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This review first appeared in the May 2009 issue of hifi & stereo magazine You can also read this review of the Naim Nait XS in its original German version. We translated it through a syndication arrangement with our German colleagues. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of or Naim Audio. - Ed.

Reviewer: Ralph Werner
Sources: Analog - deck - Acoustic Solid MPX; tone arms - Phonotools Vivid-Two, SME M2 12 Zoll; pickups - Denon DL-103, Ortofon MC Rondo Bronce, Shelter 201, Zu Audio DL-103; digital - CDP - audiolab 8000CD, HIFIAkademie cdPlayer; Computer & Co - Logitech Squeezebox, Readynas Duo NAS-Server, HP Notebook; DA-converters - Aqvox USB2DA-MKII, Benchmark DAC1 USB
Amplification: Phono - Aqvox 2 CI MKII; preamp - Octave HP 300 MK2; power amp - SAC il piccolo monos; integrated - Lua 4040 C, Myryad MXI 2080, Naim Nait XS
Loudspeakers: Audium Comp 5, Quadral Rondo, Zu Audio Druid mk4
Racks & Stands: Creactiv, Taoc, Liedtke Metalldesign Stand, Shale audio base
... plus diverse cables
Review Component Retail: €1.698

Super small? Truly petite Naim's Nait XS is not but a chassis height of barely 7cm does make it a lowrider. Perhaps the header should have read super and small? After all, the newest integrated from Salisbury claims to be the gussied-down descendant of Naim's top Supernait. Shrunk too has the price, at one-point-seven about half of big(ger) brother.

The XS sports 6 inputs but really, there's 11 which ought to keep everyone and anything covered. That's because 5 inputs run paralleled sockets. As long as you insure that one source keeps mum while the other plays, each of those inputs can leash to two sources. Naim's typical DIN plugs are de rigueur of course. The 5th paralleled input is Aux1 and RCA on the back, mini socket on the front. This prevents mobile users from having to reach behind the rack. Aux 2 is DIN exclusively and, within the Naim family, can also power their external phono stage. Family relations are highly valued by these Brits after all. The XS also gets an RCA subwoofer output and an AV bypass. Last but not least, the pre-out/main-in DIN
bridge doesn't merely accommodate the obvious but, in established Naim tradition, allows upgrading the internal power supply with Naim's external box. Trim-wise, the XS loses three items of the Supernait: The balance control (who cares?), the headphone socket (nice to have) and five digital inputs because the XS omits the internal DAC. Okay, some will miss it, others won't care but rather appreciate not having to pay for the feature. The Supernait isn't simply more full-featured of course but also runs a bigger power supply though the general circuitry is supposedly identical with the XS.

Two notes on the speaker posts. In standard Naim form, bananas only may apply. One can adapt since it's becoming near convention these days to shun spades. Of course it is convention to expect the right channel speaker terminals on the right side (when viewed from the front) and vice versa. Please don't invoke Sesame Street rebuttals that a 180° turn makes any left right. Yawn. If you wire things up intuitively and wonder why your channels are reversed, read the small print above the outputs. Hey, it's BritFi. Everyone else drives right, they left. Then they ridicule the Krauts who grab the wrong handle and instead of the turn signal, select the windshield wiper while the sun beats down. Perhaps that is funny in the end. Under the bonnet, two things vie for attention, the quite sizable mainly SMD-peopled PCB and a solid toroidal power transformer with 380VA rating.

It's got five secondaries to separate sub circuits - two for the output stage, one for the input stage, one for the relay switching and one for display and control logic. The white center strip is no exposure error but a thermal paste that's been applied to the cooling block. It creates better heat transfer between heat sink and chassis to engage the latter in the job which can't be strenuous as the amp gets hand warm at best; no surprise with a class AB output stage at low bias current. "Nearly class B" Naim puns, albeit without crossover distortion they claim. Four bipolar Sanken transistors perform the heavy lifting, two per channel in push/pull.

A small irritation of "it ain't Naim if the DIN sockets don't wobble" is par for the course since the Brits value mechanical decoupling. This includes the socketry. Did they cut corners then when mounting the RCAs rock solid as though such inferior solutions deserve no better? Diehard Naim freaks will grin when their socket move while ordinary cinch dudes must put up with hard-mounted stuff. Or is all that nonsense? With their newly minted PCB decoupling, I could only make out that the rear sector with the DIN plugs has more play than the front. Frankly, I could care less. I'm primarily interested in the vibes that reach my ear than worried about a little circuit board give.