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Amplifiers

Green Eyed Champ - Naim Nait 5Si

  • Written by pulastya
  • Category: Amplifiers
  • Hits: 3700

At the very onset, let me be forthright by saying that I, per se never had any great interest in the Naim brand and to be very honest always felt that a lot of hype was seemingly generated towards this brand from the Naim Owners/Loyalists/Followers, what ever you may call them.

What's in a Naim to use one of their advert cliches was always what I really thought about them in the truest sense. That was about 3 years ago, when I first got acquainted to the brand by one of my good friends, who at that point of time was looking out for an integrated amplifier. We started the whole audition/demo journey where we heard quite a fair number of amplifiers/speakers/sources and so on. We would identify a brands particular model that was in his budget window, audition it then go back and do some further research/analysis on it and exchange notes on the information collated individually by us. This continued for a while till there came a point that whatever we heard was not cutting the mustard for one reason or the other and that led to us going to a dealers place to hear something he had of another brand but ultimately leading us towards Naim unintentionally. This dealer was to demo something he thought was going to work for my friend, but since my friend was feeling weary and frustrated due to the whole situation he was experiencing of not finding anything to his liking, he requested the sales rep of that dealer to play the Naim rig that was also there on demo. We heard a few tracks that we always played during each of the demo's as per our usual practice and suddenly it all fell into place for him. I think the sound was kind of love at first sight for him, in the sense that his mind was made up of what he was hearing was having the right sonics and what he ultimately was looking for. We left the dealers place and went to a pub nearby to have a few beers as my friend was elated to find himself mentally at a place that was what he thought was the end of his journey as far as amplifiers were concerned. The Naim bug had bitten him!

To cut a long story short, he subsequently got the Naim Nait 5i integrated amp and started his journey into the world of Naim with me subconsciously accompanying him. As a matter of fact, I was not too convinced to begin with as I still was quite uncertain about the Naim sound yet. The subsequent hunting for speakers to pair with the Nait 5i slowly but surely made me understand more about the Naim sound philosophy to a very large extent. Having that background of the Naim Nait 5i, thanks to my friend, I started doing research on the Naim background and its philosophies, which led me to get more insight into their other products and as luck would have it, opportunities to hear their expensive amplifiers/CD players, Streamers, Interconnects/Speaker Cables, at various places. Having this background now, I was very happy to get acquainted to a newer model of the Naim Nait 5i, the Naim Nait 5Si.

Appearance:

The Naim Nait 5si, looks pretty much the same as its predecessor which is the Naim philosophy. A flat matt grey-black casing with the volume control on the left, the Naim logo in green bang in centre and 4 buttons denoting 4 inputs, named as cd, tuner, tape and av. The addition of the 6.35mm heaphone jack is what distinguishes the 5Si from the 5i. At the back, on the left side we have CD input both in RCA & Din female receptacles, tuner input again in RCA & Din Female receptacles and then 2 hdd in/out and av RCA input female receptacles. Then to the right side, the speaker cable terminals and IEC power cord receptacle and a power piano switch. That's it folks!

Performance:

We have paired the Naim Nait 5Si with a variety of speakers but kept an almost constant source pairing with either the matching CD5i or a CD5XS CD Player. We also tried a Project Debut Carbon Esprit as an analog source with an outboard Phono Stage. Details of the various speakers as below:

Heco MusicStyle200

Amphion Helium 410

PMC DB1 Gold

PMC TB2

Heil AMT Aulos

PMC Twenty.23

Heco Celan GT702

Heco Musicstyle 900

Canton Vento 890DC

Canton Vento 880 DC

Canton Ergo 690

NOTE: Being on a long term loaner, the 5Si will further be paired with different sources and speakers that will be reviewed in future.

The Nait5i had a conservatively rated 50W RMS @ 8 Ohms, whilst the Nait 5Si has 60W RMS @ 8 Ohms. A bigger toroidal transformer and power supply are welcome additions to ensure better performance of the 5Si.

What that 10 additional watts does is that the 5Si now becomes even more attractive a purchase than before, as it now certainly has more oomph than before, creating that head room that was sometimes required in the case of the 5i. I can confidently state that now the 5Si can be the weapon of choice for driving a wider section of speakers, either stand mounts or floor standers. Play any kind of music and the first thing that appeals to the listener is the famed Naim PRAT, which reels you in immediately. Its ability to handle nearly everything thrown at it is remarkable indeed. I for one certainly feel that the 5Si is now even more a very attractive integrated amplifier for one to start a set up with. Musicality, dynamics and details retrieval are the strong points of the 5Si.

