I fell for Naim ever since I heard the Atom, I have progressed since then but why and what made you try Naim for the first time to get you hooked?
These were, and still are, my key reasons:
- Sound quality & system synergy
- Build quality / reliability / serviceable
- Long running models & design
- Complete line-up for a Naim only system
Many thanks very interesting, I never thought about your last two points but absolutely agree. How long have you had a Naim system? I am pretty new to them only the last 3 to 4 years?
Simply the presentation of the sound - nothing else! The first decision was in choosing an integrated amplifier to upgrade my Creek. After comparing with two other models the Nait 2 just felt like it struck a balance best suited to my senses. That was more than a few years back!
It’s made locally
Can be serviced (unlike my previous amps which are now no longer supported)
Attention to detail
I like how it sounds
And as I discovered retrospectively, after working there, I like the people designing and making it
In the early to mid 1970s I was looking for a new pair of speakers to replace my Wharfedale Dentons, running on a pre-amp and amp that I had built myself. I went to Russ Andrews in Edinburgh, and heard a pair of speakers (Chartwells, IIRC) which sounded hugely better than anything else in that part of the shop. I wanted to get them, but Russ Andrews persuaded me that I would much prefer a pair of Naim speakers (either 602 or 702, or something like that - Goodmans tweeter and Mordaunt-Short mid/bass), so I ordered a pair (without hearing them - madness, I know, but I was living in Oban, on the other side of Scotland). At the time, I listened to a number of other speakers that were outside my price bracket - Linn Isobariks triamped with Naim 250s. That blew my mind - really good. Also I heard Quad Electrostatic - also amazing, but lacking bass.
Having got the Naim speakers, I was very pleased with them (though disappointed with the soundstage compared with the Chartwells). But the tweeters kept blowing, and I was persuaded that it was the fault of the pre-amp (not sure that was true, TBH), so bought NAC12 (or possibly it was NAC22) and NAP120. It was a slippery slope.
Not sure my contribution counts, as I haven’ “gone for Naim” as such! My initial Naim purchase was ND5XS. My CD player (Shearne Phase 7) was dying and so I was seeking a replacement: I learnt about streaming and decided that was the way forward. Researching reviews my choice came down to a Cyrus streamer or the ND5XS. Latter was above budget, but then I found an ex-dem one available at a good price, so bought it (unheard, a remote purchase). I wasn’t disappointed - it sounded very similar to the CD player it replaced.
A year later the same dealer persuaded me to buy an XP5XS, raving about the improvement. I bought it (again remotely, unheard). But it was so disappointing, giving such a minimal uplift for its not insignificant cost - rather than hooking me on Naim that led to me changing the XP5 for a Chord DAC to supplement the ND5, with a cost saving and marked improvement in sound.
Given what I’ve read about there being a “Naim Sound” (nothing evident with the ND5XS), I wouldn’t buy a Naim amp without audition, and living where I do requires a commitment of time and money to get to do that, and although I would be interested to see what the 300 or 500 would be like, there is nothing currently driving me to pursue this as I am very content with what I have.
I’d always been a Linn O-phile but about 10 years ago, when buying a new full system, the Naim sounded better than the Linn to both me and my wife. Plus, I wasn’t happy with the direction Linn had gone with dropping so many products and gone for high degrees of integration that left no room for upgrades other than starting again. Naim was still very much a system maker back then with multiple sources, many pre and power amps, and speakers if they were your thing. And significantly more affordable then too.
The system brought immense joy. Music discovery greatly increased with the Naim unlocking it for me. The immediacy and connection to the energy in the performance is incredible.
But 10 years on, they, like almost every hifi maker have had prices go through the roof. Many of the range rationalisations that Linn did, Naim have now also done. Servicing far from the UK has been excruciating (even with a peerless and helpful UK based dealer). Upgrading is now cost prohibitive compared to domestic brands where I am. Shipping to and from the UK is just crazy money too these days.
In short, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
I fell in love with Naim after realising the DAC V1 I naively bought to go with an integrated amplifier was the beginning of the journey to where I am so far. No regrets about that little mistake, in fact depending on how I look at it I’m not sure I even consider it a mistake anymore!
I came to Naim by accident initially through my dealer. I’d read great things about Naim through the magazines at the time, but had never really heard their kit, well not up close anyway.
To cut a long story short - i went to audition an Arcam Delta 270 CD player paired with a Delta 290 amplifier through some Royd Abbot speakers at my local dealer. Well to say i was completely underwhelmed is an understatement. That system for me was flabby, slow and just plain unexciting, nothing there for me in the fun factor scheme of things at all, and i was coming from an Arcam Alpha One CD Player, Alpha 5 amplifier and some Mission 752 speakers at that time. A very good system i thought, and certainly better than that bloody Delta thingymagigy.
