Bi-amping with Supernait 2 plus Hi-CAP PSU and NAP250 DR

Hi everyone.

First of all, apologize if this topic has already been discussed in the forum; I’ve been looking and reading enough, and I haven’t found any clear reviews.

The fact is that, after my journey to finally ProAc SM100 and Tablette 10 SE monitors on two different secondary systems, I started updating our main system, originally with Exposure 3010S2 (integrated + power amp) bi-amping some high-level Spanish floorstanders. The problem was with the speakers, which, given the dimensions of the room (about 35 square meters and about 130 cubic meters), lacked the proper lows and the sound remained very bright. So, and in love with ProAc, I decided to swap them for a new brand unit of K6, thinking, from the dealer’s advice, they would make good crumbs with the Exposures. But then, the Exposure amplification did not perform properly with the K6’s ribbon tweeters, and the sound went hot and soft, with hardly any treble extension.

Consequently, I decided to update the amplification, and, after extensive search and test, I opted for a new brand unit of the already few in stock of Supernait 2, which I find excellent with the K6, a married made in heaven, as you usually say out there :wink:. And that’s why I’m here.

Beyond background, I have decided to write to the forum in search of experience and knowledge.

It turns out that, despite the excellences of SN2, and that it is already quite, if not fully, run up, at high volume levels, above 90 dB, I perceive a certain trend towards brightness and some congestion in complex tracks.

I started with updating all interconnect wiring, from mid-range to high-end, but I have not yet installed it, and with quality insulation, which I have not been able to install yet. But I also think on the amplification upgrade path, maturing the addition of the HI-CAP PSU and bi-amping the speakers with the addition of a NAP250 DR unit, but I am assailed by some doubts:

  1. Will this bi-amplification path using the SN2 with the HI-CAP PSU and NAP250 DR be viable, and above all, will it be the improvement at the end of the journey…?

  2. Since there is no way of adjusting the level of the two amplifiers independently, and Naim does not provide information about the SN2’s power stage gain level, is it possible that any small difference in gain between the NAP250 DR (+29 dB gain level) and the power stage of the Supernait 2 is translated into an incorrect tonal balance…?

  3. In any case, what would be the connection scheme to properly bi-amplify the speakers with the configuration mentioned above, would I to make the connections as described in section 6.3 of the manual for SUPERNAIT 2 with Hi-Cap Power Supply and NAP 200 Power Amplifier , (in this case NAP250 DR, although both NAPs offer the same gain level) or should I make them as described in section 6.1 of the manual for SUPERNAIT 2 with Hi-Cap Power Supply and additionally as described in section 6.2 for SUPERNAIT 2 with additional NAP200 to take advantage of the Supernait 2’s bi-amp output…?

I would greatly appreciate any experience and knowledge of who might have tried this path with a similar configuration, and, in general, any contribution on the topic.

Apologies for the extension, thanking you in advance, receive a cordial greeting,

José.

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What you are finding is that the Supernait is not good enough for your speakers. Biamping is unlikely to really help. I suggest taking the Supernait back and getting a 282, Hicap DR and 250DR. Even that is not really good enough for the speakers but it will be much more suitable than a biamped Supernait. This assumes that your source is good enough.

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Thank you very much for your reply.

I tend to think that this is more a matter of power, because as I say, at normal volume level, even high level, up to around 90 dB, the sound is very good. In addition, with the Exposure combo, bass and middles were very good throughout the potentiometer band, except, of course, because of the lack of treble extension, which is not a matter of power. With the SN2, the sound is cohesive, vivid and very realistic, the speakers come to disappear, and the different frequencies sound well integrated, at least to my ears. Only when I really crank up the pot does congestion and distortion towards the bright appear, otherwise I would say that well to very well sound. As I have also mentioned, I am waiting for new, quality interconnect wiring, although RCA, as the sources are a Cyrus Stream Xa and an Exposure 3010S2 CD; along with Chord Epic Reference speaker cable, Sarum bridges and quality insulators. When I can install, run up and test all them, I will summarize here the impressions and trends that this kit introduces into the sound.

I’ll be very grateful for any additional thoughts on the matter…

Greetings to the forum.

Can you return the speakers, if you can then I’d do it and start again. If you can’t then you need to spend some serious money to resolve the situation.

Your dealer has done you a great disservice. Whilst the speakers may be fine they have no place in such a sysyetm which will be out of it’s depth probably until you are at 252/Supercap/300dr level at least and that’s with a suitable quality source which you don’t have.

You might get away with the 282/HicapDR/250DR as suggested by HH, it’s very good I have this fronted by an Naim NDS and use Kudos S20 speakers which are a much more appropriate choice and level for such a system.

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in naim philosophy or match of pre/amp, it’s better to have the same level pre and amp, as 282/250, or better pre with inferior level amp, like 202/150, 252/250.
So supernait/ 250 is not the best match, but it will work however.