Observations:

1) Synergy wise, what we have noticed is that if one wants to extract the maximum from Naim products, then one must definitely use their DIN Interconnects & Speaker cables. 

2) By far the best speakers to really go well with Naim gears are PMC. They are like a match made in heaven. They just seem to have a synergy that is locked in which results in the end user having no reason to nit pick on anything that is critically deficient. This makes one forget about the gear and enjoy the music for long periods of time, which ultimately should be the end goal for any music lover.

3) Give Naim signature sometime to grow on you. It isn't something to be heard for a short while. It has its charm and quirks which one has to understand and live with.

4) At the price point, one would definitely expect the 5Si to have a phonostage, but this could be taken as nit picking since not every buyer would be utilising one as he may or may not be having a turntable to make use of it or the converse could be that one might be having a dedicated outboard phonostage dialed in to his specific requirements. Naim also have their own dedicated phonostages to offer but that is an additional cost none the less.

 

Verdict:

At a price of 1.4L, the Naim Nait 5Si is by no means cheap but given its performance and enduring qualities, it certainly is a long term keeper and that is one of the reasons why the price would be justified in the long term. The fact that it comes bundled with a 5 year warranty indicates that the company is confident of the build quality of its products which is very reassuring to the buyer. Yes, it looks very unassuming almost bordering on boring and will no doubt be frowned upon in the WAF, but for what it does sonically, these nit picks are forgiven and is embraced whole heartedly by its owners. This amplifier will certainly be part of the test rig at HifiHunt as a benchmark, which says a lot about the 5Si.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unsung Hero – Onkyo A-9050 Integrated Amplifier with DAC

  • Written by Denom
  • Category: Amplifiers
  • Hits: 4601

Unboxing: The Onkyo A-9050 came to us unpacked from its cardboard box but with remaining packing materials. We were satisfied with care taken to ensure that the amp reached us safe & without any damages.Items Received: 1 Unit A-9050 with power cord 1 Remote Control with AAA Cells 1 Sealed Bag containing A-9500 Instructions Manual (In 7 International Languages), Customer Care Leaflet & Disposal of Old Electrical & Electronic Equipment Leaflet.Packing Quality: 4 Stars

Appearance:Our review unit came in Matt Black finish which looks sober & pretty much sleeper. Fit & finish is better than the Marantz PM6005 & Yamaha AS500 which are its direct competitors. A silver version, which is available in Europe is sadly not available for us in India. The remote provided is well made & nice to operate as well, with well spaced out buttons.

Specifications: (From Onkyo) • 75 watts x 2 channels into 8 ohms (at 1kHz) with 0.08% THD • Wolfson® 192kHz/24-bit DAC ensures high-quality sound from digital sources • Dynamic Intermodulation Distortion Reduction Circuitry (DIDRC) reduces perceptible noise generated by digital devices • Three-stage inverted Darlington circuitry reduces distortion to inaudible levels • Closed ground-loop circuits minimize individual circuit noise and reject ground potential distortion • Signal-to-noise ratio: 110 dB (line, IHF-A), 80 dB (phono MM) • High-output power transformer and twin 10,000µF capacitors provide ready power for demanding musical passages • Built-in phono preamp for use with moving magnet (MM) cartridges • 3 digital audio inputs (2 coax, 1 optical) • 5 RCA audio inputs, including MM phono input • Preamp out and line out jacks • Audio L/R Pre-Out • Subwoofer Pre-Out • Speaker A/B Drive • Gold-Plated RCA Terminals • Gold-Plated, Banana Plug-Compatible Speaker Posts • Front-panel 1/4" headphone jack • Front-panel switching for 2 pairs of speakers with Switch for 4 & 8 Ohms speakers • Gold-plated, banana-plug compatible speaker posts • Detachable power cord • Remote control • Weight: 8.2 kg. • 17-1/8"W x 5-1/2"H x 13-1/16"D

