Amplification for Spendor D7.2 Speakers

I have a pair of D7.2s on order. I auditioned at dealer with SN3 and ND5 XS2 (my current source). This combination sounded wonderful, and I placed my order.

The Spendors are for a new home. I will use my current electronics initially, but I given that I now will have a dedicated room with more space for equipment (compared to living room of my apartment), I’ve started to consider the possibility separates from amplification rather than my XS2 or a SN3. I know that Naim offers a multitude of options, but two configurations that I am considering are (a) NAC 202, NAP 200 DR, HiCap DR and NAPSC and (b) NAC 282, NAP 200DR and NAPSC. The price of the first is approximately US $10,300 and the price of the second is approximately $11,000, so price is pretty comparable. I would welcome views as to whether or both would be good fit with the D7.2s and, assuming the answer yes, which would be preferable. FYI, I will use ND5 XS2 initially, but am considering upgrading that as well.

Thanks in advance.

If it were me, unless I was going for the 282, Hicap DR and 250DR, I’d stick with the Supernait 3. I use a NDX2/PS555DR with my Supernait 3 and it’s excellent. By all means get better amps now but don’t wait too long before upping the source. NDX2/555 and SN3 should be a lot better musically than ND5XS2 with 282/250.


From experience, this isn’t the case. The ND5XS2 shares the best of NDX2 but without the screen, remote or ability to add a PSU, and once a PSU is factored in increases the cost exponentially. A 555DR makes the NDX2 a £13,000 streamer. Much better to go 282/HC/200 and keep the ND5. The preamp/power amp separation will get the best out of the source.

I’d go for the second option, and if your budget can stretch it, swap the 200DR with a 250DR. I have compared the SN3 vs 282+200 or 250 a number of times, the SN3 is very good, but the separates sound noticeably better.

I also don’t agree that that a NDX2+555DR + SN3 is superior compared to ND5XS2 + 282/250. the NDX2 is good, adding a 555DR just pushes things too far down the curve of diminishing returns, and at £12000, there are a lot of other options out there.

The 250DR option would also need a Hicap which makes it significantly more expensive.

If the source is indeed the ND5XS2 then the SN3 is a good match. The 282/200 is likely marginally better but for the price it should be. If the OP is spending that much the NDX2/SN3 would be the better option as Nigel has suggested.

Believe we can agree that It comes down to whether ND5XS2 + 282/200 is better sounding than NDX2 + SN3. Cost wise its actually quite close if you factor in the trade in value of the ND5XS2.

I have heard both on separate occasions, and thought the first combination sounded quite bit better.

Not likely. Is. Have heard both setups.

agree, if just comparing amplification, 202/200 is noticeably better than a SN3, let alone a 282/200…


Maybe it is worth asking Spendor which power amp will bring the best out of those particular speakers, NAP200DR, that of the SN2, or whether it would make for a significant improvement to go higher, like NAP250. It would probably help that to give the room dimensions.

As for source, an alternative improvement could be to keep the ND5XS2 as renderer (“transport”), and add an external DAC. E.g. a number of people have done this with both ND5XS2 and NDX2 into Chord DACs (Hugo, Qutest, and upwards) benefitting from the quality of the Naim unit as the front end with the more natural (my description) sonic character and, increasing up the range, clarity of the Chord DACs.

If you mean that a ND5/282/200 would sound marginally better than a NDX2/SN3 I know what you’re driving at but the reality is the difference between these 2 sources is not large. If you mean regardless of the source, you could sell your 282 and save a lot of money.

I think you are missing what I was saying. It’s not so much about which is best per se, but about how the system is built and balanced. No amount of amplification can make up for what’s not there in the first place. So an NDX2/555 and 282/250 makes a nicely balanced system, whereas a ND5XS2 and 282/250 doesn’t. That’s all, and I’m sure it’s something everyone will agree on.

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Hello. Compared bare, both systems are balanced. Compared with a £7k PSU, the balance will clearly tip in favour, as any upgraded source will, and as that price should dictate. We’re not in agreement in that a ND5XS2 with a 282/250 will make a lovely system. Balance is subjective, and has a lot to do with Naim’s marketing strategy.

Although I should add I don’t think any setup will sound good out of D7s. I thought they were a really dull speaker.

