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What's wrong with Naim..?

post #1 of 80
Thread Starter 
I just saw this post, which sums up my thoughts exactly and has stimulated me into making this thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cankin View Post
(...) I'd like to know why there aren't much talk about Naim players...
Nobody around here seems to own Naim stuff, nobody seems to ask about it, nobody seems to recommend it...
Why? Is Naim not good? Or maybe it is, but not for the money?

I absolutely LOVE the looks of their stuff, so I might just buy one of their CDPs in the future. Is there some nasty Naim secret that I should know but nobody dares talking about?
post #2 of 80
Here's a thought from an ex Naim owner.
It's simply a question of preference.
Naim kit is brilliant at being fun to listen to as it comes across very boppy and really brings to life some music.
However...it's not completely natural in the way that it does things and with certain music (particularly compressed music) can make it sound truly awful, especially when matched up with the wrong amp and speakers.

All I can say is that you should go have a listen.
post #3 of 80
well said the naim gear has massive PRaT but it is not as open sounding and can sound compressed. When paired with the right speakers they can sound brilliant. One of the best sounds I have heard was the naim 51 cdp with the naim nait intergrated powering system audio speakers. Great boogie factor and the speakers worked well with the naim signature.
post #4 of 80
Their gear is relatively expensive, uses custom interconnects, and isn't well distributed here.

You'll get a lot more Naim discussion in the UK-oriented forums and magazines.
post #5 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by HiWire View Post
Their gear is relatively expensive, uses custom interconnects, and isn't well distributed here.

You'll get a lot more Naim discussion in the UK-oriented forums and magazines.
Yes. I've read a bit about Naim in the UK audio press and have been interested in their gear.

However, I find most of it to be expensive and difficult to mix and match with other brands. They use unconventional connectors so you'd have to build or hunt down custom adapters if you wanted to use a Naim CD player with a different amp. No thanks.

The problem is that I have gear (e.g. my tube tuner) that I will not part with, period. I'm not going to go through the adapter mess just to buy a fairly expensive piece of gear.
post #6 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
Yes. I've read a bit about Naim in the UK audio press and have been interested in their gear.

However, I find most of it to be expensive and difficult to mix and match with other brands. They use unconventional connectors so you'd have to build or hunt down custom adapters if you wanted to use a Naim CD player with a different amp. No thanks.

The problem is that I have gear (e.g. my tube tuner) that I will not part with, period. I'm not going to go through the adapter mess just to buy a fairly expensive piece of gear.
while I have never owned any Naim gear I've heard plenty at shops and in some homes. The naim gear sounds best to me when partnered with other naim components. Not all naim gear uses the naim proprietary cable as far as I recall???
post #7 of 80
There's nothing wrong with Naim. I've auditioned nearly their whole line-up from the entry level to the high-end stuff and they are very good for their respective pricepoints. At one point my dad was going to get a CDS3/XPS2, NAC282/HiCap, NAP250, ProAc D80 rig but opted for totally different rig instead. There was nothing inherently wrong with the Naim/ProAc rig, just that the other one was slightly better. Naim make very nice gear with understated looks. Have a listen for yourself.

Naim gear no longer exclusively use the "proprietary" DIN input/outputs. Most of them have RCA jacks nowadays.
post #8 of 80
Naim is pretty darn good. I just agree with what other people say. Naim gear sounds good with other naim gear. I personally liked Naim with Wilson Audio stuff :P
post #9 of 80
I currently use a CD5x / HiCap- Fantastic. Add some tube amplification and nice headphones- Ecstasy.

Try a Naim CD player with Grados and they compliment each other like they were made for each other. I was using the E.A.R HP4 with RS-1’s, HP2’s and PS-1’s.

I’m using the CD5x with the Aristaeus / HE90’s and I get the beautiful, exciting on stage mic’ing that Grado is known for with a sound stage that is 360 degrees, seemless and endless.

I listened to the CDX2 and thankfully the store didn’t have any in stock cause I would have bought it. I went home and unfortunately I regained my senses. Used CDX2’s are looking good though.

