’s the volume always goes from 0-100, so I suspect the 222 will be the same.

Setting the max to 50 just means that setting it to 100 means it’s only 50% of the theoretical max.

I would agree. Its just altering the max stop. No effect on SQ. IMO…

Yes, thinking about it again, what you say makes more sense :grinning:.

Naim have had (at least) two ways of implementing maximum volume.

On my previously owned 272, the max setting just put a limit on the volume you could set. Changing it whilst listening to music at a volume below the limit had no effect on SQ or volume provided it did not go below listening volume.

It’s different on my Atom. Setting max to 80 and displayed volume to 50, for example, gives the same listening volume as setting max to 100 and displayed volume to 40. Changing the max but not displayed volume always affects listening volume. I suspect it’s like this on the 222.


So that sounds like it’s a scaling factor, which was my original thought. I’ll have to check on my 222.

As I had the evening to myself I thought I’d do some testing.

I’ve got a decibel meter app on my ipad so I could lower/raise the volume as needed and keep the same loudness.

So I queued a track I know very well.
Pre-amp vol at 100%, average decibel at 70. Sounded great, deep body of sound with drama.
Lowered pre-amp vol to 60% and upped the main vol so the average decibel was still 70. For me it was a flatter sound and it was less dramatic… A nice sound but less noticeable.
I repeated this a few times and it was the same outcome for me.

So now the pre-amp vol is at 100% in all my devices!

Thanks for everyone’s comments.

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OK, so I have just tested this feature.

Set to 85% and playing from Tidal, I adjusted the max preamp volume in the app. When I reduced the value to 50% using the slider the music got quieter. When I increased it back to 85% it got louder. So, it’s a scaling factor.

My original question was about SQ - would setting more/less max preamp volume be better or worse? I’m guessing it doesn’t matter as I expect this scaling to be no different to using the volume control. So for the same spl at different max preamp volume settings - achieved by adjusting the volume control - the power amp is driven by the same preamp output, so it should sound the same. The overall maximum achievable volume of course would be limited by the max preamp volume setting.

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