It depends on your source. The ‘better’ amp used with a lesser source could well just show up deficiencies that the ‘lesser’ amp doesn’t.
System balance is key here.
If end goal is NDX2 with PSU then 282 is good plan…

If you believe a £2,000 source with a £10,000 amplifier is balanced then that’s fine. I note that you don’t actually use such a system but are happy to recommend it to others.

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Crikey, no need to be so sharp. It’s OK to be friendly with each other - imagine I’m an actual person…!

It’s being recommended because I actually owned it and it was excellent. I’m unsure if you have had both the combinations being floated, but I have, hence the views.

Perhaps you can accept money isn’t always the best indicator. In any event, one could easily say that a £13000 streamer and PSU with a £3500 amp is a real bottleneck, and is equally as unbalanced, with the source being wasted.

I know the prescriptive ‘balance’ and upgrade creed gets chucked around quite a bit, but not everything Naim markets makes sense. The ND5XS2, as I’ve said, is nearly as good (bare) as an NDX2 and more than worthy of a 282/250 system. I’ve owned it, heard it and know it to be true.


Thank you for your responses. A few comments and questions:

  1. For purposes of determining cost of relative configurations, I will not be trading in or selling my current electronics; these will be returned to my apartment and support system residing there.
  2. As pointed out, going to NAP 250 DR is materially more expensive, both because of the increase cost of the 250 and the now mandatory HiCap. At least for the time being, this option is off the table. In any event, my goal was to compare different amplification configurations of comparable cost.
  3. Same goes for improving source. I recognize benefit of doing so, but that’s to be considered at a later date. I also recognize that there are many possibilities in this respect, including adding Chord or o DAC to current streamer.
  4. Part of what my question was intended to flush out was what the differences are in design and construction of NAC 202 v 282 that lead to improvement in sound quality, as opposed to other differences that would appear to have no or little influence on sound quality. In the latter category are things like increased number of inputs (not helpful since streamer is only source), balance control (I don’t have one now and it doesn’t seem to be a problem) and second row of buttons for tape out (something that I would never use). The only thing in the first category that is apparent to me is the ability to use 2 HiCaps with 282 v 1 HiCap with 202, which presumably benefits sound quality if and when done. Of course, there may be other aspects that are not apparent, and any insight into these would be appreciated.
  5. Assuming that there are design or build elements of NAC 282 that will result in increased sound quality of 202, my next question is whether a 202 with HiCap is worse, equal to or better than 282 powered by NAP 200 DR. I’m assuming that HiCap DR offers better power to preamp than internal power supply of NAP 200 DR, so question is whether this ultimately compensates for lesser preamp given what I understand role of power supply to be in Naim’s design philosophy.

I recognize that there is an inherent subjective aspect to how we react to equipment, so I think focusing on actual design differences may be helpful. Any insights from forum members and Naim personnel would be helpful.

I’m not sure that this is any help at all but I had a 202/200 with a fc2 on Spendor A5’s which I was disappointed with having run the Spendors with a 112/150/FC2. The 202 combo was better in many ways but the performance increase was marginal for me. More recently I replaced the 202 combo with a 252/SC/250-2 which is massively better to and for my ears. I did try various combinations while I still had all the kit together and found that the weak link for me was the 202. I haven’t tried the 282, but I think that my step forward if I was in your shoes would be hicap/282/200.

I love my D7.2’s, just give them a bunch of hours. :grinning:

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The 282 is a much more refined and capable pre-amp than the 202 having many shared aspects of the 252 design. However what really matters is how they perform and sound like -
I personally wouldn’t incline towards a 282/200DR amp for an ND5XS2 unless it’s a staging post towards a better source.
I should perhaps add that my current pre-amp is a 282 which I have owned from new for over 10 years so I am well acquainted with them :wink:

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Thanks very much.

The geeky part of me is curious as to which design elements in the 282 contribute to that betterment in sound compared to 202 (ie, which elements are shared with or are similar to 252]. By analogy, my understanding is that one of the reasons that the SN3 (and the SN2 before it) is seen as superior to the XS3 (and XS2) is that the SN3/2 have better power supplies than the corresponding XS3/2 amplifiers. I assume that there is or are analogous design elements that account for the 282’s superior sound over the 202, and would be curious as to what these might be.