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Naim Nac 12

Discussion in 'classic' started by Svein, Mar 1, 2015.

  1. Svein

    Svein pfm Member


    The Nac 12 sound fantastic.
    I have 2 units here in original single rail condition, version 2 and 3, both the type 'S' with mm-cards . When in use they are powered by the internal psu of a Nap180. Will a ringle rail Snaps will make any worthwhile improvement?
    If I go for dual rail on the version3, is it possible to do so with similar configuration as on a 42-5 with the option to run both single and dual railed?

    A pic of the Nac 12 v/3 after a cleaning of the whole unit, pins and contacts. It's original condition apart from the knobs.
  2. dmitre@gmail.co

    dmitre@gmail.co chief pencil sharpener

    Dual rail will ruin sound of 12.
  3. keithsnaim

    keithsnaim Gone Fishing

    A snaps will improve things a little . You can then modify it if you are ok with DIY, or send it to Avondale or WitchHat . This will I prove it even more.
  4. Svein

    Svein pfm Member

    @ dmitre - what you think happen when dual railing? I really don't want to ruin the sound of the 12. I have owned many units from Naim fom all series included all the Naits up to 5i. The 12's are rather special, at least the examples I have here. I don't have superlatives enough in my english vocabulary to explain;)

    keithsnaim - thanks. Perhaps a single rail Snaps is the place to start
  5. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    I agree the 12S is special.

    I think the nicest I've had one sounding was directly powered off a 160, not so different from what you are doing Svein.

    I am next going to try one powered directly off a 200, similar thing again.

    If not using them take out the phono boards.

    Think I'd leave it at that and accept the amp for what it is, a sweet little thing.
  6. rontoolsie

    rontoolsie pfm Member

    Meaningful preamps in the Naim range....12, 52.
    Superfluous ones....pretty much everything else.

    I bought a 42 when they first came out to go with a 110. The 110 was in stock, but a 42 was not. So the dealer let me take home the 110 along with a very old 12 he had lying around until my 42 arrived.

    The 12/110 combo was stupid good and ticked all of the magic buttons. But when the 42 arrived a few weeks later and I swapped them over, I was crestfallen. All the magic was sucked out of it. Adding a Snaps some time later still didn't come close to the 110 powered 12. A Hicap bridged most of the gap, but still didn't have whatever made the 12 special.

    I know that years ago, Naim used a dual railed 12 with a Supercap in their service department to listen to repairs. I'm sure they could have used about any other preamp, but didn't.
  7. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    I'd go along with that, 12 & 52 being the stars.
  8. keithsnaim

    keithsnaim Gone Fishing

    Keep the Nac12 original, add a snaps to really give it a lift.
  9. PhilDick

    PhilDick pfm Member

    I can remember many years ago trading in a 12 for a 32.5. The 32.5 was far superior.
  10. Svein

    Svein pfm Member

    @ Gaius, let us know when you try it with the Nap200. I don't think sound quality improve much, if anything, when I take out the phono boards - unlike a Nac72.

    @rontoolsie, thanks. Your post confirms what I hear. A great preamplifier even today.
  11. Hottuna

    Hottuna pfm Member

    The inside of the Naim 12 shown in the picture looks similar in layout to a bolt together Naim 32. I know the 32 is wider but the circuit board layout is the same orientation width wise.

    Does anyone know how similar these preamps are in sound, how does the 12 compare to a 32 bolt together?
  12. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    I've had several of each, when they are that old it's more to do with condition, there were also batch variants, i've had some 12 sound better than 32.5s and vice versa. On an even keel as it were I'd say the 12 takes the prize but not by a huge margin and the 32.5 remains a great amp with much more flexibility.

    @Svein, will keep you posted re the 200, think it arrives in a week or so.
  13. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    12/32/32.5 all run the same 321/324 boards which principally gives the Naim sound.

    I don't know why the 12 edges it, more lead in the solder/shorter signal path...?

    They are all very similar, see my post above.
  14. LPSpinner

    LPSpinner pfm Member

    HI Guys:

    Yup … welcome to the NAC12 club.:D

    I kind of agree with the general direction of this thread. I have a second generation NAC 12 that is mostly partnered with a NAP 160 (bolt together case) and it sounds pretty darn good. I kind of like the Little 12 for it minimalism and its unambiguous attitude, you’ve only got what you need.

    I would be inclined to keep it single rail as it just makes it easier to use. With the Bolt together NAP160, the NAC12’s natural partner, the NAC 12 gets it’s own winding on the power transformer. I believe the NAP110 has a similar arrangement. To my ears the dual rail external PSU’s only start to pick things up with the 32.5 and the 72.

    Products like the NAC12 are a piece of audio history and deserve a dignified retirement so I wouldn’t go hacking it up too much. Enjoy it as it is and just keep it serviced and maintained and it will serve you well for years to come.

  15. istari_knight

    istari_knight pfm Member

    I went from a serviced 12 to an unserviced 32 and felt there was an improvement [partnered with a 160].

    Still, nice little things regardless.
  16. audioflyer

    audioflyer No going back once you heard a ceramic cartridge

    Was the sound of the early kit down to the type of resistors used, I've always like carbon film resistors they sound more natural than metal films.
    The metal films have a metallic effect on the sound, sounding brighter and more artificially detailed but they lose the natural sound.
  17. Svein

    Svein pfm Member

    Thanks :) Ill keep the them single railed and in original condition. My version 3 sample is in very good condition and had been stored for ages before I bought it. I have done nothing with it apart from a deep cleaning and some 'Kontakt 61' on input selector, voulme and balance pots. Version 2 sound good also, perhaps even more expressive but a bit brighter. I have ordered new panel sockets and will also swap some of the equipment wire.
  18. LPSpinner

    LPSpinner pfm Member

    Ah I see you also have a 2nd generation NAC12 that has the same phono arrangement as mine. Mine came fitted with the later "3" series phono boards.

    Mine has the NAC323 MC boards where yours looks like the NAC322 MM board.

    Here a picture of mine. I haven’t replaced the orange “ROE” Electrolytic on the line stage and output boards because they seem to be OK. But I have since updated the maroon “ROE” Electrolytic as these were looking a little scrappy.


    The NAC322 and 323 boards will quite happily fit over the bifurcated or split pins that were originally fitted to the earlier NAC12's. Mine also had the volume pot replaced buy the previous owner from the standard pot to an Alps black precision plastic film pot as used on the later NAC72. It tracks a little better down at low volume settings and the channel balance is a little better.


  19. Svein

    Svein pfm Member


    Re the phono boards. My version 3 has NA322. On the version 2 the phono cards are NA111 issue2. And yes, the 322 is compatible with the split-pins on version version 2, but not the other way obviously:)
    A pic of the NA111 boards:
  20. LesW

    LesW Making electronics make music

    I wonder why you said that.? It isn't true.

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