Will a good integrated amp (e.g. Naim Nait 5i) improve audio for home theater? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-30-2020, 02:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Will a good integrated amp (e.g. Naim Nait 5i) improve audio for home theater?

Hi all,

I have a budget AV receiver (Marantz SR6200, very old!) that provides decent audio for home theater but not great.

I also have a Naim Nait 5i integrated amplifier lying around not being used. It has a home theater bypass option, and I'm thinking of having it power my front left & right speakers in my 5.1 setup, using the Nait 5i (instead of the Marantz which would continue to power the centre and rears - I don't use a sub since small 10 feet x 10 feet room).

Would this result in better overall 5.1 sound quality? My guess is YES (at least for the front left and right speakers since those speakers would be powered by a dedicated integrated amp, and a good quality one at that (Naim).

Thanks for any help from the AVS forum gurus!

Darren

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post #2 of 18 Old 06-30-2020, 03:46 PM
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You don't say what speakers you have, but it is more likely that upgrading your speakers will improve audio more than adding an amp. Speakers determine audio quality much more than any piece of electronics.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-30-2020, 04:43 PM
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Is easy enough to plug the box in, why not just try it out, doesn't cost anything.
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-30-2020, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d3wu
... I have a budget AV receiver (Marantz SR6200, very old!) that provides decent audio for home theater but not great.

I also have a Naim Nait 5i integrated amplifier lying around not being used. It has a home theater bypass option, and I'm thinking of having it power my front left & right speakers in my 5.1 setup ...

Would this result in better overall 5.1 sound quality? ...
Not sure why simply moving the mains to the Naim would improve the sound quality but - as has already been pointed out - since it costs nothing to try it out you might as well try it out.
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post #5 of 18 Old 06-30-2020, 07:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice everyone!

The Naim is actually sitting at my brother's place in another city, so not too easy to just try out, so was hoping for a "theoretical" answer

To me, the mains should sound better if directly driven by the Naim amp vs. the Marantz receiver...but I'm just not sure if running the Naim through the Marantz would lessen the sound quality.

(P.S. my speakers are the most high-end piece in my setup, so it won't be the weakest link)
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post #6 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d3wu View Post
(P.S. my speakers are the most high-end piece in my setup, so it won't be the weakest link)
And what exactly are they? As stated above, the best way to change or upgrade audio quality is by changing speakers, not amps. Maybe they are great, maybe not. Or maybe just not a great match with your AVR. Or maybe it's just your sub that is the weak link, or your center. If you really want our help, you need to state all your equipment, or any "help" will not be all that helpful.

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post #7 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 04:59 AM
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The naim is a nice amp/ For a stereo only rig it would be better than the marantz . In 5.1 using the naim should provide more head room which is always good. I would do it.
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post #8 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 08:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillP View Post
And what exactly are they? As stated above, the best way to change or upgrade audio quality is by changing speakers, not amps. Maybe they are great, maybe not. Or maybe just not a great match with your AVR. Or maybe it's just your sub that is the weak link, or your center. If you really want our help, you need to state all your equipment, or any "help" will not be all that helpful.
Understood, sorry for being vague.

The fronts are B&W 705 S2 and center channel is the matching B&W HTM72. Rears are some old B&W DM303's. No sub as it's a small room (10 feet x 10 feet).

The source is a pretty high end Pioneer Blu Ray player (Pioneer UDP-LX500) and I'm a big concert film guy so like to listen to concerts in 5.1 (no sub)

I do also listen to TONS of music videos on YouTube (I know, not a strong audio source, but I just can't resists the sheer convenience and the appeal of having video alongside the audio). When I do this, I set the receiver to 2-channel sound.

Thanks again for any help!
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post #9 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d3wu View Post
Understood, sorry for being vague.

The fronts are B&W 705 S2 and center channel is the matching B&W HTM72. Rears are some old B&W DM303's. No sub as it's a small room (10 feet x 10 feet).

The source is a pretty high end Pioneer Blu Ray player (Pioneer UDP-LX500) and I'm a big concert film guy so like to listen to concerts in 5.1 (no sub)

I do also listen to TONS of music videos on YouTube (I know, not a strong audio source, but I just can't resists the sheer convenience and the appeal of having video alongside the audio). When I do this, I set the receiver to 2-channel sound.

Thanks again for any help!
Thanks for the info. Obviously using the Naim is free, other than the nuisance of getting it from another city, so you may as well give it a try. But IMO, you will improve your home theater experience more (your original query) by adding a sub. Less important for music, but more important (IMO) for movies.

