Naim woes

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New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all

Been using Cyrus gear for years and it's been fine but recently fancied a change and have been looking at Naim amps instead. Always admired Naim stuff when I was a teenager. Anyhoo one late night came across a nice Naim pre power combo on a certain auction site (nac152xs and nap155xs) and in a burst of late night enthusiasm/stupor clicked on the commit to buy. Meant to pick up is weekend.

However, since then have been checking online manuals to find out the small print on Naim stuff and feeling slightly gutted at what I've found. For my not inconsiderable sum of money I get an amplifier with no headphone socket. So buy a Naim headline amp they say (£400). Oh and that doesn't come with any power supply (£280). And anyway there is no way to connect this to the NAC152 unless you unplug the lead to the power amp every time. Oh and your existing speaker lead is no good now and might damage the Naim amplifier, so you need to buy Naim cable and at least 7m in total (£20 per metre) plus special Naim speaker plugs.

Christ! Beginning to regret ever thinking about Naim. I didn't think that buying Naim amps meant giving them an open pass to empty my bank account.

Please somebody tell me that my assessment of the above is wrong or that Naim amps are so insanely good that they justify you having to dump all of your existing gear, interconnects (don't even get me started on DIN leads), cables etc!!!!

:cry:
 

mykspence

New member
Feb 12, 2011
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jgw911 said:
Oh and your existing speaker lead is no good now and might damage the Naim amplifier, so you need to buy Naim cable and at least 7m in total (£20 per metre) plus special Naim speaker plugs.
That's how I saw it as I speed read it, then I read it properly.

Naim Audio speaker cable will provide the best results; however, a wide range of speaker cable types can be used without risk of damage to the amplifier.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks but where did you read that?

Exatract from user manual for NAP 155xs (sorry about bizarre capitals that appeared when copied and pasted):

Only Naim Audio speaker cable should be used to connect a loudspeaker to the output of the NAP 155 XS. Custom Naim Audio loudspeaker connectors are supplied to make the connection and in order to comply with current European safety regulations these should always be used.

DamaGe To THe amPLIFIer maY resuLT IF “HIGH DeFInITIon” CaBLe or anY oTHer sPeCIaL CaBLe Is useD To ConneCT THe LouDsPeaKers.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,245
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Use 3.5m x2 of Linn K20 cable (£5 per metre). It is identical to the original Naim NAC A4 cable (for very well documented reasons) and will have the required inductance/capacitance etc.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for that tip Chebby. Better than £20/metre.

Still really not feeling very favourable about my purchase now though. Might have to just sell them on.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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jgw I completely agree with your assessment of Naim. They're competent sounding solid state amps, with good support from the manufacturer, an irritating way of trying to lock you into all Naim amplification and cabling, and some of their components are breathtakingly priced - even when 2nd hand.

There are lots and lots of worthy alternatives to Naim.

There's a good chance you'll be able to sell your Naims for more or less what you paid for them, if you decide not to keep them.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Sources would be a Project Xperience X-pack and Tichord Dino, Naim CD5i, and Squeezebox/Cambridge Dacmagic. Speakers are Monitor Audio S6.
 

chebby

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2008
1,245
12
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lindsayt said:
...an irritating way of trying to lock you into all Naim amplification and cabling...
To be fair, every DIN socket is 'mirrored' with an RCA pair on the NAC 152 XS and TBH almost any reasonably sane*, copper, figure of eight speaker cable (even good old QED 79 strand) will be fine.

*'Back in the day' early Naim users were recommended to use RS 56 strand cables. (And those old beasts were far more 'precious' about cables than modern Naim kit.)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
batonwielder said:
Naim sound really starts from the separates, but the upgrade path is endless. Have fun.
Sorry, is that a vote of confidence in the benefits of Naim or a warning that they'll be taking all my disposable income for the rest of my life ? ;)
 

busb

Well-known member
Jun 14, 2011
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I otherwise bite my lip but thank the contributers of this thread for reminding me to never ever never ever never never buy anything made by Naim. I say so out of anger rather than smugness
 

batonwielder

Well-known member
May 13, 2008
32
2
18,545
jgw911 said:
batonwielder said:
Naim sound really starts from the separates, but the upgrade path is endless. Have fun.
Sorry, is that a vote of confidence in the benefits of Naim or a warning that they'll be taking all my disposable income for the rest of my life ? ;)
Both actually! Now go upgrade your speakers.
 

mitch65

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
52
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18,540
chebby said:
lindsayt said:
...an irritating way of trying to lock you into all Naim amplification and cabling...
To be fair, every DIN socket is 'mirrored' with an RCA pair on the NAC 152 XS and TBH almost any reasonably sane*, copper, figure of eight speaker cable (even good old QED 79 strand) will be fine.

