The Focal and Naim room at the 2023 Pacific Audio Fest was a bit low-key compared to the last few rooms at the last few audio shows, where the exhibit room was dressed up to look like the inside of one of the new Focal/Naim retail stores. That was largely due to the fact this was a dealer room, Hawthorne Stereo, but most of the show-goers were there to listen to the Naim Audio Classic 200 series and probably didn’t care. This is the same “throwback” line, by the way, that I witnessed at the Munich show, where it also sounded superb.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
Speaking of the Naim Audio Classic 200 line, I have a bit of news. After seeing the Naim NAIT 50 in Germany, I decided to buy one for myself sound unheard. I felt anxious that only 1,973 NAIT 50 integrated amplifiers are being made to commemorate Naim’s 50th Anniversary (back in 1973), and I always regretting selling my beloved Naim NAIT 2. Plus, Naim is putting a killer headphone amp inside the NAIT 50, so maybe it becomes part of my headphone reviewing rig? Makes sense to me, especially after reviewing the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition.
When I first walked into the Focal/Naim room, I immediately scanned the horizon for a single Naim NAIT 50. There were none to be found, possibly because the window of opportunity has passed for you poor souls who also miss their old NAITs. But the Naim Audio Classic 200 series is certainly worthy of attention. These new products–the NSC 222 preamplifier and streamer, NAP 250 power amplifier and NPX 300 power supply–were matched with a couple of loudspeakers from Focal’s Sopra and Canto lines, and the entire system sounded quite special. (I really dig the earth tones on those speaker finishes.)
The secret to the Naim Audio Classic 200 line is a blending of the old and new technologies. Naim Audio has been a 21st century digital pioneer of sorts over the last couple of decades, and the Mu-so, for instance, is the device that made me fall in love with streaming. At the same time, Naim has gone back and looked at their more idiosyncratic approaches–mostly power supplies and how they are hooked up within a Naim system–and made them all simpler. Now it’s easier than ever to become a fan of Naim.
Which I used to be. With the arrival of the Naim NAIT 50 and the new Naim Audio Classic 200 series, I may be once again.