Bumping up a level - advice for going beyond the ordinary.... Primare, Roksan and Naim


New member
Aug 10, 2019
So... some here may vaguely remember me. I am someone who is poor (in an unemployed way) so I have always gone for budget secondhand audiophile. I managed to work up the Arcam range from A65 to A85/P85 and A32/P35 and then had to sell it all again (aaah poverty...) .

I then bought an interim Rotel RA-870BX as a stop gap and concentrated on '80s amplifiers. Currently I have a A&R Cambridge C200/SA200 which is not running (for want of a decent 5 pin din) and am attempting to source a Sugden A48 III or A28/P28 (had one that had to go back).

Meanwhile the speakers are quite fertile I am running some nice Monitor Audio's and recently fulfilled an ambition by buying my first pair of KEF Reference Model 104's.... they are ugly monsters (need some TLC and some new tweeters - work but pushed in - new ones coming on Sunday) and they are what this post is about.

Upon getting them home I plugged in one (with a Monitor Audio floorstander on the other side). It sounded awesome... so I plugged in on the other side. Farty... and much diminished sound. I noticed that one of the passive bass radiators was damaged by some corrosion so on-a-Ebay I went and secured a replacement for £12.50!!!

It arrived and I fitted it. I then plugged in the speaker (with a Monitor Audio on the other side) and it sounded GREAT! Brilliant. So I then plugged in the other side. Farty and diminished sound.

Phoned KEF (as all british hi-fi companies of note brilliant customer services) and described my problem. They diagnosed that my poor little Rotel was not up to the task, not enough power.... Blimey. Never had that.

So now I am thinking "Amplifier.... amplifier.... amplifier". You know we all become very proficient are knowing our own ponds, I am in upper end entry level. The odd Arcam, a Marantz here and there a bit of Rotel.... but now I am thinking about going up a level. Naim, Roksan, Primare. Not the latest... but classic hi-fi.... something I can pick up secondhand. I cannot work out (from the secondhand prices) if the Roksan Candy or Caspian is the upper range.... Primare is exciting, but rarer and Naim is a product that keeps its price..... ho-hum, maybe I should just get a Marantz PM7200....

Dan Turner

New member
Jul 9, 2007
It was a demo of a second hand Naim NAC72/hicap/NAP250 pre/power that set me on the Naim path. I didn't end up buying those (although I should have at the time for £750!) but my interest was peaked and it ultimately ended up in me buying my SuperNait.

Couple of things to bear in mind when looking at second hand Naim:

- check age/authenticity by looking up the serial numbers on the Naim website

- Ask if items have been 're-capped' - Naim say that the capacitors deteriorate over time (regardless of usage) and have to be replaced every 10 years to maintain optimal performance and this can cost in the £low-mid hundreds, so worth bearing in mind

But really the build is bombproof and the sound quality still excellent by any standards, which I guess drives the high second hand prices.


New member
Jul 20, 2007
Course I remember you. Welcome back, BG!

I'll chuck my two pennies worth in. 80's era Exposure mate (John Farlowe designed). Their products from that time were known as being sonically 'Naim, but with bass'. I feel they are superior to Naim, personally. However, as the brand doesn't have the Kudos that Naim has, their products don't hold their money so well, so you can get a bargain.

As their name suggests, they are an extremely revealing brand. You'll defo hear detail in songs that you haven't heard before.

As I recommended to another guy on here, the other day, the XXV is an amazing amp and can be picked up for around the £300-£400 mark.


You could pick up a Quad 909 for £600 or so. These drive most things and might suit the Kefs. Perhaps another phone call would be useful.

If you want sheer power for not much money, look out for Audiolab 8000P power amp or the 8000M monos. Stacks of driving ability there but the Quad sounds more natural and organic to me. I read somewhere that those Kefs suit a leaner sounding amp so maybe the Audiolabs would be ideal.

seasiders rock

New member
Feb 21, 2009
As an ex owner of a Sugden A48 MK3 i can recommend.

Class A A//B typical warm Sugden sound. With a supurb M/M M/C phono stage. (adjustable with internal jumpers)

Pre out, i used mine with a A21AP Power amp with excellent results.

Internal stereo mono switch, bridgeable to aprox 100 watts rms per channel with the appropriate Sugden Power Amp.

Look out for, dodgy input selector switch (they fail) and the stereo mono switch can get noisy.

Sugden will still service them. Recommended.


Hi, I have an A48Mk III if you are silll looking:





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