Amp for ND5XS2-Supernait or XS3?

Greetings. I currently own an ND5XS2 paired with a Nait 5si and find the combination more than satisfying with a pair of Neat Iota Alpha. However I wonder what would an Xs3 bring to the table. I can get a good deal on a Supernait 3 as well; hence my question. Synergy wise it seems that the XS3 may be the way to go?…
Thanks for your recommendations

I have not heard the XS3 with the Neat Iota Alpha, but on paper, it is the logical partner to the ND5XS2. My guess is it will play louder and more effortlessly. Best to visit a dealer and have a listen.


I agree with @Isaac that giving it a listen is probably a good plan. After all SN3 has a good deal more grip, but is a good deal more money - unless you hit eBay and have a little patience.

FWIW, in Tasmania I have ND5XS2 and Core as sources for 82/Hicap/250/Neat Xplorers. Having tried the boxes at home before shipping, I can confirm that an NDX2 (with or without XPSDR) is better than the ND5XS2, but the ND5XS2 is not outclassed and so rendered somehow inappropriate or unpleasant or wanted with the 82/HC/250.

If a ND5XS2 works well with that amp lineup, it won’t be out of place with a Supernait. The SN3 is plenty good enough that you will hear the difference from a better front end, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work with the ND5XS2 -it will.

Also, if you have ND5XS2 and SN, and if you ever want to get even more detail, vigour and space, you can add a s/h nDAC to the ND5XS2, which many here reckon makes it about as good as the NDX2.

And of course, you can improve the SN3 materially with a Hicap. All these boxes are good and none of those upgrades is necessary (including the SN3) but they all work.

Good luck!


Thank you so much for the insight. I wish I had a dealer nearby to be able to audition. I can get an SN3 for the price of an XS3. I’m leaning towards the SN. Thanks again

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Just to add on, a higher end model may not always be the better choice. I remembered comparing a Pioneer PD-S802 CD player with the more expensive PD-75. The higher end model had more of everything from bass to treble and sound staging. However, it did not sound right in my listening room. It was too bassy/bloomy. The PD-S802 on the other hand, was more balance, had a smaller sound but more tightly focus and better “prat”. Everyone’s’ listening area and music taste is different, hence, not easy to provide a definite answer.


Interesting. I’m concerned that’s going to be my case. I have had an SN3 in my room but with different speakers and not using the ND5 as source. I’m afraid it could be overkill in my system.

Audition is always best - if you can.

How big is the room?

FWIW, my girlfriend uses Iota Alphas in her long kitchen, fed from a Nova - 70W from that certainly works well with the Neats and isn’t overpowering. The SN3 has just 10W more than that, but rather more grip and transparency if we do turn it up a bit. Given that, I’d guess that it would have those virtues when compared to your current 5Si too.

In an ideal world, you’d be based somewhere near other people on this site and some kind soul would be able to pop round one afternoon/ evening with their SN3 under one arm…

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Hello. Room is roughly 13’ x 14’. I have a new Nait 50 which I have been using for the last month in the same rig. It’s a better amp than the 5si but not a better match for the speakers or the streamer. With the ND5 it can sound a bit forward. The 5si sounds fuller in the bass but slower and the highs are lacking in comparison. I figured an SN3 or an XS3 would be the solution
A comment on the 50: as good as it is it to struggle a bit with the Iota Alpha. Sounds wonderful but I guess 25 watts is just that.

I vote for the sn I can’t see it being overpowering. I’ll admit the room I had it in is bigger but the sn3 gives such a brilliant balanced sound that I wouldn’t hesitate to set it up in a small room. Edit: I had it with a nd5xs2 it sounded great.


@dmu I am using a SN3 with an ND5XS2. Sounds great. My listening space is 12x24 feet with a break in the right wall that opens out to a small dining area. Using with Spendor A4. Sounds very natural. I suspect the smaller A2 would have also worked in the relatively small listening area.