The biggest problem with Naim is there are a limited number of Dealers so unless you’re lucky enough to be close to one it’s usually impossible to demo the gear.


Mitch
post #10 of 80
CDX2 with XPS2 is even better Very close to CDS3 performance. The CD555/PS555 is almost a totally different sound. Much more refined and not quite as peaky in the upper midrange.

The Naim dealer in Hong Kong, Radar Audio, is exceptionally good. Highly accommodating and respectful of its clients, past or prospective. As a result, they have a very loyal bunch of clientele and apparently managed to sell two or three CD555/PS555 before stock reached Hong Kong. They also carry Cambridge Audio in HK and that's where I got my 740c from. Mitch, I wonder if your experience with the Naim dealer was similar.
post #11 of 80
I suppose most of us here have no-Naim systems.
post #12 of 80
I've never used Naim as source but have used them exclsuively for pre-amp/power amp with my speaker systems for years (currently 32.5/250 combo). For headphones I run them through a Stax SRD7Pro/SRD7-SB and they provide a powerful, engaging SS sound.
post #13 of 80
I also use oldskool flat earth Naim amps (32/160) and they have an amazing phonostage and a very engaging dynamic sound which is brilliant for rock or electronic music. They do tend to bring the rhythmic elements of the music to the fore and arn't quite so good on tonal character of individual instruments within more intimate classical pieces though.

Naim amps are extemely revealing and therefore do need careful partnering with very high quality sources and speakers as they aren't very forgiving of lesser sources especially digital ones. The cabling they use is mostly just standard european DIN socketry which you only find otherwise these days on B&O, but was standard on all European kit until fairly recently.

Naim don't advocate expensive cabling though and it's easy enough to get DIN to phono cables made up. Most of the more recent Naim and B&O replicates everything on RCA sockets as well anyway so this isn't really an issue anymore unless you are going vintage. DIN cabling has many benefits electrically over RCA, like a proper earthing which is why they continue to use it. Chord is the usual preferred cabling for Naim, although Linn is also excellent. I ended up with Van Den Hul speaker cable and a mixture of Chord and made up Van Damme. interconects

Their CD players are very well regarded but are voiced to match the amps although they do work very well with non Naim kit. Definitely worth a listen if you can afford one. I'm currently using an Arcam cd player which also works very well with Naim amps as do Marantz. It's all a question of balance in the end.
post #14 of 80
Agreed with many posts here.

I have heard Naim gear a lot, at a local dealer. This same dealer carried Harbeth & Totem speakers, and Plinius and Musical Fidelity electronics. I mention these specifically because they were featured in the same room at different times.

The Naim gear was ALWAYS the most musical sounding; didn't do as much Hi-Fi as well as the Plinius, and sometimes the Nait 5i couldn't give the gusto to the Totems it was driving.

But the CD 5i, Nait 5i, and (various) Harbeth combo was a marvel to listen to. Really toe-tapping, with great resolution and that infamous PRaT.

The Musical Fidelity gear always sounded lean, edgy, and analytical-not-musical next to the Naim gear.

I know Insomniac has/had a great system, the 5i CD and amp driving some Spendor (S/5e's I think?). That sounds like a great small-to-medium room system.

Naim does seem to be a lot more niche-oriented in the US, but the attraction they have seem almost cult-ish at times (not in any bad way).
post #15 of 80
The Local Naim Dealer- Hawthorne Stereo is one of the best locally. It’s the only local shop I go to.

They do go above and beyond the minimum and are nice people to deal with. They loaned me a replacement interconnect when I broke a Chord cable- they were closed when I showed up but still let me in and helped me out. They loaned me a CD player while waiting for the CD5x to arrive.

I go in every couple of months for an audio reference point. I was in once and Dominic came into the listening room and said “sounds nice- just not as loud as I like” to which I cranked it up. I live in an apartment so I was being conservative on my listening volume.


One thing Hawthorne Stereo offered was an upgrade path- 80% or retail on a trade up for 1 year.


1 nice thing about Naim is they treat the gear as a complete system- from power cord to interconnects. I recently got a High-Line IC and am comparing it to my Nordost Valhallas.


Mitch
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