Naim NAC N 272 in the Test

Network Player, analog preamp, D/A converter, all-in-one device – that there are not only of Naim. However, after the test is clear: for other streaming Preamps is a feared opponent new NAC-N 272: rarely, all the components are so mature, the integration is almost never as elegant as here.

Earlier, Naim fans were easier to satisfy: once again was enough money in the account of the hobby, you auditioned at the dealer, noted that about the Phonoteil or the active switch still not was supplied with the best power supply, made a few comparisons of the hearing and ordered the next box from Salisbury. Naim developers looking back sure sometimes this time, as progress still depended on the degree of selection of transformers, transistors and voltage regulator or the direction of unit internal wiring harnesses.

Today same obsessive quality criteria apply in the Naim factory as in the past. But a significantly higher demands on the optics and surface precision, as well as the firm intention to play quite far forward on the issue of streaming have been added. Network players like the NDX prove that the Englishman to have although a lot of work, but ultimately no problem. The anticipation of the NAC N272 was all the greater.


The NAC N272 is a combination of streamer, D/A converter, and full-featured analog preamplifier. In each of these three disciplines, Naim has a distinct, sovereign manuscript. About the precursor is based on for decades grown circuits, which largely do without on ICs until today, after Naim look with its beautiful layout and many characteristic components (about tantalum and Styroflex-CS) right off the bat and also sound.

Characteristic is also the coexistence of DIN and RCA connectors at the rear. Which inputs and outputs are active, can decide the user menu with manufacturers such as AUDIO editors for best sound advise even to the archaic DIN Terminal, if the connected devices belong to the 99.9% that have no DINs – fitting adaptor cables are not expensive and the Sonic gain is beyond what you could win or lose on the quality of the actual cable.

The network player

You must not connect the main source, it is already inserted in the form of the network player. T + A or AVM, Naim buys to the fundamental Streaming technology in the Bavarian system provider Audivo, has integrated but exceptionally elegant and seamlessly into the device concept this. That starts with the discreet, informative display and logically structured menus and takes his coronation in the excellent control app. It is again an AHA effect if an album from the local NAS is running and a thorough review of just this album displays the app with a tap, participating artists and in turn their solo albums lists – conveniently the same with link to Amazon.

Access to Spotify connect

Further information and pictures come from the huge database of AMG, that wonderful of course has woven into the app Naim. It would be even nicer just now a streaming service in lossless quality would be ready, the music suggestions with one further click directly into the living room to beam – so for example integrating tidal (a la AVM). Here n is currently “only” the not entirely lossless Spotify connect and adheres with regard to scheduled services covered – but mostly, meaning that is it worked.

The D/A converter technology finally bonds with the Naim DAC and the top network player NDS takes, feeds highly stable new clocked Bitstream converter chips so with a DSP intelligence and buffer sleight of hand, to eliminate jitter influences of the respective data source.


And then there’s still – published first perhaps insignificant, but important in everyday life – things like the wonderfully subtle and at the same time directly responsive, inspired by the big statement-preamp volume, the luminous Naim logo that plays a secret role as a mute sensor button and of course the fact that the 272 remains infrared and fully operable directly at the device always and in all functions regardless of the operating state of app,.

In practice, the 272 was so exactly as good as we expected it. In the room there was but still a surprise: previous Naim Preamps for best sound depended on, always on an in-house power amplifier the 272 from this dependency to have free seemed to be. Directly connected with the large 3000 power amplifier by T + A, the Naim worked although as usual timing in love and clearly structured, at the same time but also amazingly soft, supple and rich in natural shades of timbre. Not quite so mercilessly exact, for something more fluid and warmer, the internal player (one now for comparison purposes via the fixed line out) came close to the in-house NDX and showed a few tricks yourself the new T + A from page 16.

Approximately, how play on an equal footing and with easily traceable can be even in the wildest turmoil of every musician, without risking the internal cohesion. That the Germans – a pure player – could conjure up yet more phenomenal timbres and an almost passable-looking space, detracted the uncomplicated, convincing naturalness of the Naim in the slightest. Oh: A supplementary power supply you can buy also the 272 – and amazed about the improvements. Just like earlier.