I’ve just been checking out the latest What Hifi? awards results for 2020, and I see that it’s been another very successful year for Naim;
Best wireless speaker over £500 - Mu-So Qb 2nd Gen
Best stereo amplifier £1,500-2,500 - NAIT XS3
Best music streamer over £1,500 - ND5 XS2
Best hi-fi system over £1,000 - Uniti Atom
Notably, they are all repeat winners this year, with the Atom having now won a remarkable four years running (it still seems so new - how time flies!).
Well done everybody at Naim!
Without wanting to piss on Naim’s chips, the other remarkable story is Marantz, who have won Best Cd Player for about the last billion years…
That’s more than remarkable - particularly as the first must have been created by plants. I wonder what it sounded like…
Pretty good, I’m told. The first LP12 was created by slime molds during the Paleoproterozoic Era - trouble was, there was no living entity with sensory apparatus to hear it.
That is partly as Naim has not launched any new hifi products in the past twelve months - if a product is best in class now then it must have been twelve months ago as well. I think the most recent proper new Naim hifi product was the Muso Qb 2nd gen.
(In my opinion recent announcements for Bentley branded Muso or in sports car stereo, however good they might be, don’t qualify as new hifi products. Feel free to disagree with me on this.)
Of course Naim may have delights to tempt one and all just around the corner. In some quarters expectations are very high.
the standout products for me are the Muso Qb2 and Muso 2- (also for those with more money to spend - the new Uniti range) which make the Naim sound quite accessible compared to a decade ago
well done to everyone who worked very hard at Naim to make these wonderful products.
Really? Is there nothing better at more than a grand? I wish I’d known…
When I got into Naim circa 2005, Naim products rarely if ever creeped into What HiFi awards and generally What Hi-fi was referred to as a “comic” on these pages predecessors.
Are Naim products better now?
Is What Hi-fi a more informed publication than previous iterations?
PS I’m not wishing to sound sour, I’m genuinely interested in opinions. -I’m glad for Naim they are getting these awards.
Didn’t Clare Newsome come over to Naim from WHF ? The products, with the Muso and Uniti ranges are probably now of more interest to the WHF target readership than the older products were too.
Back in the '90s Naim 3 series kit was regularly winning WHF awards and group tests. Similar happened with the introduction of the 5 series in the early noughties. Naim even did a mini brochure that gathered together all the five star and group test winning WHF reviews. Also back then WHF chose to use a CDS3 as their reference CD player. IIRC, the CD players have all been award winners, the DACs too were both award winners, so too the Uniti, Uniti Qute, etc… So it’s far from anything new - Naim products have long been a part of the What Hifi? awards landscape.
What Hifi may be viewed by some as a “comic” but it has long been right at the heart of the industry and has by far the biggest circulation of any UK hifi magazine It’s a sure fire first port of call for anyone considering buying a new piece of hifi for the first time or after a long hiatus away from such things.
Hello! I left What Hi-Fi in 2011, and have worked with many other brands before landing in Salisbury just over two years ago.
I certainly have What Hi-Fi to thank for my love of Naim - always a music-lover (all my childhood pocket-money went on records!), always with hi-fi in my house, i’d never heard what a really good system could sound like until I joined one of WHF’s sister magazines many years ago and asked to sit in on reviewing sessions.
I was smitten, and eventually spent 10 very happy years on the magazine (and latterly the website, too, which reaches MILLIONS every month).
Back then, as Richard notes, the What Hi-Fi reviewers used Naim CD players as reference kit; now they use the ND 555 as the reference digital source - as do many other magazine reviewers worldwide, along with a range of other kit, including more affordable options.
Winning a What Hi-Fi Award remains incredibly special - I barely slept on Sunday night waiting for the results to be announced on Monday! Because of the (increasingly global) influence of the Awards, it’s great news for everyone here at Salisbury.
Congratulations, think we’d all love your job probably not the working hard thing though. It’s also nice to hear you on the forum.
Hope you’ve managed to catch up on your sleep.
I’ve never understood this either @Richard.Dane. I can only put it down to snobbery. WHF? is a very good magazine. It’s always covered high-end gear and has always been very supportive of British brands like Naim, Linn, Rega et al. It’s also a better read than some of the more “technical” mags, which often seem to be obsessed with graphs and measurements – most human beings just want an idea of what the thing sounds like and whether it represents value for money.
Also, if buying a TV, DVD/Blu-ray, sound bar or HC setup, WHF? is the first port of call for thousands of people. Certainly is for me!
Now it remains to begin development of an integrated amplifier in the 500 series and the prize is guaranteed, for next year
On the Cyrus forum WHF was referred to as What Caravan as it spends so much time reviewing TVs, soundbars, in-ear headphones instead of real hi-fi. There was always the suspicion that putting adverts in the magazine got you better reviews but I doubt that has ever been true.
Of course WHF was wise to review other consumer products to keep it’s market share. It concentrates on the budget end of our hobby but it seems Naim have started producing products that are cheap enough (and good enough) to get WHF awards so well done to them.
Well, the first bit of Naim kit I remember seeing win a What Hifi Award was the original NAIT back in around 1983/4 so it would seem Naim started building “products that are cheap enough (and good enough) to get WHF awards” around 37 years ago…
who have won Best Cd Player for about the last billion years…
Hey Mr Kevster…I have told you a million times not to exaggerate!
It’s a total myth that spending ad money gets you good reviews in What Hi-Fi. Naim hasn’t advertised in the mag for at least two years - and Rega never spend ANY money on ads, and they win big every year! On the reverse side, there are plenty of brands that advertise and don’t win Awards (or even five-star reviews.)
Well done Clare, must be great following your passion in your work.