10 of the best Naim Audio products of all time

Naim Mu-So 2
(Image credit: Naim)

An iconic name in the British hi-fi industry (pardon the pun), Naim is a company that needs no introduction. Producers of amplifiers, streamers, CD players, wireless speakers and practically any other hi-fi component you can imagine, it's a company with a rich history. 

Founded in 1973 by Julian Vereker MBE (1945 - 2000), the brand has just celebrated its 50th anniversary, and in those five decades, it's launched a formidable portfolio of excellent products. As part of its golden jubilee, it launched the limited edition Naim Nait 50, an homage to its original, wildly successful Nait 1 integrated amplifier.

Verker, an avid race car driver turned self-taught engineer, switched from building high-performance motor vehicles to loudspeakers and amplifiers in 1960. Twelve years later, he won a bid to supply then start-up radio station, Capital Radio, with audio equipment. From there Naim was born, and it's since progressed to the company we know it to be today. 

While it was acquired by French audio brand Focal in 2011, it remains a staple British audio brand; in fact, you can still find its headquarters in Salisbury where the company originates from. 

1. Naim 32/Snaps/250 (1984) 

Naim 32/Snaps/250 power amp on white and black background

(Image credit: Naim)

This particular piece of Naim wizardry came in three parts: the 32 pre-amp, its accompanying power supply and the now legendary 250 stereo power amplifier.

It was a popular combination that became the beating heart of many hi-fi users' systems. It was capable of delivering drive, dynamic punch and powers of organisation that few could match.

The system enjoyed enviable and admirable success, with the 250 in particular proving so popular that it received several makeovers, getting better with each iteration.

2. Naim Nait 1 (1983)

Naim Nait 1 amp image in old magazine

(Image credit: Future)

Nait 1 was Naim Audio's first integrated amplifier and it remains one of the firm's most iconic products. Over 36 years later, the brand's still building on it. Capitalising on the reputation of its celebrated amp is the latest in the Nait range, the Supernait 3 and Nait XS 3. They both received coveted five-star reviews from this publication in 2019 (no easy task), but without that 1983 blueprint, these new iterations could never have come to fruition.

Naim has said of the range: "The term Nait doesn’t just describe a product range, it defines a philosophy; a way of thinking born with the original Nait 1. It places the highest value on simplicity and focus. It demands that we attend to every detail in design; it’s the only way we can give you the best possible sound."

If it means products like this, we're all for it.

3. Naim ARO tonearm (1989)

Naim ARO tonearm image

(Image credit: Naim)

Naim hasn't launched many tonearms in its history: the inaugural ARO was followed up with an arm-lifted device, the Aromatic, in 1991 (see what they did there?) but when Naim set about engineering this tonearm, it got it right. 

The ARO features a unique, unipivot design, with the entire 'bearing' comprising a spike sitting in a cup atop the pillar. It uses an extremely rigid arm-tube (its name is taken from the precision aluminum-alloy tubing of which the main tube is made) and for a long time showroom visitors were offered the challenge: "if you can bend the tube with your hands, we'll give you an ARO". It remained in the Naim catalogue for over 20 years, quickly becoming the preferred audiophile tonearm for partnering with esteemed turntables such as the Linn Sondek LP12, with Linn Troika cartridges. 

Now, the Aro is the preserve of specialist dealerships of course, but it was an easy shoe-in for this list. 

4. Naim CD5si (2012)

Naim CD5si CD player against a bright green background

(Image credit: Future)

We know. We've only gone and mentioned a product from the past decade, haven't we? Naim launched this CD player in September 2012, with an asking price of £995. 

Essentially an update on the firm's 2007 CD5i player, the CD5si featured a new transport mechanism and the Burr-Brown PCM 1793 DAC. 

Under intense review that same year, we commented, "The CD5si bends over backwards to deliver an exuberant and enjoyable performance, and it was its unmatched enthusiasm and concrete drive that we took to instantly. The What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision team listened to this player for hours, and we still enjoyed sitting back to a wholehearted rendition of Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ By The Way. In terms of musicality and cohesion, it’s spot on."

Such was the CD5si's success – stealing the crown from our long-reigning favourite Audiolab 8200CD, scooping not only a five-star review from this publication but also our Product of the Year gong in 2013 – that Naim hasn't felt the need to do anything to it since. 

5. Naim ND555/555 PS DR (2018) 

Naim ND555/555 PS DR stacked on top of each other on white background

(Image credit: Naim)

This combination features the ND 555 music streamer and 555 PS DR power unit. The former is the first of Naim’s streaming products to gain 500 series status – meaning, in Naim speak, that it’s the very best it makes right now.

And Naim is right to be proud. The ND 555 focuses on the firm's traditional, evolutionary approach rather than trying to reinvent anything – building on the 2012 NDS network player. If you assume that spending £13k on a music steamer means it'll work straight from the box, however, you'd be wrong. The ND 555 doesn’t have a built-in power supply, so you need to add at least one of the company’s 555 PS DR outboard power units, and another £7k to your budget.

What this combination really means, in layman's terms, is a £20,000 music streamer. And you know what? We have loved it from the moment we first heard it. A cursory glance at our Naim ND555/555 PS DR review proves it too. 

