I have an SU and will be adding a 250DR next. It’s the easier path for sonics and the economics are quite good. I’ll most likely end up at the 3 box 272/555ps/250. Assuming Naim doesn’t offer a next gen product that I want to buy.
I’m very happy with the sonics of the SU/QNAP and Ovators with my cascading cisco network. My system is still fairly simplistic and punches way above its weight.
Yes, that pathway makes sense to me. I think the SU with the NAP 250DR is a logical foundation for upgrading the pre-amp, source components later as and when budget and new product launches allow.
I’ve owned a few 250s over the years. They always yield a big improvement and at current s/h prices a they are a no brainer.
If you are going for new floor standers give the Dynaudio Evoke 50 a listen.
Huge presence and scale and take a bit of beating in their price bracket.
I have both, a SU as well as a 272/250DR.
I have also tried the 250DR with the SU.
Observations are as follows:
- The SU on its own is an awesome piece of hardware. Very musical, accurate, timing. It all depends on your room size and the speakers you have connected to it. In my case I run the SU with ProAc D20R with NACA5 in a 6m x 4m room. I need nothing more, everything is perfect in this room.
- The main listening room is 10m x 8m and I use KEF Reference 205/2 speakers and superlumina speaker cable. Here I use the 272/250DR with an LP12 turntable. Again the sound here is perfect, need nothing more. Perhaps an XPS DR for the 272 in the future.
- I had tried the SU with 250DR with the KEF’s and it definitely brought the speakers to life compared with just the SU on the same speakers.
- In all above cases the sound was the same Naim sound, very satisfying. A bit better with the separates but not different.
- It is therefore a matter of a) your listening room size, b) the speakers you want to drive. Room acoustics play an important role. And bigger is not always better. Matching the equipment to the speakers, to the room, is the key.
But the SU is an excellent stand alone Hi-Fi component. Do not underestimate it.
Perhaps you only need better speakers.
I have not listened to the Nova though.
Thanks for the great and detailed advice. Part of the aim for me is simply to satisfy that itch of having new kit. And that is where the speaker upgrade will give the best result I feel. The Focal 926 I have now is excellent but time for a step up. The room I use is large at approx 36 sq metres with a vaulted ceiling approx 4m at apex. Room acoustics not bad from what I can tell. This is a recent renovation / conversion.
I live in a remote part of the world so getting to a dealer is not easy but I intend to set up demos soon. I would love to hear the Focal Sopra N2 but it’s just out of price range. Others that appeal are Revel Performer3 F208, Sonus Faber Signature Venere, possibly Kanta 2 but feel Kanta 3 would reveal more improvement. I don’t want a speaker that’s too analytical but strikes a balance of delivering detail with a lush, large scale sound. Maybe I need to dig deeper into the budget given this upgrade will be one I want to stick with for the long haul.
Speaker choice is a very personal thing and there is no right and wrong here.
Sopra with Naim is an excellent match but a bit pricey. Well worth the expenditure if you can manage it.
Naim owners also recommend Neat, ATC, PMC, ProAc, KEF, Dynaudio, Spendor.
Personally I like the idea of second hand speakers if you can verify their condition. You save a good amount of money with very little risk, if any.
Can’t go wrong with used Focal Sopra 2.
Yes, that’s good advice re. the secondhand route. Something I will do, for sure. Many thanks.
Hugh McCabe wrote:
“I originally had a Superuniti and added a 250dr to it in 2015. It was a revelation, with a much clearer and more sprightly presentation. The timing of the music was greatly improved. The SU is a great all in one but tends to a relative sluggishness compared to separates. So you will never regret adding a 250dr to a Superuniti. In fact it may be all you ever need.”
I was going to reply to the OP, but Hugh has said exactly what I was going to say. I had the same experience and same result. Eventual replacement of SU with 272 will give you another big uplift, but I think your upgrade plan is spot on. You’ll be amazed at how good the addition of a 250 makes a SU sound.
I really like the Kantas with the Nova, but do add the Q Acoustics concept 500 to your auditioning list, these to me sounded great with Nova and are a big step up to my ears from 928/948 in a room of the size of yours
Personally, I would first think through the black boxes before forking out a lot of money for speakers. I might be wrong, but the Sopra 2, for instance, really look like speakers that call for a 300DR…
This is a very useful and informative thread. I have had an SU for about three years; it’s a an early pre-Bluetooth one. It replaced an ageing Mission Cyrus 2 and PSX, which was taken in part exchange - the SU was ex-demo. I demoed the SU at home and once it was in my system, it wasn’t going back!
I have a thing about old hi-fi as much as new, and Nakamichi cassette decks (a Dragon and a 680) and a Sony Elcaset rub shoulders with two Tascam DATs; CD/DVD/BluRay playback is covered by a Marantz K.I. Pearl Lite and an Oppo BDP-83SE; whilst a Beogram 8002 with MMC 2 (recently fully overhauled and recapped) running via a Project phonobox look after the vinyl side of things. Speakers are Castle Howard S2s. My I have an open plan living-room/kitchen, of which the main living-room part measures 17ft x 16ft.
