I guess most of us when deciding which equipment to purchase take sound quality to be the number one in the list. I too have this philosophy.
Number two in my priority list is the ability for the brand to service both it’s current products, as well as legacy products.
Back in the 80s and 90s, I was also loyal to Audio Research as they were able to service even their oldest products, and you could even communicate (via fax) to the owner / designer. Things have changed though….
Naim has been known to be one of the remaining audio companies which can still service most of its legacy products. This really appeals to me, and is a sign of excellent customer service. I do hope this does not change.
With new things being disposable in this day and age, not to mention bean counters advising top management that there maybe low profits in repair services, what’s your take on the importance for a company to still service its legacy products?
Very important. If a good bit of vintage gear that has been out of official service for 2 decades or more crops up for sale, it could have been unofficially serviced several times by different people with different levels of care and skill. Knowing an item can be “reset” to intended performance spec is valuable.
That said, with current economic realities, low cost out of service gear does present a bargain for a buyer with a predisposition and skill set for self repair and recapping. So I think both gear with a current manufacturer’s service commitment and gear without, have important places in the market.
I think that you may be asking your (very fair) question in the wrong place. Naim must be unique, or very close to unique, in being able and willing to repair almost everything that it has ever built, and at reasonable cost to the owner. I think that there are a very few, very old units that Naim can’t service, because parts are no longer available (some tuners and CD players, perhaps?), but otherwise Naim’s ability to look after its ‘old stuff’ (or ‘legacy products’, if you prefer) is exemplary.
The very existence of this Forum, and the enthusiasm of its Members, is surely indicative of how well Naim looks after owners of its products. It’s one of the reasons why I would never change my stuff.
To be fair, Linn seem to follow a similar philosophy. QUAD used to, but all is not well with that lovely old company since it left British hands.
I imagine that high end US manufacturers such as Audio Research and Krell would look after their stuff pretty well, but I’ve never owned their products, so don’t have the relevant experience.
That’s very sad, I didn’t know that. But, fortunately for me, perhaps, my LP12 and its assorted bits are the only products that I have ever bought, or am likely to buy, from Linn (and there’s quite a bit of Naim in my LP12, after all).
I was in the factory last week and spent a bit of time in the service department. I always enjoy visiting Naim’s service department, catching up with old colleagues such as @NeilS, but not least because it’s fascinating to see some of the old kit that’s either in the midst of being serviced, awaiting service, or been serviced and awaiting audition in the service department listening room. It is truly a jewel in Naim’s crown and well worth seeing if you ever have the chance to visit and tour the factory.
I personally think it’s very important. For a number of reasons, not least of which, for Naim, it’s a great revenue stream! In a number of industries the service and maintenance is almost more important than the original sale.
For me as a consumer it gives me choices and allows me to buy new with confidence, or buy used and still know the equipment can give years of service. I can also buy used and still support the manufacturer.
There are issues with some units and parts availability, but overall I think their ability and willingness to service their old kit is a real plus for everyone.
Companies recommending you upgrade, rather than repair, is awful.
I think that in their longevity the products are green. (Almost literally for the Olive products (sorry)) and obviously that is a broader concern than this forum. My mother would fix clothes. Now, we dispose of lots of electronics. Cars, too, have become too disposable. Some years ago a friend of mine took his Renault Safrane down to the Riviera for the family holiday (3 kids at that time) and drove it back again. Great transport, fuss free etc but when he looked at a trade in a few months later it was worth £93. At what point do you cease fixing stuff on economic grounds? In some cases I know what’s killed off cars is the inability to economically (or even at all) fix the ECU. Older cars are easier to fix, but some of them have values that encourage you to do so. In part that’s also an incentive with a large chunk of naim gear - the second hand values of amps and power supplies remains high and it can not just be serviced, but fixed if necessary.
I’m curious about how the HiFi industry will deal with the ‘Right to repair’ movement which is pushing for spares availability for electronic equipment. Legislation is starting to creep in, currently focused mostly on things like washing machines, but as it grows, is seems to me that Naim are in a good position to show how it should be done.
This was one of a number of things I clearly remember from our last factory visit. It was fascinating. There was one component from the 70s or early 80s that I had never heard of, in its original Naim box with a livery I did not recognise. They said the internals resembled something from Blakes 7, but they did it up just fine.
Also memorable, for the wrong reasons, was the condition in which one power amp had been delivered to the factory. Killed my courier. It was (nearly) enough to make me cry.
Back in the early 80s, when I shorted the speaker cables on my A60, I drove it to the factory for a repair while I waited. That was a pleasant day out of London. I don’t know what Arcam are like nowadays with legacy gear. I also took a pair of Ruark Talismans back the the factory, had a tour while they were upgraded to MkII spec and cosmetically restored.
I think Quad’s repair approach is largely unchanged. Their philosophy is different to Naim in that they don’t service stuff, but rather they bring it back to the original spec. Their repair prices are considerably lower than Naim though. They charge a low per unit amount plus cost of parts used and carriage back to the owner.
The other big difference is that you don’t need to use a dealer to do the return for you. And a similarity to Naim is that it takes ages because they are also overwhelmed with work.
Before I had my Naim equipment, I had an all QUAD system (FM4/34/606 with ESL63s). For completeness, my TT was a Thorens TD160S, with an Ortofon MC20 (a lovely, sweet low output moving coil design).
I once had a fault in the system, and it was possible to make an appointment by telephone to visit QUAD. On the appointed day, I drove up to Huntingdon and dropped off the culprit needing repair. I then went off for lunch nearby, went back a couple of hours later in the afternoon, paid for the repair, and drove back home.
It was a delightfully efficient service. Not possible today, sadly.