I have read so many threads on this site it seems inevitable that this has come up before.
This isn’t my first attempt to travel the Naim train, in the past I have owned 72/140, 102/180&CDX but it all had to go.
I have tried other manufacturers but at the end of the day I’ve always liked the Naim sound which I suppose is what it’s all about.
To get back on the wagon I chose to buy a Supernait 1 with the inbuilt DAC (which I find very useful). Then the obvious upgrade was the Hicap. I love it other than bass. It need more control. My funds aren’t massive so I’ll probably have to purchase second had for now.
My plan was to purchase a NAP 200 then next year a 272. Is it worth saving a little more and waiting to get the 250. I think the Proac 2.5 need muscle. The speakers sound effortless at low levels bit too much Bass beyond 10 o’clock. The speakers will definitely stay where they are…
I have read so many threads on this site it seems inevitable that this has come up before.
Nowadays those with 272 and 250DR seem to have migrated to NDX2 and Supernait 3 in order to keep box count down. The 272 does not offer the latest streaming platform.
So perhaps as an idea for your system keep the Supernait 1 and get an NDX2 or ND5XS2. These both offer latest streaming platform.
Other option is to keep the Supernait 1 and get a Bluesound Node which is a good streamer on a £500 budget. You could combine this with an external DAC for further improvements.
Or go for the 272 250DR and maybe add an XPS DR or 555DR PS.
Going up from Supernait a 282 HiCap DR with 250DR system would be a good bet.
And then get one of the Naim streamers.
Personally, in your situation I would consider an 82 with HiCap and 250CB or Olive. Then get an NDS with 555PS, or a newer streamer like an NDX2 or ND5XS2.
So many options. I have an 82, Supercap 2, 2 x 135s, NDS and 555PS. It sounds fantastic, but does not offer the latest streaming platform.
Interesting, as bigger more powerful amps sort out low level listening. At 10 o’clock position be careful as you will start to lose control of the drivers and start clipping.
The Proac has a rather low sensitivity, but the impedance is not that low. My guess is that the SuperNait should be adequate to drive them.
What might be holding it back is the quality of the internal DAC, which is not excellent.
It’s worth having a really good think about where you want to end up. You can go the ‘Dan’ route and end up with a whole stack of boxes and a fine sounding system. Do you want to go there? If you only want a couple of boxes, just ensure that the 272 can do what you want both now and in the future. It’s a fine steaming pre, but won’t have any functionality added. Naim are working on a new platform streaming pre but nobody knows when it will appear or how much it would cost.
You really do need a decent streamer to balance the system. An alternative approach is to get an NDX2 and then upgrade the amplifier to a Supernait 2 or 3. Like I said, consider where you want to end up and avoid potentially costly mistakes.
I find that in a Naim system the preamp brings improved bass control, so given that you already have a Hicap I would ad a 282. After that, trading the Supernait for a 250 might be a worthwhile final step if funds permit.
The 282/250 would of course be excellent and would drive the speakers beautifully: however with those in place neither TT nor streaming source would be up to the job and would really need replacing. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of boxes, hence the need to work out the destination before splashing the cash.
I quite agree, but the SN1 has only a basic DAC which could cheaply and easily be beaten by the built in DAC in a Naim streamer or maybe a standalone product. If that’s too many boxes, maybe wait and see what new products emerge if staying with an all-Naim system.
It’s a two route approach either you go down my route and end up with a load of boxes. Or you go down the @anon4489532 decision to minimise boxes and end up with a streamlined low box count. Both will be fantastic, but obviously going for multiple boxes brings an overall better sound, improving separation and soundstage. It also offers opportunities to upgrade more easily. For instance swap out the HiCap for a Supercap. Then swap out a 282 or 82 for a 252 or 52, and so on.
But a Supernait 2 or 3 with NDX2 will work very well and may well be all you need. You can add the HiCap DR and an XPSDR or 555DRPS as necessary. The problem with lots of boxes is more plugs, racks, more boxes to service, and so on. Is it worth it? Depends what you want and whether you want simple or complicated.
A 272 250DR with power supply will sound good but is somewhat outdated.
Good luck with your decisions!
These are all excellent options. You’re definitely right when it comes to streamer. Mine is very basic and I’d probably see a massive difference adding a decent one. Tbh I don’t mind multiple boxes.
My original thoughts were this
Upgrade 1: add NAP 200/250
Upgrade 2: NAP 272 (sounds like 282 is the better route)
Upgrade 3: Streamer…
Sounds like I have my priorities wrong! I’m now thinking
Trade Supernait for NAC 82. Buy 250 and streamer. Might sell some other crap I never use as well🙄
If the Hicap is non-DR, I’d change it for a Hicap DR. This makes the sound cleaner and might well solve the control issue >10 o’clock.
It does also improve the Dac.
Writing this since I feel that you like your amp in essence.