As you can tell, I need a reasonable number of inputs! However, not everything is connected at the same time. My main issue with the SU on the connectivity front is no fixed level analogue line out for recording onto the likes of the Dragon (there is a useful digital out for recording from internet radio onto DAT). I note that the NAC 272 appears to have fixed line outs (RCA and DIN). The 272 would also give an extra rear panel digital input.
Another issue with the SU is that you can’t upgrade it with a better psu, nor does it have the facility to provide power for something like a Stageline.
I have been considering adding a 250DR to the SU as well as a Stageline and something like a Flatcap to power it, maybe doing the latter combo before the NAP. Then, later on when funds permit, p-exing the SU for a 272.
Oh, also been thinking about an HDX…
Thanks for your post, Dutus. Lots of good points made. I too share your love of vintage hi-fi - with a Nak on my wishlist. I still love cassettes and have all my tapes from my youth in the 80s’. I picked up a mint Aiwa F990 cassette deck a couple of years back. A model I always lusted after in my teens. All those lights!
There’s a curious cognitive dissonance to this hobby of mine. On the one hand, I like to accumulate kit and enjoy owning and using a range of hi-fi products. On the other hand, I like also like the simplicity of a really well made one-box solution like the SuperUniti or the current Nova. Adding boxes to the set-up suggests better performance, better this, better that, but I do think for the £4-8k high-ish end bracket the gap is narrowing between the traditional multi-box set-up and the all-in-one. What never ceases to whisper into our ears, however, is the feeling that in order to be a legit hi-fi enthusiast we need the most complex and modular set-up. An array of boxes that announces ‘we have made it’. I am satirising, of course, and if money were no object, I know I would deck out my den with a plethora of black boxes and green-lit logos. But, that elegance to be found in the contemporary high-end one-box and speakers set-up still tickles my feng shui…
Hi Timjoebill. I remember the Aiwa F990 well. I agree with you about the “curious cognitive dissonance”. I like the one box solution that the likes of the SU provide and I know that if push came to shove and I had to move to smaller premises and/or needed to sell off a lot of the separate boxes, I could “survive” on the SU, Spotify and all my CDs etc transferred to a hard drive, be it on something like an HDX or just a portable hard drive plugged into the SU’s front USB. In fact, I have a 2.5" 500Gb SSD plugged into the SU and am listening to it at the moment (CDs ripped in FLAC via dBpoweramp).
BUT there is the sheer joy of playing around with the old stuff and I feel that I am only half-using the Naks by using them for playback only - I fancy reliving the old days by making up some compilation cassettes, hence the thoughts about going for a 272 at some stage to give me the fixed analogue outs whilst preserving the s/pdif digital out as well (something that the new Uniti range does not have). And the Nak 680 has the half-speed function (90mins per side of a C90) which quality wise will easily see off your mp3 players. and other lossy modern formats
Is there any way you can connect a 272 to an SU to use the SU’s power amp?
Love the SU playing into the Castle Howards - PRAT in spades, even at low volumes.
I don’t believe that it is possible to connect the NAC-N 272 to the SU in such a way.
Even if this was possible, selling the SU and buying a preloved 200 (no DR needed) would probably be more worthwhile, without involving any extra costs.
Since I posted the question, I think I have answered it. You use the fixed line outs on the 272 to connect to the SU and use the 272 as a source component. But using it this way would defeat one of the reasons for getting the 272: using the fixed line out to record onto the Nak Dragon.
But I do agree with your advice. The aim is to go for a pre-loved 272 and 200 or if funds permit 250 (could always be upgraded to DR spec later) and sell the SU to help with the funding. It would probably make more sense to buy the power amp first and then the 272, but much will depend on funds and availability - I will contact my local Naim chap tomorrow and see what he has in stock pre-loved or ex-demo.
I emailed my local Naim dealer today and he came back to say that he has a customer who wants to trade in a SuperNait 2 (18 months old from a very good home). He is offering me the SuperNait 2 for £1,850 and ND5 XS2 £1,916 and against this would give me £1,500 for my SuperUniti (which is an earlier pre-Bluetooth model). So my outlay would be £2,266.
I get a more modern streaming platform, lose one digital input (on the ND5), but gain more analogues (on the SN2).
I gather that the addition of the Naim DAC (now available on eBay at a reasonable price) would improve the sq of the ND5, plus give me more digital inputs.
What do people think about this as an upgrade from my SuperUniti?
Sounds like a great option and would be a significant step up. It would be a run for it’s money against the 272/200 option too I think, though haven’t compared myself.
Thanks Mike. One thing that is holding me back is the lack of a remote (no screen I could probably live without). When I get up in the morning, I aim the remote at the SU, select “radio” and then turn up the volume to the desired level - no flaffing around opening up the app on the iPad or phone. The Naim app is very good, but I’m not sure that total reliance on it is a good idea.