Amplifiers - Decisions, Decisions

I’m new here on the forum, but have been enjoying our CD5si for the last couple of years, it replaced a Linn Genki which was a trooper but eventually had to retire.

A house move presents an opportunity to make some changes. I’m impressed with the 5si, perhaps should have bought its elder brother but never mind. The present amplification is Linn Kolektor Pre Amp and LK 140 power amp driving Linn Keilidh speakers.

Budget is an inescapable issue. Option One is go get an integrated amplifier, thinking Nait XS2 (£1979). Ideally would prefer to stay with pre/power configuration so Option Two is Nac 202 with Nap 100 (£2229 + £799 = £3028) obviously would prefer Nap 200 (£2299) but that takes the budget to £4528 and I’m not convinced I can persuade the powers that be that this is presently justifiable. The Power likes her choral music but there are other things competing for resources!

Given I like my classical CDs and have the 5Si do the forum members think I would be more than happy with the XS2 or stay with the pre/power arrangement even if it’s with the Nap100?

Any thoughts will be seriously appreciated. Or any suggestions about present set up generally.


Lots of pre-loved amps available from ebay and on pre-loved lists of authorised dealers…

Welcome Perseus!

In Naim world it is usually best to get the best preamp you can afford so a 202/100 with your budget looks pretty good. The Supernait might also be worth looking at. You could possibly look at second hand to buy further up the range. As ever, a good dealer will be able to let you listen to some options.


Thanks guys,

Think I need to go and speak with some. Of the Naim dealers, not against buying secondhand and my instinct tells me the preamp might be key for future acquisitions maybe a 5G music streamer, accept a MM phono stage might be needed as well but for now it’s only the large CD library we have that needs to be considered.


Good as the CD5si is, I wouldn’t match it long term with anything better than a Nait XS and certainly not with a 202/200. With the sort of budget you have I’d be looking at a used CDX2 and a Supernait 2. A 202 really only comes into its own with a Hicap and a Napsc, which gives a four box amplifier that you may or may not want.

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For option 2, bear in mind that the Nap 100 can’t power a preamp, so you’d need to factor in a separate psu like a Hicap.

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In theory Halibut is correct but I think you’d find that the CD5si will more than hold its own with a 202.

Cost wise how does a 202/100 compare with a SN2?

Good luck

Listening to prospective candidates is always advisable, if not always possible. So it can be a lottery and there are no rules or certainties.

I have auditioned the 202 seriously twice over the years with a view to buying. I just couldn’t make friends with it. I think it sounds dull and monochromatic. When my 552 went in for the DR upgrade my dealer loaned me a 152SX. I loved it. It was such fun. Coloured, sloppy but just hugely enjoyable for some reason.

I’ve heard a SN2 on a number of occasions at my dealer. It’s not an amp I’m interested in but if I was fishing in that pond the SN2 sounds mighty fine to me. It would be my first choice to take home for a longer audition.

As pointed out above, your system is just as likely to benefit from a source upgrade. Possibly more so. It’s something else to maybe consider. It would be my first priority.

All the best with it.


Beware: the Supernait + CDX2 is a very different setup compared to an XS2 + CD5Si.

As Wayne pointed out, a 202/100 won’t work without a Hicap, or Flatcap at least.

I think a 202/200 is a good place to start with separates. Of course you will get better results by adding a Hicap and/or NAPSC, but to my ears, it sounds pretty good without, and you can decide from there if you want to climb the ladder. I do agree that a source upgrade should be a priority at this level. As you mention that you are considering a streamer, maybe ripping your CDs and/or getting a Tidal sub would work, then you don’t have to spread your resources over two sources when one would do.


The Supernait 2 integrated amplifier is about £3,250 new so not that much different than the 202/100 but as several good people have pointed out the issue of power supplies is something to consider as well.

I’m probably more likely to get towards what i’m Seeking by a combination of ex-display/SH and incremental changes. Such as the XS2 integrated then + power supply, then + separate power amp.