The dealer could see that i was a little perplexed about the whole demo and situation, as money was tight back then. “Anyway have you heard any Naim kit?” he said. “No” i replied. “I have a NAC92/NAP90.3 on the shop floor, do you want me to bring it in and fire it up for you, hear what you think?”. “Oh yes please!” i said. By now i was starting to get a little excited…
After about 30 seconds from a Janet Jackson CD i had brought with me i was totally hooked and gob smacked at the same time. Even with that Delta Arcam player as source. “Wow, that’s what i’ve been looking for” i replied. “That’s it, that’s what i want, that’s the sound i like!”.
Over the next few months i went on to purchase a CD3 and some Credo speakers, oh and a Flatcap. The rest as they say is history. Many other other upgrades have passed me by ever since. The system i have now is still a full Naim, from player to speakers. I can’t see me ever parting with it. I love it. My destination thus far, my dream system.
I tried Naim out of interest based on reputation
Musical coherence/understanding is the main reason I’ve stayed with Naim
Going way back I always had an interest in music and good stuff to play it on. Before I took the Naim/LP12 route I had worked my way up to a Thorens 125, SME arm and Decca FFSS and a Quad 33/303. Pretty good in the days of the early 1980s. About that time THE TT to go for was the fairly new LP12. A guy who did some building work for us had one and offered to bring it round one evening.
I always had respect for Studio 99 in Swiss cottage and they were a Linn/Naim dealer, unfortunatly some way from SW London where I lived. I had the SME/FFSS fitted to the LP12 and later sold the Quad in favour of a Naim 32/250. This was the mid 1980s. There was a rightness to the sound which just held my attention. More importantly: still.
Then I went through the various pre/power amps and their CD players right up to 555/552/500 DR which is where I am now.
I have always found whichever upgrade I went for I never wanted to go back to the previous one. Ever!
Plus. Excellent dealer backup. Decent P/E when upgrading. And a focus on the music, not fancy tone controls etc. There is a mega priced US amp with meters. I bet after the first hour or to two you ignore them.
Most people just stare at the kjt or ignore it. I never offer a demo unlees someone asks. Last week someone did and not a hi-fi buff either. “You can hear everything!” Probably not totally true, but a nice complement never the less.
I appreciate reading everyone’s messages on how they got into Naim thank you
Nait 5/CD5 in 2001 was my first outing, but remember it was a close call with the Linn Classik which I also liked. Decided the extra outlay was worth it and never regretted the decision.
It’s a good question because for me it was balancing what the press recommended and what I heard in the shops, only then to realise the benefit of a good dealer. Once I heard an active Naim system that’s what I set my heart on.
It all started about a dozen years ago when I realised I was hardly ever listening to my then Meridian/Musical Fidelity/KEF system and read an enthusiastic review of the original Uniti in Gramophone Magazine. It was by Andrew Everard who still posts here from time to time. There happened to be a Naim dealer a few miles from where I live, so I trotted round for an audition of the Uniti, but thought I should also try a CD5XS and Nait XS. Of course, I came out having ordered the XS pair which were simply so much more involving than what I had at home and I knew I would be listening to much more music.
Like many on here, after the initial purchase I caught the highly addictive disease of Naim upgradeitis which eventually led to 272/XPSDR/250DR. And then I heard ATC active speakers and knew I had to have a pair in my lounge. The original idea was to run them with the successor to the 272. Sadly this never materialised, so I jumped ship. However, when I decided to cheer myself up during lockdown with a system for my small office, it had to be back to Naim with an Atom, so I guess I’m now back in the fold.
Naim sound connects me to my music the way I like it.
It takes all the guess work out for me and makes my foot
tap like no other. It grooves like no other.
It can kick me hard in the groin and caress me so gently all the same.
Just makes me feel happy - still does after so long.
Naim is perfectly suited for my imperfect ears.
I walked into my then dealer many moons ago convinced i wanted a Musical fidelity A1……a hot running amp and very slim. I quite liked it……the dealer then suggested listening to a Nait. Well game over, it won hands down, almost, i end up walking out with a 62/90 pair of shoe boxes. Never really looked back.
I bought a Linn LP12 in 1979. By 1982 I was using it with a Meridian 101/103D amplifier and some ARC050 speakers and when I moved to Leicester to do my PhD I took it all with me. The Linn needed a service, so I took it to the very wonderful Sound Advice in Loughborough. They were massive Linn/Naim fans and one of the top dealers in the country. I became friends with Derek and Clare and got listening to Linn/Naim systems in the shop. I bought my first Naim amp - a 42, snaps and 110 in the following year, 1983, and finished the system off by swapping the ARCs for some Mk1 Linn Kans. I’ve owned Naim ever since and have been up and down the range over the years, having owned more Naim equipment than is remotely sensible.
I don’t subscribe to all this Naim cult bollocks about it being the only thing that gets you close to the music and all that rubbish. I’ve simply never been bothered to try anything else and I’m sure there are loads of great alternatives out there.
Nait 2, CDi into SBLs for me. Changed everything since that fateful day.