It takes infinite curiosity to be a Naim Audio engineer. To define, test and redefine each component and material in every product we design, ignoring trends to find new and better ways to achieve state of the art performance.
Pictured: 555 PS power supply rear panels being extracted from a bath of electrolyte fluid. A DC current is passed through the liquid, anodising the metalwork and giving a perfectly even black coating.
Every Naim Audio interconnect is shaken 180 times by a custom-designed pneumatic production device affectionately named ‘The SNAIC Shaker’ by our technicians. Why do we do this? Because it improves sound quality.
The digital filter in the NDS is mathematically precise enough to count 2 32 x 2256 seconds (that’s a 5 followed by 86 zeros). In other words, it’s powerful enough to count every second since the universe began many times over with pin-point accuracy. This level of precision is essential in order to keep filter arithmetic noise below – 144dB (the theoretical signal-to-noise ratio of 24bit PCM audio) at all times for best sound quality.
Nowhere is our determination to dance to the beat of our own drum more apparent than in our understanding of and enthusiasm for better quality power supplies. Improving the power supply has a clear and tangible effect on sound quality, we’ve observed it over and over. It’s why Naim products carry large transformers with isolated windings. The philosophy is exemplified in our range of separate power supplies that have the sole purpose of providing smooth, stable and low-noise power for audio electronics to shine.
Minimising mechanical, electromagnetic and thermal interference between components is a key part of Naim Audio design. Decoupling sockets to cut off interference from incoming mains power and suspending circuit boards on brass sub plates to create an isolated environment for critical electronics are two applications of this principle. A less obvious example is the creation of small bends in individual resistors by hand, decreasing microphonic interference (microscopic vibrations which degrade sound quality). But similar techniques are applied at every level of the design and build. And we only introduce techniques if they prove effective and repeatable in listening tests.
Matching the characteristics of sound critical components for each channel (left and right speaker) of an amplifier can greatly improve sound quality. Batches of resistors typically come matched to within a 5% margin of error. Through listening tests we found that if the resistance of the left and right channels are matched to closer than 0.5% music becomes dramatically more communicative and engaging. Following this discovery a bespoke production procedure was conceived to help us match resistors by hand.