Naim Audio Supernait 3 Integrated Amplifier $4990 Review

October 19, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“The Naim put on full display the great sound of Lady Gaga’s Chromatica (24/48 FLAC, Interscope/Qobuz). This wonderful album is personal and cathartic, but is nonetheless upbeat and punchy. The Supernait 3 had no trouble keeping up with the album’s immense and pulsing dance beats. The album’s sweeping electronic flourishes highlighted a huge soundstage, the Naim assertively positioning deep, well-defined synth notes between the speakers in a dense and dizzying wall of EDM sound. But even as the dance beats pounded through hectic electronica, the voices were still clear — when Elton John enters 1:42 into “Sine from Above,” I was caught entirely off guard by how present his voice was. The slight processing on his voice didn’t keep the Supernait 3 from presenting it with an arrestingly crystalline quality that was vivid and commanding in the best possible way.

The Supernait 3’s headphone output was also extremely satisfying. The many-layered vocals in Sting’s “Desert Rose” were well defined, and benefited from a bit of warmth that made this recording sound big and inviting through my Sennheiser HD 580 headphones. Although the sound wasn’t quite as clear as through the headphone output of my Oppo UDP-205 — my reference for built-in headphone amps — small details were still audible, and there was a touch more bass. And despite the signal having to travel through a pair of Nordost Quattro Fil interconnects to get to the Naim from the Oppo, the sound from the Naim’s headphone output was always clean and authoritative. I suggest that, unless they’re very serious about their headphone listening, those considering buying a Supernait 3 think twice before spending more on an external headphone amp.

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