Naim NAIT 2

Naim Nait 2The original NAIT was the product that started the nineteen eighties ‘super integrated’ craze. Whereas once integrateds had been very much the poor relation of their high end pre-power brethren, suddenly it was cool to go for a high quality one-box design which had the same amount of care taken on the internal component quality and circuit design. So, when the time came to replace it in 1988, Naim didn’t need to radically change things. The main mods ran to a slight power boost, and an improved fascia which didn’t look quite so bargain-bin – the first NAIT’s crude plastic volume control knob got the chop, for example. Another tweak was the first sighting of Naim’s backlit logo – this was a neat touch that has remained to this day – and also a proper balance control and mute facility, plus an extra line input (via DIN, of course)…

The amp was voiced by Naim’s Technical Director Roy George, and gave a sound familiar to Nait 1 owners, but had a little more punch in the bass, a fractionally wider and deeper soundstage and slightly less bias towards a bright, forward midband. But it was still pure pleasure to listen to, and outpaced pretty much all of its ‘super integrated’ competition. Inca Tech’s Claymore had more power and a bigger, richer sound but didn’t quite capture the energy of a musical performance, and Exposure’s (then) brand new X integrated was a little warmer than the NAIT 2 and bit less compressed at higher volumes, but again didn’t quite have the rhythmic ‘swing’ of the Salisbury box.

The NAIT 2 came in two versions; the first ‘chrome bumper’ ones [pictured] had the company’s black and silver casework which it had used since its inception in the early nineteen seventies, but the relaunched ‘olive’ version appeared in 1990 and matched the rest of the revised range aesthetically. Chrome bumper ones are a little rarer than olive NAIT 2s, but in 1993 the NAIT 3 arrived so the latter aren’t exactly thick on the ground either. Either type is a good buy, because Naim can service both in its factory, restoring its performance to ‘as new’ with new power supply capacitors and general recalibration. It’s a great little amp, a slice of history and has cult appeal too.

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