NAIM Debuts $240K Statement Amplification System at New York Audio Show

In case you aren't up on the latest audio industry mergers and acquisitions: in 2011 French loudspeaker manufacturer Focal purchased NAIM, one of Britain's most fiercely independent and iconoclastic electronics and loudspeaker manufacturers.

More recently, both Focal and NAIM were purchased by Naxicap Partners, a French investment group and the private equity group Acquasourca. Given that "high performance audio is dead", these buyouts are perplexing except that obviously high performance audio is not dead.

At the New York Audio Show Focal and now NAIM importer Audio Plus Services demoed an awesome sounding NAIM/Focal system that marked the consumer show debut of NAIM's new visually and sonically stunning Statement electronics. The two outer monoliths are monoblock amplifiers, while the center tower is the system's preamplifier. The $240,000 price tag makes it strictly for leverage buyout and other wealthy dudes. Also in the system from NAIM were the top of the line MDS streamer and HDX server.

The speakers were Focal's Utopia EMs connected to the electronics by NAIM's silver cables. Total system price is approximately $380,000.

You may laugh or gasp but my sources tell me the NAIM electronics have already sold in numbers far larger than you might imagine. One reason might be how incredibly fine this system sounded, even under difficult hotel room conditions. Audio Plus Services' John Bevier was kind enough to insert my USB stick into the system and the files immediately showed up on his hand held screen (can't remember if it was an iPad or not). I spent way too much time listening to 192K/24 bit vinyl sourced files.

These amps did the best ever job of controlling the big Focal "W" cone woofers and they system could play very loud without any sense of strain or compression. NAIM is best known for "playing the notes" and getting correct the rhythm'n'pacing and this system absolutely ROCKED but it could also breathe well and produce delicacy and a profusion of harmonic colors.

Visitors to this room got a good idea of what high performance audio is all about—whether or not they could afford it.

Victor's picture

While impressive, I've heard speakers better for a tiny fraction of the cost. Me and a pal agreed that they were a bit shrilly on the high frequencies, and the visual aesthetics are, well, instant divorce.

Perhaps part of the problem was what they chose to demo these speakers with at the show. The Ella/Louis worked well, but one choice was Tenor Madness that put the dreadful RVG piano sound right smack in your face. While it certainly showed the speaker's transparency--for better of worse--it made us leave the room in a jiffy. Ya spend $380K and they will rip up your entire record collection.

figaro's picture

I have never liked these speakers, they sounded awful in the big VAC room, but in the Naim room they sounded really good. My past experiences have never been positive with these speakers. Perhaps it was show conditions, or gear they were forced to use in the rooms because of dealer obligations, or perhaps some of the source material at the time was not so great. But this time they sounded great (for me) with the Naim gear. A few rooms away in the VAC room they sounded bad (to me).
Honestly I think the great was sound was more defined by the Naim gear than the speakers, and I am a tube guy.
But the Vac integrated in the Nola room was best of show to me, at a much reduced price. And last year the Vac gear with the raidho speakers was best of show for me. Confusing Sometimes some gear sounds great sometimes not so great. Of course we know synergy has much to do with success, what surprises me is that we know it means so much and yet at the shows they tend to throw that knowledge out the window because of financial obligations to dealers. Sometimes the results are not worth it and can do more harm than good. The guys running the rooms should know what works well together, hell it is what they do for a living.
My experience with the Naim room was positive, best of show? no...but impressive

Victor's picture

Correction--yes, it was the VAC room that I heard these speakers, not the Naim. There was another room using VAC with very tall, oddly shaped speakers that were nice, except for the overpunchy bass (Nola doesn't ring a bell).

Question--anyone notice that the VAC tube amps/preamps had no ventilation??

pjdjr's picture

naim tells you to use only thier cables or you could do damage to the this real or jus their attempt to make sure you buy their stuff!

i have super unity
considering 250-2 power amp
and proac response d2 speakers.

whats your opinion.

also how mush better will my proacs sound wuith the power amp....