Naim’s all-new trio at CES 2023 makes me want to rediscover classic hi-fi setups

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Naim is kicking off its 50th anniversary year in style at CES Las Vegas with not one, not two, but three all-new hi-fi components within its Classic range – each fully re-engineered with a fresh look and additional connectivity options, including balanced connections. 

The half-a-decade old revered audio company invites you to (come to CES if you feel like it and) start your Naim New Classic musical journey with the NSC 222: a streaming pre-amplifier that lets you keep things simple without compromising on sound. You get Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, and more baked right in, plus a world of internet radio, or why not connect one of the best turntables to hear more from your vinyl collection?

The NSC 222 features Naim’s latest headphone technology (as featured in the excellent Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition), too, for a levelled-up solo sonic experience.

Everything you listen to is also displayed on the NSC 222’s 5.5-inch full-color screen. Control it easily via the Focal & Naim app (which we really enjoyed when testing the Focal Bathys headphones), the smart Zigbee remote-control handset (no line of sight required) or via the unit itself: Naim assures us the illuminated volume control is a joy to use.

Naim explains that the NSC 222 can be enjoyed on its own or as part of a multi-room set-up with other Naim streaming products – including the excellent Mu-so speaker family – plus other AirPlay and Chromecast products.

And to drive the speakers (and music) of your choice to new heights, Naim suggests that you pair the NSC 222 with its perfect partner: the NAP 250 power amplifier. 

Now, this hi-fi separate is a superstar, friends. In continuous production since 1975, the NAP 250 is now an iconic piece of audio kit. And this new sixth-generation iteration features trickle-down technology from Naim’s flagship Statement amplifier, delivering more power (100W per channel), and promising even better performance and greater system-matching flexibility.

Ready to complete the package? That’ll be the NPX 300 power supply, which Naim explains is the instant upgrade for the NSC 222 streaming pre-amplifier above. Why? It disables the internal power supply – immediately reducing the noise floor further still – and promotes superior, cleaner power.

The Naim Audio NSC 222, NAP 250 and NPX 300 are available to order now, with a suggested retail price of $8999 / £5700 / €7000 each (which is around AU$13,140). 

Naim has also helpfully created a range of cable options that allow easy integration of the new models with earlier Naim products, to ease the upgrade path.

Opinion: with so many one-box options around, Naim separates feel like the ultimate hi-fi buy

Naim NSC 222 detail on wooden dresser

Classic Naim feels with a stunning color display? We’re in.  (Image credit: Naim)

You don’t have to look far to find audio products that claim to do it all without the extra boxes, from the best Bluetooth speakers and wireless speakers, to party speakers that want to add to your lighting as well as handle your music. Even Naim’s own splendid Mu-so (2019) was an all-singing, all-streaming, one-box speaker-toting wonder. 

So, it’s refreshing to see a trio of hi-fi separates from Naim – albeit souped up, updated solutions with streaming capabilities and fresh compatibility options. 

But this is CES, the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, baby! We’re used to seeing self-driving cars and massive 120-inch prototype TVs at CES. And, despite a bold 2011 merger with high-end French audio specialist Focal (see the Sopra 2 and Cleer Mg for starters), Naim Audio is a British hi-fi manufacturer based in Wiltshire, United Kingdom, founded in 1973.

But this is audio land. Here, vinyl’s continued resurgence coexists happily alongside hi-res digital audio and, while some opt for one of the best portable players around, others like to stay home and attach a set of the best over-ear headphones to their multi-box home hi-fi systems. In 2023, that’s just fine – hopefully it always will be. 

Naim celebrating its 50th at CES. You love to see it.

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