6. Naim NA SBL floorstanders (1986) 

Naim NA SBL floorstanders on white background

Naim NA SBL (Image credit: Springair.de)

In the year that Phantom of the Opera premiered in London's West End and Richard Branson broke the world record for the fastest boat crossing of the Altantic, Naim released its first in-house designed and built floorstanding speakers, made expressly for people to bring into their homes (rather than for Capital Radio). 

A two-way, two driver loudspeaker system with a claimed frequency of 30Hz to 20kHz, 75W power handling and 885 x 266 x 270mm dimensions, its sloping looks are perhaps more reminiscent of a Victorian writing desk. 

With its unique three-box design, some users – even seasoned reviewers – struggled to assemble it and get it sounding right. But when it sounded right, driven by a full-house Naim system, it was (and still is) something truly special. 

7. Naim Supernait 3 (2019) 

Naim Supernait 3 amp on white background

(Image credit: Naim)

"If you’re looking for an entertaining yet informative integrated amplifier, the Supernait 3 is a brilliant choice" – that's what we said in our Supernait 3 review, leaving us with little choice but to hand over a prized What Hi-Fi? 2019 Award not long after.  

As is Naim’s way, this third generation Supernait may not exude a luxury aura, but it is a quality product born of a rich heritage of quality products. Honestly, we can’t currently think of a more capable alternative when it comes to rhythmic drive and precision for your system. The Supernait 3 conveys the changing momentum of music brilliantly, capturing various mood changes between tracks with conviction.

8. Naim NAC-N 272 (2015)

Naim NAC-N 272 with remote against white background

(Image credit: Naim)

Essentially, there are just two things you need to know about the Naim NAC-N 272: it’s a fully featured streaming preamp and it sounds utterly lovely.

OK, there's hardly a shortage of music streamers out there that also have a volume control, but he NAC-N 272 isn’t like most of them. It uses a fully analogue preamp section, so performance through the analogue inputs – one DIN and two RCAs – always had the potential to be really good. But this is also a forward-thinking unit, so there are digital inputs as well as optical and coax connections, and also aptX Bluetooth.

Naim being Naim, a great deal of engineering was undertaken to avoid features like wireless connectivity spoiling the sound. The digital and analogue sections communicate through optical isolation chips to minimise any interference. 

The Naim NAC-N 272 could have easily turned out to be too much of a compromise; a poor relation to the company’s long established line of dedicated separates. It simply isn’t though – and it deserves its place in this list. 

9. Naim Statement Series NAC S1/NAP S1 (2014) 

Naim Statement Series NAC S1/NAP S1 products on black background

(Image credit: Naim)

On 10th January, 2014, Naim used CES in Las Vegas to launch a true piece of statement engineering, the $200,000 Naim Statement. As we said at the time, "Naim products have long-since been associated with dynamic performance, but the Statement combination looks to be in a different league altogether."

The idea for an entirely new kind of amplifier, the kind that could set a new reference standard in high-end audio reproduction, was three whole years in the making at Naim. But granted, it is still an awful lot of money. 

The Naim Statement's dark, dramatic, flashy aesthetic also marked a radically different approach for the company. It may seem like an odd departure from Naim Audio tradition, but the organic, wave-like flow of the heat sinks in Naim's Statement project paved the way for subsequent triumphs like the Mu-so Qb and Mu-so, now both into their second iterations and revelling in the five-star reviews. 

10. Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation (2019)

Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd generation speaker on grey background

(Image credit: Naim)

Naim struck gold with its Mu-so Qb wireless streaming speaker, and yet it managed to somehow improve upon the formula with the second-generation model. The Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation was unveiled in the latter half of 2019 to critical acclaim, earning itself an immediate five-star review and the prestigious Product of the Year Award in the wireless speaker category for four years in a row. 

In fact, the cons column of our review reads "nothing at this price" – high praise indeed. There are, however, plenty of pros when it comes to this speaker. Its stylish, premium build and excellent wireless streaming compatibility are, of course, a nice touch when it comes to initial impressions, but its stunning sonic capabilities are what really let it shine. We called it expressive, and went on to detail and appreciate its sparkle.

It also carries an impressive amount of bass weight, which is an impressive surprise considering its form factor, reminding us never to judge a book by its cover (or a speaker by its enclosure).

If the Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation proves anything, it's that Naim isn't afraid to embrace change, and how it can adapt its skills to constantly changing times. With the streaming age changing the landscape of hi-fi as we know it, Naim used its Mu-so series to prove it can apply its renowned design and audio philosophies to the latest trends and developments. 


Check out the latest British Hi-Fi Week news, reviews and features

As well as our Naim NAP 250 review

And 9 of the most underrated British hi-fi products we've ever tested

Lewis Empson
Staff Writer

Lewis Empson is a Staff Writer on What Hi-Fi?. He was previously Gaming and Digital editor for Cardiff University's 'Quench Magazine', Lewis graduated in 2021 and has since worked on a selection of lifestyle magazines and regional newspapers. Outside of work, he enjoys gaming, gigs and regular cinema trips.

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