Advice on new 2 box system?

A while back I had a bit of a speaker shoot out at a dealer - a pair of Neat floorstanders, Spendor D7, Harbeth SHL5+, various others, even some Martin Logan electrostatics. But the ones that stopped me in my tracks, both with imaging (especially vocals) and with a sense that the sound couldn’t be coming from the boxes, were P3ESRs. The cheapest and definitely the smallest of the speakers present.

The room has a huge influence, and I’m not saying P3ESRs would do the same for you in your room. Just saying that surprises are certainly possible, and 15k should buy plenty of time from a very good dealer to really be sure what you can achieve.

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I’ve heard the NDX2/SN and they sounded very good but that was through Kanta3 speakers.
I’ve a Nova through Dynaudio S40 speakers and am very pleased with the sound plus huge cost saving. The Nova is hard to beat for sound/value comparison.

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Thank you all for your insightful and helpful comments. I’ll go off demo’ing (with my wallet hoping I’m cloth-eared) and report back.


This is an excellent post. I was wondering how the Nova
All-in-One box compared to a Naim Nait XS + CD5XS and
was going to ask the question here at some point…

Dear Cascades,

I have no serious experience with multiple Naim box systems, although I tend to agree that the price point (per ChrisSU) or depth of the rabbit hole (per Mike_S) has a correlation with sound quality and overall enjoyment.

That said, I’d like to chime in with the other Nova owners / fans to encourage you to keep it on your list. I upgraded from a SuperUniti, which I really enjoyed, and this is simply “a bit more” in all the good ways that make it fun to listen to music. Plus one box, latest platform, excellent system integration and optimization…

I have the Nova playing into Kudos S10 stand mounts in a very large open concept main floor and enjoy a balanced (perhaps bass light? I don’t know / can’t decide, tbh) and controlled presentation. I listened to a few “recommded test tracks” specifically to double check imaging and tonal balance given your comments about what you want to look for in your demos. I googled and liked the list of 10 Favourite Tracks from Lifewire (although they bumped Aja for Rosanna for reasons I cannot fathom; they need to join the forum and catch Richard Dane and others on the merits of this track and this album!) and, in a rare return to audiophile critical listening (per the worst view of Alan Parsons, again discussed here on a recent thread) I tried using songs to listen to the gear instead of the other way round.

Two standouts that really impressed. First, the great balanced tones including credible but by no means overly weighty low bass, gorgeous vocals, inky blackness (!), plus delicate and clear tinkling bells from the beautiful Holly Cole “Train Song” from Temptation (stick around for the heart stopping Jersey Girl…).

Second, and to me much more surprising, the easy-to-locate four saxophones quite distinctly placed and imaged across the soundstage but also clearly separated front-to-back on World Saxophone Quartet’s “The Holy Men” from Metamorphosis. Perhaps imaging has more to do with positioning and toe-in, perhaps it’s not a main focus for Naim tuning, but it was very clearly done well and easy to follow (and this in a test track that came with the following caveat : “You’ll want to be able to pick out each saxophone individually and point to it (yes, in the air). If you can do that, then you’ve got a fantastic system. If not, don’t worry too much, because this particular listening test is pretty hard!”)

So, thanks for inspiring me to revisit technical capabilities here in my living room! I’m happily back to letting Aja play through its hip lush story now. But please keep the Nova on your list and even if you spend your way further up the ladder (or down the rabbit hole), you’ll have a modern baseline for comparison and evaluating what extras you are acquiring.

Best wishes with your search and enjoy whatever you end up with!

Regards, alan


NDX2 into Supernait 2 sounds like it might be a great system.


I’m enjoying my Nova too, and will check out those test tracks.

You may enjoy this thread for some good reference material What's your top reference track - & Why?


