Best sound possible on budget

Hi everyone, im hoping to get a bit of advice in hope i can get a bit of insight into what i need to do on a budget !! I do have a few questions (haha) so heres my story and questions!!
My source is a linn axis ,akito arm and ortofon cartridge. I have entry level nac92/nap90 amps
I did have a set of mk 2 kans ,but they sounded horrible. Im guessing i dont have the power to drive them properly. So heres my questions…
Would i get a hicap to connect to the power and pre for power to drive them, or does anyone know which easy to drive speakers i could get ,that would be compatible with my amps ?? Thank you in advance :smiling_face:

Hi and welcome. They’ll be a few old chaps who will know your amps better than me who can advise. The usual suspects for speakers are Neat, Kudos, Focal etc but of course you need to hear for yourself. At that level I’d be inclined to suggest a pair of Neat Iotas.

Good luck.

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I’m afraid (to the best of my admittedly limited knowledge), a HiCap doesn’t work quite in that way… it doesn’t give an amp more power, just takes over functions so the amp can, as it were, concentrate on other things.

Kans are great little things if the drivers etc are in good fettle - I don’t know about the 92/90, sorry.

If your source have issues you can’t improve by other amps etc…

If you don’t mind used, Naim’s Intro or Credo models were current at the time.

If you only want new, Q Acoustics offer incredible value.


Most probably a 180 or 250 is what you need, with an appropriate nac plus hicap.
Speak to James at tomtom, and ask him what olive kit he has that will drive the kans with more authority.
The 92/90 is pretty much a nait 3.

I’m listening to my late dad’s CD 3.5, 92/90 and Naim Ariva system right now. It sounds good. A 30 watt amp can sound really fine with the right speakers. That cd player has a lot going for it too…


The 90 will always struggle with the kans. You will need at least a nap 140 and even then louder volumes will sound thin and stretched. A small to medium sized room, 140 and kans, plus a flatcap on the 92 will sound sweet though. It is a big step up in cost but hicap/nac 62/ nap 140 would be my aim as a minimum match to the kans. Probably worth trying different speakers on your 92/90 though first. Royd pair well I think and can be tried cheaply via ebay, or Dali Oberon if you want new but try them first if you can.

First, forget the hicap idea.

You need to be a tad clearer. Are you saying you’d like to keep the Kans but get them to sound better? Or you want different speakers?

The Kans are capable of an exciting and dramatic presentation, but they must be set up properly. Most important is getting them just as close possible to a solid rear wall (few cms ideally), mounted on rigid frame stands (not high mass).

You are best off using NACA 5 speaker cable, 3.5m length each side or more.

Getting you existing kit sounding its best is the cheapest ‘upgrade’ !

Of course you need to consider that this kit is around 30 years old and will need to have been serviced 2-3 times in that period.

I have Kans and they sound amazing. Mine are driven with a 250 though, they are not easy on the Amp. If you are planning to keep the kans, then trade in the 90 for something with a bit more power.

When you say sounds horrible, does it sound just as horrible if you connect anything other than the turntable to the 92? Try your phone and stream some music via the 3.5 mm output. You will need a cheap ebay or Amazon 3.5mm to din lead just to try it.

Firstly I disagree with the opinion that a 92/90 isn’t good enough for the Kans. Yes they respond very positively to better amplification and really come into their own with a CB or Olive 250. But they should work fine with what you have. Back in the day loads of people used them with a Nait 1 to good effect - so what’s wrong with a 92/90?

They really require a better source though. Ideally an LP12. Still, they should sound OK with the Axis. I’ve heard them sounding superb with a Rega 3.

Have you got them set-up correctly? They need to be on metal open-frame stands, ideally the proper ones, and as close to a solid rear wall as you can get them. Also use Naim speaker cable. The Kans are incredibly sensitive to set-up details. Gert it wrong and they will sound awful.

Forget adding a power supply. It won’t help.

You are right to think that Kans would really benefit from more power than a NAP90 can provide. If you want to keep the amp I would look for some less demanding speakers.

The lack of performance from your 92/90 may be because it’s old and no longer performing as it should. How long since it was last serviced? If it’s overdue it will need a recap.
The matching power supply would be a Flatcap rather than a Hicap. That’s a worthwhile upgrade, but if you want to spend more you might consider replacing the whole amp with something a bit more capable. By the way, external power supplies such as the Hicap and Flatcap power the preamp only. They will not increase the power amps ability to drive demanding speakers.