The A-9050 Integrated Stereo Amplifier offers the best of both worlds-classic analog power and the latest in digital audio processing technology. Whether you are a fan of vinyl, or just want to experience your computer based library with proper hi-fi sound, this is the amp for you. There are three digital inputs linked to a Wolfson 192 kHz/24-bit DAC, which allows you to exploit the potential of lossless music files. There are plenty of inputs. We find two coaxial digital inputs and an optical input sitting at the back, and among those we find four analog line inputs and a phono input. This gives you the best of both worlds. Digital signals are decoded by a Wolfson DAC with 24 bit/192 kHz resolution. The input signal does not allow a higher sampling frequency than 96 kHz. The analog inputs provide an opportunity to get even better sound by using an outboard DAC. The built-in DAC is very good sounding and very convenient for connecting a TV and other digital sources. It is not warm by any extent, but neither is it harsh. A-9050 has a button labeled Phase Matching Bass. It really doesn´t have very much to do with the phase as it is more of a loudness button. After trying it, we used it intermittently depending on the recordings heard. We preferred to use the Direct function that disables the tone controls, resulting in a cleaner and more transparent sound. But the options of dialing the sound to your liking are available so the individual can tweak the same to suit his requirements, which is a bonus. A sub woofer out is another welcome addition as one can add a sub to boost the bass if one has Book shelf speakers or even to augment the bass of Floor standing speakers. Another feature that adds value to the A9050, is the Pre-Amp out Jacks that can allow you to add a power amp to the chain & use the Pre-Amp section of the A-9050. An interesting option for the tweaking freaks!

Performance: The demo gear consisted of:

Onkyo A-9050 NHT Audio Super Zero 2.1 NHT Audio Classic 3 NHT Audio Super 8 Subwoofer NHT Audio B-10D Sub Woofer DIY 3 Way Speakers NHT Audio Super Zero 2.1 NHT Audio Classic 3 Amphion Helium 410 Epos M12i BIC America Venturi DV84 BIC America Venturi DV64 Acoustech PL89II Acoustech PL200 Speakercraft V12 BIC America F12 NHT Super 8 NHT B-10d Oppo103 Marantz CD6005 Samsung Blu Ray Player

Music heard from below Albums: Morph the Cat – Donald Fagen Best of Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega Greatest Hits – Megadeth Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards – Joe Satriani Rockstar OST Asshiqui 2 OST Zara Mcfarlane – Until Tomorrow Making Music – Zakhir Hussain Inferno – Marty Friedman Hella Good – No Doubt Blood In Blood Out – Exodus Happiness is Not Included – Veronica Mortensen Mutadis Mutandis – Juliette Orangutan – Isao Suzuki Quartet Time Out – Dave Brubeck Best of Chemical Brothers The Onkyo amp has good weight in the bass frequencies, which was evident both when playing singer/songwriter and heavier rock/metal. Bass guitars sound big and full-bodied and kick drums feels punchy with good attack. There is a lot of energy in the harmonics as well, and a crisp projection of cymbals. Onkyo A-9050’s biggest advantage is that it has both the fundamental tones as well as the harmonics in order when playing high and low volumes, and it can play really loud. What we would have liked is better resolution. Playing music for a couple of hours at a stretch leads to one issue & that is common to all Onkyo Amps, HEAT! The A9050 also does heat up quite a bit if used continuously for more than 3 hours but we never experienced any drop in performance due to it. Still, one does get alarmed at the amp heating up & we recommend it be placed in a well ventilated surrounding, be it a audio rack or on any other furniture.

Verdict: The Onkyo A-9050 is a very unappreciated & ignored option available to us at the moment. Yes, the Marantz PM6005 & the Yamaha AS500 are getting all the attention but in our humble opinion, the A-9050 is a capable performer on its own & will most definitely hold its ground against the others. A lack of awareness of Onkyo’s presence in the stereo products market is one of the reasons why capable models like the A-9050 are being over looked. Maybe Onkyo India is not actively pushing the stereo products as much as their home theatre options. Sincerely hope that they start doing so as the A-9050 is serious value for money considering the options it provides to a music enthusiast. The Onkyo A-9050 get a thumbs up from our team!

Retail Price: Rs.35,000/-

Available at Onkyo India

Mcintosh MA8000 Integrated Amplifier

  • Written by Denom
  • Category: Amplifiers
  • Hits: 400

Electronic Specifications Power Output per Channel 300 Watts Speaker Impedance 2, 4, or 8 Ohms Rated Power Band 20Hz to 20kHz Total Harmonic Distortion 0.005% Dynamic Headroom 1.8dB Frequency Response +0,-0.5dB 20Hz to 20kHz Frequency Response, +0, -3dB 10Hz to 100kHz Sensitivity Phono (Moving Coil) 0.30mV Sensitivity Phono (Moving Magnet) 3.0mV Sensitivity High Level (Balanced / Unbalanced) 0.6V/0.3V Sensitivity (Power Amp) 1.7V Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Coil) 82dB Signal To Noise Ratio (Moving Magnet) 84dB Signal To Noise Ratio (High Level) 98dB Signal To Noise Ratio (Power Amp) 114dB Input Impedance (Balanced / Unbalanced) 10K/20K Damping Factor >40 Maximum Output (Balanced / Unbalanced) 8V Unbalanced 16V Balanced 

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