System woes

My love of music reproduced well has tested my resilience these last couple of years. Just as we went into the first lockdown I started experiencing loud cracks on vinyl replay. The problem was resolved after many false dawns, one of which involved my Superline going on a trip. It was finally resolved some 8 months later when the DV XX-2 was replaced, even though Dynavector couldn’t find a fault with it.

Then late last year my system lost all deep bass and solidity as well as a momentary loss of the right channel when using the balance control. I suspected it to be the NAC 252 DR. My dealer provided a 252/SC combo for me to substitute. The other Supercap DR gave a bass uplift so mine went back to Salisbury for repair. Naim found it to be “sounding thin” and replaced the DR modules.

I thought that would be it but on plugging back in things still didn’t sound right. After a couple of weeks to allow for burn in there was no real improvement so the NAP 300 DR was returned to base. This came back last week with “no fault found” but some capacitors changed.

Happily, this has given the sound the solidity that was lost. However, the momentary loss of the right channel when using the balance control is still evident. So it looks like another item is on its way back to HQ. That’ll be five boxes packed off in just over a year. A bit more than unlucky.


My feeling is that in the past 2 years, quality control of absolutely everything (not specifically Naim) has dropped dramatically. I know some of your failures are rooted in bits purchased before Covid supply chain woes, but can’t help feeling the difficulty in nailing some issues on the head is a common theme these days.

I think I’ve experienced more defective products in the past 12 months than in the past 15 years. Though only one has been hifi related. Everywhere I look, people I know are suffering defects on small to big ticket items of hifi from all major hifi producing continents. Just recently, a friend has burned through his 3rd Woo Audio headphone amp in the space of 6 months.

When trying to repair things myself, just getting hold of certain values of transformer or caps is really hard and the lead times are crazy. I suspect that pinched supply is leading to what is called a “compounding of errors”. Starts at the component manufacture. High demand and squeeze on staff/supply makes them cut corners or release out parts that otherwise might not make the cut. Manufacturers then using those parts but they themselves possibly tying to overly streamline production methods to get more units out the door than otherwise make the cut.

Every maker and supplier would deny that this applies to them of course. But I’ve pretty much decided it is for sure what is happening across the world.


That is rotten luck, I feel your pain…. Had similar issues with a 552.

Sometimes I long for simplicity, a one box system and some speakers is where I would like to be rather than multi boxes of today. Will prob start to make this a reality, Naim’s service cost increases have made me think a bit and for the first time in 25 years I am open to other brands.



Yikes… that reads nasty… :neutral_face:

I recognise your thoughts @Farthings-cat - also 20-25 years for me. The box count and accompanying cable mess starts to bother me a bit too. I’d love an elegant 1 or 2 box setup with the same or better SQ without spending a fortune. But there’s the challenge too.


I must admit that recently I have been considering simplifying my system and also (gasp!) moving away from Naim.
In 2017, with that incarnation of my system at 14 years old, I did a side step, replacing my kit with the DR versions of what I already had instead of servicing everything as my dealer offered a great price.
While there was a significant improvement I sort of regret doing it, as every piece of that kit will have needed to go back to base now. The only thing ticking along nicely in my system is the one thing I didn’t change, my 20 year old XPS2 and I guess I just jinxed that!
The recent price hikes in electricity along with a perceived decrease in reliability and climate concerns have really got me thinking if I want a system that needs power 24 hours a day. Switch it off you say? Not when I know the audible benefits.


Various life events and considerations caused me to move away from Naim and I now have a Melco N100 music library, Sim Audio Moon 340i integrated amp and Klipsch Forte III speakers. I used Naim kit for around 30 years and I still have the greatest respect and fondness for it. However there is life after Naim even though some would have you believe otherwise. One thing to remember is that Naim is no longer the small independent almost cottage industry set-up that it once was back in the 1970’s. Things have moved on significantly and I would argue that this is for both better and worse. Of course this applies to several British hi-fi companies that were very small concerns back in the 1970’s but are now far larger enterprises. The world has changed and we will never see those simpler times again, but it was without doubt a very exciting time to be into hi-fi with so many fresh ideas and radical new products coming to the market. Difficult to believe now that there was actually a time when specialist hi-fi racks and cables simply didn’t exist! I remember when I first got my 42/110 it was before the days of NACA4 speaker cable and my dealer supplied me with twisted red/black RS mains cable for speaker cables - as recommended by Naim back then!


I love the Naim sound but the difficulty in diagnosing a problem due to the amount of boxes has certainly worn on me of late.
I imagine if I were to move I’d be looking at a super integrated and would look at a change in presentation. I think downsizing within Naim would only leave me wanting what I had.
I’ll have a conversation with my dealer when I take the 252.

1 Like

Most of today’s super integrateds have inbuilt digital and streaming technology, which could be a concern for longevity and reliability.
You could look for one that simply selects between a handful of line inputs, attenuates and amplifies. Without complex processing, mapping, balance controls and what not.
My Karan integrated hasn’t put a foot wrong in the nearly ten years I’ve had it, and hopefully for another good few years.
I dread the day something does go wrong. Putting it in the wooden crate and hauling it to a dealer.

