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New Naim Nait XS

 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3406
Registered: Sep-04
I've never started a thread on this site, so here's one! Very interesting new product from Naim which has really put the cat among the pidgeons, being more powerful than the Nait5i and 150x power amplifier. Story goes it'll cost £1250:

http://www.naim-audio.com/products/naitxs.html
 

Bronze Member
Username: Smwick

B.C Canada

Post Number: 98
Registered: Dec-07
Looks really nice. I wonder how much better it is than the Nait 5i.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3411
Registered: Sep-04
No idea Steve. It's got more inputs in total, more RCA inputs, more power at 60wpc, an active preamp (as opposed to the Nait5i's passive one), and a rather heftier 380VA transformer. It seems to be more of a cut down SuperNait than beefed up Nait5i.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8296
Registered: Feb-05
Where do I sign up!
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3417
Registered: Sep-04
Sorry Art, you're not allowed. You're buying an Elicit, remember? Oh, and just to whet your appetites...

Upload
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8309
Registered: Feb-05
Geez Frank...figures you'd remember. I am a happy Rega man...but I'd sure like to hear them side by side...ya know just for giggles...lol!
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3420
Registered: Sep-04
Hmm just occurred to me - does that shot of the amp qualify as HiFi p0rn?

I get where you're coming from Art, and I'd like to do so too. CD5x/NaitXS versus Saturn/Elicit. Interesting comparison...
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8310
Registered: Feb-05
Indeed Frank.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3423
Registered: Sep-04
I doubt we'll be stocking the Elicit unfortunately. Times are tough and stock levels are pretty fixed.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8311
Registered: Feb-05
Oh well...maybe someone here will.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3105
Registered: May-05
When they both hit the stores (have they started yet?), I'm pretty sure my local dealer will have them both. They juggle the stock compromise by having more gear on the floor and less in the stock room. A trade off just like everything else in audio and life. I'll give them a call after the holidays and see what they've got. It gives me an excuse to also see what they have for cables and inquire if Rega or Naim has anything in the DAC department on the horizon.

In a positive way, every internal pic I see of Naim gear looks pretty empty. They give you everything you need and nothing you don't. Very simple straight forward pathways, and nothing extraneous to sell people who think more stuff inside is better.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3106
Registered: May-05
Another thing I like about Naim - they listen to their customers. People on the Naim forum asked for better cables, Naim responded. They asked for a "Super Nait," and got one. Naim even named it after what everyone was calling it on the forum. Same thing with the SuperLine. A bunch of people were asking for a stripped down SuperNait, and it looks like the Nait XS is it.

Bryston is the same way, yet their customers haven't asked for as much. When the CD player and DAC came out, the customers on the Bryston Circle had a lot of input on things like features.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8313
Registered: Feb-05
Rega seems pretty responsive to their customers as well...consider the colored plinths on the P3-24. In the end though both company's seem to do their own thing and that's what I like about them both.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3432
Registered: Sep-04
LOL, Stu, you must be joking right? Before the Nait5i came out people had been asking for a 'powerful Nait' for 10 years. The Superline's another one - 8 years in development (I remember talking to the designer who had finally, after years of cajoling Naim, been tasked with it in a pub after a show in 2000).

The SuperNait was a real surprise, not because it's powerful, but because of the digital inputs. That was purely down to a marketing exercise by Naim. As you know, digital in/outputs are not to be found on Naim CD players because they affect the circuit noise floor adversely.

As for the HiLine interconnect, we've been waiting for that for YEARS, and we still haven't seen a high end speaker cable!

Yes, Naim do listen, but they stick to their guns too, so they only release product when they're convinced it's good enough, and even then sometimes they get it wrong (which is not good for a small company like Naim).
 

Silver Member
Username: Unbridled_id

ChicagoUsa

Post Number: 417
Registered: Mar-04
How about Nad ? The c375bee has the ability to insert a phono module or a dac module, (or both) very forward looking on their part.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8322
Registered: Feb-05
NAD keeps pluggin' away at it with decent products...I hope the C375BEE sounds good.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3108
Registered: May-05
Interesting, Frank. I didn't realize those things took that long to come out.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3442
Registered: Sep-04
I just found out that the new Rega Elicit is more expensive than the Naim. The Elicit is £1500 + £62 or £92 for a built-in Rega MM or MC phono stage. The Naim is £1250 with no phono stage. A cheap phono stage would keep the price down. A Naim Stageline is £280 but you need the extra Naim cable to wire it up which is expensive since it carries power too (about £150).

