I wonder if many others like myself here in New Zealand (where Auckland is home) mourn the fact there is no longer a HiFi store to visit and dream about, have demo’ed, and discuss all things Naim.
The Addicted to Audio experience… walking along Teed Street to visit the store one can’t help but have the eye drawn toward the prominent B&O sign remaining out front. Am I in the right place? Ahh! Of course, B&O called this place home for a number of years. An oversight and no doubt that will be taken down soon.
Yes, it is ok! Once standing in front of the store it’s clear from the sign-writing you’re exactly where you want to be - it’s a ‘Focal by Naim’ store! You eagerly grip the handle and swing the door open and dash in, in anticipation of sighting you’re beloved Naim.
Alas, it’s not to be! Here in Auckland the only Naim you’ll find is sign-written out front - the store is now better known as ‘F all by Naim’. The store is barren. Headphones outnumber anything by more than 10 to one. Not a single Naim box to be seen… but rest assured, a full store refit is imminent.
I wish. And still wish!
That’s how it has been for the last couple of years. Is my only choice now to jump ship into the Linn alternative?
Are you sure these are Focal powered by Naim stores? In Auckland there is Paul Money, I got my 250 from them last year. It was a phone call and email exchange which was quick and easy, but I’ve never visited their actual shop. When in Auckland I visit the Shore Hi-Fi (now Real Music) guys and discuss Naim and listen to their Linn and Chord stuff.
Off course, Real Music (Chris Murphy and co - ex Naim dealers) have an entirely different business model than the new Naim guys. Real Music are all about long term personal relationships and excellent service involving a core selection of top gear. The new guys are about shifting goods out the door. When the Distributer role was reviewed, it was clear that RM’s business model was not aligned with where Naim are heading.
Sad, but times move on. If I was starting out now for a hi-end system , I’d be sticking with Real Music and forgoing Naim. Personal relationships and service matter to me.
As an aside, Chris Murphy just repaired my NDX2, which was out of warranty, for free, as I was loyal customer.
I totally agree with you Mike regarding personal relationships and service. The overall quality of hifi products in general has never been higher, and I would rather have good backup and service than stick with a particular brand. Rapport and good relationships are key.
Not much better here in the US. Closest Linn dealer is 8-10 hour drive away over the Appalachian mountains. Naim dealers are a little closer, if you want a Muso. Otherwise, again, its mail order/special order, no demo, only!
It’s not just Naim though. These is serious retrenchment going on at the moment. Manufacturers are culling countries from their distribution and dealers are culling brands.
My local dealer has done Linn for 30 years and was telling me just last week that European brands just have not managed to get their act together to mitigate supply chain and inflation issues in the same way as Japanese and American brands have. He’s not sure he even wants to do Linn anymore because the prices of anything made in Europe now is “just untenable” . The exceptions are a few brands like KEF and B&W and Quad that have regionalised manufacturing so they are more global. It’s the outfits that insist on keeping production in the UK, but with parts dependent on a few places in eastern Europe and China, that are presenting dealers with the idea that their value proposition is no longer sellable.
Which is also a shame. After all you want Naim, Linn and so forth to be made by the same guys in the UK, Definitely a case of biggest strength being their biggest liability.
Luxman, who distribute Focal, posted on their website a notice informing customers of massive price increases for Focal only and huge repair and deliver delays due to “being a European company”. Just a couple weeks ago they announced a redesign of current models of tube amps to allow them to move away from JJ tubes to “more reliable partners in the US”.
Recent problems have effected everyone but European makers have really let it all sort of fall apart.
So if they don’t find a way to solve these problems, we are going to find dealers increasingly reluctant to carry smaller European brands at all.
I’m in New Zealand and am dreading asking Paul Money etc for a recap. I fear I will be handed something with a brim and an adjustable band at the back. Real Music are fantastic and their knowledge and advice first rate.
No, but when I bought my 250 from Paul Money I asked about warranties and repairs. The answer was that warranties would just be by way of providing a new unit and that they were organising options for servicing, so maybe that has changed. One of the members here posted a while back that they were getting someone in Wellington to DR a 300, that was recommended by Paul Money. I think that was @JonoB?
I had my 300 DR’ed and serviced by Cowan Audio Services in Lower Hutt. They were recommended to me by Addicted to Audio/Busisoft.
Cowan Audio specialise in servicing older amplifiers, and Glen Cowan did a great job with the DR upgrade and service on my 300. He was responsive, reasonably priced, had a really fast turn-around (once the DR and service kit arrived), and did the Naim badge replacement at no cost a month later when the badge arrived (Busisoft had forgotten to send it).
That said, I’ve also had amazing service from Chris at Real Music, and wouldn’t hesitate to get him to do services again if there was the option