The Sic Safco capacitors have gone

Fully agree with what @feeling_zen is stating; when I buy a BMW I have no influence on the brand of battery or where the LED lighting for the headlights is sourced.

I think too many people tend to dig way to far in the components, and as already mentioned; there might be other variables than sound quality alone: serviceability in the future, cost, availability, and probably a lot more … :slight_smile:

At the end of the day, believe it or not; but also Naim needs to earn money in order to pay for their costs, the salaries, etc.

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I largely agree with you, but there’s also general interest. I’m not in the market for the new classics, yet have followed the threads and thoroughly enjoyed the insights Steve chose to provide.

Here a component that was previously specifically highlighted as something special, including an aspect (size) contributing to their selection, having been replaced by a different component not exhibiting that aspect. A component (supposedly, didn’t check myself) already in extensive use by Naim, i.e. Naim would have been aware of “its sound” when selecting the previous, more expensive, part. Yet supposedly this is sounding as good or better.

Would it feature in my decision to buy? No. But while perhaps you don’t care beyond that, I do find it an interesting decision and would be curious to find out more about it.


Well. Headlights and batteries don’t affect the performance of a car; capacitors do affect the performance/sound produced by hifi equipment.

If BMW produced a marketing photo for a mid priced saloon, clearly showing they have the same high performance tyre used on their high performance luxury cars, you’d have something to say if the cars delivered to customers where fitted with a different (probably inferior) tyre.

Naim have produced a marketing document, showing a product containing the same capacitors that are used in their flagship equipment. Implying they both contain the same quality of component.

The fact that the production units contain something different is a bit naughty IMO. Although nothing to phone 999 about. :grinning:


Having worked in manufacturing for many years, my bet, is somebody forgot to order the capacitors soon enough to ensure delivery before production kicked off. :innocent:


Component shortages and lead times are many multiple times worse now than ever before. I don’t think this was a mistake by Naim at all.

I guess you aren’t still working in the industry though, so you wouldn’t know that.


A prototype is not the same as a production unit. I suspect this will be the last time Steve puts together info to post to the forum.


Surely if the kit sounds like - ‘blew my socks off, out the window, and into next door’s back garden’ who cares how big or what colour the caps are?!


And it’s just not Naim who are caught-up in this issue e.g. McLaren cars are also citing issues in sourcing chips for their cars, and VW have stated they don’t expect normalised deliveries (if such a state now exists) and catch-up until sometime in 2024.

Also, when Covid hit and the problems with supply-lines were flagged on the Forum, it was stated that Naim, not being a larger-volume customer, wouldn’t be at the front of the queues for components. To question Naim’s R&D and general merchandising approach appears very odd to me, as what would people rather happen, no production of the new NC items?

As a smaller volume customer (tested to the wider international marketplace), I also wonder if Naim can order ex-factory or whether they have to go through the usual distribution channels? Unless you’re ‘in the room’, all comment is simply speculation.

Maybe because they are discontinued?
If the products are no longer available it makes sense to use alternatives.

No, I’m still in the thick of it. But I’m actually doing stuff, not just talking about stuff. :grinning:

Like involvement in delivering the AstraZeneca Covid 19 Vaccine manufacturing facility for Cobra to deadline, (as you can imagine) in the middle of a pandemic.

Before a company commits to taking on a large project, it is usual to check the availability of materials and labour before doing so.

Naim seem to have done a good job, in setting up an alternative manufacturing facility, but they didn’t ensure the availability of big yellow capacitors

It’s a simple email.
Customer: Can you advise latest order date for delivery of X number of y capacitor for delivery W12 2023

Supplier: W35 2022

It could be that a deal was in place but the supplier saw an opportunity to jack the price up, and a bean counter refused to pay it.

This happens often in the vulture economy of today.


Agree. But that doesn’t mean the whole R&D isn’t interesting. Steve chiming in is great and when something changes that makes people curious. Especially when the change superficially seems a bit strange lime this one.

I don’t understand the knee-jerk reaction of some (not you) in this thread.

@robert_h Why? In the same way you appreciate what @110dB had to say about the old caps, isn’t this change interesting? It’s insight into Naim R&D. I don’t see why it would influence Steve’s willingness to share. I certainly hope it won’t.


The Promisic caps are NOT discontinued.

I haven’t heard anyone here state that Naim is lying to customers or that there is no way another cap can sound as good even though I have some doubts about it, so everyone should stop with the “if Naim did it then don’t question it” brand bias. Personally, I love the products just as much as anyone else.

When a company uses a very specific component in all of their best preamps for 25 years, and also designs a brand new recent product around said component, that in itself suggests that it provides something special. It’s very reasonable to ask what the process was in selecting this new capacitor which is different in almost every way, and also why weren’t they supplanted by another smaller radial capacitor in the past if it’s that easy to find a cheaper replacement.

Let me ask this. If a HiCap or 555PS showed up at your door with tiny modern electrolytic capacitors instead of the large Felsic capacitors (which Sic Safco also manufactures) they’ve always used wouldn’t you want to know why? I sure would.


When you work there and come to realise that r&d is a closed door even though physically it might be open, and that pretty much everything going on in there is a secret (I was there oblivious while the turntable was being developed and the nait 50 was being planned etc), then you are naturally immune to caring what size/shape/colour the capacitors are.
I understand how hifi works as much as Bjork knows how a television works. And it comes as no surprise that the prototype on Steve’s desk is different from the first one off the production line; and maybe it’s just me, but I don’t question it.


The old sic safco capacitors may well be better than the ones use now?
Naim has certainly liked them for a very long time, and used them. Plus it looks like the new kit was running them or atleast tried them in development.
You will never know why the change, and if it’s just down to cost cutting, no business will come out and say that you will always get a customer friendly answer.
But the one used must be good enough for what naim want surely? And the old ones probably not worth the added cost for the gain?
You could go on and build the complete unit with better gear i guess but the price will certainly go up.
Naim is a business after all to make money, and like with every business like this the bottom line is profit on each unit. So i you can save a few pennies on this and that, or pounds. It adds up the more you make, simply that is what i think it’s all about.


As I posted earlier, I’ve been informed that it’s down to supply issues - when supply cannot be guaranteed and lead times reach or exceed an entire year then it can pose real production problems. Furthermore, even if you can get a huge number eventually supplied, I’d guess that capacitors are not something you want to have hanging around too long on the shelf…

As is usual with Naim in such situations, the R&D team extensively auditioned alternatives and I’m told that these ones sounded really good so were chosen instead for NAC332, supply also being good.


Dare I suggest that this thread is now getting a bit… excessive…?

If Naim & @110dB says the new capacitors are as good or better that the old ones, thats good enough for me, thank you… :expressionless: :crazy_face:

YMMV, etc.


I am struggling to understand how anyone could be so affronted by Naims choice of internal components and feel that they are entitled to a personal explanation and justification on this matter. I cant see how much simpler, clearer or more logical Richard could have put his explanation but I guess some just enjoy a good conspiracy theory. I suppose it’s mildly amusing I some way.


To be fair, neither one of them have stated “the new capacitors are as good or better than the old ones”. Richard has carefully responded exactly the same both times and has not stated the replacement caps are as good or better than the Promisics. I believe I’ve received the answer to my questions. I can read through the lines.

Multiple factors can be true. Naim can have supply issues, the replacement caps can sound really good, and the old Promisics can still be superior. I choose to believe that all of the above are true.