So if you don't need phono, the Naim is cheaper, but if you do and want the Naim one, the Naim is slightly more expensive. I am very surprised that the Elicit is that expensive - and it makes me wonder what they'll do about the Cursa/Maia...
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8420
Registered: Feb-05
So far I've read mixed reactions to the sound of the Elicit. I may have a chance to hear it fairly soon and will get a good idea of how it compares with what I have. Would love to hear that XS as well.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3461
Registered: Sep-04
The Naim rep turned up with an XS and my manager was impressed. It takes a lot to actually impress him...
 

New member
Username: Wdrazek

Post Number: 7
Registered: May-04
Great. Now I can upgrade my 3 year old 5i for 50% more dollars and get another 10 wpc with more inputs I don't need but no DAC... or triple my investment to get the integrated DAC that I really want.

Way to go Naim. You guys rock.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2221
Registered: Jun-07
LOL!!!!
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8561
Registered: Feb-05
Or perhaps it has more grunt and sounds better than the 5i..never known Naim to introduce a product just for giggles.
 

Gold Member
Username: Stu_pitt

Irvington, New York USA

Post Number: 3140
Registered: May-05
Did I read somewhere that the XS's pre-amp section is active and based on the Supernait's vs the passive pre on the 5i?

I agree with Art's statement 100%. Pre-amps make a big difference. I don't think Naim's aim is to get people to upgrade their Nait 3 times in about 5 years. I think they came up with a better product that fills a gap between the Nait and SuperNait.
 

Gold Member
Username: Nickelbut10

Post Number: 2227
Registered: Jun-07
Yup, in my experience, a new pre amp made a huge difference. I also can't see a reputable company like NAIM doing that.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3473
Registered: Sep-04
Pretty much out of the blue, my manager spoke to me about his impressions on the XS. He seems to think it's awfully good - so good that it's getting on for 122x/150x performance.

Yes, the preamp is based on the SuperNait's, but not the same as that.

Wayne, there's nothing wrong with your Nait5i - it's a fine amplifier which leaves many others reeling irrespective of price, and it is not being replaced. The XS is in addition. There is also a fair amount of talk of a standalone Naim DAC. It's not something to which Naim have committed publically (they really don't like to do that) but there's enough talk about it to suggest that it's more likely to happen.

As for Naim's reputation, well, they do like making things upgradeable which works a bit like viral marketing. Take the XS. It's upgradeable with external power supplies and external power amp. The matching Flatcap 2x power supply will power the XS's preamp and the matching CD5x, Stageline phono stage or Headline Headphone amp. Naim are in business to do business after all.

The i-series were very much built as well as they could make them as economically as possible to give as low an entry ticket to the Naim brand as possible. In my view, it works well, since I've sold i-series components to loads of customer who would not otherwise have been able to afford a Naim unit.
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 260
Registered: Nov-07
Just caught up with this thread. I'm planning a listening sesion at my dealer real soon as they are now coming in.

If the presentation is on par with the entry level separates, I will surely be replacing my 5i-2 with an XS.

Within the year my kit will be XS/CD5X/FC2 into Arivas for years to come.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8642
Registered: Feb-05
Very nice Ed.
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 261
Registered: Nov-07
Thanks Art.

After listening to the SuperNait/CdX2, I had to come to grips that finnancially this kit is highly attainable. So much so that the XS should be ordered by the end of the month to start the upgrade.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3507
Registered: Sep-04
Ed,

Ouch, you've heard a CDX2. It's scary how good that CD player is. We have sold a fair number of systems with a CDX2 into a Nait5i-2. It just works. So don't discount that as a way forward...
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 262
Registered: Nov-07
Yes Frank the CDX2 was extraordinary, but a bit out of my reach.

My plan was to buy new XS and CD5X and add a new/used PS by end of year. Is a bare CDX2 that much better than a flatcapped CD5X?

I think my XS/CD5X/FC2 would provide more value for the buck as opposed to 5i-2/CDX2. And also provide me with upgrade possiblities when I make my first million.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3513
Registered: Sep-04
There's no question that the more upgradeable route is the XS. However, if I were your dealer I wouold insist that you listen to a CDX2/Nait5i-2 versus the very worthy very upgradeable CD5x/FC2x/NaitXS.

