Time to service, how to know?

i wonder how we can know for sure that it’s time for service.
A lot of members are saying about 10 years for naim components. But it must differ if someone is listening 1 or 2 hours a day or several hours.
Personally i have a tube ear yoshino preamp, ear 912. I changed my tubes recently. The preamp has about 10 years, around 4000 or 5000 hours running.
I don’t feel any problem. Can i wait some years more? wait that the sound becomes less dynamic or harsch…?

My understanding from several sources is that the capacitors dry out, and that time is the enemy here, whether the device is used or put in storage. The problem for most of us is that the deterioration is very gradual and we can’t tell when a service is required from the sound alone. Usually.

I had a couple of items serviced last year just because they were long overdue. (20 years with no service). I didn’t think they sounded bad, but when they came back, the difference was very noticeable.

I am inclined to simply follow advice from Naim about service intervals.

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i think i will follow also, relatively, this recommendation. In one year or 2, i will send to service. Tim de Paravicini is old, so better not to wait too long.

With my 250’s, the first one failed extremely noticeably after about 12 years, making a noise like frying bacon through the loudspeakers.
Then a 2nd one failed a year later in the same way - most noticeable after I’d been away for a week, then turned on the equipment again.
I decided to get the 3rd one serviced at the same time.
The sound was greatly improved when they came back from being serviced!

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Time is indeed the enemy rather than usage but here’s a couple of simple tips I picked up from Mark Raggett at Naim a few years back.

1 - play a track and whilst it’s playing power down the power amp. The music will continue playing for a period. If it fades fairly rapidly then your capacities are draining quickly and you need a recap. If it takes > say 10 seconds then that may not be an issue.

2 - power up and put an album onto play. If the 1st track or 2 sound great but it starts to sound merely okay after that then… same thing.


See my post about loss of dynamics: says it all. One HiCap was 10 years from service. The other just under 8. Swapped them over first and immediate difference obvious. Once serviced everything came back on song; thank goodness as I was beginning to think my hearing was on its way. Flat, uninvolving and boring all music had become.

Naim recommend 8-10 years for HiCaps, and power amps. 250s particularly benefit. DR kit takes it to 15 years. With my experience I shall be looking to the 8 year threshold in future. One of many possible futures, but the only one with a positive result!

How about preamps? I have a 28 year old NAC 72 that has never had a service. Am I insane? Part of me likes the fact that it has never been messed with and don’t want to get it serviced unless it’s really needed. Those things obviously don’t heat up much; everything looks like new inside. (No bulging or leaking caps). The only issue I have is that the balance needs to be over to one side a bit to get the image in the middle. (Any volume level). Is it likely that a new volume pot would fix that?

28 years old seems a lot. There’s probably a diminishing of dynamics.
It would be interesting to compare with a serviced one.

I do actually have a 42.5 also, which is even older (obviously), and has similarly never been serviced, though with significantly less miles on the clock. (Maybe 5 or 6 years). I keep meaning to dig that out and give it a go, assuming it still works. If that sounds siginificantly better than the 72 then I guess that would answer my question.

With pre-amps it’s time that degrades the capacitors. Even if the 42-5 was never unboxed from new it will be well past a service and down on performance.

OK, thanks for that, but at least it might give me something to listen to if I do decide to send the 72 off for a service.

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:small_blue_diamond:Dave-L,…Yes,you are :wink::grin::grin:.

Welcome to the forum.

You lose in…
:black_small_square:High frequencies.
:black_small_square:Full frequency range decreases.

These are some things you will notice have improved markedly after a service.


This also depends on how loud the volume is i found as well.

perhaps not insane…but not conscious of the improvement which can be done by the service i guess. However i have always upgraded my system every 5 years, approximately, so never had the possibility to test the service.
My preamp is non naim, all tubes with transformers. About 9 years now. The oldest component, with my speakers.

That is a long time, and I’d be surprised if a service didn’t bring improvements. Probably more importantly, if your power amp or Hicap is powering the preamp, has that been serviced?

Tim’s son is now in charge of servicing, and recently did an excellent (and cheap, by Naim standards) job on my HP-4 headphone amp.

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As you said (sorry couldn’t resist quoting you out of context)! My 32.5 really scrubbed up well after its service. Not as impressive as having the 180 or the HiCaps done, but smoothed things out, added finesse and dynamics and frequency clarity.

Do it and be amazed at just how sweet these old Pres can be.

how will it costs? not better to buy a second hand 282 for a good price?

A 282 is going to be a lot more expensive and may also need a service, depending on age. But yes, that is the next step realistically from a 72 or 32.5, funds willing. Not sure about Dave but the Asgaardian coffers are a little empty just now. A service is going to improve things dramatically, and should he decide to part-ex, he will recoup some of the service costs. I think Darran at Class A charges under £200.

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May sound awful but I’ve had several things serviced a few weeks and not at all sure I like the results.

I posted a different thread about making too many changes at once, but this was a case of convenience as I was on business near an authorised service centre so took the plunge while I’d not be using the equipment.