ABOUT THE PROJECT
Years of relentless questioning, iterative design and a point blank refusal to accept no as an answer; three tools that helped Naim Audio and Diametric bring a new generation of amplifier to life.
Naim first had the idea for a different breed of amplifier – Statement – over a decade ago and development began in earnest in 2011.
Over the last year Diametric has been working with the audio company to produce the volume dials, buttons and serial plates for the revolutionary product.
Project lead at Diametric, Shaun Kara, said: “The thinking and the vision behind Statement really was out of this world. Every stage of the manufacturing was about creating the very best from a blank canvas, rather than looking at an existing product and working out how to improve it.”
Every component, curve and connection in Statement demanded new levels of engineering and tolerance and the volume control, manufactured by Diametric was no different.
The component is comprised of an outer and inner Bezel. The outer is CNC milled aluminium, anodised black with concentric rings, which sits into the main housing and then the inner volume knob, that is also CNC aluminium with a spun finish and protective coating to the top face, sits within it and is illuminated from the rear through an acrylic housing to give a breath taking effect.
Manufactured along similar lines, the control buttons are set in to the main housing and this in itself presented a challenge as described by Shaun Kara.
“The bottom of each button had a groove that had to fit into the base acrylic to allow rear illumination. When that was aligned the text needed to read in the correct direction and had to be perfectly central. The slightest misalignment and it would have been unforgivably noticeable.”
“To address this we had to find ways to hold the buttons in the correct place to do the etching. It took hours of development but in the end we replicated the plastic housing that the final button was going to go into to hold it while we etched the button.”
CNC milling was a technique used by Naim for other parts of the product. The distinctive ‘wave’ heat sinks begin life as a solid billet of untreated aluminium, which is cut to size and machined to achieve the curved profile. The fins are then cut using a five-axis, temperature-controlled, CNC machine. It takes three hours for the finished shape to emerge. Once each piece is individually machined, it is painstakingly hand-polished and quality inspected.
Quality and finish were two of the key factors in selecting the materials for the volume dials on the Statement. Diametric needed to find the right materials and production method that would be durable over time but bright and raw to fit into Naim’s aesthetic vision for the product. “We didn’t want too much protective coating to take away from the aluminium appearance” Shaun said. “We worked closely with Naim’s product design team to recommend the materials and processes that would achieve the look while being practical and of course cost-effective.”
Watch the video of the making of Statement here: