Review: NAIT 50 by Naim Audio Integrated Amplifier- A Limited-Edition Sonic Triumph Blending Heritage and Innovation

Review: Explore the NAIT 50, a limited-edition masterpiece, seamlessly fusing Naim Audio's legacy with cutting-edge innovation
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Introduction: Celebrating 50 Years of Naim Audio

In a triumphant celebration of its 50th anniversary, Naim Audio, the esteemed British purveyor of high-end audio equipment, introduces the NAIT 50 – a limited-edition amplifier that serves as both a nod to the past and a leap into the future. Born out of the visionary passion of founder Julian Vereker, whose diverse pursuits included racing, entrepreneurship, and self-taught engineering, Naim has been a stalwart in the audiophile industry since its establishment in 1973. The NAIT 50 stands as a testament to Vereker’s enduring commitment to bridging the gap between recorded music and the vitality of live performances, encapsulating the essence of Naim’s journey over five decades.

From NAIT 1 to NAIT 50: A Timeless Journey: Fifty years after unveiling the groundbreaking NAIT 1, the NAIT 50 emerges as a carefully crafted replica, echoing the iconic shoebox design that defined Naim’s early amplifiers. However, this anniversary edition doesn’t merely dwell in nostalgia; it seamlessly integrates advancements in technology and design. With only 1,973 units available worldwide, the NAIT 50 becomes more than an audio device; it transforms into a collector’s treasure, encapsulating the brand’s rich history and relentless pursuit of sonic perfection. As we delve into the intricacies of this milestone amplifier, it becomes evident that the NAIT 50 not only pays homage to its roots but propels Naim Audio into the next era of audio excellence.

Founder’s Vision: From Racing to Audio Engineering: Founded in 1973 by Julian Vereker, a passionate racing driver, entrepreneur, and self-taught engineer, Naim Audio emerged from Vereker’s desire to bridge the gap between live music and existing sound systems. The journey began in the 1960s when Vereker, fueled by a love for music, embarked on designing his amplifier and speakers.

Product Specification

Product TypeIntegrated amplifier
Damping factor into 836
Input signal for clippingLine: 88mV 
Phono: 710mV
Peak current into 1 (1kHz 1mS)Peak +/- 15 (peak power at 225W)
Audio Inputs1 x RCA pair (47kΩ), in MM phono level 5mV
2 x 5-pin DIN (stereo, 47kΩ), line leve
MM Phono Input47kΩ and 100pF
CrosstalkLine: 85dB, (at 1kHz, 25Watts 8Ω)
Phono: 80dB
THD + N0.015%
Headphone Output1.5Watts 16Ω
Signal-to-Noise RatioRef. 1Watt 8Ω, A-weighted : Line: 80dB, 1V input / Phono: 78dB, 5mV inputRef. 25Watt 8Ω, A-weighted: Line: 93dB, 1V input / Phono: 84dB, 5mV input
Power Outputs25Watts 8Ω @0,1% THD+N 
40Watts 4Ω @0,1% THD+N
60Watts 2Ω @1% THD+N
Frequency ResponseLine: -3dB @ 4Hz to 45kHz
Phono: -3dB @ 6Hz to 30kHz
GainPhono: +40dB (@1kHz RIAA)
Pre-amplication (and headphone): +16dB
Power Amplifier: +29dB
Weight9.9lbs (4.5kg)
Dimensions (HxWxD)33/8 x 81/8 x 125/8″ (8.7×20.7×32.1cm)
Mains Supply115V or 230V, 50/60Hz
Power ConsumptionTypical use consumption: 20W
Stand-by mode consumption: <0.5W

NAIT 50: A Nod to the Past with Modern Elegance

The NAIT 50, in its pursuit of honoring the past while embracing contemporary elegance, unveils a striking blend of vintage aesthetics and cutting-edge sophistication. This amplifier, a homage to the iconic NAIT 1, captures the essence of its predecessor’s shoebox design, a hallmark of Naim’s early amplifiers. However, the NAIT 50 transcends mere replication, introducing a touch of modernity through meticulously crafted, high-quality anodized aluminum alloy panels. The front and back panels, adorned with a refined finish, evoke a sense of timelessness while signaling a leap forward in design standards.

The transformation is not merely cosmetic; it’s a thoughtful evolution. The iconic Balance channel balance control yields to the contemporary demand for practicality, creating a headphone output that seamlessly integrates into the amplifier’s facade. The LED display, now adorned in pristine white, adds a touch of modern minimalism. The sound control knob, fashioned from a single piece of aluminum alloy through precision cutting, not only exudes elegance but also eliminates vibrations, underscoring Naim’s commitment to sonic purity. As we delve into the intricacies of the NAIT 50, it becomes evident that this amplifier is more than a replica; it’s a masterful fusion of nostalgia and innovation, an embodiment of the enduring legacy of Naim Audio.

Technical Mastery and Seamless Connectivity: Unveiling the Engineering Marvel of NAIT 50

Delving into the technical marvels of the NAIT 50 reveals a meticulous fusion of seasoned expertise and state-of-the-art engineering. Within the compact confines of this amplifier, a carefully orchestrated symphony of circuits unfolds, showcasing Naim’s five-decade-long commitment to audio excellence.

