Stereo and AV integration

I've come to realise that I keep answering the same questions on this topic, so here's my suggestion for an FAQ :

HOW TO INTEGRATE A  STEREO AMPLIFIER INTO AN AV SYSTEM

Integration of Naim pre/power or integrated Stereo amplifiers with a Naim AV2 based system is simple.  Just download and follow the Naim AV2 manual from the Naim main website.  It’s in the manuals section under OLD PRODUCTS.  Just remember that the DIN/DIN lead you use to connect the AV2 to the Naim stereo amp is a “reversed” lead – usually supplied with the AV2.

All of this sequence works equally well with a non-Naim Stereo amp - just substitute an appropriate lead to connect the AV amp and Stereo amp.  Hopefully your chosen Stereo amplifier will have a Unity Gain input, enabling you to forget the bit about always setting the Stereo amp to the same volume level when using AV sources.

Integrating a Naim amplifier (pre/power or integrated) into a non-Naim AV system with Phono connections is easiest if your Naim amp has a Unity Gain input (usually called AV).   If so, just connect the front L/R preamplifier out channels

If  your Naim lacks a Unity Gain input, don’t panic – just connect to any of the line inputs on the Naim, but you will have to do is remember to always set it to the SAME volume setting when using it for multichannel sources with your AV processor.  I suggest 12 o'clock on the Naim’s volume control as this is easy to remember (just don't forget to turn it down when using the Naim unit for stereo sources, or your hearing may get a rude shock!).

What you do is use the Naim's volume control for sources connected directly to the Naim (e.g. CD player, Tuner, turntable, etc), and use the AV processor's volume control for your multichannel video sources.

Set up your Naim stereo amp with your stereo sources  plugged into it as usual.  The front speakers should be connected to the Naim’s speaker outlets (If you follow this guide they will work for stereo and AV sources).

Connect your video sources (DVD or bluray player, XBox360, PS3, etc) to your AV amplifier inputs

Connect the front L/R preamplifier output sockets of the AV amplifier to one of the DIN line inputs on the Naim stereo.  You will need a 2 phono to DIN cable for this purpose.  Make sure you get a cable that is wired correctly.  Companies such as Fastback cables and Chord happily will supply you with the correct cable, but talk to them first and be SPECIFIC about what you want : phono at source output (AV processor end, and DIN at the Naim (input) end.   I would suggest that if you are in any doubt get a 4 phono to DIN cable and use the appropriate 2 phonos  (those you would use for playback of a cassette deck).    Luckily enough the standard 2 Phono to DIN lead is usually the correct one!

Connect the other speaker outputs of the AV amplifier to the appropriate speakers  (Centre, surround, rear, subwoofer)

If using a powered Sub (which is the most likely type), connect it using a single phono to phono lead to the AV amplifier.  (Yes, it only uses a single channel and does not need 2 phono to 2 phono).  Various companies sell appropriate 75 Ohm leads.

Beg, borrow or steal a sound level meter.  If you don’t have a sound level, you'll have to try it by ear, but this is not very satisfactory.  Sound level meters are fairly cheap items.  I use a Radioshack one.

Put your listening chair in its desired position.

Set your Naim to its chosen AV input (as above) and set its volume control to your chosen setting (e.g. 12 o'clock).   Switch on the Naim equipment, subwoofer and the AV amplifier.

Sit down in your listening chair (with the Sound Level Meter if you have one) and the remote control for your AV amplifier.

Go through the speaker setup routine as in your AV amplifier's manual.   Depending on the AV amplifier you have, various options will be available.   It helps if you have an assistant armed with a tape measure!


First you will usually have to tell the AV amplifier what speakers you have connected.  It will usually give options such as LARGE, SMALL or NONE.   I would suggest setting your speakers to LARGE.  If no centre speaker or subwoofer connected, remember to set these to NONE.

Next it may ask you about DISTANCE - this is why you need an assistant with a tape measure, so that you can set appropriate distances.

Then you set the speaker output levels.  Set your Sound Level Meter to an appropriate range (or just do it by ear).  Switch on the SPEAKER TEST mode on the AV amplifier and crank up the volume on the AV amplifier to e.g. 80dB.   Then use the speaker level adjustments on the AV amplifier so that they all give the same output level.   When finished, SAVE your settings (if your AV amplifier needs that step) , switch your AV amplifer Speaker setup routine off.   Insert a DVD (or bluray disc) in your player, and enjoy the results of your labours. 

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