NAIM NAIT XS3 AND SUPERNAIT 3 LAUNCHED
Naim's new Nait XS3 and Supernait 3 have been unveiled and, of course, StereoNET was there to experience the new components first-hand.
Naim Audio, the British hi-fi specialist, has launched the 3rd generation of its award-winning NAIT XS and SUPERNAIT integrated amplifiers.
We were with the Wiltshire-based hi-fi company as it unveiled the new and significant performance upgrades handed to the brand’s NAIT XS3 and SUPERNAIT 3. Furthermore, both of the new products include built-in phono stages, making them a perfect partner for turntables, as well as for streamers, CD players, or any other music source you fancy attaching.
Amazingly, it has been six years since the previous Salisbury-sorted NAIT integrated amplifiers were released. Since then, Naim Audio’s research and development team has been working on amplifier improvements that have resulted in upgraded power amplifier sections for both the NAIT XS3 and SUPERNAIT 3, delivering greater pace while retaining their musical performance.
The new phono stages are based on classic Naim designs, albeit featuring superior components. Naturally, everything is expertly measured and batch selected before manufacture to ensure optimum consistency and quality.
The phono circuit topology comprises 3 stages: the gain stage, passive equalisation and final gain and active equalisation. This enables excellent noise performance, extended RIAA equalisation beyond the audio band and significant overload headroom.
The second gain stage transistors have been improved with far greater power handling, so they no longer need to be protected by a cascode stage transistor. Removing the cascode means less amplifier stabilisation is required: this doubles the slew rate, reduces the group delay and delivers an improvement in sound quality.
All RIAA equalisation capacitors are ‘through-hole’ mounted film designs, with low microphony and excellent transient performance. As MM phono stages are 30dB more sensitive than other inputs, this greatly benefits the sound quality.
The RIAA low-frequency response is a custom curve in between the traditional and the IEC curve. This delivers excellent bass performance with enough very low-frequency roll-off to protect the critical mid-band from rumble induced intermodulation.
Input impedance is 47kOhms in parallel with 470pf capacitive loading; the gain is perfect for 5mV moving magnet cartridges.
Naim Audio MD, Charlie Henderson, told StereoNET:
These are the best-sounding integrated amplifiers Naim has produced, now with added love for vinyl. Major performance upgrades mean you’ll hear more from your music – whatever format you’re listening to.
In addition to the excellent phono stage, both the NAIT XS3 and SUPERNAIT 3 also benefit from a Class A headphone amp.
Lift the lid on either of the new amplifiers and you will notice Alps Blue Velvet volume control, Reed relay input selection and ceramic insulators for the power transistors. Furthermore there is also a galvanically isolated microprocessor control section and microphony-isolating PCB mounts.
If you opt to go up to the SUPERNAIT 3 you get a raft of additional features designed to deliver even better sound quality.
Firstly, there is Naim’s 24V Discrete Regulator (DR) module powering the pre-amp. Thanks to the larger toroidal transformer in the power supply there is greater power and speed of recovery.
There are also additional leaded through-hole components in the signal path to further minimise adverse effects of vibration and transient thermal conditions. Rounding off the new features are the chassis-mounted input sockets that are hand-wired to the circuit boards, again for enhanced vibration isolation, and full Balance control.
Price and availability
NAIT XS3 and SUPERNAIT 3 will be available from Naim Audio’s global network of specialist retailers from 31st July.
Suggested retail prices are £2199/€2699/$2999 for the NAIT XS3 and £3499/€4299/$4599 for the SUPERNAIT 3.
For more information, see Naim.
StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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