I’ve never heard a Naim product but after 20-30 years of hi-fi, I’d like to give it a shot.
I currently have a Yamaha AS-801 driving Vienna Acoustics Bach Grands. The Yamaha is great. I’ve had the VA’s for a long time and I feel it’s the best match I’ve had with those speakers.
That said, with two young children, my listening habits have changed and I’m looking to spice things up a little. I’d like to try something Naim in place of the Yamaha. My budget is modest…I’d like to sell the Yamaha and hopefully spend as little as possible in addition to get my feet wet. I’m guessing a Nait 5/5i is going to be my best bet? Any thoughts on the speaker pairing?
Another option: I have a Rotel RB-981 amplifier handy and could do a Naim preamp, too? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
Edit: I am in the USA
Welcome to the forum @ontheellipse and do hope you enjoy your time here. You may try the search feature and do a search on Integrated amps or the Nait5/5i and you will find threads to read.
I live in the Seattle area and my local dealer Hawthorne Stereo has some used integrated amps. Do a search and you can find them, they have prices listed on there web site. I had a Nait XS 2 for a while and now use a SuperNait 2.
I cannot comment on comparison to a Yamaha since I never owned one.
I love your store. Their tag line “Its a nice place.” Sums up the store and its people. They let their long term customers demo equipment at home.
I’d think carefully before changing anything because it sounds like you’re very happy with your set up you could be opening a can of worms where you’ll be changing your speakers too.
Am I right in saying that the Yamaha has quite a decent DAC on board too? Which will mean adding a Dac also. I’m not trying to put you off I’m just saying be prepared and if you want to go ahead by used and don’t sell your Yamaha just yet a used Nait 5 a very well regarded amp will cost between £300-400 and give you a real insight into the Naim sound if it’s not for you sell it on for no loss.
Just a word of caution, naim preamps are designed to work with naim poweramps (in simple terms the preamps take their mains power from the poweramp or a separate power supply) and the cabling is designed with this in mind (power plus signal through one cable). Eg if you buy a 72 to work with your rotel you will also need a hicap. Add to that you will suffer from loss of synergy with a naim preamp/other poweramp combo (not always true of course but generally speaking).
I would suggest minimum of a supernait 2, or 202/200.
From all I have gleaned about the ‘Naim sound’ (as one who also has never heard a Naim amp), I suggest you probably should be sure to either demo first or have an option of returning or moving it on at minimal loss should you find it is not for you. If the only option for auditioning is at the dealer/seller, then take your own speakers and amp, and connect that to hear as a baseline in the different room, then you can judge what difference the Naim amp makes.
I would agree with the suggestion by Robert. Although I do not have experience with the Yamaha AS-801, based on my experience with Japanese amps (Yamaha, Sony and now Luxman), you will likely get a different sound signature if you move from the AS-801 to select Naim amps. I mention “select” because some Naim amps sound almost the same as amps from other makers. One of them is the Nait XS, based on my experience.
If you want something that sounds noticeably different from your Yamaha, the Supernait 2 or 202/200 will likely give you that. Moving from the Yamaha to Supernait 2 or 202/200 will likely turbocharge the sound in the sense there will be higher levels of drive and dynamics, in comparison to the smoother presentation of the Yamaha. More excitement. Whether the “Naim sound” is your cup of tea or not, or if it forms a good match with your Vienna Acoustics Bach Grands, that’s another matter.
thanks for all the replies and thoughts. they’re much appreciated.
I completely understand the “if you’re happy, maybe stay put” mentality. So, this is my second “real” stereo system. It’s used mostly for TV/movies, music on while friends are over (back when that happened) and “non-critical” listening, for lack of a better phrase. This isn’t the stereo where I have the nice chair in the sweet spot and sit down and listen, though I do once or twice a month. It’s often on while cooking or having a dance party with my daughters (part of which is making me think Naim…wouldn’t mind adding some boogie factor).
looking at the listing @seakayaker talked about, I’m probably priced out anyways. I’ve been seeing ads for Nait 5/5i/5si for under 1k USD and was hoping that would suffice, but it sounds like I might be left wanting?
Yes, the Yamaha features a really fantastic digital section. I do have a few spare DAC’s laying around so that’s not a big problem.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen with this second system. It will probably move down to my basement office as my 1 year old has started taking too much interest in the Yamaha and is drawn to the knobs, so this might be a very secondary/back burner system. That said, I’d probably try whatever I end up with in my main system (nakamichi pre/rotel power/Snell J’s) and if it beats those separates, than perhaps it will stay there.
Snell j II’s ? - I’d forgotten about those, on my way up to my current system. They were very enjoyable, I think that was first with Yamaha cr-820 and then apt- Holman pre-amp and hafler xl280.
Well…If you want to move up you should move up. Ignore those who say “If you are happy…” There was a time I was happy with my walkman
If you are looking to spend 1K maybe a used 5i, 5is or whatever. You can check used online sites. I think a 200/202 or supernait are going to be well above that. Also realize Naim interconnects are a pain in the butt. If you are not married to naim maybe consider used model from exposure, creek or cambridge audio. You will also need a dac yes. You can get a very capable one for under $200. Audioquest, projekt to name a couple
Fwiw , 200/202 are available at relatively low prices in the U.S. if you can wait and watch carefully, and I ran mine without the napsc that some say helps.
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