This is where I get into a vortex. I upgraded to the Nova from a UC2/NAP100 last year and love it. I’d be interested to compare the NDX2/SN2 against the Nova with my speakers, but it’s a pretty serious step up in cost (double). Then I read a post about Joe, who has upgraded from the SN2 to a 282/250 because the SN2 pre-amp has been “holding the system back”. Then Jane posts that the 282 has gone for a 252 and its “night and day”. Then Harry trades his 252 for a 552 and his jaw hits the floor.

Back to the OP, I hope you try a Nova, it’s a potential sweet spot for SQ, simplicity and aesthetics and can be all that one needs. With the right speaker match, it’s pretty darn good. Looking forward to hear how it goes.


It’s all in the name of the OP: ‘cascades’.

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I thought cascades only went downhill but the only way with Naim is up…

Back to the point, I think, after due consideration of all your comments, I’ll be asking for a demo of :

  1. Nova
  2. SN2 + NDX 5XS
  3. SN2 + NDX2

before hitting the speaker ‘vortex’. Thank you to those who suggested 272, but I think my personal preference for an up-to-date platform will edge out any slight performance improvement.

My conscious bias is for 2. SN2 + NDX 5XS

Will be interesting to see how reality pans out, especially when speakers come into play. Watch this space for the tale of how this search turned into an LP12/52/135s

Well, if the Atom I installed for my parents last week is anything to go by the Nova must be fantastic . It was a “night and day” difference compared to their Unitiqute which is some feat in itself . The Nova is surely a nice worry free place to enjoy your music .


I’m not sure you can divorce the speaker choice from the demo of your three options. For example, for some folks on here the pairing of the Nova on Dynaudio Special 40s has been epic, yet in my case on Harbeth 30.2s hit and miss and on SHL5+ just a really disappointing experience.

My route is from Nova to NDX2 \ Supernait 2 \ Hicap DR, where at some point in the future I would like to scratch an itch to replace the Supernait 2 with a 282 \ Hicap DR\ 250DR combo being driven by the NDX 2.

Right now I’m super happy with my choice to upgrade from the Nova. As I wrote elsewhere, I knew that my Harbeth 40th Anniversary SHL5+ were capable of magic, but it was only when I got the Supernait 2 that I started getting that magic.

So I suppose what I am saying is, don’t assume you will get a good, better, best experience with your demo. I did actually happen upon that experience in my case, but for those with a better / fitting / compatible speaker pairing on their Nova, the difference might not be there and like others you will be blown away by the Nova.


I agree, you need to match with a speaker in your choice - system compatibility is a big factor.

The trouble with demos like this is that you are going to like the most expensive one best! If you can’t afford it, don’t listen to it.

Indeed - but luckily these options are all within budget, so to me it’s just a matter of whether I can tell much of a difference between them (with due respect to all the sensible comments on speaker matching).

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Good stuff…enjoy the demo!

…late to the party, so FWIW…

I have a NDX > SuperNait 2 > NAIM Ovator S-400 which is a sweet little system. (JMHO)

Prior to the Ovator’s I ran a pair of ProAc Response D Two speakers which were a great pair of speakers. Also demo’d the ATC 19’s at the dealer and they are a sweet sounding speaker as well.

Good luck with your decision.


Thanks @seakayaker - will look to include ProAcs in my demo in a couple of weeks. I fear sourcing Ovators to demo may be a struggle, and being time-poor, buying and then potentially re-selling second-hand takes precious time (when I could be listening to music!).

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@ Cascades, just wanted to check to see if you had the opportunity to demo any of your three choices you had listed or made any decisions to head in a different direction?

  • Nova
  • SN2 + NDX 5XS
  • SN2 + NDX2

@seakayaker, thank you for remembering! A combination of work and family stuff have conspired against my plans, so it’s likely to be Easter before I have the opportunity to demo and decide. Although reading rumours of a new release at the Munich show in May (“372”?) doesn’t help! Hopefully the rumours will be better founded when I finally manage to demo.

Will update as soon as.