Naim NAC 102 Preamplifiers

4.75/5 (4 Reviews) MSRP : $2200.00

Product Description

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Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by colin foreman a Audiophile

Date Reviewed: December 23, 2001

Bottom Line:   
i went to the shop for a dem sounded ok, again i was unsure if it was any better than nac 72, so i took it home to make sure if it sounded any better than the 72, so i pluged it in switched it on and i was amazed at the difference, it was still the naim sound but more detail than before the bass was cleaner and more powerful the sound was more real than before, so i keep it, then i got the hi-cap and added it to the nac 102 and it got better still could it get any better (YES IT CAN) i then got the nacsp, again it just gets better and better.
thanks again

ps. price above is uk pounds

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Used product for:   3 months to 1 year

Duration Product Used:   Audiophile

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $1185.00

Purchased At:   phonograthy

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Mike Hanson a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 5, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I've had my Naim NAC 102 and NAP 140 for over a month now, so I feel that it's time to submit my review. The biggest thing that I notice is that it handles dynamics exceedingly well. From the softest softs to the loudest louds, it always sounds magical.
In the past I had viewed an amplifier as a simple "pipe with gain". I felt that as long as you had enough power to prevent clipping, then one amplifier would sound the same as the rest. I was dead wrong. After listening to the Naim gear against a plethora of other equipment from Bryston, Rega, Yamaha, Exposure, Primare, Arcam, etc., the Naim pre/power combination sounded far more engaging, exciting, exhilarating, exhuberant, and as many other superlative "e" words you want to tack onto this list.

All material is delivered with great detail, yet it doesn't sound cold. It's really quite the opposite: the warmth and pleasure produced by this combination exceeds anything that I have heard from other manufacturers. And the "toe tap factor" is really up there.

Now that I've been bitten by the Naim bug, I'm on the upgrade path for a while. I'm saving up now for the NAPSC and Hicap power supplies to boost the quality of the sound event further. For those of you who aren't familiar with Naim's approach, their preamps require a separate power supply. This can be provided by the power amp (which of course affects the ability of the power amp to do its job), or you can purchase separate supplies. In the case of the NAC 102, you can get one for the audio electronics (the Hicap), and one for the digital switching circuitry (the NAPSC). The nice thing here is that you can start with just the pre+power, then upgrade as you desire (and as funds permit).

Overall this is a fantastic combination, and heartily recommended!

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Duration Product Used:   an Audiophile

Overall Rating:4
Submitted by GEORGE MELNIKOFF a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: February 25, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I purchased the Nac102 (with 180) and discovered music that was totallynew to me.Whooaa..the richness and clarity was unbelievable.My unit
included a Naim 3.5 CD(plus a Flatcap) and my old speakers (Kef REF3).

The speakers almost cried when Iplayed Sinatra, BB King..the vocals
and smooth acoustics were the most noticeable change.I had auditioned
Krell, CAL, Mcintosh..but found the warmth and detail unmatched.I
know some complain about the Bass level with Naim, but I found it
good with solid rock and outstanding in jazz combos.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by David Antonelli a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 28, 1998

Bottom Line:   
I unconditionally recommend this preamplifier - especially when used with the hicap and the optional napsc to control the digital circuitry. With the 500 dollar napsc it comes so close to the NAC 82 (almost double the price at 6000 canadian) that you can barely tell the difference. With the hicap it's just - well, something else. The sound is deep, lush, spacious, accurate, and most of all musical. In the context of the CD 3.5 and the NAP 30 it's lit up my Numen speakers like a candelabra of beautiful sound.
I got into Naim a few months ago after becoming dissilusioned with less expensive components like Cambridge Audio and the Micromega Minium series. I started with 2000 dollar Numen speakers and moved from the CD-4/A1 combination (which I found more than a bit dry) to a CD-4 with a minium amp (much more lush, although lacking detail). Still dissapointed, I went to a Naim NAC 92 with a Nap 90 and a Naim CD 3.5. The sound was a quantum leap! People who think that speakers are the biggest determinant in a system's sound should watch out. With every change of the electronics the system sounded totally different. Music was hugely detailed and the bass punchy and solid as in vinyl. The high ends, however, were a bit crisp and the bass, at times, rumbling. Moving the speakers around the room changed little.

Next I bought a flatcap. The sound immediately softened up and the bass boom went away. The system had an overall bloom which it was lacking with the unpowered NAP 90/NAC 92. While at first I doubted Naim's philosophy that adding things on would always give "significant" or "radical" improvements (as the web page suggests) I am now convinced that they are right. Next I exchanged my Nac 92 for a NAC 102 with the optional power supply and traded in the flatcap for a hicap. Whoooosh! Again I was astomnished. In retrospect, the Nac 92 seemed tight and almost - for lack of a better word - harsh. Although the 92 has a big powerful sound, there are elements of sensuality and warmth lacking. With the 102 the soundstage was suddenly enormous. Female vocals penetrated the room like voices in a cathedral. Everything sounded great. Detail! Detail! Warmth. Thrust. The sense of romanticism was astounding. From Ralph Vaughn Williams to Bad Brains music came to life in a rich profusion of color and emotion which utterly belittled the best Linn, Adcom, and Audiolab systems I have heard. Nowhere was the sound bright or etched as in many even topline (Meridian) systems.

One note of caution, however. Beware the Intro speaker. As much as I've become a Naim fan I find these unbareably harsh (even with Naim's reccomended electronics) and wonder what they're thinking here. It's the most caustic "audiophile" speaker I've ever heard. If they think that they can lure people into going to active crossovers by offering an inferior introductory speaker, then I can't really respect them. I'd like to see their Vice President stare me in the eye and tell me he thinks they're worth the price - or even worth listening to at all. Epos, Royd, Numen, and countless other speakers (I'm sure) would do their first rate electronics a lot more justice. I'd rather have miniature chickens crawl into my ears and peck at my hearing lobes than listen to a pair of Naim Intros. They say the Credo is a lot better but I haven't heard them.

In summary, I was once considering upgrading my speakers, but now I'm not so sure. They've turned into gems of sound with the Naim electronics behind them. What about Thiels and NHT? I ask myself. Will the Naim electronics do the same for thse speakers (which are much more critically aclaimed than the Numens)? Do I even need to find out when things already sound so good? Yes, Naim is not only fun in the flexibility it offers on the upgrade path, but every addition DOES add a real and often enormous change to the sound. I was a sceptic, but now I'm converted.

Where to next? They say the CDX is way better than the CD 3.5...
What about upgrading from a NAP 90 to a 180 or a 250? I'm sure the results will be astonishing...
And active crossovers...?

The future is ahead and I'm sure the music will get better and better with every cent I put into the system. But here on in things will get rough. A supercap is 5,000. The XPS power supply for the CDX is almost as much. The Nac 52 is 10,000. The CDS the same. With active crossovers, triamplification and Thiel Cs 7s I could be banging on the door of the poorhouse. Right now the system is absolutely first rate. But its that curiosity that kills. If a Hicap does THAT much to the sound, what will the Supercap do? Am I even worthy?

Back to the review. The NAC 102 gets an easy five stars. It's simply breathtaking - especially with the power supplies. It in the context of my system it wipes out anything I've heard.

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Duration Product Used:   an Audio Enthusiast

Reviews 1 - 4 (4 Reviews Total)

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