That would be a very interesting demo! Fro your perspective you've already shelled out for the Nait. Replacing it is going to cost you so financially I'm not sure which is the better approach.

Then again, you could do it slowly by going CD5x now, then Nait XS, then add FC2x. It's a good question, but I wouldn't want to be on the outcome...
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 263
Registered: Nov-07
Thanks Frank, that provided some food for thought.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3524
Registered: Sep-04
Heh,

I was playing with our new demo unit on Saturday. It's not run in yet, but I must say the CD5x into the NaitXS is a very compelling combination with Arros on the end. The XS brings remarkable levels of resolution, grip and poise to the system. I was very pleased. We left it to run in over the weekend with the rather more difficult to drive Dynaudio Excite 32s. It should be fairly well run in by today.

I also used the CD5i-2 and that was very good as well, but the real synergy was with the better player.

Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 264
Registered: Nov-07
Thank you Frank. This is very encouraging from my viewpoint.

Ed
 

New member
Username: Khairuza2002

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-09
Thought you all might be interested in What Hi-Fi's review

http://whathifi.com/Review/Naim-Nait-XS/
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3525
Registered: Sep-04
Well they're wrong in one respect - it doesn't look the same as a Nait5i since it has three more buttons on the front...
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 8688
Registered: Feb-05
LOL!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Milpai

Post Number: 13
Registered: Mar-06
Frank Abela,
Please post your view as you keep hearing the XS. Never thought about Naim. I have never heard a Naim. How does it compare to Krell S-300i? I am looking forward upgrading from my current NAD c352 to a better integrated or separates. I am seriously considering the Promitheus TVC and a Red Wine Audio Sig 30.2 power amp.
This hobby is damn confusing..so many choices!!
 

New member
Username: Vlach

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-09
Can someone please explain the difference between a passive pre amp (Nait 5i) and active pre amp (Nait XS). Thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3532
Registered: Sep-04
Alex,

The Nait5i's preamp stage is basically an unpowered switch and volume pot. The only power is to the digital control circuitry to allow you to change volume and input remotely, as well as choose your options in terms of AV unity gain and RCA or DIN on CD and Tuner inputs, but all the components in the signal path, such as the volume potentiometer, are passive (i.e. not powered).

The XS has a (more usual) active preamp stage, meaning it consumes power to take the signal, applies some gain and sends it to the power amp section. It's one reason why the preamp is more sensitive (130mV against the 5i's 225mV) and a higher 47kohm load against the 5i's 20kohm load.

Milind,

I keep hearing the XS because it's in the shop! :-) The Krell and the Naim sound used to be poles apart. The Naim has developed into a more balanced sound but still retains its fast dynamic character. The Krells are, I believe, faster than they used to be but still retain their basic big powerful sound. So whereas the Krell is big and powerful the Naim is agile and fluid. They're both equally valid points of view.

I should warn you that the Naim philosophy is very much a 'system building' exercise. Naim components work particularly well together. Don't get me wrong - a Naim amp will work very well coupled to alternative CD player and speakers, but there seems to be a synergy at work when Naim pieces are put together. If you find a Naim dealer, you'll find he will talk about building a system and goes through particular steps and makes particular choices in terms of building that system.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Vlach

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-09
"The XS has a (more usual) active preamp stage, meaning it consumes power to take the signal, applies some gain and sends it to the power amp section. It's one reason why the preamp is more sensitive (130mV against the 5i's 225mV) and a higher 47kohm load against the 5i's 20kohm load"


Hi Frank,

Thank you, i appreciate the explanation. In your opinion, is the active preamp in the XS the biggest contributor towards sonic improvement over the Nait 5i's passive preamp? I'm aware the XS also }has a larger transformer/power supply and slightly more power, however i'm wondering which part of the XS design is the "most" responsible for any audio improvement over the Nait 5i.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Milpai

Post Number: 15
Registered: Mar-06
Frank,
Thank you for your inputs. I really appreciate them.
I am almost on the verge of ordering a Promitheus TVC (Reference C-Core) which I plan to pair with my NAD. When budget further permits, I will upgrade to a seperate power amp.

Regards,
Milind
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3539
Registered: Sep-04
Alex,

I'm not sure. From what I've heard the NaitXS was meant to be a tripped down Supernait. However, it seems they've redesigned an awful lot of it. Apparently the internal project name was SPEED, and the amp certainly epitomises a lot of that without over-egging it.

