Vintage System - The Naim Sound

I’ve heard a lot about the ‘Naim Sound’, particularly from the CB/Olive eras when I drooled over the Viz magazine adverts in my teenage years. Back then it was sadly out of reach financially but something I always aspired to.

30 odd years later and I’m lucky enough to be the proud owner of a Classic system and I’m now looking at a second Naim system for the bedroom, and I’d like to build one from either the CB or Olive era in shoebox format that captures that quintessential PRAT sound.

So subject to the usual condition and servicing caveats, can anyone point me in the right direction model wise? Open to a nait or seperate pre/power. Source will most likely be a UnitiQute. Speakers will most likely be my SCM11 retired from Classic system so amp will need some grunt. Emphasis on fun over finesse.

From CB - 32-160

From Olive - 72-HC-250

YMMV… :sunglasses:


Hi Stu

I have a Nait 2 CB and it’s a cracker

If you want a bit more grunt , a 62/110 CB combo is pretty good depending on size of bedroom

Then further up the chain the 32.5/hicap/250 CB is a great combo but probably too much grunt for bedroom

Maybe nait 2 is all you need , it’s a beauty, if you can find one


A NAC42 + NAP110 should be just the thing; classic shoe-box looks, and separate pre and power amps that are quintessentially Naim in performance, very much majoring on “fun over finesse”.


A Nait is low powered and really far from ideal with SCM11s. Something bigger such as a 72/140 or 32.5, Hicap, 250 would be better but then you run into the issue that the Qute isn’t really good enough as a source. Maybe just keeping the Qute and getting some compatible speakers is the answer, rather than collecting equipment you probably don’t need.


I’d be interested to know what the hierarchy was on the Chrome and Olive Pre and Power Amps e.g. equivalent of the 202/282/252/552 & 200/250/300/500 today.

Been trying to work it out but just getting confused!

I’ll start the ball rolling. When I bought Olive in the 90s, it was 102/82/52 for the pre amps and 180/250/135s for power amps.

Thanks. I see there was also a 62 and a 72 on the pre-amp front :thinking:

Were the 62 and 72 always there or did that change at some point? I don’t recall them in the 1993/94 sort of timeframe but I do recall some of the CB numbers being different.

According to the Naim website the 62 was '88-'92 and the 72 was '89-'00. And there was also a 92 from '93-'00. Confusing innit!

The Standard shoe-box Pre-amps were first the NAC12, then the NAC32 (initially in bolt-down form, then in extruded case form), the revised NAC32.5, then the NAC72. The entry level shoe-box preamps were first the NAC22, then replaced by the NAC42, updated to the NAC42.5, then the NAC62.

The big box pre-amps arrived for the 90s with first the NAC52 flagship, then the NAC82 and NAC102, and latterly the slimline NAC92 which effectively replaced the NAC62 in the range.

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The modern day equivalents are on the right. There are no equivalents now to the shoe box amps.

102 = 202
82 = 282
52= 252

180 = 200
250 = 250
135s = 300

The 72 is often seen as similar quality to 82, some prefer it. The 32.5 Hicap 250 was the classic CB top of the line system.

I have an 82 and 2 x 135CBs in my main system and have had the 250CB. All classic superb amps.


Sticking with the shoebox brief, my oldest - how third, verging on fourth system as so difficult to get rid - 62/HiCap/2x140s into B&W601s is hard to beat and very neat and tidy, too. Add an iFi One and smart device and you are in the modern world, too


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