At its core lies a large-scale toroidal transformer, a customized behemoth meticulously designed for isolation and earthquake protection. The selection of audiophile-grade components is a testament to Naim’s unwavering dedication to sonic purity. The internal circuitry, a testament to the brand’s evolution, transcends the conventions of its predecessors, leveraging accumulated experience and technological progress.

Connectivity is a seamless affair with the NAIT 50. On the rear, a set of MM Phono phono preamplifiers beckon vinyl enthusiasts with RCA inputs. Two additional 5 PIN analog inputs, adhering to Naim’s specifications, offer versatility. The thoughtful inclusion of a preset automatic standby mode ensures energy efficiency, prompting the amplifier to enter standby after 19 seconds of signal inactivity gracefully. Moreover, the NAIT 50’s fly-by-wire input switching system, a modern touch, substantially reduces the signal path, epitomizing Naim’s commitment to audiophile perfection.

These technical features underscore the NAIT 50’s prowess and accentuate its adaptability to the ever-evolving landscape of audio technology. This amplifier is a testament to Naim’s dedication to providing sound and an immersive sonic experience.

Immersive Auditory Delight: Unleashing the Sonic Prowess of NAIT 50’s Two-Channel Output

Venturing into the realm of the NAIT 50’s, two-channel output promises a symphony of auditory delights, each note meticulously sculpted to resonate with the soul. With its solid 25W per channel, this amplifier emerges as a powerhouse, effortlessly breathing life into music and delivering an immersive listening experience.

The sonic voyage begins with Lewis Capaldi’s “Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent,” where the NAIT 50 reveals its prowess with a direct and potent sound. The thrust to the speakers is boundless, and the 25W per channel feels more like an orchestral surge, dispelling any doubt about the amplifier’s ability to propel the most demanding speakers. Beyond sheer power, the NAIT 50 maintains Naim’s signature resolution and delicacy, enveloping the listener in a neutral tone with that distinctive Naim feel.

Switching gears to the ear amplification function, the NAIT 50 proves to be a versatile performer. Utilizing the HD 800 as a reference, a headphone renowned for its discerning requirements, the amplifier’s performance remains commendable. The push force is ample, providing a surplus even with the demanding HD 800. While designed primarily for two-channel output, the NAIT 50’s foray into headphone amplification showcases an unexpected but satisfying facet of its capabilities.

In essence, the NAIT 50’s two-channel output is not merely a technical achievement; it’s an artistic expression. The amplifier’s ability to balance thrust, resolution, detail, energy, and dynamics while maintaining a compact, retro, and aesthetically pleasing form exemplifies Naim’s commitment to delivering sound and an immersive sonic journey.

Soulful Renditions: NAIT 50’s Artistic Interpretations Unveiled

As the NAIT 50 ventures into the realm of soulful renditions, it transcends the boundaries of traditional audio amplifiers, emerging as a curator of emotional landscapes and musical nuances. This amplifier, born from the essence of Naim Audio’s half-century journey, proves itself as a device and a conduit for the artist’s soul, breathing life into every note.

Embarking on the auditory journey with Jackie Evancho’s “Falling Slowly,” the NAIT 50 unfolds its sonic tapestry, revealing a timbre that is nothing short of exquisite. Evancho’s intricately detailed voice resonates with a delicate shimmer, simultaneously soft and concentrated. The amplifier effortlessly captures the ebb and flow of Evancho’s voice, from moments of meandering rigidity to soft, ethereal tones, unveiling a nuanced and emotionally charged rendition.

Transitioning to Josh Groban’s “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face,” the piano notes, presented with extraordinary warmth, emanate a rich flavor beyond mere auditory pleasure. The mid-range and high-pitched piano sounds seamlessly blend, creating a sense of calmness that resonates with the NAIT 50’s calm and elegant demeanor. Groban’s vocals, delivered with a comforting elegance, further showcase the amplifier’s ability to handle intricate sound changes and maintain excellent performance even under increased volume.

Russell Watson’s “Have I Told You Lately” becomes the ultimate litmus test for the NAIT 50’s prowess. Every instrument comes alive, infusing the space with a lifelike presence. The sound diffusion, impeccable layering, and meticulous attention to detail contribute to an immersive experience. The NAIT 50 excels in faithfully reproducing instruments and eliciting genuine emotions, turning familiar ballads into rediscovered treasures.

In essence, the NAIT 50 goes beyond being a mere amplifier; it becomes a storyteller, unraveling the intricate tales woven into each musical piece. Its ability to convey the emotional nuances of tracks, coupled with its impeccable performance in texture, detail, and spatial presence, elevates the listening experience to a soul-stirring encounter with the essence of music.

Usability and Unique Functions: NAIT 50 Redefining Audiophile Interaction

The NAIT 50 isn’t just a marvel of audio engineering; it embodies user-friendly design and innovative functionalities, elevating the audiophile experience to unprecedented heights. Its usability is a harmonious blend of simplicity and sophistication, making it accessible to seasoned enthusiasts and those venturing into high-end audio for the first time.

