I thought this would be a fun thread to take people back to the moment where they first decided they’ll get Naim gear. I think it might be fun for Naim staff to read about that tipping point for Naimers.
For me, Naim was a brand that I knew a little about in my earlier stages in this hobby. My interest was in a minimalist and digital first setup, so I ended up going up the steps in Hegel integrated family, 190, 390, then 590. I kept on reading about Naim over the course of years, heard an SN3 at a dealer too.
At some point, I watched the Naim part of this really long video from Alpha Audio, kudos to them for their dedication and attention to detail. They were comparing an MSB DAC, Grimm+Mola Mola , and ND555+PS555. Their reaction to Naim when it stopped playing the track was the moment for me. Whatever I read afterwards about Naim mostly confirmed that reaction, then Naim’s engineering approach sealed the deal for me.
When I decided to go the separates route earlier this year, NC was just becoming available, so I ordered the NC trio. Now living in the PRaTville
Looking forward to hearing others’ turning point moments.
I started with a CDS2 into a Mark Levinson solid state system, which soon became a Joule-Electra tube system. I ran the tube system with the CDS2 for 10+ years until I got the NAC552 and NAP300. From there, we elevated into the NAP500, and then a DR for everything. Long story but it has been all Naim here, with multiple iterations, including Fraim, since 2014.
The CDS2 got me started in 2001. The 555PS upgrade to the CDS2 sealed the deal for Naim.
30 years ago I spent two hundred pounds that I didn’t have because Simon of Infidelity convinced me to try out a pre-owned Nait 2 in place of my Cyrus One. “They’ve just brought out the Nait 3” I remember him telling me “it’s not as good as the Nait 2 though” he added conspiratorially.
My first Naim gear was the CD5, headline and Flatcap. These were used with Spectral DMC 10 and Spectral DMA 50, and Linn LP12 (about 2000).
I then moved to Ayre AX7 Integrated and CX7 CDP. Abandoned headphones. Sold the Naim bits. Changed dealers.
Moved to a Rega system (2009) which was a Saturn CDP, Rega integrated with the very small Harbeth stand mounted speakers followed by the Harbeth M30 speakers. Replaced the Linn TT with a Regs P9 and Grado cart followed by ClearAudio followed by Regs Exact.
Replaced the Harbeth M30 with Regs XS3, slim floorstsnding speakers, which although not up to the Harbeth, were more disability friendly. (About 2014).
Apartment renovation damaged system (2023).
Replacing most of the system. Keeping P9.
Super Nait 3
Bluesound node X for streaming Apple Music via Airplay.
It was 1982/83, I had a Pioneer SA-7300 and Epicure Ten speakers.
A guy took me to one of the best audio stores in Torino and I saw a 32.5/110 combo for the first time. They kept the boxes open to show the circuits, clean and essential. I can’t remember my first impression safe that the sound seemed a little bass-light and lean. I think Vandersteen speakers were used.
Naim was out of reach for me financially, but I ended up buying a pair of Kan 1s. The result with the Pioneer was something for which I was not prepared, coming from a long era of American/Japanese audio (mostly Acoustic Research).
Then I bought a 2nd hand Nait. I loved the looks and the concept but I wasn’t sure I liked the sound too much. I had a rega Planar then, the first 3 with the RB300. It replaced a Thorens TD147 I still regret. The Nait was super cool to have and look at, so it stayed.
A year or so later, a was given a SNAPS by a friend who had opened a new store dedicated to British audio. So I sold the Nait and bought a 2nd hand 45.2. Then a NAP140, then a 160.
Then I took The Long And Winding Road and here I am today with basically the same turntable I had 40 years ago, and my fourth SuperNait.
Our turning point was when we decided to get some new furniture.
I had a unit with 6 boxes of Hifi kit, plus power conditioner on the floor.
Imagine the spaghetti behind. I went to Moorgate Acoustics to see what was available to “simplify” things.
After listening to the Star we thought that’s it, sounds great and just one box.
Never looked back though changed my Castle Speakers to Neat Xplorers then to PMC’s.
My interest in Naim began way back in the 70’s. I was a teenager and used to read Hi-Fi Answers magazine and What Hi-Fi?