Well, if you’re not fussed about having boxes…
I would keep the HiCap as is, get an 82 and 250 and streamer. You will have a big system this way for not alot of money. No doubt DR adds detail and dynamics. An 82 HiCap 250 has a sound that will offer equivalent of 282 HiCap DR and 250DR at a quarter of the price. Well worth a punt. And if you get them serviced they will sound as good as new. I am not saying they will be as good as DR or modern day equivalents but they are better value.
Check out the Bluesound Node. Alot of people are using it on here with top systems.
I heard a 252, Supercap DR with 500DR with NDX2 and 555 PS. When I got home and listened to my 82, Supercap 2, 2 x 135s with NDS and 555PS. I felt I was 90% there, albeit the NDS having the edge. With the system I now have it would take a 52 or 252 with 500 or 552 with 500 DR or non DR to make the change.
That… is exactly what I have - but with 2 HiCaps. Actual cost of my set up - based on what I paid (over the years) - is about 1/5th of the equivalent at todays Naim Prices.
Hi @IanRobertM, it’s a great set up. I had 82,Olive HC, 250 CB. Then 2 x Olive HCs then swapped out the 250CB for 2 x 135s. Finally got the Supercap 2.
My system is modern day equivalent of 282 Supercap DR, 300DR.
Like I said when listening to a 252 500 system it wasn’t far off. It has a slightly less detail and dynamics and less power than the 500 but still sounds very good to me.
It’s alot of amplification for the money.
When I went from Nait 5Si and CD5Si I did alot of research and went on this forum. The 82 HiCap 250 combination is a very good starting point for a seriously good system. It can be had for £2500 and then you need to factor in servicing every 10 years.
And it works well with the sources I’ve had: CD5Si,CDS3, CDS3, ND5XS and NDS with 555PS. And of course an LP12.
I’d second Ardbeg’s recommendation here for trying a HICAP DR.
When was the HICAP serviced? I find that they can go one of two ways if left unserviced for too long; either soft and the bass a bit wooly, or thin and harsh.
@Dan_M - You might not be surprised that I have considered getting 135’s… But - my (exCB, now Olive) 250 has been with me since 1985. If I replaced it, I would have to keep it. So… it stays. It has ‘outlived’ a 42, a 72 & a 102. Originally I just had ‘my’ HiCap - but I had to add a 2nd one. Not really tempted by the SuperCap option, but never say never…
My sources are LP12 (since 1981 - like Triggers Broom…) - and CDX2, with XPS2. It works…
This thread got me thinking about whether I could run my Supernait 2 for a while as a pre-amp, with a 250/2 that I’m currently listening to. I had also been a little concerned about whether the SN2 power amp section would still be drawing current, but sounds like maybe not as long as there’s a HiCap in place. Wonder how this stacks against a 202. Obviously 282 is less of a question but more of a cost.
Hi @Andywilliams23. A few observations from my experience:
Many years ago a dealer lent me a SN1, HC, NAPSC, 200, 202 to play with over a long Christmas holiday. I tried just about every combination that would play music, including SN1 + 200 both with and without a HC. Source was analogue from CD5XS + nDAC. To my ears the 200 added little to the SN1, certainly not enough to justify the extra cost. This was both with and without the HC. I also preferred SN1 + HC to SN1 + 200.
These comparisons were with the original HC. Later on I opted to have the HC upgraded to DR and this was probably the most effective upgrade I ever made. I would urge you to consider @Ardbeg10y’s suggestion and try a HCDR. It might be all you need.
Finally, I found the internal DAC in the SN1 to be its weakest part. You might want to consider an nDAC as they are very good value these days, although you might have to search a bit to find one. I think you’d find that the nDAC is a substantial upgrade on the internal DAC.
If you want to head off in the pre-power direction, there are lots of useful suggestions above and I agree with @anon4489532 that you need to think carefully about where you want to end up and what’s realistic with your budget. But if you want to hear what your SN1 can deliver, I’d seriously consider adding a HCDR and nDAC.
@Andywilliams23 - just curious what phono stage you run your Rega/Ortofon through. And if streaming, or vinyl is your main source, or both equal?
I had a rather similar journey as you, at one point having a Supernait 1 + HiCap DR and CD5XS + Flatcap XS as source, into Spendor S8e. Low level listening ok-ish, when turned up things started to get loose and plumpy. Added Focal 1028, and that’s when the spiral started. Almost no more bass, thin and little speaker control.
The first step was to add a 250 DR, while keeping Supernait as pre-amp only. That did have a sizeable effect, the bigger/better amp clearly showing its muscles over the nait. Skipping a few more steps (and spending a lot more ), I presently ended up with 272+555DR+250DR. There’s absolutely no comparison with the first system, but as an intermediate step you can use the Supernait as pre-amp only.
So depending on what is your end game, this is only 1 route. Others may take you to NDX + 282 or similar, your choice. You do have plenty of choices, the (un)fortunate part is that the Naim boxes can be combined in many ways.