AV Options Offers Naim Service
While change follows Stateside change for Naim Audio, enthusiasts for the venerable British brand on this side of the pond recently got a bit of good news: Chris West, the tech-savvy Englishman who managed Naim Audio North America for over 20 years, is back in the business of servicing Naim gear.
Chicago resident West is part of a venture called AV Options, whose commercial objectives include fixing and refurbishing classic preamps and power amps from Naim Audio's "legacy" era (19772002). (Warranty servicing of new Naim products, as well as for-fee servicing of all other Naim gear, will continue to be provided by Naim Audio's new US distributor, Texas-based The Sound Organisation.) The other principals of AV Options are Nick Despotopoulos, publisher of the Michael Fremer's 1990s magazine The Tracking Angle, and David L'Heureux, both of whom are associated with other audio- and entertainment-related businesses.
According to Despotopoulos, prep work for AV Options included finding and acquiring the parts inventory required for any such venture. He noted that much of Chris West's professional time will be spent recappingie, replacing old capacitors that have drifted in value or ceased conducting altogetherNaim's early "chrome bumper" (19771991) and "olive" (19912002) electronics. West says that the majority of parts he keeps in stock are sourced from Naim Audio in Salisbury, England, with whom he has an enduringly good relationship. (He says he also looks forward to a good relationship with Sound Organisation, whose CEO, Steve Daniels, has many years of experience in British hi-fi.) But easily 5% of the parts required have necessitated some searching out: "There are times when we do have to scour the earth," West observes. "The other day I was trying to find the lamps that go in the old Naim 250 [amplifier] power switch. I could understand why Naim doesn't have these in stock anymore, because there's just no call for them. But I got lucky, and found quantities of the exact right part at a supplier in New Jersey."
According to the AV Options website, users who want to maintain the maximum performance levels of their Naim legacy amps and preamps should have them serviced every 7 to 10 years. Electrolytic capacitors often require replacement at those intervals, but tantalum capacitors, high-wattage power-supply resistors, and variable resistors throughout the products are also subject to scrutiny, and are candidates for replacement and adjustment. Fees vary according to the services required: the charge for rebuilding a Naim NAP 110 amplifier is $446; the same service for a Nait 2 integrated amp will set you back $607.
At this time, AV Options limits repairs and reconditioning to Naim amps, preamps, integrated amps, tuners, power supplies, and electronic crossoversalthough Nick Despotopoulos says that additional products and services are in the pipeline. (Service in the US for Naim CD players and loudspeakers can be handled by The Sound Organisation.) For more information, contact Chris West through www.avoptions.com.