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The most important things are already said.

A suggestion: if the loudspeaker dealer is the same as the Naim dealer, ask if you may homedemo the new SuperNait 3 + Hicap DR. They said that the new SuperNait has an improved poweramp section - it might do the job.

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Forum member @timmo1341 is very happy driving these speakers with a 250DR, coupled with a 272/PS555, which is why I thought the 282/250 might me a reasonable minimum. Personally I’d not touch £13,000 speakers without a 552/300 but that’s just me.

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Hello again, and thank you all for your input and comments.

I can’t return the K6s, but I wouldn’t either; they are dream boxes, and, as I say, with the SN2 sound stunning, except at a very high volume; I wish you could hear them in our room! I am determined to build the system from them; I don’t know yet whether to retain SN2 for the long term or not.

Nor are the K6s and Naim’s dealers the same.

I understand, and know, they are speakers that would admit, and rise and deepen with, million-pound amplifications and sources; they do it at fairs, exhibitions and demos. But the best is usually at odds with the good, and sometimes less is more, and I do not seek the ideal Nirvana (I should probably change home, or at least seriously overcondition the room, which is not dedicated); I seek a reasonfully satisfying sound for our circumstances, budget and ears. And I think that with the SN2 (with mediocre cables) he has already won many integers on the Exposure combo, which is not bad either, and is approaching what I am looking for.

For now I’m going to try the new wiring and insulators I’m waiting for, so I sense it will improve significantly, and, once everything is run up and adjusted, I will promptly inform the forum in case it’s of interest to someone and in return to your kind participation in this thread.

Then, reading and reading on the forum, I find information, albeit fragmented and partial, here and there, from people who have combined SN2 with NAP200 or NAP250 DR to bi-amp, even K6 in some cases, with quite satisfactory results; so I’ll probably end up adding the NAP250 DR and HICAP DR, which in any case won’t hurt in a potential future upgrade to NAC282.

In any case, I would greatly appreciate additional thoughts and experiences, particularly from those forum members who have followed the K6 biamplification path from SN2 and NAP250 DR, as well as some indication of the connection scheme for SN2 + HICAP DR + NAP250 DR in biamp mode…

Greetings to the forum,

José.

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Hi José, I can understand why people are saying that you should start again, but you can’t, and you are enjoying that you have, so I would say that a 250 could be a good upgrade for you. Naim would not have put a dedicated biamp output on the SN2 if they thought it would not work well. So if you buy a 250, you can try it with or without biamping, and see which you prefer.
Regarding cable upgrades, I would suggest that you just use the standard Naim cables that are supplied with the amps. When you have decided on your final system, keep the cables until you are happy that everything is working well. Only then, consider cable upgrades if you feel the urge.
Finally, if you can get a 282 to replace the Supernait, you should do it. Good luck.

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I suspect that although the OP has asked for advice he may be fairly intent on following his chosen path.

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This isn’t the answer the OP should be looking for* but this merged screenshot shows what naim state on their website and the back of the SN3. Note ‘Upgrades’ and ‘power amp in’. You can just see the ‘bi-amp’ socket too from the web magnifier - as @ChrisSU points out - the other option which you have.

*However, as HH(Nigel) suggested, that level of expense on those speakers is an unbalanced way to start building a naim system even if they are your ‘endgame’ pair. I wonder what the total budget that @newcomer had at the start because it would probably be a very different system had he sorted out the front end first via a naim dealer with a cheaper pair of speakers.

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Yep – that’s my impression too.

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Hello again.

I appreciate your input and suggestions, as well as your time.

In response to some of the comments, clarify that I have not departed from any initial budget. Everything has been simpler, or more complex: as I explained, once the secondary equipments in our home were definitely updated, I was not satisfied with the main system’s speakers, which, although of quality, did not fit anything to the dimensions and acoustics of the room; so things, and, as I say, after trying very different boxes in the different systems, in love with ProAc, simply arose a very good opportunity for which I was able to acquire a new brand pair of K6, practically half its market price; once acquired and installed, simply its tweeter ribbon did not match Exposure; after informing me and hearing some amplifications, again a very good opportunity emerged for the Supernait 2 new brand unit, also practice dismembered half its price taking advantage of the change of model.

Have I made a mistake…? I don’t think so. In the more than 30 years with different equipment and systems in different homes and locations, I have concluded that the main factor in the final result of the sound is mainly the acoustic conditions and room modes of the room, and in my experience, first some boxes that fit, and harmonize with, the acoustics and restraints of the room, and then the front line. What good is an excellent front line, which limits the degrees of freedom with the speakers, if then the speakers do not fit into the room…? You can get sick of comments, in this same forum without going any further, on boomy lows, bright trebles and recessed or without presence mid ranges. Starting with boxes that fit into the room you don’t have these problems, and I think it’s easier to adjust the front line.

