Recap vintage Naim or trade in for LS50W?

OK, I need the wisdom of the forum.
My Roon set up is:

  • Naim NAC 102 pre-amp
  • Naim NAP 180 power amp
  • Epos M12.2 speakers
  • Logitech Transporter
    I think the amps need recapping, I’m getting some audio loss in the right-hand channel (crackles then returns to normal if i jiggle the volume control). This will not be cheap (I live in Berlin, Germany).
    Also in my set up is Naim 3.5 CD player with separate power supply, and a Linn Sondek LP12 turntable.
    I stream Tidal via Roon, and even using DSP I can’t get the Transporter to match the Naim CD3.5 for detail, soundstage and warmth (and that CD player is nearly 30 years old).

My question is, should I:

  • Recap the amps, upgrade speakers and DAC/streamer, or
  • Trade in everything for a pair of KEF LS50W
    Trading in would be cheaper, I’m guessing a balance to pay of around €1,000.
    But if I recap now and eventually invest around €1,500 on a new DAC/streamer and for example some LS50s, how much better would the sound be than the LS50Ws?

I realise it’s impossible to say for sure, and no doubt highly subjective, but would welcome your POVs :slightly_smiling_face:


If you like the signature of Naim gear then perhaps not. You will have to trial them to compare.

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That sounds more like a volume control problem rather than caps


As you say highly subjective. However, this weekend I just replace my kitchen set up which was a Naim Uniticute and dynaudio audience 42’s with a pair of KEF LS50W’s and it really put a smile on my face…spending a lot more time washing dishes even though I have a dish washer. I have to say the display on the Naim had been busted for quite some time and I was using the app to control it. My wife loves the simplicity of the new set up using roon to pick her music and listen to radio.
I don’t use the LS50W’s wirelessly though I prefer an ethernet connection for all my equipment.

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Just don’t try and group the KEF with other zones.

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It sounds like you have a dirty volume control, not bad caps. I would try cleaning your volume control with some de-oxit (formally cramolin):

I work on a lot of vintage tube gear and this stuff cleans and quiets noisy controls of all sorts.



@Sheldon_Stokes thanks for the suggestion and link - is that easy to do without taking the unit apart?

Thanks @Trickyfish I would also use ethernet :slight_smile:

Yes, I’ll need access to the potentiometer itself which is on the back of the volume knob inside the case. If you take the the unit out of the case, and send pictures, I’ll be glad to assist by remote control


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wow @Sheldon_Stokes that sounds scary but love the offer of help.
i will have a look over the weekend and see if i’m feeling brave enough!

Feel free to message me here, or email me directly ( I’ll help out however I can.



Anyone up for walking thru caps replacements heheheheh I just did an amp the other day. But pics of the powersupply area would help us see if it’s an obvious need to do to from a first pass point of view

If you see like this then yes you need to do something

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@wizardofoz thanks - will do. obvious problem is with the NAC 102, so will start there. I have never tried to take the lid of any piece of hifi equipment before - I’m assuming that things don’t fall out as soon as you take the cover off!

Can always google for instructions…it’s all been done before. As long as you have the right screwdriver bits it shouldn’t be too hard…dead caps like popped and domed tops are easy to spot a pond a dead give away they need attention.

Some pots are sealed like ALPS and others are quite easily accessed with a cleaner flushing aerosol. Send pics before you spray tho.

Edit looks like they are ALPS pots and worse motorized to boot…if this is what yours looks like then you might need to seek a higher power

Ah yes, same as in my Nait 5i-2. You can’t easily clean those. If that is what you are dealing with, then you may have a bad solder joint on the circuit board.


[quote=“Sheldon_Stokes, post:15, topic:114957, full:true”]
Ah yes, same as in my Nait 5i-2. You can’t easily clean those. If that is what you are dealing with, then you may have a bad solder joint on the circuit board. [/quote]

Oh well, it was a nice dream for a while!
Waiting for a quote from a Naim dealer in Berlin and Class A Audio in UK.

Might end up going the LS50W route if the repair is too expensive.

That’s frustrating because I suspect it’s a simple fix that I’d be glad to do for you for free. But I’m half the world away.

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I’ve been reading the LS50W thread here again, they’re just not stable enough for me - too much a computer rather than high end audio that will last a lifetime.
I’m going to try and get the Naim units serviced, and enjoy for next 30 years :slight_smile:
Next decision will be which streaming dac and speakers to upgrade to when I one day get the money

Or sell the 102 and the 180 and get an Atom. There won’t be much in it.
I’ve had a 102 (moved from 202 to the atom). With the inbuilt streaming the sum is better than external and 102.

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When I had a little crackling on my Naim XS volume, I muted the output and then vigorously turned the volume up (to max) and down again repeatedly. Seemed to do the trick for me.

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