*'Back in the day' early Naim users were recommended to use RS 56 strand cables. (And those old beasts were far more 'precious' about cables than modern Naim kit.)
Totally agree Chebby, I have had many Naim amps over the years and used 3rd party cables with no problems, although in the grand scheme of things NAC A5 has always been reasonably priced (just a pain in the backside to bend!) I think the old moans about Naim have largely gone since they introduced mirrored RCA connections so enjoy, if you don't like then sell - you will always get your money back :beer:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
'However, since then have been checking online manuals to find out the small print on Naim stuff and feeling slightly gutted at what I've found. For my not inconsiderable sum of money I get an amplifier with no headphone socket. So buy a Naim headline amp they say (£400). Oh and that doesn't come with any power supply (£280). And anyway there is no way to connect this to the NAC152 unless you unplug the lead to the power amp every time. Oh and your existing speaker lead is no good now and might damage the Naim amplifier, so you need to buy Naim cable and at least 7m in total (£20 per metre) plus special Naim speaker plugs.'

Welcome in the world of 'Apple'... :)
 

mitch65

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
52
0
18,540
jgw911 said:
Hi all

Been using Cyrus gear for years and it's been fine but recently fancied a change and have been looking at Naim amps instead. Always admired Naim stuff when I was a teenager. Anyhoo one late night came across a nice Naim pre power combo on a certain auction site (nac152xs and nap155xs) and in a burst of late night enthusiasm/stupor clicked on the commit to buy. Meant to pick up is weekend.

However, since then have been checking online manuals to find out the small print on Naim stuff and feeling slightly gutted at what I've found. For my not inconsiderable sum of money I get an amplifier with no headphone socket. So buy a Naim headline amp they say (£400). Oh and that doesn't come with any power supply (£280). And anyway there is no way to connect this to the NAC152 unless you unplug the lead to the power amp every time. Oh and your existing speaker lead is no good now and might damage the Naim amplifier, so you need to buy Naim cable and at least 7m in total (£20 per metre) plus special Naim speaker plugs.

Christ! Beginning to regret ever thinking about Naim. I didn't think that buying Naim amps meant giving them an open pass to empty my bank account.

Please somebody tell me that my assessment of the above is wrong or that Naim amps are so insanely good that they justify you having to dump all of your existing gear, interconnects (don't even get me started on DIN leads), cables etc!!!!

:cry:
Would it not be better to wait until you have actually heard the amps before worrying (unduly I think) about cables. I do not like the Cyrus sound personally but I do like the Naim sound - horse for courses - I'm also fairly sure you do not need to use a Naims own headphone amp with it. It's not unusual for inbuilt headphone amps to be excluded from amps as you go higher up the food chain and that includes Cyrus just as they exclude phono stages.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Generally the reason why Naim amp need NACA5 is due to the fact that they do not have Zobel network. Thus recommended Naca5, but the newer amp is less fussy with cables but you should avoid Kimber 8TC as it was mentioned in Naim forum that it is not stable for usage.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thank you all for your comments and very good advice from Mitch65 - I should stop worrying and just hear them!

Well what a day! The seller was actually a dealer in a small Welsh town that I'd not heard of before. Phoned him up to see if I could back out of the sale and asking him about my worries. He was incredibly helpful and understanding and invited me over to listen to them before deciding. We spent a good couple of hours listening to various music and he swapped over a range of cables and set up a Creek headphone amp for me to try as well. Seems that the Naim statements in their manuals are a little on the extreme side and many types of other cable can be used. However I heard the NACa5 and it does sound very good so I came away with the amps, NACa5 cable and a Creek headphone amp!

Guess the proof of the pudding and all that - the amps just sound beautiful and are quite a step up from my previous Cyrus amps.

So after that whinging and panic from me I think I may become a Naim convert after all. I'm definitely not selling them on (well until the upgrade bug bites again). But speakers first I guess. My MA S6 sound fine for the time being but the Naim kit probably deserves better, once my bank account has recovered from today's shock!

Have to say the dealer was an absolute star. When there are people like this around I have to say long-live the independent hifi retailer!
 

mitch65

Well-known member
Dec 16, 2003
52
0
18,540
batonwielder said:
Way to go. It is so important to find dealers who are accomodating and knowledgeable. Enjoy your new gear!
Spot on, A good dealer is one who lives in the real world and wants you coming back to him/her time after time and will look after your interests. :clap:
 

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