Naim Upgrades Integrated Amps, Adds Phono Stage

UK-based Naim Audio has announced the third generation of its NAIT and SUPERNAIT integrated amplifiers, featuring a series of performance upgrades and a built-in phono stage.

For the 70-watts-per-channel NAIT XS3 ($2,999) and 80-watt SUPERNAIT 3 ($4,599) — both slated for release in August — Naim has doubled the speed of the voltage gain stage, which in turn is said to double the rate at which the speaker output stage can react. The R&D team also optimized the transistors in the second gain stage “so they no longer need to be shielded by a cascode stage transistor.” Removing the cascode means less amplifier stabilization is required, according to the company, resulting in an “uplift in sound quality.”

The phono section added to both models comprises three stages: gain, passive equalization (EQ), and final gain with active EQ, which is said to lower noise, extend RIAA equalization beyond the audio band, and increase headroom. All RIAA EQ capacitors are “through-hole mounted film designs with low microphonic pickup and excellent transient performance,” which is said to greatly improve sound quality due to the extreme sensitivity of phono inputs.

In terms of technical specs, Naim said input impedance is 47 kilohms in parallel with 470pF capacitive loading with gain that is described as perfect for 5mV moving-magnet cartridges.

Other features common to both models include dedicated Class A headphone amplification, an Alps Blue Velvet volume control, a “reed relay” input selection, power transistors with ceramic insulators, galvanically isolated microprocessor control, and microphonic-isolating mounts for the circuit boards.

Stepping up to the SUPERNAIT 3 brings additional benefits, including a built-in 24-volt DR module, a preamp stage built around Naim’s Discrete Regulation technology, a larger toroidal transformer in the power supply for “greater power and speed of recovery,” additional through-hole components in the signal path to “minimize the negative effects of vibration and transient thermal conditions,” chassis-mounted inputs that are hand-wired to the circuit boards for enhanced vibration isolation, and an Alps Blue Velvet balance control.

Both integrated amplifiers are hand built in Salisbury, England.

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