Stacking boxes

When we had our children in the mid 90s I had my Naim on a Sound Factory Tripod system. I started to get paranoid that they would damage the system, so bought a glass and aluminium stand that looked pretty good. It had glass sides, glass doors so the remote would work, and shelves that sat on isolators. It cost about £800, which was an awful lot back then, and because they were made to order I couldn’t try one out before ordering.

In went my CDI, the 82, Hicap and 250, with the Linn on the ‘special’ turntable top shelf. I have rarely found a stereo that I’d call unlistenable, but this was it. It sounded indescribably bad. So using whatever consumer protection that was in place then, I returned it for a refund, and bought a fire guard to go around the Tripod.

I don’t suggest that the Ethnicraft cupboard will be as bad, but £3,400 for something that may or may not compromise the sound is a lot to spend. It’s not something I’d do if SQ actually mattered. But as it’s just a system for casual listening perhaps it doesn’t matter. I still like my idea of a 222/250 on a nice little table or whatever. A well set up small system can sound far better than a big system piled in a heap. I’m sure Robbo will make it work somehow and if it doesn’t, the cupboard can be used to store china or whatever.

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It would double as quite a nice drinks cabinet :blush:
I’m for sure not in the market for more hi-fi gear - and it would be more as I am not going to part with the olive (I just misspelt that as ilove lol) stuff.
Appreciate the advice, food for thought. If it wasn’t for the system sounding so damned good I probably would have less hesitation to jump right in…

I hadn’t seen that. Not intending to be facetious but honestly if this isn’t your main set-up and it’s mainly for casual listening then why not just buy a Muso? It would be far more appropriate - horses for courses and all that. You could keep the system for the moment just packed away and see how you get on with the Muso. My guess is that a Muso will be far more entertaining than your present set-up poorly installed.

We do already have a muso in the kitchen area :blush:

Why not just do nothing. It sounds great, you are used to the looks, and it doesn’t need changing. Give the money saved on not buying a cupboard you don’t need to charity. It’s a win-win.

Look, you’re just being plain awkward now! :grin:

Seriously though, obviously it’s your call and you need to do whatever you feel is right for you. Just plan it all out carefully first before you part with any cash.

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I am actually right now listening to Paul Simon in the living room, and after most of the advice on here I am thinking “am I going to regret this”. My guess is probably yes given the lack of “Go For It!”s… :grimacing:
Bit more reflection required…
Appreciate the advice (warnings!) from all :+1:


Is there a halfway house possibly where you could get the main showing Fraim parts repainted professionally to match your new furniture?

As the idea of a custom built cabinet has been mentioned, here is my solution. It’s difficult to see, but my boxes are sitting on two stacks of Sound Factory Tripod. When we moved into our current home, I had a carpenter build us a cabinet from solid walnut. It’s just a skeletal frame with glazed doors, a removable right side panel and a detachable top.

I came up with this idea before I was aware of the consensus around the importance of a Fraim. That said, I don’t have room for two stacks of Fraim, so I’m not tempted to rip it out in favour of something else. One thing I would change is the amount of space at the back. Using my previous setup as a reference, I had added an inch or two, but if I was doing it again, I’d add at least an inch or two more.

Even in its day, the Tripod was never a great sounding rack, but I’ve progressively tweaked it down the years. Now it has glass shelves separated by @Xanthe -inspired “ball nutters” comprising shirt-button-sized brass discs with a hammered recess and silicon carbide balls, sitting on the original fibreboard shelves, separated from the metal by SiC balls sized to rest securely in the original tapped screw holes. I swapped the bottom level spikes out for Track Audio spikes, which sit in Chord SM5 titanium isolators. I also added some Dedshete under the top board and the side panel to minimise reflection.

The photo is about 8 years old, my system has changed quite a bit, and the fig on the right is about 3 times the size now, but you get the general idea:

I’m sure Fraim owners will sympathise with the challenges involved in a periodic stripdown and rebuild, which I plan on doing some time in the next few weeks :sweat_smile:


I remember Tripods very well. It was my first rack. I had never heard any other racks so I had no reference point for the sound. But it looked great - in an industrial functional kind of way which really suited the CB kit especially. I always thought that the fit and finish was a bit rough and ready but overall it looked nicer to my eyes than the alternatives at the time.

Lovely to see it still in use! Happy memories.

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Thanks! At the time - 1990-ish - I felt that the main choice was between multiple two-level Sound Organisation tables and the Tripod. The modular, Naim-tailored nature of the Tripod really appealed to me, I had a lot of respect for the designer (Derek Whittington), and it sounded decent enough.

If I was starting over and subject to the same space restrictions, I might investigate alternatives such as Isoblue, Hutter, et al, but my upgraditis no longer extends to my equipment racks.

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My dealer at the time (mid 1980’s) was Sound Advice in Moseley Birmingham, which as I’m sure you will know, was Derek’s business along with his other outlet in Loughborough. The Sound Factory as I recall was an offshoot of this. I do remember being told at one point by Andy who ran the Birmingham store for Derek that the demand for Tripods was so high that they couldn’t make them quickly enough and were having to draft in more staff!

Later I visted the Loughborough store with my girlfriend (now wife) as she wanted a CD player that they didn’t have in stock at Birmingham. A cold snowy day and we got lost on the way back to Leamington where she lived!

I believe that sadly Sound Advice went out of business not too long after that. I think Derek started up a new business that also sadly didn’t last long. One of the foremost Naim dealers in the Midlands at the time.

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If you happen to be in the states and want to sell those Fraims… :slight_smile:

So… after reflection I am keeping the kit on Fraim.
Thanks for knocking some sense into my head :joy:


Your honest dedication in evaluating the other option(s) is hopefully valued by family members who were looking for a change!

Is that cupboard really 3.4k as HH said?

I don’t know ethnicraft but, wow…

I was rounding down… You could get a Fraim for that. Ha ha.

It’s a bit of a compromise too far, as stacking an NDX2 on a 552 is a very bad idea. It’s a lovely system, but would be so much better if given more space and some decent shelving.

Having owned a 552 I know how sensitive it is, but if it works for you….

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The pattern must be carved by hand.