When we assemble complete systems for review, occasionally we end up making a system that is almost impossible to audition outside of the reviewer’s listening room. This is not that sort of system. Naim Audio and Neat Acoustics are often seen in the same stores in the UK, and in the same distributor’s portfolios elsewhere. Even when distributed by different companies, they go so well together, they often end up in the same stores. It’s a match made in audio heaven.
This is a simple enough system, made up of two very new and one reasonably new product. We don’t have space for detailed specifications, and in some respects these three products fall into that ‘sufficient’ category where the most important specification to note is that they all work together well. The Naim Audio ND5 XS is the company’s base-model standalone UPnP network player. At its most basic level, wire this into your home computer network and it will seek out music held on computers on the same network, and play them alongside internet radio (via vTuner) and optionally DAB/FM radio. But if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, and giving the music its own sub-network, with the ND5 XS, a NAS drive full of music, a network switch and a wireless point for an iPad to control everything is even better. And using something like a dedicated UnitiServe to rip and control your music is better yet. But this is not the place to discuss network infrastructure; we’ve gone over that ground in previous networked product reviews.
The Naim Nait XS 2 is a wholly new product, the middle of a ‘good, better, best’ trio of Nait integrated amps. This one delivers 70 watts per channel, has six inputs, a Class A headphone circuit, a constant current stage that takes a lot from the company’s flagship 552 preamp and some very clever ceramic heatsinking that takes cooling right down to the individual component requirement level without recourse to fins or fans. Being a resolutely engineering-led company (with a few joyful concessions to audiophile madness along the way), Naim has taken the opportunity to redraw and optimise the signal path layout.