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Shoebox Naits

Discussion in 'audio' started by rough edges, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    I bought my first Nait back in 1995. It was a Nait 3, the current model at the time. I enjoyed the sound and the slim line design. The Nait 3 served me well for 7-8 yrs.
    In the intervening years, I ended up at the upper end of the olive food chain with a 72/Hi/140 and a 52/250. All good.
    Then two years ago, I was very lucky to find a mint olive Nait 2. This was a huge revelation for me; it saw off the 72/Hi/140. The Nait 2 had a more "groovy and coherent" sound than the separates. This shouldn't be, but could well be down to sample variation.
    Today, the postman delivered a boxed, mint, recapped, green LED Nait 1. These things are very rare in Canada. I set it on the rack under the Nait 2, hooked everything up, and put a cd on.
    I did not expect to hear what I heard. The thing was still cold (10 deg C outside), but there was that groovy coherence, as with the Nait 2. Matter of fact, I think the Nait 1 sounds a bit better than the Nait 2. It's been 10 yrs since the Nait 2 was recapped/serviced, so it's due.
    I need to let the Nait 1 run in for a few weeks, so I will put the Nait 2 into the main system and see how it sounds compared to the 52/250. It will be interesting to hear the Nait 2 running the JBL 4429s. They are 6 0hm nominal impedance and 91db, so the Nait 2 should be fine. There might be some special magic with that little amp running the JBLs.
    The Nait 3, at least the way I remember it, never sounded as sweet as the 1 and 2, to my ears. The Nait 3 was boom and tizz, with a hardness in the midrange compared to it's shoebox size older brothers, which both sing like birds.
    There's something special about these little Naits, something that may not all have been preserved with the newer, and more elaborate amps.

    Fun days ahead.
    Jono_13 and Torris12 like this.
  2. Ginger

    Ginger pfm Member

    Cue raging Nait arguments. But I’m in the Nait camp. Had a 1 then a 2 came along on the cheap and I kept it in almost daily use for about 20 years . That’s satisfaction.
    TLS and Martyn Miles like this.
  3. david ellwood

    david ellwood Kirabosi Kognoscente

    I totally get your preference re Nait1 > Nait2 > 72/140

    That’s not to say separates aren’t capable of a better performance, try a 12s/snaps/160 and see how that fairs.
  4. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    Glad you're having a lot of fun with these great amps.

    I too slightly prefer the Nait 1 to 2 for the reason you say - just a bit more coherent and easier to follow what's goin' on. I've compared both serviced and unserviced, although my CB Nait 2 is quite recently back from service so needs more hours on it before making a final comparison. Whilst the Nait 2 is not as transparent either, I do like its slightly warmer voicing, especially the more fruity bass. End of the day, both are very enjoyable and, although some folks complain that a nice condition serviced one will cost you £500, they are still great value to my mind.

    Like you, I didn't find the 3 as enjoyable and sold it on.

    Agree with David that 12/160 (not tried snaps) is even more enjoyable than Nait 1/2 although a very different sound - the little Nait 1 in particular still does funky rhythms better though. Hope you can let us know how the Nait 2 compares to your 52/250.
  5. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    I know the Naits can/do divide opinion, but the thing that cannot be denied, is just how large a slice of the ultimate Naim sound one gets from such a humble little box. All of the really important things for me musically are there with the Nait 1 and 2. In this game of diminishing returns, these little Naits offer a valuable perspective.

    I would love to try a 12s/snaps/160, but over here in Canada, it's not easy/possible to find such things.

    I seem to be gravitating toward the Holden and Fisher era...
  6. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

  7. rough edges

    rough edges pfm Member

    As it turns out, the Nait 2 into JBL 4429 is a very sweet combo. The Nait 2 has absolutely no problem controlling them, even though the JBL bass units alone weigh 25lb apiece. Bass is deep, tight, and real, with smoothness through the midrange and treble. The Nait 2 is quite punchy into the JBLs; just what they needed.

    I know that the price of Naits jumped largely due to demand in Japan. The JBL 4429 is also very popular in Japan. Now I know why.