Personally, I have found the greatest reward in source-first systems, each time the most fulfilling upgrade being upping the source. As such I would not be very happy with a ND5 XS2 fronting a SN3, see my profile, but many others here would and do. Just to show that both ears and rooms are different enough to arrive at mixed results from the same combinations.

Based on what you write about your dealings with the Nait 50 I make an educated guess that Nait XS3 may please you more with your ND5 XS2, same for SN3 if you’re more “amp-first”. I totally agree that nothing beats a good demo, preferably at home, perhaps you can get these amps on loan!

Also, if you don’t already have them, Neat’s new “feet” (more like a “base”) for the Iota Alphas are a real upgrade soundwise! (as they should be for the price). Perhaps they’d be enough of an upgrade (to do first) before an amp.

Finally, we don’t know the other variables involved, for example whether you use Naim cabling like NACA5 speaker cable and the Naim interconnects and power cords, dedicated mains, rack, etc.


@Rafa1 I think you have summarised pretty well what many of us think a SN3 will do for you.

@daddycool, Feet choice may depend on the floor.

There is or was a thread about Isoacoustic Gaias. I have found them to work brilliantly with Neats (as Bob Surgeoner himself suggested would be the case) and s/h sets do turn up on eBay or PFM. It’s an option…



Type: 2.5-way rear ported, floor-standing loudspeaker
Drivers: 1 2″ EMIT tweeter, 1 4″ polypropylene cone midrange driver and 1 5.5″ paper cone downward firing bass unit
Frequency Range: 33Hz–22kHz
Sensitivity: 86dB/2.83V
Nominal Impedance:
Recommended amplifier power: 25W–100W
Standard finishes: Natural Oak; American Walnut; Black Oak; Satin White
Dimensions: 17.6″ high by 7.8″ wide by 6.25″ deep
Weight: 13.25 pounds per speaker
Price: $1,995 per pair

Dear Rafa1,

When I was young, and even today, if I were to work out a maze in a magazine or newspaper, if you can find one of those, I started with the finish point and worked backward to the entry of the maze. I have approached this topic before and have learnt that you can lead a horse to what, and you know the rest.

The minimum impedance for this speaker is 3.6 ohms, and the nominal impedance is 4 ohms. I was unable to find a power rating for this speaker on the internet. Though these figures and its 86 dB Spl and recommendations of amplifiers in the range of 25 to 100 watts, the XS3 will do the job. As an example, my speakers have an efficiency of 84 dB and are not as efficient as yours, and the headroom calculations let them, from memory, down about 3dB or a little less.

I think you will be very happy with the XS3, though you have no room for growth down the track. Having said this, I had all the aspirations of bigger is better, and I am glad I have popped the balloon on that idea. It is not always so. It may just be overkill. Hence comes the synergy that everyone talks about.

If, as I have stated before in other posts, I had my time again, I should have purchased an SN2 and not the XS2. I could not differentiate between either XS2 and SN2 audio-wise. Though the SN2 at 50% more cost at the time was the amplifier I should have purchased via its 120-watt capability for the increased headroom.

In conclusion, the XS3 ticks the box 100%, and you will be very happy and sleep very well with that decision. No questions asked. However, if you have a tinkling for different speakers down the track, an SN3 is the dark horse in the race.

I am very happy with my XS2 and have not pushed it to its limits as my calculations would allow.

I have had my speakers for 34 years, and have been refurbished once now with Kevlar woofers and aluminium ribbon tweeters.

Do I regret not purchasing the SN2, yes. Have I missed the SN2, no.

I am happy to answer any questions or PMs.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.


Thank you so much for your detailed answer. I really appreciate it. I’m currently waiting for NAC A5 cables. I use the supplied DIN to DIN cable from the ND5 to the amplifier. Hopefully the NAC A5 will work its magic. Thanks again.


Hello! Thanks for all the insight and help!
I may be able to try a Supernait in my system soon. I have heard one in my room before but it was a different system. In the end I think I’ll purchase the SN3. I bought my 5si telling myself that it was good enough for my listening habits and yet here I am again. I really appreciate your help.


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It will. I believe the minimum recommended length is 5 metres for each speaker output. It is an XL, XC thing. I have not seen the math and leave it up to those engineers who know best.