I'm inclined to say it's the power supply, but 10 watts in 50 is a 20% hike in power which in Naim terms is significant, and then there's that preamp stage. Difficult to say, but most likely it's the power supply.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Flats

Post Number: 37
Registered: Sep-07
Hi guys


Dear Frank, this new Nait XS seems to be pretty good. Did it show much more power driving the Totem Arro speakers than Nait 5i (first version)?


Regards

James
 

New member
Username: Vlach

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jan-09
"I'm not sure. From what I've heard the NaitXS was meant to be a tripped down Supernait. However, it seems they've redesigned an awful lot of it. Apparently the internal project name was SPEED, and the amp certainly epitomises a lot of that without over-egging it.

I'm inclined to say it's the power supply, but 10 watts in 50 is a 20% hike in power which in Naim terms is significant, and then there's that preamp stage. Difficult to say, but most likely it's the power supply"

Thanks again Frank, for your input. I guess the question in a lot of Nait 5i owners minds is how does the XS measure against the entry level separates 122x/150x?
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3547
Registered: Sep-04
Alex,

There is little doubrt in my mind that Naim are going to have to upgrade the 122x/150x. The Nait XS shows that the 122x/150x is the weak combination in the Naim range in my view. I would probably choose a Flatcap2x/NaitXS over the 122x/150x for approximately the same money. I haven't directly compared them but I have a strong feeling I would make that choice.

James, the NaitXS just seems to drive those speakers more easily than the 5i. It's not like a dramatic moment of power, just that the amp seems to have more in reserve at any one time. Not exactly more powerful because that would indicate a change in presentation, rather it just seems to go further more easily.
 

New member
Username: Vlach

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-09
Frank,

I too share the same feeling about the XS vs. 122x/150x combo despite having read comments from other people saying the 122x/150x combo is superior to the XS.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Lazoroski

Skopje, Macedonia Macedonia, T...

Post Number: 36
Registered: Jul-06
Frank,

How do you think Naim XS would cope with Dynaudio Focus 140 ?

Do you think there is enough power there for such a difficult load ?
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 268
Registered: Nov-07
Zoran,

When I auditioned speakers for my Nait 5i-2/CD5i-2 kit, Frank suggested the 140s.

Unfortunately I never got a chance to listen to them and ended up with a pair of Arivas.

So if the Focus can be handled by the 5i-2, as suggested, I see no reason why the XS would have any trouble with them. And I say after listening to both integrated amps in my home.

I'm sure Frank will give you some of the technical reasons why it would work as well later.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Lazoroski

Skopje, Macedonia Macedonia, T...

Post Number: 37
Registered: Jul-06
Thank you ED!

I do run the Focus 140 with Nait 5i-2/CD 5i-2 kit.

However I'm not really convinced that it is the right match (although it sounds better than anything else I've had in years)

As I'm thinking about some upgrade opportunities I'm considering two possibilities:

1. Change the Nait 5i with XS and keep the Dynaudio's (this is more convinient option as I can easy sell the Nait 5i for a good price).

2. Keep the electronics and change the Dynaudio's with Totem Arro's which should actually be a good match.

Both options are open as I like the Dynaudio's a lot and I'm convinced that is one of the best speakers for the price (just very difficult to drive) and I also like the Arro / Nait 5i combo. Somehow I feel that if the Nait XS is capable enough of running the Dynaudio's the overall sonic presentation (not to mention the upgrade possibilities of the XS) should be better than the second option.

Or maybe I'm wrong .....the price difference of the the first and second option is around 500 EUR (XS vs Arro's) which is quite a lot when you convert it to CD's and LP's :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Scorpio1

PA USA

Post Number: 269
Registered: Nov-07
Zoran, I was in the same boat last year with my JM Labs 907Be. Very musical with oodles & oodles of detail. The only thing missing was "weight & depth". I heard the Arros at my dealer and had the same feeling. Very musical, but no muscle so to speak. Much better for listening at lower volumes and subwoofer required.

I would opt for choice #1, depending on where you want to end up with your Naim kit. Also, what do you feel is missing from the Dynaudio's?

I just replaced my 5i-2/cd5i-2 with the Nait XS/CD5X. Only got 1 hr of listening in last night, but right out of the box I'm impressed.
 

Gold Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 3554
Registered: Sep-04
Well, to be fair, I haven't compared the 122x/150x directly to the XS yet, but my recollection of the 122x/150x simply isn't as favourable so...
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