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Naim launch new NAIT amps

 

 

Naim have launched three new Nait amplifiers, the Nait 5si (60W), Nait XS2 (70W) and Supernait 2 (80W). They supersede the existing NAIT 5i, NAIT XS and SUPERNAIT and  will be available at Naim retailers from mid-July. All three amplifiers have improved power supplies and selected audio grade components, to further improve sound quality.

    Hi-Fi World travelled to Salisbury, Wilts, UK, Tuesday 25th June, to listen to their engineers explain the thinking and technology behind these new models. Our shots (below) taken from the UK press conference clearly reveal how the power supplies grade upward in size and current capacity. Unlike the outgoing Supernait, the new amplifiers lack digital inputs and are analogue only, Naim suggesting this clarified their role and reduced buyer confusion. 

 

The new NAIT 5si

The power output has increased from 50W to 60W due to a larger transformer and improved power supply. Components have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to high quality film types. The PCB layout and wiring loom have been improved following experience on other new products such as the DAC-V1.

 

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NAIT 5si Features

·                     60W (into 8ohms) 90W (into 4 ohms)

·                     4 analogue inputs: 2 x DIN, 2 x RCA

·                     ¼" (6.35mm) front panel headphone output

·                     Custom-designed toroidal transformer with two separate windings

·                     Aluminium chassis and sleeve with zinc die-cast fascia

·                     Passive preamplifier with high gain power amp

·                     British build and design

 

The new NAIT XS 2

The power output has increased from 60W to 70W due to a larger transformer and improved power supply. The headphone output on the front panel is now on a ¼ inch (6.35mm) socket and is driven from a new high-quality Class-A headphone amplifier; reflecting the increasing interest in high quality headphone playback.
Constant current source circuit techniques are employed to provide ultra-quiet drive signals for relays. Ceramic heat sink isolators are used to improve sound quality as there is less capacitive coupling between devices and the chassis in the power and preamp sections. Components have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to high quality film types. As with the NAIT 5si, the PCB layout and wire looming have also been improved.

 

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NAIT XS 2 Features

·                     70W (into 8ohms) 100W (into 4 ohms)

·                     6 analogue inputs: 4 x RCA/DIN, 1 x RCA/3.5mm jack, and 1 x powered input for phono

·                     ¼ inch front panel headphone output

·                     High-quality Class-A Headphone amplifier

·                     Custom-designed toroidal transformer with seven separate secondary windings

·                     Powered input for use with StageLine or SuperLine phono stages

·                     USB-mini B socket for updates

·                     Aluminium chassis and sleeve with brushed, black anodised fascia

·                     Performance upgradable with FlatCap, HiCap or SuperCap power supplies

·                     British build and design

 

The new SUPERNAIT 2

The most significant change from SUPERNAIT to SUPERNAIT 2 is the removal of the digital inputs. As the SuperUniti already fulfils the role of integrated amplifier with digital inputs, it was felt that it would be more beneficial to performance to concentrate on an analogue only integrated amplifier. Removing the digital section also allows the power supplies to be further optimised for the analogue stages.

Power output remains at 80W but with significantly greater dynamic capability due to a larger transformer. The power supply for the critical preamplifier stage uses Naim DR (Discrete Regulator) technology. All inputs are now hand wired so they are individually decoupled for improved microphonic isolation. Components have been upgraded in critical areas such as the power amp stage where small signal capacitors have been changed to high quality film types. The PCB layout and wiring loom have been improved following experience on other new products recently like the DAC-V1.

The headphone output on the front panel is now on a ¼" (6.35mm) socket and is driven from a new high-quality Class-A headphone amplifier; reflecting the increasing interest in high quality headphone playback.

Constant current source circuit technique employed to provide ultra-quiet drive signals for relays. Ceramic heat sink isolators are used to improve sound quality, as there is less capacitive coupling between devices and the chassis in the power and preamp sections.

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SUPERNAIT 2 Features

·         80W per channel (into 8 ohms) 135W per channel (into 4ohms)

·         6 analogue inputs: 4 x RCA/DIN, 1 x RCA/3.5mm jack, and 1 x powered input for phono

·         ¼" (6.35mm) front panel headphone output

·         High-quality Class A Headphone amplifier

·         Custom-designed toroidal transformer with seven separate windings

·         Powered input for use with StageLine or SuperLine phono stages

·         Subwoofer output

·         Record output via HDD output

·         USB-mini B socket for updates

·         External remote in

·         Performance upgradable with FlatCap, HiCap or SuperCap power supplies

·         Aluminium chassis and sleeve with brushed, black anodised fascia

·         British build and design

 

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UK Prices inc. VAT

NAIT 5si                      £925

NAIT XS 2                   £1595

SUPERNAIT 2            £2750

 

 

Background info

Class-A Headphone Amp

The headphone amplifier cleverly uses the pre-amp output amplifier for headphone drive. The moment headphones are plugged in; the output current drive is automatically increased fivefold to give dynamic drive for all headphone impedances. The amplifier runs from a high voltage power supply so has the ability to drive high impedance headphones with the voltage swing they require for open and dynamic sound. The result is the audio stages are kept as simple and pure as possible for both normal and headphone modes.

Single ended Class-A is long known for its natural sound quality and exhibits zero crossover distortion. Its Achilles’ heel is that it is inefficient: for headphone drive this is not important so all the benefits can be exploited.

 

Constant Current Drive

The quality of the power supplied to the muting relays on an amplifier makes a surprising difference to the sound quality. Naim’s R&D concluded with the reference NAC552 preamplifier that a constant current drive gave an ideal low noise supply and have been trickling down this implementation since.

 

Naim Discrete Regulator

Naim's new discrete regulator betters industry standard monolithic voltage regulators and, even more importantly, has had its design and component selection refined in the listening room to deliver maximised sound quality from Naim's audio circuits.

 

 

 

Engineer Steve Sells explains to assembled UK journos at their recent press conference, including Noel Keywood, Rafael Todes and Jon Myles of Hi-Fi World, the thinking behind Naim's new Nait amplifiers.

 

 

 

From right to left Nait 5si (60W), Nait XS2 (70W) and Supernait 2 (80W) showing the increase in power supply size necessary for increasing power output. Naim use toroidal mains transformers mounted on 3mm thick aluminium chassis that act as heatsinks for Sanken power transistors. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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