Navison Knock Out

Rives Audio's Richard Bird introduced me to Navison, a brand I was aware of but not familiar with. Navison products are aesthetic knock outs—gorgeous wood (or black lacquer), etched gold faceplates (or chrome), and deep black transformer pots. They are audio confections.

Founded by Ben Nguen in 1996, Navison are made in San Jose. Rives demoed the 150W NVS-150 OTL output transformeless monoblock amplifiers ($30,000/pair). The two-chassis design employs a ton of 633C tubes to get all of that juice, but man oh man, did it deliver the goods.

The front end was a Navison Reference-228 ($9500) going into a Navison Special Edition Mark II ($6500). The speakers were Talon ThunderHawks ($25,000/pair).

Suave, sauve, sauve—with a healthy dose of drama thrown in. We listened to some creamy Dvorak and some heavy-breathing Mahler and I was transfixed. Immense soundstage, dramatic depth, and a sense of connection to the music that bordered on the profound. Navison is ravishing—check its wares out when you get the chance. You'll thank me for the experience, even if your accountant won't.

Richard Rives Bird's picture

For those not familiar with Rives Audio, we are primarily an acoustical engineering and design firm. In 1996 we diversified and purchased Talon Loudspeakers which remains as a separate division within Rives Audio. As of January 2009 we are the sales and marketing division of Navison Audio, though they remain a separate corporation with the original founder, Ben Nguyen as president. He continues to oversee R&D and manufacturing. Learn more about us at