On the other hand, I have nothing clear, and far less than some, nor have I made any decisions yet, which will not be immediate either. In fact, I am also evaluating the SN2 with Hi-CAP PSU and NAP200 DR in biamplification mode according to this same scheme taken from the Connections Brochure of the Naim website:

Although, as you can see here, people with a lot of experience and criteria advise without ambiampes the biamp route with SN2 + HI-CAP + NAP250 DR, although with ATC SCM40, it is well true…

SN2 + HI-CAP + NAP 250 DR + ATC SMC40

What is most curious and paradoxical to me, as first ChrisSU and then GeoffC pointed out, is that Naim mounts in his top integrated amplifiers a biamplification output and then tells you that he does not recommend biamplification with his electronics, as I have commented from Naim support.

In addition to the paradox that they are not in favor of biamplification when facilitating that configuration and its scheme in their hardware and documentation, from Naim tell me that I should think rather in pre and power amp, NAC282 + NAP250 DR indicate me as minimum point and reference; but I think that, although the quality of that combination is certainly superior to the quality of the Supernait 2, in the end the 80W (8o) of the NAP250 DR are the same as those of the Supernait 2 let’s put ourselves as we are; and from ProAc, they consider that, while amplification must logically be of quality, for complex subjects and tracks at high volume boxes also need power; and I would say that, in this sense, the Supernait 2 is fine in terms of quality and very fine in terms of synergy, but it falls short of power.

However, as I say, I have not yet made any decision, nor will it be immediate; so I’m also assessing the path of a quality integrated, which convinces me much more than that of separates, and in this case pending a greater approximation with the Accuphase E-480, which has been tested with the K6 with astunning and very satisfactory results, and also, with the incorporation of the high-quality DAC module, It would allow me to take advantage of all my sources as mere transports.

Anyway, we’ll see…

In any case, I would highly appreciate any additional comments and/or thoughts…

Greetings to the forum,

José.

The 250 is a regulated amp, with DR, so it is quite a different beast to the SN2 power amp.

If you can find a good older 200 you would save yourself quite a lot of cash. With the 200, the DR version only supplies DR power to a separate Naim preamp, which you are not using.

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Thanks, Chris.

So does that mean that the SN2, also with DR, only takes advantage of that regulation for the pre-stage, and not for the power stage…?

Then, they are not the same configuration or performance, the NAP200 DR and NAP250 DR. If I have not misunderstood, the 200 DR only feeds the separate preamp one you hook it, while the 250 DR feeds its own amplification stage source; then, SN2+Hi-CAP+NAP250 DR would make all sense, whereas in the case of the NAP200 DR it would make more sense to associate it directly with SN2, without HI-CAP, wouldn’t it…? Or is it that the NAP200 DR cannot power the preamplification stage of the SN2?

Yes, both the 200DR and the SN2 have a preamp PSU in them which is DR spec. As you are using a Hicap, this is not important for you, as the preamp PSU in the 200 is not used. The 250 is not able to power a Naim preamp at all, and the DR spec here aplies to the power amp itself.
As far as I know, the 200 cannot power the preamp in the SN2, but again, for you there is no need for this, as you have a Hicap.
Is your Hicap also DR spec? Most people find this to be a nice improvement over the older non-DR version.

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Thank you very much, Chris; I’m already understanding the specificities of the different electronics of the Naim range.

The HI-CAP would be DR, but I don’t really have it yet; I have only the bare SN2, which I find excellent and happy with, and all the inquiry is in search of the most reasonable way to update the system definitively.

In case it may contribute, the dealer of Naim, trusted, tells me that the K6 are not extremely complex to move but if demanding in the quality of the amplification due to the level of the product, which I already had clear, and that sees no problem, in fact they have tried it, in biamp with a Naim configuration, so, to get the best performance out of the speakers, and once all the wiring is updated, he advises NAP250 in a biamp configuration. He also points out that the improvement with HI-CAP is interesting but does not make the difference that the NAP250 DR would make; and that the idea of combining with a Naim streamer would be perfect to finish rounding up, as there is a big difference with the current Cyrus.

Anyway, it seems that the triangulation of the information is increasingly pointing towards biamplification with Nap250 DR.

This week I will get all the new wiring, all the cables except, following your advice, the mains from Naim; as soon as I can install and run up, I’ll tell you my impressions.

Open to your considerations, thanks to everyone and greetings to the forum,

José.-

SN2 price with hicap is not too far from 282, if i am correct.

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You seem determined to do what you suggested in your first post, despite what experienced owners are advising you. So I’ll say it again: sell the SN2 and get a 282 and Hicap DR to use with the 250DR. It will be better than biamping with the SN2 and a 250DR.

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I have a dealer near me that highly recommends biamping the Supernait2 and has several customers that run it. I however can’t comment as I have never heard the setup.

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