Naim Audio is known as the kings of Hi Fi in the UK, with an
almost cult following, and rightfully so.
A company that strides on engineering a product to sound as close to
live music as they feel is right to them, and by doing so make some of the most
musical gear on the market today. Over
the years I have seen the Naim amps constantly recommended and so one day I
decided to buy a used Naim Nait 5i.
I knew going into purchasing this amp that I was simply
going to use it for a separate, dedicated two channel system, at that time
consisting of Monitor Audio Silver RS6’s and a Bryston DAC. Not the typical
equipment you would normally think of matching up with Naim right? Well
actually, dropping the Naim into my system, replacing some old first gen, tired
Bryston gear I was simply shocked. Wow, this amp rocks. This lightweight,
simple design was pouring out music in gobs, and at toe taping speeds while
sounding dark and intriguing. The sound I would describe it as safe, meaning it
simply sounded good without doing anything over bearing or overly gripping as
many higher end amps tend to go for. The
bottom end was full but not quit as controlled as some of the more powerful
breeds. The mid-range is detailed and warm while the top end was superb. Voices
are set above the rest just slightly to give the effect of the singer singing out
front of the band. Band members are lined up on stage, as a wall of sound punches
out at you.
I owned this amp for quit sometime. I was very content with
it. I moved on into the multiple lines of speakers from Paradigm to Totem and
all sorts of sources from Cambridge to Bryston. All used with the Naim. It did well with everything. People mainly
described this amp to me before purchasing as a very aggressive, revealing
sound. I could not disagree more. It was, and has been to this day, the warmest
amp I have owned yet. The Naim sound to me is what I would describe as Dark.
The sort of sound that draws you in while is easy to listen to. My only complaint with the Nait 5i is
connectivity options, and connectivity type.
You do not get speaker terminals, but only holes to accommodate banana
plugs. You do not get balanced, you get
DIN. You do not get B speaker switching either. Fine, I can live with that. Or
can I? As I fully understand that simplicity usually means fidelity over the
last couple years my needs in a system began to require more flexibility in
features and connectivity. Sadly, this
was the beginning of the end for my relationship with the Naim Nait 5i.
If your priorities are system flexibility, this is not the
amp for you. If you are looking for an
amp to drive a simple two channel system that involves a set of speakers and a
source, you MUST try the Naim Nait series amps. The 5i of young and old is
really one of the best sounding amps in the sub 1500-2000 price range. A must
Pros: -Easy to like
sound, with a realistic window into live music.
design with top notch parts
Cons: -For me, lacks inputs, connectivity and system
flexibility. For this alone I cannot give it an A+ rating at this competitive price range.
plastic remote control