Some time in the summer of '93 I returned home from a short holiday in Yorkshire to find my kitchen window hanging off its hinges... All was obviously not well, and further investigation proved our worst fears; we had been burgled. All that was left of my HiFi was a couple of sorbothane feet and a cut cable or two.
At this time I was using a mixture of Arcam and Exposure kit feeding Linn Keilidhs, which I was broadly happy with. When after a brief period of haggling the insurance claim was agreed, I popped round to my nearest dealer to look for replacements. I had recently relocated to Northampton and halfway down Gold Street was a small independent dealer called Listen Inn - conveniently close to Barclaycard where I was working, so I called in for a lunchtime demo. Unfortunately... No Exposure kit, but the friendly chap suggested I listened to some Naim amps feeding the Keilidhs. We hooked up an Arcam transport, Blackbox DAC, NAC 92, NAP 90. Wow! Music with drive and power like I'd never heard before. Until now I'd reserved the term 'prat' for a few of my least favoured colleagues, but I now understood a new meaning for the term!
This modest, but highly musical system kept me happy until late 2001 which was a rather traumatic year where I separated from my first wife and 18 month old daughter. Being single again with a new house and time on my hands got me thinking about a bit of an upgrade... Nothing dramatic, but the old Olive look did not really fit with my new pad, so I again I visited Listen Inn and traded my amps for a NAC 112 NAP 150 and a CD5 which was my first move to a Naim source. Again a very enjoyable little system.
Time moved on, another new house, a lovely new wife and frequent trips to America with work. On one flight to San Francisco in 2007 I read a artical in a technology mag about a small outfit called Slim Devices who had built an audiophile network streamer called the Transporter. Being a dyed in the wool geek I had to have one of these babies and bought one a few months later thus starting my journey towards streaming. CDs were ripped, boxed up and relegated to the loft.
Whilst I was happy with the Transporter, I began to wonder if a bigger amp would bring the music to life more. Listen Inn had closed down, so I rang around a few dealers and stumbled upon this very helpful man in St Albans who seemed keep to help me find a better amp... So, the plan was simple, buy a NAP 250, no need for a pre as I only had one line level source. Auditions were arranged and I spent a happy afternoon in James' cottage listening to a 282/250 - intriguing, perhaps I should get a Naim pre as well I thought, as the two seemed so well integrated. As there was also a 252/SC2/300 warmed up as well ( cunning plan James! ) I also listened to this... Just to see if there was a difference. Suffice it to say, the budget was revised an I became a happy owner of my first 'big boys' Naim system. Oh, an a couple of cute little Guru QM10s also found themselves a new home. This was September 2008.
In January 2010 upgraditus struck again and the Ovator S600s replaced the QM10s and the Transporter was fed via a Naim DAC. I'd watched the development of the Ovator closely and despite its initial issues felt it did something really special. I was not disappointed!
Well, that just about brings me up to date, but a month or so back at the Festival of Sound I heard the new 555PS DR feeding a prototype NDS - sublime! There must be a proverb about Naim owners being soon parted with their money, so earlier this week the 555PS DR was added to my DAC. It's still settling down, but it's a massive upgrade. I'm listening to Ren Harvieu's album through it as I type this - fantastic album, and with the new PS in place, rendered with unbelievable beauty and depth.
So, that's it... My Naim story is complete, but I have a funny feeling that an NDS may well be on the cards later this year.