Naim Audio: a little history

Naim Audio started in 1973. Company founder, Julian Vereker, had a unique approach to gutsy and spirited amplifier design and some rather clever thinking in terms of presentation. Having established that power supplies lay at the heart of his products’ unique character, he developed the concept of the upgrade path. A basic Naim preamplifier could be powered by its partnering Naim power amp.

Substantial gains can then be made by adding a separate power supply just for the pre-amp. Various performance (and price) levels of pre-amp and power amp, and power supply, most of which were cross – compatible, allowed for the birth of what has probably been the greatest addiction in audio. Electronic Lego, if you will.

Naim products have an extended life, usually well beyond the initial purchaser. Their build quality and attention to detail is the stuff of legend. Naim still support everything that they have ever made, with the limited and fairly recent exception of the very oldest CD transport mechanisms. Loyalty amongst owners is remarkable. For sure, part of the appeal is the male collecting thing, but a large chunk is the painless ownership experienced coupled with a unique, musical and compelling sonic character.

Naim understand system synergy and, by controlling all of the elements, right down to cables, are able to supply synergistic combinations right out of the box.

Visiting the Naim factory does nothing to undermine faith in the company values. Excruciatingly well organised, impressively busy and amazingly friendly. We’ve seen the famous cable shaker and machinery where the components are pair matched prior to assembly. Consistency between products is a subject close to my heart as an audio dealer and it is impressive to see Naim taking such care.

Should you wish to mix your music system with your cinema one, the pre-amps have the ability to hand control of the front stereo power amp over to the A/V processor but control the power amps directly for music. Simple, elegant and logical. The iOS / Android control of the streameres also allows control of (existing, even 20 year old) preamp, tuner and CD player.

Since taking on Naim we have pretty well bought the set. We usually have every item in stock on demonstration right up to and including Statement. Not a lot of people do this! The new streaming products might be hard to explain (read on to see me falter) but they are stunningly good and remarkably easy to use.

A few years ago, Naim released the HiLine interconnect and this has worked very well for a number of users.  It implements the thinking that controlling vibration is the most significant element. The power line mains leads followed and, again, these are more about releasing physical energy than a funky wire ‘recipe’, although the the HiLine does have PTFE dielectric. Both have proved surprisingly effective outside of the Naim sphere too.

2015 saw the launch of a range of properly high end Naim cables called Super Lumina. These were designed for the Statement amplification and, well, something big happened! These seem to ‘square the circle’ and provide as near as dammit the trade-off free upgrade. We carry the set (and some!), so demonstration and home trials are just a phone call away.

Those who have been frustrated by the easily damaged Hi-Line low mass ‘Armadillo’ plugs are pleased to see that the similar-in-concept plugs used for Super Lumina are made from aluminium and are proving to be very durable indeed.

We could talk for days about Hi-Fi: 01394 672464 / 5 enq@signals.uk.com
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