What is the future for hi-fi and Naim (and Linn)

I love my hi-fi. Her indoors probably thinks I love my Naim (I have Naim amps) and Linn (I have a Linn streamer) more than her. I spend literally all day with it.

In my era a nice music system was something to be attained.
Over the years I have moved (as many have) from early record players to Leak to Quad to Naim and Linn.

My sprogs have IPhones and sound bars, or Sonos systems they rarely seem to use.
The Quad 33/303/FM3 I passed on appears to have landed in the skip. Argggh.

I look at the quoted prices for Naim (and Linn) gear and it makes my eyes water. £30,000 for a streamer!
My excellent sounding system has been put together for a fraction of that price.

I wonder where the entry level is for anyone aspiring to a quality music system. Certainly not with Naim (or Linn) at present. So are they depending upon people moving from more economical brands as an upgrade path. Do they think that cheaper models undermines the brand?

I am seriously worried about the future direction of quality hi-fi.

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I recently purchased a Unity Star and a Mu-So while my existing NAIM system was off being repaired. I think the entry level NAIM machines represent an excellent value proposition (provided NAIM find someone to sort out the flaky mobile app). Being able to see beyond perceived-value and determine genuine quality shows a level of sophistication many people will never develop because they lack motivation. I think having so many top 40 artists being produced under the current industry corporatism to meet slender margins on streaming targets doesn’t help the younger generations develop a deep appreciation for music.

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It’s hard to beat a 5italic or 5si & whatever 2-way standmount/bookshelf speakers suit the room… add an iPad as a streamer & an Fm tuner….

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Good audio gear is almost prohibitive now, and prices continue to rise more than I expected.

My fist B&W 805 nautilus cost me 1800 euros, after I had an 804 then an 803, now the 805 cost 9000 euros, yes they are 4 generations up, but a lot more expensive. This year alone the 805 nautilus have gone from 7000 to 9000 euros.

The b&w brand upped the prices so much that focal had my money, the solo 6be for the computer, other 13.1 speakers from the flax series for the home cinema, and the sopras for the stereo. Every time some brand updates their prices as crazy other brand wins and gains the market they could have for years.

But this has been present in a lot of know gear, when the prices become prohibitive other brands take their place.

I also purchased a Naim product, and I am looking at some other products from the brand, but at the moment the upgrade pad is not that interesting. The power supply costs as much as the ndx2, it could make wonders but not appealing to me at least.

The unity range is interesting, the Atom HE for the utopia is really interesting, the rest is too much for my income, so I will opt for other brands.

But if I could and had the income, for sure the statement was something to fall in love. But unfortunately it’s out of my league.

I think that the Statement is out of most people’s league.

I will say, though, that the Naim equipment that I own has represented excellent value for money. True, it was expensive to buy, but it has given me such satisfaction that only now after 25-30 years of ownership am I considering replacing it. And I might yet keep most of it and just get it serviced again.

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I do not say the investment is bad, the gear live with us for many years and we take a lot of pleasure of it. The way we perceive the value of any product varies from person to person.

I feel some price changes in 2022 were excessive on some products, but that’s my opinion on the 805, naturally they will sell a lot as they have done since I have know the brand.

There is a client for every price range, but there is a lot more clients for the more affordable gear.

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Honestly, I expect a rash of hifi brand bankruptcies are around the corner. I suspect Naim and Linn will weather it but many won’t.

Total rock and a hard place. Prices go up with inflation but salaries lag behind. Your gear cost more but you also can’t satisfy orders on time. The writing is on the wall I’m afraid.

Domestically, Japanese high end has largely kept costs level and supply lead times elongated but not open ended. A far greater proportion of components made domestically has helped shield more expensive brands to some degree. But not completely.

Luxman’s home page has a section on Focal price increases (Focal are managed by Luxman here) where it specifically describes the price increase as a problem that greatly affects European and American brands with their more distributed global supply chains

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Or from another angle…

Just suppose for a moment that tomorrow morning, your entire system is stolen. Gone… Big empty space in your room. And suppose the insurance pays close to what you had invested in your system. Would you buy it again?

To be honest, I’m not so sure.
I love my system and Naim. And I’ve invested yet another considerable amount of money in it during the last year. I think many of us build their systems over many years. Step by step investments to improve SQ and gradually increase the total cost of the system along with it. The Naim system hierarchy and upgrade path makes this all too ‘easy’ and tempting. Vendor lock-in 2.0 and this is both a curse and a blessing imo.

But in the hypothetical ‘clean sheet’ situation, the virtual pile of money from the insurance on the table, I would have a very hard time deciding what to do. Go down the rabbit hole of the near endless Naim upgrade path again? Downsize on boxes and cables maybe? Re-think if classic PSUs with big toroids etc. are still future proof enough?

