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This review first appeared in the June 2013 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, 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 High Fidelity or Naim. - Ed

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacula
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air V-edition
Phono preamplifier: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Miyajima Laboratory Shilabe & Kansui
Preamplifier: Ayon Audio Polaris III Signature with Regenerator power supply
Power amplifier: Soulution 710
Integrated amplifier/headphone amplifier: Leben CS300 XS Custom
Loudspeakers: Harbeth M40.1 Domestic + Acoustic Revive custom speaker stand
Headphones: Sennheiser HD800, AKG K701, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600Ω vintage, HifiMan HE6
Interconnects: CD/preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp/power amp Acrolink 8N-A2080III Evo
Speaker cable: Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cables (all equipment): Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300
Power strip: Acoustic Revive RTP-4eu Ultimate
Stand: Base IV custom under all components
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under CD player, Audio Revive RAF-48 platform under CD player and preamplifier, Pro Audio Bono PAB SE platform under Leben CS300 XS
Review component retail in Poland: 6.590zł + 3.490zł for DAC/pre and amp respectively

Today's DAC-V1 D/A converter and NAP100 power amplifier are the latest additions to British firm Naim’s Classic Series. Complementing the UnitiServe, the smaller network player in the Uniti line, both refer to it with their half-size enclosures. For years Naim’s engineers have been working to minimize the impact of vibration on electronic components, both those generated by the components themselves as well as those entering from the outside. Multi-faceted approaches and strategies all start with the enclosure. In the reviewed units this is made of aluminium. The front panel is thick cast plate. Except for the rear the other panels form a kind of rigid pull-over sleeve.

Naim products feature electronic PCBs which usually are shock mounted rather than bolted down hard. That’s also why their connectors seem a bit loose. They are not fixed to the rear panel proper but mounted only to the PCB. Moreover Naim suggest not to tightly screw on DIN-terminated cables between their DAC and power amp. Since the units under review belong to their budget line however, they don't feature Naim’s more advanced trademark suspended board assembly.

It’s still possible however to move up another level in vibration control without parting with Naim. The firm offers specialized equipment racks designed especially for their electronics. The modular racks are stacks of individual shelf levels. The bottom shelf called the base level provides the foundation for multiple tiers placed upon it. One can choose between the reference Fraim and entry-level FraimLite versions. The former has MDF main shelves supported by aluminium uprights and additional sub shelves made of toughened glass which are decoupled from the wooden bases with hardened steel ball bearings. The FraimLite omits those sub shelves. The base level sits on tall floor spikes with top clamping rings to support the spikes of the shelf above. This scheme looks very nice and can be recommended. A twin-tier FraimLite will set you back 2.890 Polish.

There's a key subject that can’t be passed over whenever discussing Naim: DIN connectors. DIN stands for Deutsches Institut für Normung (the German Institute for Standardization). For a number of years DIN connectors used to be a common German standard. They were popular in Poland too where they were licensed from German companies like Grundig. As early as the 1940s Great Britain, USA and Japan had already settled on a different connector known as the RCA (Radio Corporation of America). Outside Germany DIN speaker connections held on much longer than line-level equivalents.

The DIN 41524 line-level connector has certain advantages not shared by the RCA. Think constant connector impedance and a common ground for both channels. If devices like Naim's employ star grounding, splitting the ground at the output to reconnect it at the input of the next device is a mistake. The audio world however is governed by its own rules which long since have phased out the quality DIN connector. Only a small group of manufacturers like Naim or The Chord Company of cable fame remain faithful. But seeing they're in the minority, Naim for some time already have equipped their machines with both DIN and RCA connectors to leave the choice up to the user. My review loaners were accompanied by Naim’s proprietary four-pin Snaic cable which I duly used throughout my auditions. The speaker connectors on Naim amplifiers are equally unorthodox. While not DIN, they are nothing like classic binding posts which accommodate banana plugs, spades and bare wire. The Naim jobs are two pairs of 4mm sockets for banana plugs and BFAs. Naim provide their own two-pin speaker plugs and recommend their use, preferably with Naim's own speaker cables. Here I declined and instead used Acoustic Revive cables fitted with bananas.