- Written by Michael Jude Galvin
- Published on 27 February 2014
The Naim Supernait 2 Integrated Amplifier In Use
It will take a few months, but the day will come when the sound you hear from the Supernait 2 will grab your attention and not let go. It's easy to notice the Supernait 2 is a mile quieter than the previous XS-2, but that's really just the most obvious of the improvements. The trademark Naim energy is there, but the Supernait 2 grips each sound with much greater control and sounds even faster than the old XS-2.
If you really want your jaw to drop, you need to experience the way this amplifier assembles a soundstage. Play "m.A.A.d city" from Kendrick Lamar's 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city. It is downright spooky hearing (to the point of creating the illusion of seeing) MC Eiht's vocal go from the left to the right speaker. The Supernait 2 is virtual reality like I have never heard before.
If you were throwing a party to celebrate the original Nait's defiance (and why wouldn't you), surely M.I.A. has earned an invite. On Mantagi (2013), after she mockingly asks "what world peace?" on "Karmageddon," you get the sense that whatever else she intends to do on this album; she will take apart, piece by piece, every hater and hypocrite she can find. By the time you get to "Boom Skit," the Supernait 2 is an accomplice in what can only be described as an assault: "Brown girl, brown girl, turn your shit down, you know America don't wanna hear your sound, boom boom jungle music, go back to India with your crazy shit . . .." Where the XS-2 made you snap your fingers and tap your foot, the Supernait 2 makes you dance.
It would be a mistake to think that all the new Supernait 2 can do is pound out electronic and hip hop. It seems only appropriate then to play "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" from Me'shell Ndegeocello's 2012 tribute to Nina Simone, Pour une âme souveraine to hear how refined and delicate the Supernait 2 can be. Thanks to Linn's 24 bits of Christmas promotion, I downloaded the flac file for free, converted it to Apple lossless through Audirvana and voilà. This song, a confessional really, features a very upfront, breathy vocal paired with a somber 1970s-sounding keyboard. This track really lets you hear the recording space and the Supernait 2 renders it so incredibly quiet, yet vast, that it takes the intimacy off the charts ("If I seem edgy, I want you to know, I never mean to take it out on you. Life has its problems, and I get more than my share, but that's one thing I never mean to do").
If you just want to sit down and listen to an entire album and be astonished at what the Supernait 2 can do with all sorts of well-recorded music, put on Random Access Memories, Daft Punk's perfect-sounding (not exaggerating) 2013 album. If the nine-minute "Giorgio by Moroder", doesn't convince you the Supernait 2 is one of the most dynamic, exciting amplifiers you have ever heard, check yourself for a pulse. Seriously. The textures with which the Supernait 2 can render the human voice is remarkable.