404 vs SN3

Well, I’ve just pulled the trigger on Moonriver 404 Reference.
Some months ago I created a deposit account named SN3 and was going to acquire SN3 by next Summer. However, there was a pitfall - my dealer can order the SN3 if I decide to buy it and therefore no upfront auditioning is possible.
I spent a couple of hours auditioning this 404 without any intention to buy it, I was swearing blind I’d buy SN3. However, at some point I realized that the hunt had been finished.
I’d not describe the the sound, just can tell that the signature is naimish. The main difference is in the stage and details.
The deal has not finished yet, as I need to sell everything - another bucket of watches, some knives, maybe a school chronograph, and a jacket or two. However, as a safe bet I will not sell 5si from the very beginning. I just like this small beast - it drives floorstandes very well, say AE 509, and gives quite resilent bass. Actually, this guy is a kind of family member.
So, the excuses of what I’ve done:
1 I like the brand phylosophy - less is more. This is exactly what I propagate in my work.
2 it does not have neither of MM/MC, DAC, headphones amp/output, etc - I just don’t want to pay for what I don’t need
3 simple rear panel - the sockets and relay cost money, and I need just one or two of them. I once again don’t want to pay for what I don’t need.
4 electricity consumption - I prefer more sustainable approach
5 404 was dead silent when 5si had some hissing. I know the solution, and I applied it, but that makes me skeptical.


And not to forget, it’s designed and made in Sweden :+1::sweden:

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Right. However, it looks british and sounds naimish while having only 50VA of power.

I’d love to hear one :+1: The Ear reviewer had a great experience using Oephi cables (which I use) with the Moonriver. Moonriver and Oephi also partners up at shows etc so there seems to be great synergy there.


I’ll look for them. Thanks for the tip!

Glad you like your new amplifier, but not sure why SN3 is in the thread title. You didn’t hear it, didn’t compare it, and didn’t buy it.

Well, I had been thinking of buying SN3 since I’ve bought 5si
I read this forum almost every day, started groving funds, and some day visited a shop to talk about SN3. They said there is no SN3 and will not be until I purchase it.
So, I was a bid afraid of spending a fortune without any audition. The same time they suggested me to listen to 404 Reference. It was so naimish, that I pulled the trigger after two sessions of auditioning.

Understood … and wishing you many happy musical hours to come … but I’d have titled the thread “I love my 404”


I love the ethos of the company and product. Just a damn good integrated amp with simple discrete components. Easy to fix and repair and no unnecessary complication and, as you say, why pay for bits you don’t need? A comment I’ve made before with the huge number of inputs you typically find on the back of a modern amp - 99.99% of buyers just don’t need them. However that’s another thread perhaps? Congratulations for thinking outside the box.

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Actualy, I had a wish or a dream to have a full-Naim system with the SN3 in the center of it. So, I haven’t fully accepted yet the deal made.

One thing if I may: you said you’d need to wait till next year to be able to buy a SN3, yet you can afford the Moonriver now. I thought the 404 Reference was more expensive than the SN3.

I forget where you live but have you considered buying a used SN3 from the UK? Don’t forget also that you can control the SN3 from the app using system automation, which is a nice feature.

You say you had a dream to have a full Naim system. Might you be being a bit hasty in settling for the first alternative that presents itself? If you could hear neither but had to order based on reputation and gut feeling, which would you choose?

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I’m confused now :slight_smile:


You won’t believe but I’m confused too.
I’ve made the final decision and now I have to pay. I will need to sell lots of things, etc.
What I can not fully accept is that my system is not full Naim anymore. Actually, I can not explain what was the idea behind SN3. I had no chance for the audition of that guy.

Technicaly saying, I can not afford the Moonriver at the moment. This guy has been reserved for me and I’m once again selling watches, knives and tools.
System automation - I’m afraid I’m not interested in it.
Full-Naim - looks like a feature to impress those who knows what Naim is which means almost nobody around me.
So, If the sound is naimish, it drives my Spendor well, why should I go blind buying SN3?

Since Brexit buying used gear from the UK into the EU is not optimal. You need to add EU VAT on top of the UK VAT.

Agree. Actually, in EU SN3 is more expensive when in UK 404 is. Plus transport expenses, big box, fragile, over 30 pounds of dead weight, an insurance and even the preloved SN3 will cost you an arm and a leg.

One more thing about the SN3 is the sensitivity to the mains quality. Say, the dealer himself sold SN3 because of these issues. He sent to the Naim service and they were unable to find any issues. The only option was to sell because the HICAP DR was a bit too much. I might be wrong, but looks like 404 Reference contains something similar to that Hicap dr but built-in

Shouldn’t be any uk vat on an export I don’t think?


If you have not actually ‘inked the deal’, you might want to take a look at the Steriophile review of this amp. It does not meet the specified levels of power (which are quite low) and has some problems with ultrasonic noise. I think you can get much better amps for the same money or even quite a bit less (take a look at the LA90 by Topping for example). But if you really long for an all-naim system, then I would suggest just biting the bullet and getting the SN3 – unauditioned if necessary. It is a MUCH better amp than the 400, and you will likely have it much longer.

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Basicaly, I’m not a numbers guy. I had some experience of listening to 404 via Spendor D9 and 3/5 and should tell you it is a real thing!
Say, nd5 xs2 is measured badly, 5si is measured badly, sn3 is the same - badly :slight_smile:
If I was hunting numbers, I would never buy neither 5si nor nd5xs2 and you would never see me here.
So, I just don’t care if something is measured badly :slight_smile:

About the power - I don’t care whilst it drives my Spendor well.