May 2023 Editorial

Naim Audio and Musical Fidelity jump on the fake-vintage bandwagon, reissuing their classic audio components

[Naim Nait 50]

Author: Lucio Cadeddu - TNT-Audio Italy
Published: May, 2023

Not many months ago I wrote two articles on the execrable trend of reissuing classic and iconic audio components, for example the Soundburger portable turntable by AudioTechnica and the RadioFonografo music center by Brionvega. Now even Naim Audio and Musical Fidelity have jumped on that bandwagon, releasing clones of their iconic Nait 1 and A1 integrated amplifiers, which caused a stir in the HiFi market in the mid Eighties. Exactly twenty years ago I devoted an article to the original, first version of the Nait 1, while - blame on me - I've never found the opportunity to write something about the Musical Fidelity A1.

If you missed the original Nait 1 in the Eighties, now you can purchase a limited edition copy of it, called Nait 50, released to celebrate 50 years of Naim Audio. Hurry up while supplies last, since only 1973 (year of foundation of the company) units will be made. You “just” need 3000€ to have one! The new Nait 50 is very, very similar to the original one, Naim just added a headphone output and labelled as stream one of the line inputs. Inside, the original circuit has been improved (so they say), though the output power is more or less the same, that is 25 watts per channel on 8 Ohm.

Musical Fidelity, on the other hand, reissues the A1, the revolutionary and controversial Tim de Paravicini's Class A integrated amplifier. It is just a little bit wider and vented, to dissipate the huge amount of heat Class A operation generates. You can get one for “just” 1600€.

What's wrong with this, you might ask. Well, though I generally hate modern reissues of iconic products of the past (the same applies to cars, as well) I can't avoid underlining that these reissues are much, much more expensive than their ancestors. The Nait 1 and the A1 were meant to be an accessible way to get high-end sound without breaking the bank. And, though not exactly entry-level, they were affordable.

You might reply that modern reissues have to be more expensive. Well, not always. For example Mission, to celebrate their 40 years in the business, reissued their first iconic 778 integrated amp (now 778X), introducing new, modern circuits and features, while pricing it below the original cost. A 778X costs 800€, while it costed 240UKP back in 1983, which is equivalent to 900€, more or less.

You see? I'm not convinced. I'm getting sick of limited-editions at stellar prices. Do you wish to celebrate? Design something new from scratch or reissue exactly the same product, in the same price range. That would be honest.

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