Naim has pushed the boat out big time in Vegas. At £125,000 Statement is the most extreme amplifier it has ever made and I suspect the most expensive British amplifier currently available. But, crucially, it sounds so good and is built with so much precision and attention to detail that it almost seems like a sensible price. The NAC S1 preamplifier and NAP S1 monoblock power amplifiers stand around a metre tall and each amplifier weighs 101kg. They look like two box devices but are in fact a single piece, this in order to minimise cabling on the back and provide a 270 degree cable free aesthetic. They look stunning but sound even more impressive, used with an NDS source to drive Focal Stella Utopia speakers via prototype cables the Statement delivered over played dem tracks like the bingy bongy piece from American Beauty in such a fashion as to make it totally arresting. I wasn't even sitting down but it was clear that power, detail and timing were in a different league to most high end systems.
Engineer/designer Steve Sells has been working on the Statement project for three years but it has been his dream to build the ultimate amplifier for naim ever since he joined over ten years back. In order to get the results achieved he had to use aerospace technology in the form of aluminium nitride transistor casings, this provides significantly better heat sinking than traditional materials and allowed him to draw greater current from each of the 24 devices found in each amplifier. Power is specified as one horsepower (746) but these things can deliver up to 9kW peak output. That explains the incredible grip they exhibit, I don't think I've heard bass of this quality outside an active loudspeaker. The price seems like a brave move for a company whose current range topper is the £17,000 NAP 500 but Naim tells me that the response from its distributors has been very positive, I suspect that Focal will also be pleased that its sister company has an amplifier that can reveal the potential of its equally expensive Grand Utopia speaker as well.
Solid copper busbar