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G’day Bob,

Welcome to the Forum. I am not familiar with your speakers, and Google is my friend, here are the specifications:


Introduced: 1991
Cabinet loading: Infinite Baffle
Ceased production:
Frequency Response: 70 Hz to 20kHz +/- 3dB
Minimum Impedance: 6.8 Ohms
Efficiency: 86dB for 1 watt at 1 metre
Crossover point: (1kHz) 2.7 kHz
Power Handling: 50 watts music power
Drive Units: Bi-wirable Treble : 1 x 19mm soft dome Bass : 1 x B110 (modified)
Size: H 303mm x W 188mm x D164mm
Weight: 5kg per speaker
Stand Height: 565mm

and also found the specifications for the nap 90.

As has been stated, adding on power supplies will not help at this stage. If it is possible, I would take your nac 92/nap90 down to your nearest Naim store and try them out on some suitable speakers.

Going by the specifications, the amp is underpowered for the speakers, though only by 5 watts = -0.46dB.

By taking the amp down to a dealer, you will eliminate whether it is the amplifier speakers, and they might be able to advise you if there is an issue and what the best route is to solve it.

I did this with my speakers and a new XS2 system on the floor and walked out with the XS 2 amplifier and $4.000 AUD less in my bank account at the time.

A second look at my post it states “music power” I wonder back in the day if music power was four times the actual power of the amplifier. Then, the output possible power of the amplifier would be more like 11.25 Watts RMS, or is it peak power? Possibly, someone who has grown up with Naim during those days may be able to cast a better light on the situation or make a phone call to Naim.

I hope this helps.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz.

Has the 92/90 been serviced?

Sounding horrible is a good description for an amp that needs recapping and at that amp’s age, it’ll be about 15 years overdue.

If it was me, I’d:

  1. Search out a second hand FlatCap power supply.
  2. Have my Naim dealer collect all three 92/90/FC for an official Naim service.
  3. Experiment with a different cartridge than the Ortofon, it’s not a natural partner for Naim phono stages.

Then when all the gear comes back, let it run in for a month. Only then, if you still find the sound lacking after a full service, a FlatCap, and a better matched cartridge, think about alternative speakers. I always liked Mission 752s or Linn Tukans on the 92/90 but if you wanted something modern that’s not nearing then end of its life, I might try entry level speakers from Qacoustics. Work well with Naim and you’ll be amazed at how far the small low end speakers have progressed in 40 years.


You say best sound possible on budget, but then don’t give your budget for the change…

I can’t tell you what speakers suit your amps, but I can say that getting speakers right makes a world of difference - far more than any other component. I haven’t heard Kans, but everything I’ve read about them suggests I’d hate them. Every speaker sounds different from every other, so you really need to hear before buying - and unless your budget is unlimited I suggest secondhand to maximise buying power (if you want full bass then decent speakers are inherently expensive). I found transmission line designs suited me best, and since discovering that (some 48 years ago!) nothing else has impressed me. I therefore suggest you try (with your amp) PMC speakers - the best you can afford (secondhand), not worrying if they are 5 or 10 years old as speakers do not “wear” with use. Some PMC speakers can be challenging to drive, but if you audition with your existing amp you will be in a good position to decide if they perform ok.

Otherwise I’d suggest hearing ATC speakers, from SCM40 upwards, ideally the active versions dumping your power amp. But a lot depends on your budget!


Kan’s never were a particularly balanced sounding loudspeaker, they work brilliantly on certain genres (singer songwriter, jazz and mellow rock/pop) but they aren’t great for anything which requires decent bass extension. I speak as someone who has owned Kan’s for 30 years and I do love them,

Assuming your system has been serviced I think the two biggest gain areas for your system are:

  1. New speakers
  2. MC cartridge (if not already running a MC)

If I were you I would look at Dynaudio, Pro-Ac, B&W, Neat, Epos, PMC and ATC. Ideally speakers with decent sensitivity (above 87db/watt) and a decent sized bass driver (say 8") to ensure a balanced sound. You don’t say what cartridge you are running but if it’s already a MC leave it alone, if not then I’m a big fan of Audio Technica especially AT-OC9 and AT-33 range.

Hope that helps,



I have 92/90’s in my study. I use Monitor Audio GR10’s with a musical Fidelity X-Tone
They sound Superb…I did try the latest Monitor Audio 100 5G…Not a patch on the original GR 10’s
Many poor looking ones about however i’m sure a clean example can be found on ebay for a Max’ £400

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Hello, I had that system back in the day, with a Flatcap.

My dealer wanted me to audition the Flatcap V the Nap 92. The Flatcap combo won hands down.

My first suggestion would be to have them serviced .

I ran Ruark Sabres with it , but given the age of the equipment I would consider something like Q Acoustics , I can’t talk about compatibility, but I am in the position of almost having a second system powered by a UnitiQute and that is what I would consider

The old Neat Mystique matched very well, and was a good match even up to 82/180.
NHT 2.5 were very good too with the Olive amps.