It’s not “funny” it just so happens I did not mention the XPS DR at the start and the XPS DR has no relevance anyway, we can always “discuss” outside if you prefer
202/200 is the best value pre/power in my book. I’m listening to it at the moment while typing this post. Although I upgraded to the 282/250DR/Hicap DR about 2 years ago, I still retain the 202/200 in the second system which must be close to 10 years old by now.
The 202/200 has a more neutral presentation than the colourful, punchy and muscular sounding 282/250DR. Both sound unique in their own ways. Most importantly both has the signature PRaT which gave them the edge over other non-Naim amps.
Having said that, the amps below the 202/200 particularly the Nait XS don’t really cut it in my opinion. The Nait XS doesn’t sound too bad but the performance is rather average when compared with other mainstream amps out there (I compared the Nait XS to other non-Naim integrateds before). When I went from the Nait XS to the 202/200, I instantly experienced an uplift in sound quality. Getting into the 202/200 somehow rewards you with a more unique sort of presentation or performance which deviates from the common sound you get with amplifiers from other manufacturers, in my limited experience.
So in a way, yes. I’d agree you are getting the real deal with the 202/200. Do consider a Hicap DR for the 202/200 and your are set for life.
We are all different aren’t we… I thought NaitXS 2 was more enjoyable than my 202/200… it just seemed to have more bounce and passion… I was not really happy until I changed to a 282/250.2… a great combo, that was progressively bettered thereafter with more capable NACs, the 252 and 552… I have owned them all…
my resting place is the 552/250.2/ATC … absolutely sublime for me… I am just dreading something breaking and the magic spell being broken.
Spot on Simon👍
Yes, that is one of the factors. Apart from personal preferences, other factors include the setup of the system particularly the speakers that are matched to the amps.
Although the Nait XS may sound more enjoyable than the 202/200, it lacks the transparency, separation and detail of the 202/200. The Nait XS sounds fuller and more organic than the leaner sounding 202/200. These traits are inherent in the amps. A lean, bright or detailed sounding speaker will likely combine better with the Nait XS and in this context, the Nait XS will sound more enjoyable. Similarly a warm and full sounding speaker will form a better match with the 202/200 than the Nait XS.
I’m not sure about the Nait XS2 but if it is the Nait XS, I find the sonic presentation to be remarkably similar to the Rega Elicit Mk2 with very slight differences between the two. A caveat is both amps were connected with Rega SC42 speaker cables and perhaps for this reason the Nait XS sounded like a Rega.
If the Nait XS and XS2 sound almost the same, I can somehow relate to your experience in preferring both Nait Xs2 and 282/250 to the 202/200. Both Nait XS and 282/250 share the same full and organic presentation but the latter does it with considerably more authority, poise and sophistication. On the other hand, the sound of the 202/200 veers toward the cooler and leaner side of the spectrum when both Nait XS and 282/250 are on the other warmer end of the spectrum.
I won’t be surprised if there is someone else who finds a Rega Brio to be more enjoyable than the 202/200 for similar reasons. Nevertheless, the message that I was trying to convey previously was the sound quality of the Nait XS can be rather common ie. easily attained/matched/bettered with other non-Naim amps.
I have not seriously listened to the earlier XS, so can only refer to the XS2… but yes your comments reasonably match my experiences I feel.
@CalumF having owned 202/200 as you say it is a lovely balanced system, which I enjoyed for a number of years the only addition to mine was HCDR to feed the 202
it’s what works for you and gets your toes to tap - for me i think the 200 is an amp in the range which is offern passed by just enjoy the music!
I too some years ago tried the 252 with 200 - NOT for me either
I thought the 202 was one of the worse Naim pre amps it made me want to upgrade right away. And the 200 not much better. And the 252/250 is probably one of the better pre/amp combinations Naim has. Though my 72/HC/250 olive was damn good.
I too have to admit I was never entirely happy with my 202/200 combo and only became satisfied when reaching 282/250 territory.
Calum. Glad you like your 202/200 but sorry no way is the 282 woolly. Not at all.
the 202/200 combination can easily be an end game pre-power, but needs that all important source to do the job properly. Also needs careful speaker matching.
For me this is NDX2 territory as a minimum, I recall one Naim forumite paired a CDS3 and was very happy with CDS3/202/200. Personally for me the Chord Hugo2 or Qutest DAC really shines with a 202/200
I owned Nait XS1, and it is a fun amplifier, for the money, it is really very good when matched with a good source and speaker.
I recently heard (a few days ago), Atom and Nova again at my dealer, they do sound very good to my ears, they got the Naim sound !
Could I live forever with them… yes I could !
I had a 250.2 to begin with, when I still had an original UIniti Qute. I bought it S/H when I got a great deal. After that I bought a 202/NAPSC/HC. I just never found the 202 satisfying, so I bought a 282 S/H and it was night and day different, a revelation. That was 8 years ago. I still have the same 282/HC/250 but last year I had it all serviced and the HC/250 upgraded to DR.
It’s all quite fantastic. If I do anymore box upgrades it might be a SCDR to replace the HCDR and a XPSDR for the NDX2. Otherwise it might very well be end game for me (I retire in 4 years), and that suits me.
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