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Restoring a Classic

The story of Paul Warrilow’s cherished NAIT amplifier is a 21-year chronicle of life’s ups and downs against a backdrop of devotion to listening pleasure. We’ve recently been delighted to fully rejuvenate this classic example in our Service Department. 

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Restoration’ is a term readily associated with fine furniture, old buildings or classic cars, but is equally well applied to hand- crafted classic hi-fi. Can a NAIT really be considered a historic artefact? Well, it certainly is in the context of our heritage. Introduced 30 years ago, it was our first integrated amplifier – a bedrock of our reputation for exceptionally good sound delivery. Paul’s NAIT is one of the first of these iconic amplifiers ever to be made, dating back to 1983. He purchased it in 1992 as he explains, “I was 22, newly married and pretty skint. But I had a friend who owned a NAIT and an LP12. It sounded amazing and I wanted it!”

It was in constant use for several years before being mothballed to survive growing children, a marriage break-up and a house move. Having moved on to Naim Audio separates Paul sold it on eBay... but infuriated the eager buyer when he couldn’t bear to part with it at the appointed hour. Instead, he passed it on to his vinyl appreciative daughter Laura. “It replaced her system, giving a massive difference in separation and clarity. It sounds lovely to this day.”

An intermittent fault, however, finally impelled the Warrilow dynasty to deliver its venerable NAIT to Naim Audio for total renovation. 

Skilled and experienced specialists work to restore products, like Paul’s NAIT amplifier, in Naim Audio’s Service Department.

Beverly Haysom, who accepted the commission, has been at the company for 21 years, running the Service Department for the last 10. She typifies the valuable staff longevity that allows almost anything Naim Audio has made (an archive on site contains one of everything) to be restored by experienced specialists. “They pass on skills to new personnel through training, copy boards, wiring copies and, well, just overall integrity,” she explains. A detailed inspection and bench test tease out any faults the owner might not even have detected.

“Components get tired and dry out, which will compromise sound quality after a period of time. Voltages can drift and our very old products sometimes need recalibration.” 

Beverly oversees the compilation of a ‘work to be done’ list, including components for replacement or upgrade. Then the job is turned over to an engineer who painstakingly works through it. An overnight electrical soak, final inspection and listening/function tests, recovering and cleaning complete the programme.

“Laura can’t wait to get it back and I’m sure it’ll be good for another 21 years.” Paul says. Then we’ll be pleased to fettle and upgrade it again. But Laura, if it’s going to deliver music to you non-stop, we’d rather have it back for a little attention after ‘just’ 15 years. 

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