Though elegantly minimalistic, the amplifier’s rear panel offers a spectrum of connectivity options. While the MM Phono phono preamplifiers beckon vinyl aficionados with standard RCA inputs, including two 5 PIN analog inputs, adhering to Naim’s specifications, showcases a commitment to versatility. Worries about compatibility are alleviated with an RCA to 5-pin DIN cable, meticulously crafted with quality terminals, ensuring a seamless connection experience.

A standout feature is the automatic standby mode, a thoughtful addition for those mindful of power efficiency. After a mere 19 seconds of signal inactivity, the NAIT 50 gracefully transitions into standby, conserving energy without compromising responsiveness. The user, however, retains control with the Instant switch, allowing for a perpetual state of readiness if continuous, uninterrupted sonic bliss is the preference.

The NAIT 50 further distinguishes itself with its intuitive front panel. While adhering to its predecessor’s retro charm, including a practical headphone output in place of the original Balance channel balance control introduces modern functionality. The LED display, now adorned in pristine white, adds a touch of contemporary elegance to the timeless design. The sound control knob, fashioned from a single piece of aluminum alloy, not only enhances aesthetics but eliminates vibrations, underlining Naim’s commitment to sonic purity.

The innovative fly-by-wire input switching system revolutionizes the amplifier’s signal path, reducing complexity and enhancing signal integrity. Meanwhile, the newly integrated NSC 222 ear amplifier circuit reflects Naim’s dedication to evolving technologies, ensuring that the NAIT 50 pays homage to its roots and remains at the forefront of audio innovation.

In essence, the NAIT 50 transcends its role as a mere audio amplifier; it becomes a companion in pursuing sonic perfection. Its simplicity, sophistication, and its usability, with unique features like automatic standby and the fly-by-wire input switching system, positions it as a standout performer in the audiophile landscape. As a result, NAIT 50 is not just a piece of audio equipment but an interactive and forward-thinking milestone in high-end audio.

Conclusion: NAIT 50 – A Sonic Triumph

In concluding the symphony that is the NAIT 50, we find not just an audio amplifier but a testament to Naim Audio’s rich legacy and unwavering commitment to sonic excellence. This limited-edition masterpiece, celebrating five decades of innovation, seamlessly marries the nostalgia of the past with the technological prowess of the present. Its meticulously designed exterior, paying homage to the iconic NAIT 1, conceals an internal marvel where sophisticated circuits and cutting-edge engineering converge, ensuring an auditory journey transcending the ordinary.

The NAIT 50 isn’t merely a collector’s item; it’s a living testament to the artistry of sound. Its ability to seamlessly blend classic design elements with contemporary functionalities, a user-friendly interface, and innovative features make it a quintessential choice for audiophiles seeking nostalgia and technological advancement. In the ever-evolving landscape of high-end audio, the NAIT 50 stands tall as a product and an enduring milestone, inviting enthusiasts to embark on an unparalleled sonic odyssey.

Reasons to Consider Buying the NAIT 50:

  1. Heritage and Limited Edition Appeal: The NAIT 50 encapsulates 50 years of Naim Audio’s legacy, making it a collector’s dream. Its limited production of only 1,973 units worldwide adds a unique allure, making each piece a rare and valuable addition to any audio enthusiast’s collection.
  2. Timeless Design with Modern Touches: The amplifier combines vintage aesthetics with modern functionality. The homage to the original NAIT 1’s shoebox design, paired with high-quality anodized aluminum alloy panels and contemporary features like a headphone output, reflects an elegant blend of tradition and innovation.
  3. Versatility and Usability: With various connectivity options, including MM Phono phono preamplifiers and 5 PIN analog inputs, the NAIT 50 caters to diverse audio preferences. Its automatic standby mode and intuitive front panel design enhance usability, making it accessible to both seasoned audiophiles and newcomers.
  4. Immersive Sound Experience: The NAIT 50’s two-channel output impresses with its powerful, detailed, and dynamic sound delivery. Whether reproducing vinyl or driving high-quality headphones, it consistently delivers a captivating and immersive musical experience.

Considerations Against Buying the NAIT 50:

  1. Limited Availability and Collectible Nature: The scarcity of the NAIT 50, a limited-edition release, might make it challenging to acquire. Those not interested in the collectible aspect might find it more practical to consider other readily available amplifiers.
  2. Advanced Features vs. Basic Requirements: While the NAIT 50 offers advanced features and connectivity options, individuals with simpler audio needs might find its capabilities more than necessary. Alternative options might be more suitable for those seeking a basic amplifier without the collectible appeal.
  3. Premium Price Tag: The exclusivity and heritage come at a premium, making the NAIT 50 a considerable investment. Individuals with budget constraints might explore alternatives that provide excellent audio quality without the added cost of limited-edition releases.

In summary, purchasing the NAIT 50 depends on individual preferences, priorities, and budget considerations. For those seeking a unique collector’s item with a rich legacy and cutting-edge features, the NAIT 50 is a compelling choice. However, those primarily focused on practical audio needs might find other amplifiers more suitable regarding availability and cost-effectiveness.