It is fair to acknowledge that just about everyone I have met/spoken to in the Naim fraternity place a lot of emphasis on the power supply. To be fair to Linn they also considered this pretty important as well. So it is clearly not to be overlooked. I realise the CD5si has its own power supply and that is the end of the road per se.

Please forgive my ignorance but I can fully understand the importance of power supply for turntables MM and more so for MC. Likewise for Pre and power amps but the line level output on a CD player and the CD transport surely does not place too greater demand on the power supply (I expect to be taken out at dawn for saying this…).

Whilst the mobile phone brigade have previously gotten excited about 3G and 4G the forthcoming 5G is not really for them. It’s going to have a much bigger impact in how the frequency bands are divided and utilised. So at present I’m reading about streaming etc but I think the actual hardware is going to change considerably, for the better, over the next few years. For now I’m actually still very happy with the overall quality of the humble CD. For me for instance I have at least 7 different recordings of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, the No.2 and each conductor’s interpretation is what I find most interesting. I certainly don’t fancy ripping 500+ CDs to a hard disk! Streaming and even download library’s are a tiny fraction of the total number of CD recordings out there, something I think that is perhaps overlooked at times. It’s obviously much better for non-classical listeners.

Thanks again for the feedback guys all your comments are very helpful and gives me lots to think about.


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I had a NAIT (many years ago) I wanted to add a power amp , the dealer said no. Try it with a Flat Cap, so I did and he was right. You can increment the Nait XS2 with a Flat Cap and then add a phono stage later. Some people on this forum prefer the XS2 with Flat Cap to Sn2 .
This may help with budget issues

I have a 200/202 HiCap and Napsc plus Naim phono stage, it drives me crackers trying to connect it all


Thanks for that. It still early days and I won’t be buying anything until we sell our house and complete the final move somewhere new here in Aylesbury, so there is time to ponder on these important matters, and let’s face it we all like to do that😉

I’m pretty happy with the CD 5si overall, in many respects CD players are a bit of an endangered species, the Naim was bought primarily because Linn had stopped making them and from what I can see the 5si might be the last from Naim.

I’m going to read up more on how the power supply options fit into the Naim design philosophy, that should keep me busy! Perhaps the Nait XS2 integrated with FlatCap XS is what I should be considering, new c£3K or perhaps a bit less SH/ex-display etc. Clearly a MM phono stage will be needed if I want to have a play with a turntable, at present though I think I will have another listen to the Naim amps.

The Keilidh speakers are bi-wired at present but that will have to change, its one of the advantages of the Linn LK140 power amp.


If you are in Aylesbury there is a very well known source of 2nd hand Naim not very far from you…

Naim lover that I am, I still ask what is so wrong with the Linn amps that couldn’t be put right with a service, possibly?

Svetty has mentioned a well known source of 2nd hand Naim not far from Aylesbury. There are also 3 x HiFi dealers in similar distance from Aylesbury a couple of which I know do 2nd hand as well. So you have some options.

Welcome! I buy almost exclusively “gently used” Naim black boxes now; that is really where there is some great value. As people move up the line, what they leave behind is what you should be buying. Much better value than brand new!

There isn’t anything that is wrong with the Linn amps, in fact reading some reviews from the time they were both very well regarded, particularly the LK140. They are both getting on for 20 years old and I’ve always been happy with them. I think the current exercise is a product of spending time talking to Naim dealers and users and if i’m honest the possibility of making changes because I can. I may be and probably am guilty of thinking about change for changes sake…

For now the Keilidh speakers are staying but much depends on what we buy in Aylesbury. Currently the Hi-Fi works well in a room about 18 feet square ((5.5x5.5m) and we are aiming to buy something more modern, smaller, essentially downsizing so the next living room will probably be smaller.

I am rather taken with the sound of the PMC 5.22 speakers if they might be better in a smaller room. I’m not sure yet and until we move won’t know what’s best, I have always like the sound of the Keilidhs and they look great as well. So we will see. More nice things to think about.

Yes I know and there are plans afoot to visit them all in due course!

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