Mitch in Oz.


Hello again. Just an update on how my system is performing at the moment as I received the NAC A5 today. Right out of the box the improvement is like night and day. I was using a pair of QED XT40i which didn’t gel with the Nait 50. The presentation is fuller, faster, more detailed; there is a sense of completeness to the presentation, a maturity. It just feels right, as if everything has finally locked into place. I’m a very happy camper right now and not in a hurry to audition an SN3 although it may be an improvement or maybe just a different voicing?…
Component synergy. Who knew! Thanks for your recommendations.


Congratulations! And it will improve even more over a bit of time together, enjoy.

(ps: please do try to demo the new base/feet for the Iotas, curious if you like them)

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Thanks! The difference with the NAC A5 is nothing short of stunning. I was experiencing a forward upper midrange which lead to listeners fatigue. That’s all gone now.
Will definitely try the Neat Feet and report my experience.


Rafa1 cheers for ‘getting back to the thread’; seeing the journey is the lesson for MOST of us…

System synergy is the theme that arose, quickly, in this thread: and whilst many can argue eternally that ‘X’ doesn’t affect sound quality (for them), for someone else, something as small as a cable or equipment support CAN make an overt difference.

toyed with digital transports yesterday after a week of ‘ho hum’ listening.
going back to my ‘reference’ Digital Audio Player, the digital transport quality being so much improved, everything from bass note power and resolve through to imaging and dynamics were so vitally upgraded, that I went back to ‘edge of my seat’ listening. (and enjoyed my day listening to music from Eric Clapton and Moody Blues through to Moloko and Juzzie Smith, with A LOT of genres in between)

Just a change in digital transport (admittedly - into an R2R Non oversampling DAC) was so huge as to change the experience of MUSICALITY from this familiar system.
System synergy is SO MUCH OF THIS HOBBY…
Hence, whilst most would agree that a Supernait is a Nait ‘enhanced’ in just about every merit, the cost savings of having 50% more budget to spend into ‘front end’ (/or ‘synergy’) could EASILY be the deciding factor as to why any given pundit buys the ‘lowly’ XS series Naim amplifier (-leaving them MORE $ towards ‘other upgrades’).

The Supernait is generally acknowledged as having a wider, larger soundfield, and certainly would be the ‘more equivalent amplifier’ to much of what I have used in the past, but, even the ‘lowly’ Nait XS(3) has such great imaging prowess (and stage depth/size), that with my front main speakers fairly close, having not reseated them after introducing the XS ampflier into the setup, that songs like Pendulum “Coma”, a great ‘surround’ track, pushed all sounds appropriately yesterday, when running the correct digital transport, that some of the ‘amplifier differences’ were nullified, for me…

Mostly it is sheer amount of power on tap that the Supernait has, that I recognise as ‘potential benefits’, and, given I drive ‘fairly sensitive’ tower speakers at LOUD ENOUGH levels (large/mid sized room) from the XS series…
I’d certainly choose an XS series amplifier if it met my present need and the budget (savings) meant that I could make serious improvements elsewhere in the hifi rig.
If I knew I’d be changing speakers ‘a few times’ in the future, with the intention of keeping the amp for a very long time I’d be wanting to go the extra distance towards the Supernait series.

For the OP saying they can get a Supernait 3 for XS3 pricing? (no brainer!)
As an XS3 user-?! I dig the amp and find, even without altering speaker positions, that it does everything I need it to do. No the last word on soundfield size, sure; but amazing in its’ performance and certainly delivers a Naim ‘housesound’ that renders, usually a couple of tracks on any given album, “better than most other amps I have heard”.

Pendulum “Coma” reveals that speaker placement and ‘sorting recordings’ (mastering and engineering can make playback suit any given setup) is where it is at.
The Naim Integrateds truly deliver a special MUSICAL rendition. (I’d spend more if I listened exclusively to large scale choirs and listened critically at LOUD levels; probably want pre/power seperates for the ‘really hard to render genres’/or power supply upgrades etc)