So, I’ve been enjoying my NAC552/NAP500 for a few months now. One thing that really stands out for me (besides the additional control/power/detail etc) is the musical nature of the sound. I find myself thoroughly enjoying music so much more, which on my previous system, just lacked overall engagement.
The “foot tap” seems to happen considerably more often - take Little Bird by Annie Lennox.
What are everyones thoughts on why everything is just so “musical” - I suspect maybe the 552 has a large part to play here.
It’s the old PRAT (pace, rhythm and timing) and this is explemplified in the Naim sound
There is also a lot of synergy with various Naim combinations, e.g. Naim NAC-N 272 & Naim NAP250.2 DR
Add in their own cables and again the sound becomes greater than the sum of its parts
Its their attention to detail in trying to achieve this musical sound…nothing leaves the factory unless Roy George gives the sign off. Now retired i believe he still visits and listens. Steve Sells and the team have a passion to deliver very musical products, long may it be so.
Good design and manufacturing and priortising how equipment sounds over test results is the basis of it.
How they achieve this I expect is something we will never fully know because whilst we can see the components they use and they tell us they do preselect them to match a specific specification, we don’t know what criteria they use. Personally, even though I admit to some curiosity about how they achieve the musicallity, I am happy not knowing and just focus on enjoying listening to music on my system.
You will find in the hi end amplifier world that all hi end amps are expensive… because the premium parts that go into making them aren’t cheap. Not counting the R&D effort or the time cost of building them by Hand.
I do not put all these cost factors in doubt, of course, but a price of more than 50k is still the privilege of a few, and a tag mark with which a good cluster of families which, by mere chance, were born in the less favoured part of our System, could survive during years.
Of course, in this world of HIFI, as in the car world, you can spend, don’t invest, whatever you set your mind to ruining a real fortune.
Not sure you would say that after visiting a few Lithium mines
The only thing battery powered cars do is hide their pollution. Take into account the electricity generation and lithium mining and processing and they are no better for the planet and possibly worse than a high efficiency hydrocarbon fueled car.
Years ago politicians erroneously pushed diesel as the low pollution alternative, only to find out that the pollution was similar in harmfulness, just different in constitution.
Getting back on topic, I believe its Naim’s power supplies that deliver the PRaT that makes Naim amplifiers so engaging. Ideally what you’d like is the same degree of PRaT with an extra dose of soundstage focus and depth to give you musicians positioned in their own coherent acoustic space, weaving magical rhythmic interplay that instantly engages listeners at an emotional level. Mmmmmmm.
To the original question. many things IMO but critically and above all else, timing. The first time I heard a CD5 I knew what proper timing was, and that I had never heard it before. For me, this is why Linn gets close in many areas, surpasses Naim in some, but falls down in the one area that means the most to me.