Hmm… dunno. :thinking:

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I started my hifi journey with all second-hand items on the theory that they would bring me far great value and (aside from a few bits) continue with that ethos still today. Having said that, a quick look at a few hifi retailers’ websites tells me it’s not hard to put together a brand new, very respectable system for under £1000 and second-hand that sort of money would get you most of the way to a s/h Naim amp,cd and a pair of speakers. So it’s not so difficult. I think, problem is that most young people (for reference I’m still in my 30s) don’t want to spend their money on that kind of system. Technology is such that they (we?) consume things differently, music included. The important thing is that they are still listening to music so we just have to hope they see the light on what it is that delivers that music!

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For sure with the way prices are going up and up for everything and the cost of living getting silly, luxury items will be the first to get hit and hifi falls in to that category.
The normal guy these days is really going to struggle to get to a 500 series system at the prices these are new and then the fact you need to leave on all the time and service costs going forward, its not a great way to go to begin with really is it when you sit down and think about it all, even the classic range is far more than the average person wants to spend.
So you are left really with a shrinking audience and a younger one that just wants simple and neat looking gear, not loads of wires, boxes etc.
For sure we are going to see hifi firms go to the wall and probably some big names in that list, but only time will tell and depends on how long this spike in prices goes on for, or is it the new norm?

But if i was coming into this right now, looking for new gear to make music, then for sure the 500 series wouldn’t even be in the running due to cost and i would probably just go for a very good one box does all, amp/pre, dac, streamer and phono amp and with that it would if i could strech to it be a virus 030, and this is why i think naim should also offer something like that, as it what people want these days, the days of making people want to get better power supplies are just about over, yes its been a great way for naim, plus a great earner over the years but going forward i am not so sure

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Naim has always been at the premium end of the market and never been an entry-level choice. Even back in '80s Naim was seen as pricey and something to aspire to in the world of Hifi. But it was a goal that many worked to eventually attain.

Coming back to the present, it’s important to realise that Naim is not all Statement and ND555s. The Mu-So is within reach of many, and even an Atom and a pair of speakers is an attainable dream for quite a few. And if you want a great amp that won’t break the bank but can play with just about anything, the NAIT 5Si is probably it.

And then there’s secondhand Naim, which for enthusiasts looking to save money is a different gateway into the world of Naim.

But of course, none of this matters if nobody cares anymore about listening to music in an immersive and connected way. Because it’s the music and our connection to what the performers are expressing that drives all this. Without that, there’s no point.

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I remember the first time I heard a proper audio system, played at sensible volumes and being knocked out, I coveted such system

As Richard says a Muso would be the starting point for many , but for me Rega have got it nailed with their little Io/Rega 1 starting system - I don’t know about a inexpensive streamer but I am sure you could build a relatively inexpensive system - even today .

The big worry for the likes of Linn and Naim is where do people start their audio journey ?

Not many stores give serious time to audio separates - other than headphones .

At least Naim and Rega have wildly differing entry products , Linn not a chance .

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That is so true Richard, its just that the gap is getting much bigger these days and naim fall into an area thats not mega hi end, it more hi end and the mega rich that will not be massively effected by what’s going on, dont tend to have naim gear, its the more normal nutters like myself that are lucky to have a good life and can afford things like this, but with whats going on this group is shrinking…
But the secondhand market will probably be the place to go as with belts tightening, gear is bound to be one of the first things to go

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Back in the 80s when I bought an Ariston RD80/Rotel/Heybrooks I was the exception most of my friends were buying a micro or midi, right now I bet there is far more Naim stuff out there per capita than ever before. Separates have always been a bit of a niche.

I have to say though I find this discussion amusing. On the one hand we have the argument that Statement etc is ludicrously expensive and then Naim have sold out with Muso. Well which is it?

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Are you saying that the Statement isn’t “mega hi end”?

I must try to get out more…

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I’ve always thought that a stereo wireless pair of Muso Qb would be a great option to sit between the Muso and the Atom.

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My career was in high end flooring. Marble, real linoleum, ceramic, woven carpets. In my 30 year career, that niche always weathered these financial hard times. I’ve developed a theory if you will concerning the spending of the rich at such times. As the economy is down and people are struggling the rich do scale back their spending somewhat, possibly to avoid negative perception. But they do continue to buy. As such, instead of building a new residence they may add an addition or re-model. They are aware of keeping an income flowing for…folks like myself…lol. Really. I’ve seen that over 30 years.

As to the question, the future of audio…easy. The Nova.

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The best advice I’ve seen on this forum and of course very important for all of us…

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Naim must selling NDX2s and SN3s by the bucket load, if they can get the parts!:flushed:

As i said the people with money always have money, but from what i see they dont tend to have naim, as to them its not hi end enouth of flash enouth.

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