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post #10 of 18 Old 07-01-2020, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillP View Post
Thanks for the info. Obviously using the Naim is free, other than the nuisance of getting it from another city, so you may as well give it a try. But IMO, you will improve your home theater experience more (your original query) by adding a sub. Less important for music, but more important (IMO) for movies.
Thanks. The music concerts are my big priority though and I've got more than enough bass though in my small room.

I think I will obtain the Naim - theoretically, sounds like it will help, so now time to put that test in practice

Btw, noticed you have an A9G. I'm a proud owner myself (55"). Super impressed with everything about that TV (except for the slight tilt/angle) - might be the best piece of electronics that I've ever bought!
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post #11 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 04:55 AM
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May I know how do you play music videos youtube? Is it from your

1. TV-> AVR (Via optical/HDMI ARC) or
2. from TV->3.5mm out?

So for the first case you need to convert the digital signal to analogue. Since Naim do not take any digital signal, in that case a DAC will be needed to convert the digital from analogue.

In second case you can just replace the the Marantz. But it will be only stereo setup.
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post #12 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 06:35 AM
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Integrating an integrated amp with an AVR is tricky. Any change in volume on the Naim will upset the balance with the other leakers. Since you don’t have a sub, it makes it much easier. However you will still need to fix the volume on the Naim.

Your options are, drive all sources through the Marantz, fix the volume on the Naim and essentially use it as an external power amp.

Or, some sources go through the Naim, so you use it as an integrated amp, and for 5.1 stuff, the Marantz goes through the Naim, but you have to carefully reset the Naim volume every time you switch to a Marantz source.
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebrieze01 View Post
Integrating an integrated amp with an AVR is tricky. Any change in volume on the Naim will upset the balance with the other leakers. Since you don’t have a sub, it makes it much easier. However you will still need to fix the volume on the Naim.

Your options are, drive all sources through the Marantz, fix the volume on the Naim and essentially use it as an external power amp.

Or, some sources go through the Naim, so you use it as an integrated amp, and for 5.1 stuff, the Marantz goes through the Naim, but you have to carefully reset the Naim volume every time you switch to a Marantz source.
The Naim has a home theater bypass, so when used as a power amp for the AVR you simply select that input, and the volume is set. If you use the Naim as an integrated, whatever volume you select on the Naim will be active. You do not need to reset the volume when going back to the Marantz.
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-02-2020, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post
The Naim has a home theater bypass, so when used as a power amp for the AVR you simply select that input, and the volume is set. If you use the Naim as an integrated, whatever volume you select on the Naim will be active. You do not need to reset the volume when going back to the Marantz.

Aah.. missed the HT Bypass bit. Thanks
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post #15 of 18 Old 07-03-2020, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by snkadh View Post
May I know how do you play music videos youtube? Is it from your

1. TV-> AVR (Via optical/HDMI ARC) or
2. from TV->3.5mm out?

So for the first case you need to convert the digital signal to analogue. Since Naim do not take any digital signal, in that case a DAC will be needed to convert the digital from analogue.

In second case you can just replace the the Marantz. But it will be only stereo setup.
It's the first case - TV to AVR using optical cable. Why do I need to convert the digital signal to analogue? I thought I would just use RCA cables from the AVR's pre outs to the Naim's AVR inputs?
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post #16 of 18 Old 07-03-2020, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jdcrox View Post
The Naim has a home theater bypass, so when used as a power amp for the AVR you simply select that input, and the volume is set. If you use the Naim as an integrated, whatever volume you select on the Naim will be active. You do not need to reset the volume when going back to the Marantz.
Thanks both. I will try this. In theory, since the Naim will drive the front mains (instead of the Marantz which will only drive the center and rears), I'm guessing the overall sound (no sub) will be better than if I just used the Marantz for all 5 speakers.

Although, I wonder if that will actually be the case since perhaps using one driver (the Marantz) to drive everything would result in a more balance/harmonized sound than using two separate drivers (even if the Naim is a much better piece of equipment)...
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post #17 of 18 Old 07-03-2020, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d3wu View Post
Thanks both. I will try this. In theory, since the Naim will drive the front mains (instead of the Marantz which will only drive the center and rears), I'm guessing the overall sound (no sub) will be better than if I just used the Marantz for all 5 speakers.

Although, I wonder if that will actually be the case since perhaps using one driver (the Marantz) to drive everything would result in a more balance/harmonized sound than using two separate drivers (even if the Naim is a much better piece of equipment)...
My guess is it will basically sound the same either way.

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post #18 of 18 Old 07-03-2020, 07:52 AM
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Audyssey should harmonize the main speakers along with the other speakers, so I wouldn’t worry about that. So long as you’re ok with not having a subwoofer for 2 channel, the plan works.
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