The Naim Sound

Middle of a clean up, I encountered a Naim Nait - 1 that I had bought off eBay several months ago and forgotten about.
Plugged it in - and realized this is the Naim sound - rhythmic. In the envelope of that it is intended to do even the 552/500 can’t touch it.

Hyperbole? Perhaps - but really - it’s just the detail that is missing - and I’m using it drive easy to drive speakers in a small room. The 552/500 won’t even fit in this room.

Yeah - and not serviced in 20 years or more. Crackly when I change the volume. But who cares / this brings a smile to the face.
Serial No. is 384xX.


How do you feed it, and how does it relate to your 72/hi/250dr?

Oh - just put it in place of the nac72/HiCapDR/250DR temporarily.
It’s actually from 1987. 32 years old. Wow!

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I don’t think there is such a thing as a Naim sound. This implies some kind of colouration or artificial emphasis. A 500 doesn’t sound anything like a 300. The CDS3 doesn’t sound anything like the CD555. The ND555 doesn’t sound remotely like the NDS. Which one of these has the Naim sound? They can’t all have.

How Naim portrays timing , while not unique, is a strong suit. This ability seems to be a constant throughout the range. I think we are possibly talking about the same thing. I believe that timing underpins other aspects of how Naim delivers the detail. It’s a fundamental that when nailed, cascades its benefits.



I find the Nait 1 preserves the rhythm in music better than any other amp I’ve heard to date. It has its weaknesses but this, along with making music very coherent, are it’s strengths to my ears. Like you say, it makes many forms of music such a joy to listen to.


It heals the sick and raises the dead so I hear :wink:


Same reason I just can’t let go of my CB 110.

“Bought off ebay and forgotten about…” Perhaps too much Naim? Sorry had to laugh at that…

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A long time ago my dream system was a Nait 1, Linn Sondak and Spendor BC-1’s. I couldn’t afford it. Now I could afford a 552/500 system but I haven’t got the room for it.



is there or not a Naim sound… well maybe Naim is better than other brands at preserving the rhythmic elements of the music.

I’ve played a number of songs on my Audioquest Dragonfly red and Chord Mojo on Non Naim amplifiers, and well they sound almost identical to how they sound on Naim.

I would say it is about preservation of energy/Rhythm and doing the least damage to the musical signal.

That’s better put than I could manage. I think Exposure also does good timing, which is possibly why some describe them as Naim-like. Linn presentation seems to be grand, lush and full of enjoyable goodness. Even playing punk, it sounds like someone is standing in front waving a baton.

There is a Naim sound and you know it when you hear it.

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So is that good or bad?

I’ll happily admit that I am not a fan of punk - except perhaps the Stranglers - are they considered to be ‘Punk’?

If you drink several cans of Red Bull or will it be Monster drink you will feel high, restless and euphoric, that was the Naim Sound in 70;s & 80;s. Nowadays the PRAT is still there but HiFi niceties have been added most probably to attract a larger customer base.

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From my perspective it’s good. If Naim didn’t exist I would probably be a very happy Linn owner. I believe (rightly or wrongly) that the difference in presentation between Naim and Linn is how they time. I prefer how Naim does it.

I don’t know what I would classify The Stranglers as. Misogynist arseholes comes to mind

I have obviously missed something over the years.

Well, it all depends. I’m just entering into the spirit of their game and playing by their rules. If you publish material which is designed to get a strong reaction, you will get a strong reaction. Apologies for pulling the discussion a bit sideways - but you did ask :grinning:

I think I know what you mean - it’s like the music is dialed up to 11, although I don’t experience this on the pure JV designs (NAIT, 12/BD160) or slightly later amps which I’m not sure if JV did on his own or not (32, CB110). Olive 72/140 was too caffeinated for me but would still love to try a 52 at home.

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Linn doesn’t rock as well to my ears. Something like AC/DC works much better when my mind can effortlessly track every instrument at once, helping it form a cohesive whole, with that rhythmic groove powering along as I know it can. The less my mind can do this, the more the music will become a babble of noise as each instrument comes across fractionally out of sync, also diminishing any boogie or rhythm in the music. Im sure it’s only a relatively tiny difference and Linn probably works better than many brands in this regard, just not as effectively as Naim can. It’s taken a while to understand this and learn what makes me tick.

Also, I think its less of an issue with some forms of music plus people seem to experience music in different ways - for example, some like to focus their attention on just one instrument at a time, so I would never say that Naim is better than Linn period.

Some Linn amps also sound a bit analytical and polite at times but that’s a secondary issue for me.

Helen and I listen in different ways, particularly when first accessing something we are unfamiliar with. She goes straight to the lyrics and narrative. I go more for the tempo and counterpoints. Everybody hears things differently and listens differently. We both prefer Naim to Linn but could happily live with either. I think that if push ever came to shove, Helen would be the last of us to release their grip on the green and black boxes. They’ve got under her skin even more than mine.

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Slightly off centre but to me the Naim sound is the best sound that just effortlessly communicates the music - nothing else can hold a candle to it.