I had a respectable system - Thorens TD160/SME/Shure M95ED, A&R Cambridge A60 and KEF Coda II’s - this was around 1977 I think.
The magazines were constantly banging on about how how brilliant the Linn LP12 was with Naim amps and Linn speakers. The classic ‘flat earth’ system - LP12/Grace G707 /Supex900, Naim 32/Snaps/250 and Linn Isobariks. Such a set-up was way beyond my means as a teenager still at school, but I had my sights firmly set on it. But it was just a dream.
Then, about a year or so later, when I was 18 and poised to go to university I got my grant. The first thing I did with it was to go out and buy a Linn LP12/Basik arm and cartridge and a pair of Linn Kans. This with my A&R A60 amp was my first really great system. This was real hi-fi - this was where it was all at!
But the final piece of the puzzle didn’t fall into place until 7 years later in 1985. I got my first Naim, a 42-5/Snaps/110. Now things were really cooking! I knew I had something very special indeed - music at home had never sounded so involving.
That was the start of a journey that lasted decades and saw me spend many thousands of pounds upgrading. Although I’ve now moved away from Naim, for speaker matching reasons, the vast majority of my hi-fi life has revolved around Linn and Naim. I even got my girlfriend, now my wife, hooked on it!
A visit to the then new Linn factory is what turned me to Naim. Acquired an Axis and so a Nait 3 was the only logical choice.
I was born in 84 and was a teen in early 2000’s. Around that time I got into hifi. I would read Dads hifi mags laying around the house and would drool over the naim gear with the little green lights and 5 star reviews and think “one day”!
Fast forward to 2021 when I discovered the Atom. An affordable entry point… no green lights but still very happy. Now I have a nova.
As mentioned in other threads, the turning point for me was a visit to the Sound Organisation in 1983.
Or, in quite a few cases, how it ends.
I got my first Naim in 1983, a 42, snaps and 110. It replaced a Meridian 101/103D, which I traded for a pair of Kan 1s, with the improved tweeters. Coupled with my Linn LP12, it was just brilliant.
Since then there have been many ups and downs, and now I have ‘just’ a Nova, which does everything I want.
I agree, but to me the trick is how long it takes to understand what you want.
I’d had several years of frustration with my previous Audio Note system and it’s many many faults so two years ago I sold that and went out looking and listening. After hearing a Naim 500 system partnered with Kudos speakers I felt that I’d heard the sound that would provide the most listening satisfaction. Less hifi more music is the cliche that applies. No regrets.
Back in 2003 had an Arcam/Dynaudio system and needed better electronics. On Hifi Wigwam there was much anti-Naim rhetoric but one dealer suggested I take home a 202/200/CDX2 to try. The rest as they say……
I VERY recently contemplated moving elsewhere towards a high end integrated but then heard what a 252/300 would do in my system
I first heard a Nait back in about 1984 and also listened to a 32.5/250 into Sara’s… nice. But I decided to go the Audiolab route…a decision I regretted ultimately. However that demo - of the Naim gear haunted me…until I started on my Naim journey in 2015… 272/250 to 272/500 to NDS/552dr/500 to ND555/552dr/500dr…never regretted it. The best decision I made was jumping straight to the 500 from 250…the 272 did a good job…and worked really well with the 500.
That’s the key. I’m pretty sure I only want a one box solution. I don’t like cable spaghetti. I like a nice clean simple setup. The nova fits the Bill. Ok I might stretch to two boxes one day if Naim don’t figure out how to make a better “one box”.
Have you ever heard the Cornwalls or LaScalas?
There are some good videos on these on the SkiFi Audio YT channel.
But often they are used with tube amps.
I am just now listening to a Nait 50 with ND5 XS2 and Planar 3, into SHL5+, and it’s slowly redefining my idea of what a small amp can do.
Vinyl seems to be its alpha and omega. I’m frankly stupefied at how it makes Harbeths sound agile and get out of the way of music. SHL5s are not exactly gazelles…
Bass is deep and realistic, and the amount of coherent details is something close to holography.
It seems to extract the best from all components connected, cartridge to speakers…