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Naim gets serious with New Classic 300

With the New Classic 300, Naim promises to take everything we loved about the 200 series to a new level.

written by / 2023-06-16 - 8:00 am
Naim gets serious with New Classic 300

We loved Naim’s New Classic 200 series, so much so that our reviewer was almost in tears when the products had to be returned. But behind the scenes, Naim’s engineers, led by Steve Sells, have been working to take things to another level with the New Classic 300.

The new range consists of a high-end music streamer, preamplifier and mono power amplifier. In addition, we get a turntable amplifier, which can also be upgraded with its very own power supply. And let’s not forget the NPX 300 power supply, which we have already tested in conjunction with the 200 series.

There are now a total of five products in the series, and if you want all of them, that makes six. Since you need two power amplifiers.

Naim NSS-333-Front-angle
Naim NSS 333. Photo: Naim

New Classic NSS 333 – high-end music streamer

NSS 333 is Naim’s latest high-end music streamer in the New Classic series. With both balanced XLR, RCA and DIN outputs, it is compatible with all older Naim amplifiers, but also amplifiers from other manufacturers. The NSS 333 can be upgraded with the NPX 300 PSU, which then upgrades both the digital and analogue sections with separate multi-pin cables.

The power supply alone costs a fortune, and it may seem odd that it should help the sound. But that’s exactly what it did when we tested it with the NSC 222 preamplifier, which also has built-in streaming.

Brand new DAC

The NSS 333 uses Naim’s own high-tech filter system, which removes pre-ringing for maximum resolution and the best possible impulse response. The system operates as we are used to from that side, on 40-bit floating point, for true 24-bit precision and utilises 16 times oversampling. The master clock alone determines the data flow, minimising jitter. Electronic noise that occurs when the DSP “nibbles the power supply” for each calculation it makes (so-called arithmetic noise), Naim claims to have worked hard to reduce.

The Burr-Brown chipset is used, with polystyrene filter components after the DAC to minimise dielectric absorption. This should provide a safer electrical environment around the signal during the critical transformation process from digital to analogue. Naim also utilises its own discrete voltage regulators internally, in the name of sound quality.

Balanced XLR

It’s a fairly recent development for Naim to equip products with balanced XLR in addition to RCA and their own DIN connector. They then use a so-called impedance-balanced design, which they believe has sonic advantages over true balanced operation. Because the little distortion that gets through is 2nd harmonic, where it is odd harmonic and unmusical, in a true balanced circuit.

NP800 streaming module with all services

At the heart of the NSS 333 is Naim’s own NP800 streaming module. It buffers a full five minutes of music in memory, which is cleaned of jitter and other digital distortion. The NSS 333 supports Tidal, Spotify Connect, Qobuz, UPnP and Roon. Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and also Bluetooth. It also has internet radio, so there’s plenty of music to get into!

Everything is controlled with Naim’s own app, but it also comes with a remote control that uses Zigbee. The NSS 333 can be included in a multi-zone system with Naim’s own Mu-so or Qb 2nd Gen zone speakers.

Additional digital inputs with coax, BNC and optical make it easy to connect to other devices such as CD players, Apple TV and smart TVs.

Upgrade with external power supply

If you want to upgrade the NSS 333, you can do so with the NPX 300 external power supply. This provides dedicated power to the digital and analogue circuits with 8 discrete regulator circuits and a large and fast power bank.

Naim NAC-332-Front-angle
Naim NAC 332. Photo: Naim

New Classic NAC 332 – High-end analogue preamplifier

With the new NAC 332, Naim takes the technology from its most expensive preamplifier to create one of the best analogue preamplifiers ever. The aim has been to create as musical a preamplifier as possible, which will stand on its own with its own power supply, but which can of course also be upgraded with the aforementioned NPX 300 PSU.

NAC 332 has both balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA outputs. It also provides power to Naim’s new external turntable amplifier NVC TT via a special plug.

The volume control is analogue, but digitally controlled. Fixed resistors provide perfect channel balance and regulate the sound level with high precision.

The amplifier also has a built-in headphone amplifier, similar to the one in Uniti Atom HE, but without a balanced output.

Naim NAP-350-Front-Up
Naim NAP 350. Photo: Naim

New Classic NAP 350 – Mono power amplifier

With the Naim NAP 350, Naim has taken the idea from its own NAP 135 mono amplifier. An amplifier that in the 1980s was often used in four- or six-way configurations, together with active crossovers. If you intend to do the same with the NAP 350, be prepared to cough up some serious money, as it costs EUR 14,000 per pair! That’s 175 watts per amplifier, plus 1.7 kilowatts of peak power – which is staggeringly powerful! In fact, NAP 350 is the most powerful Classic Line amplifier ever.

Fully balanced and fully regulated

The new NAP 350 is fully balanced and designed as a mono amplifier with an even larger power supply than the new NAP 250. It is fully regulated with patented discrete regulators and runs in pure Class AB.

Naim uses eight 009 transistors taken from the Naim Statement amplifiers, which is a doubling in number per channel from the new NAP 250. The result, according to the importer, is “an exceptionally powerful yet quiet high-end monoblock that will drive virtually anything you throw at it.”

Naim NVC_TT_front
Naim NVC TT. Photo: Naim

New Classic NVC TT – MM/MC phono amplifier

NVC TT was originally launched as part of the Solstice Limited Edition turntable package. Now it’s finally available to buy separately.

NVC TT is the first turntable amplifier with Naim’s discrete regulator technology. With Class-A amplification and precise filter circuitry, NVC TT is “extremely noise-free and delivers incredibly low distortion”. The MM and MC sections are completely separate with their own amplifier circuits and 16 choices for resistance and capacitance. This gives a total of 256 different settings for MC pick-ups.

NVC TT can be powered directly from both NAC 332 and NSC 222. If these preamplifiers are upgraded with an external power supply, you also get a further improvement in the power supply to NVC TT, but Naim has also created its own separate power supply for NVC TT, called NPX TT. This will take the sound from the turntable to new heights.

It is also necessary to have NPX TT if you are going to use the turntable with amplifiers other than NAC 332 or NSC 222.

More info: naimaudio.com

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