    I guess this is the polar opposite of two 150lb monster mono-blocs, into cellphone sized speakers, on 100lb shot-filled stands...
    BlueYeti likes this.
  8. nobeone

    nobeone pfm Member

    Somebody remind me what a Nait3 was? A 62 and 90 jammed in a single case? Something like that.

    As a long time Nait2 owner and 72/hicap/250 owner I recently released my Nait2 from loft duty to someone that would enjoy it. Before I packed it I swapped it for the 72/hicap/250. It doesn't disappoint, great fun, but no, not as good, different, a little limited here and there, tizzy on occasions, but huge fun from a small box. Enjoy!
  9. BlueYeti

    BlueYeti pfm Member

    Interesting - that is one combination I would never have thought of putting together!
  10. MJS

    MJS Trade: Consultant at WH Audio

    That's exactly what it was. They did a similar trick with the Nait5.
    nobeone and kennyh like this.
  11. kennyh

    kennyh pfm Member

    And yet for me the 5 lost that true Naim sound that was typical of the brand and became warmer and more Quad like to my ears. Was that a combo of the "lead in" black pre/power range MJS?

    I rated the 3.
    guydarryl and Caledon1297 like this.
  12. RustyB

    RustyB Registered Ginga

    Caledon1297 and coredump like this.
  13. flatpopely

    flatpopely Prog Rock/Moderator

  14. martin dawson

    martin dawson pfm Member

    I bought my son a 32 / 120 combination some 17 years ago he had it serviced in 2012 to me the 120 has delicacy that was superb. An amazing amplifier the forerunner of the 110 so not many made.


    Gaius likes this.
  15. Frankiesays

    Frankiesays Rats is life.

    May'be with separates something gets lost in those interconnects. Think about it, a TT going to a phono stage going to a pre going to a power amp, compared to a TT going straight into the phono stage of an integrated. I couldn't imagine a Nait providing as much depth of sound than a much bigger power amp through a pre, but i can imagine it being more 'together'.
    TLS likes this.
  16. Gaius

    Gaius Trade: Stiletto by Tangerine

    I have recently been enjoying a Nait 1 and Nait 2. As with the OP I have a slight preference for the Nait 1, particularly with vinyl. Sources were a top spec LP12 and Naim CDX into MKI Kans, it makes for a very engaging system. Both Naits are now sold and I have a NAC 32 powered off a NAP120 which has just been fully rebuilt by Naim. This combination is quite superb.

    I do agree the Nait 1 and 2 are quite special indeed.
    martin dawson likes this.
  17. Tim Jones

    Tim Jones pfm Member

    I've owned four Nait 2s over the years - two CB and two olive (not that there should be any sonic differences between them).

    And like others, I've gone from a big Naim system (252/Scap/135s) to a Nait and seriously enjoyed the change - echoing the point above about going from lots of complexity and bits of wire. So I'm a fan too, but with provisos. Like many things in audio, they work brilliantly in the right circumstances.

    With wrong speakers, in the wrong room, even with the wrong material, a Nait 2 will lose it and go off the road in a nasty, screechy way.

    The 3 has less tendency to this, and in a way has an almost higher fun factor, but it's also distinctively coloured with a comparatively nasal midband and detached bass.

    My theoretical "most minimal system I could live with" would probably comprise a Rega P3 with a decent MM, a Nait 2, and a pair of Rega ELAs.
    Gaius likes this.
  18. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    I've got a serviced 32.5 but much prefer the 12 (with same cards) into 110 / 160 but am still curious about the 32, particularly a BD one.
    Have you ever compared a 12 with a 32?
  19. nobeone

    nobeone pfm Member

    Yes, particularly if you insist on interconnects that wire power and signal together :D hence my preference for Avondale power and signal separation, which I believe Witch Hat interconnects magically do in the one interconnect ...
  20. Charlie_1

    Charlie_1 pfm Member

    Is that just a case of using a Y cable to send the signal straight from pre to power amp, whilst using the other cable arm to separately power the pre, or is it something more complex than that?

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