That is exactly one of the reasons that I changed to the Moon amp. The presentation is certainly different but no less involving. Having fewer boxes certainly simplifies things and to be honest I really don’t think I could now be bothered with all the cabling and setting up involved in a big multi-box system. And when something’s not quite right then finding the culprit can be a very real challenge. Even small details of set-up, if not quite right, can lead to disappointing results. Having said all this for someone who wants the ultimate in performance above all else then a big complex system will certainly move you closer to that goal. But at a cost, and not just financial…

That’s not good. It’s draining and it’s tedious and it simply shouldn’t happen. This stuff should just work. It’s not any new fangled streaming stuff that’s gone wrong, it’s amplifiers, which really aren’t that complicated. Naim has changed immeasurably, perhaps inevitably, but they seem to have lost their grip on the things that matter, good customer service and rock solid reliability. They now seem too much like a faceless corporate to me, rather than a company to enthuse about. Nobody knows who is in charge and in many ways buying a Naim is no different to buying a washing machine these days. As least if you call Miele you’ll get a response.


Gosh HH, that almost sounds as if you have contemplated life after Naim.

1 Like

That is not my experience Nigel. I have always found the combination of Naim and my outstanding dealer to be superb. I agree that the OP has had a really bad run and absolutely understand his frustration. However, I suspect his experience is rare. The Forum will always distort numbers of those with problems compared to the vast majority of happy and satisfied customers.

Where I will agree is that Naim does seem a bit ‘faceless’. JV and later PS always presented the public face of Naim. No idea who is in charge now or what they might look like…


I suspect that if Rega made a streamer I’d have one of those, together with an Aethos. One of the main reasons for the NDX2 and SN3 is that multiroom works so well with the QBs around the house. I certainly don’t have the warm feelings towards Naim that I once had. They seem too full of excuses and short on action to me. There are some wonderful and highly skilled people at Naim, but the public facing part does them few favours at the moment. I hear what Stuart says about people only reporting negatives, but if I was the person in charge I’d be moving heaven and earth to remedy the shortcomings, rather than dispensing a few bland platitudes and blaming the pandemic for all woes. There are just too many reports of breakdowns, smoke coming from Novas, dodgy relays and the like, and too many complaining of not being kept in touch for comfort. But the order books seem full so maybe it just doesn’t matter any more. Until it does, of course.


You certainly know that Roy Gandy is at the helm if nothing else…

1 Like

I have had some absolutely excellent service from Naim recently, which only REL have matched in giving very thoughtful personalised help, and every time I’ve called someone useful and friendly has answered. It’s really embedded my loyalty for the brand However, like others on this thread, it’s becoming a qualified loyalty - I do think Naim needs to simplify the proliferation of boxes. Where I am in my current system, I physically can’t upgrade further if I wanted/could afford to, as I don’t have space for a Supercap/XPS etc. Having a rat’s nest of cables to manage is not fun as well! Also from an energy and environmental perspective, masses of electronic boxes is not good…


Don’t get me wrong, if I leave Naim behind it’ll be a sad day. I’ve always loved the fact that things are able to be repaired regardless of age for the most part and both Naim and my dealer has been excellent throughout.
However since the first issue, due to the problems brought about by the pandemic and the long winded fault diagnosis of the two problems I’ve had I would say my system has only sounded “right” between October of 2020 and November of 2021. The rest of the time it’s been distinctly “off”. This has resulted in me listening less to the system.
Finding faults in a multi box system has been an absolute nightmare and I’m sick of it. Part of me says “it’ll be fine when it’s sorted” and another part says “what about when it happens again?” Previously I’d have said “if” not “when”. In my years of Naim ownership prior to May 2017 when I changed to DR components I’d only had the problem of a stuck relay on a NAC282.
Now all five of the DR boxes bought in 2017 will have had to go back for repair. That makes me think moving to another brand seems a logical step. After all, if it were my car I’d be looking elsewhere.


Understand the feeling. Personally I have not had any problems with my hifi equipment - but you mentioned if it had been your car you’d be looking elsewhere. With regard to cars that is where I am. I bought a nearly new vw gte (mk8) just about a year ago. It has been into the garage for fault investigations 5 times with no fault found. Last fault again today in that warning light for external light failure comes on but all lights appear to be operative. I suspect that there is an issue with the vw software but they are not helping their dealers by admitting it. There is a fair amount on www but still no way ahead - issue is common to whole vw (and associated makes skoda, seat, etc. I believe) Think I will just have to stay in and listen to more music……:grinning::grinning:

Oh no. I have a Seat Leon ST …

Does it have the new touchscreen infotainment system similar to the vw golf mk 8? I think that is big part of the issue. Many bits (including software/firmware) used across the family of vehicles. That said Seat does seem to have a better reputation than vw recently. Fingers crossed that you have a good one. :crossed_fingers:

No it doesn’t. It’s the previous version where the screen is in the dashboard. Bought it new in April 2019. Great car (so far).