Staff build

Hi, on occasion staff build naim boxes come up for sale on the second hand market. Apparently having no serial numbers qualifies this. In fact some folks think they are worth more and sound better than the equivalent era box.

Are they a special build with hand picked parts something like a friend would do?

Was it only naim factory staff able purchased them or could agents or hifi shop staff get them made for personal use?

Do Naim still do this?

No serial number means no Naim service?

Please fill in any other interesting information if you have some.

I think i would prefer a version built by the usual Naim assembly team, than say someone who does not assemble on a daily basis?


You pay your money and take your choice.
Yes they are Naim products but not through the same QC rigours.
Yes they will be cheaper, but have less resale value.
As they won’t have a serial number, there is no proof of age or condition.

Each to their own

Thanks, I’m not interested in buying one I just see a pair of Staff build 135’s grossly overpriced,

AFAIK, Naim have changed (many times) the way that staff build units are serial numbered, or not.

I don’t know the current rules, so all I can tell you is how it was back in my day; staff could apply to build their own piece of equipment in their own time outside of normal working hours. All electrical components would be to Naim standard - i.e. would have gone through all the usual selection, matching etc… any wiring and assembly was down to you, and any physical parts used had to be B stock , unless you got specific permission to use A stock (usually because there wasn’t any B stock available).

The unit would be tested and soak tested in the usual way. Of course, this did not automatically guarantee perfection, and some staff were certainly better at soldering than others. Some of us, (such as yours truly) understanding our deficiencies well, and of course, wanting our kit to sound as good as possible, asked those who were much more skilled in the art of building Naim kit to do so for us.

Just be aware that with any staff build, provenance is everything. Otherwise, as PS used to say, it might have been built by Roy, or it could have been built by the cleaner…

Other possible reasons a unit may not have a serial number; it’s dodgy or stolen; it’s pre-production or an R&D unit (often these would end up with staff); it was one Julian took home to use (according to eBay there are lots of these).

No serial number means no way to easily reference any service history, so supporting bills are a must if a service history is claimed.


Thank you Richard. Extremely interesting to me, I’m sure it will satisfy the curiosity of others as well.:+1:

1 Like

The one built by the cleaner might of course be the best! (Sounding I meant, rather than value)


Anything’s possible, I guess.


One might be disinclined to argue with that.


That’s Leon not Victor…



FYI Staff build was stopped a couple of years ago, maybe 2017. Pre prod/r&d units have a serial number starting 88 (eg zoom in on photos in what hifi mag and they will be 88xxx).

1 Like

My Superline was a late staff build (possibly one of the last) which I bought from Mark Raggett’s son Dan. It’s SN is 99xxxx

My 552 DR PS comes without serial number, the 552 head unit comes with serial number.
The seller said the PS was a preproduction unit. It was brought to DR specs by the factory in 2019, so I assume it should be quite fine.

This was quite normal 10 or more years ago. Often the pre-production or R&D kit would not have a serial number or a proper printed rear panel sticker either, or else a green paper sticker instead. My old NAP250.2 prototype was like this until I had it service at which point the by-now-rather-tatty green paper sticker panel was replaced with a production one.

Out of curiosity, why was it stopped? And, assuming a lot of staff won’t be able to afford it, was there a replacement program put in place?

I would find it a shame if staff have no realistic way of obtaining something they work on on a daily basis.

1 Like

It was apparently something to do with tax. Don’t worry there is an alternative that allows staff to own Naim hifi.

1 Like

I think Henry Ford had a similar philosophy, that employees should be able to afford the company’s end product. Not necessarily the top of the range product, but meaningful.

A Statement would be nice. Not so sure about a Boeing 737 Max…

Statement is on the list of components available to staff, however I don’t think anyone has availed themselves of the opportunity! The most “fancy” system I believe consists of 3 x 500s in an active setup with the biggest ovators.


Do we know the owner ?