Considering moving away from my Supernait 1

I have had some upgraditus this year, but am really stuck where to go with my SN1/HC/Stageline.

For me the SN1 is a real sweet spot. With the DAC and Stageline both benefiting from HiCap and it is of course a great amp. I have changed both my speakers and TT this year and have funds to upgrade amp/dac by year end should I want to. Note digital source is my second source after vinyl but is still well used.

I demo’d a ND5XS2 earlier this year and it honestly brought no improvement to my setup (dealer also confirmed the same), so ended up purchasing a new TT instead. I also decided I was happy with a Roon endpoint rather than a dedicated streamer - tech moves too fast to invest 000’s into a digital front end.

I heave heard a SN3 + a Chord Qutest (why no remote!), definitely nice but not a dramatic difference. I would consider this a minor upgrade - not a total change like my speaker and TT changes, so not the route I want to go down for 4600 GBP.

Next choice would be 282/250 + TT2 or Qutest. I know this sounds fantastic, is doable, but big bucks at 13k. Would probably also need a superline for full benefits. Also its a lot of boxes.

This raises the questions, do I really need to spend 13k for a decent jump in quality? Open to some ideas or have I really hit a sweet spot with the SN1?

Arguably yes. That’s why I’m at the level I’m at. A one box upgrade would unbalance the system but a two box upgrade is a significant leap financially.

In your case i suspect the better question may be to ask what you think you’re missing and why. I suspect your answer is source or DAC.

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What speakers are you using? Also if you are thinking of going further up the ladder you need to start thinking about a good quality rack like a Fraim and getting the fundamentals like a dedicated power supply if you don’t have one already.

Speakers: JBL L100’s

My rack is fine, custom made unit by a sound engineer, floating shelves, heavy weight, isolated feet, dedicated power and audio cable routing etc. Its good.

I am currently living the expat life, so cannot install dedicated mains spur - which I have in my London pad with good results. I have considered some mains conditioners etc but not sure where to start!

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What about a preloved Nac 72 / hicap / Nap 250? That would match nicely with the retro style of these (new?) JBLs. It also is a significant upgrade over the SuperNait 1. Or even go Chrome Bumper era!

ut you would need a dac though and the DAC Cart for the Nac 72 is still not released by Naim …

I understand that it is difficult to move away from the SN1, it has so many features! I’m running mine now in an active setup: SN1, hicap / hicap, Snaxo, Nap 200 --> Ovators. The SN1’s Dac, Pre and Poweramp are used in this construction!

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The crux of the matter is that the SN1 is a sweet spot for the money, as is the SN2 and SN3. The reality with Naim is that a decent jump in SQ requires a pretty heavy financial step up. If you are not missing anything, maybe stay where you are?

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I think the NDX2 might be worth a listen into you existing amp, unless you are really hard and fast about your Roon endpoint.

In general, Naim have always said biggest improvements are gained from improving the source.

C.

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I’m sort of in a similar position. Happy with my sources and speakers (pmc 20.26)

If I want to go to Naim amps it could cost a packet. 282/300dr I think is where I’d need to go, or even start. And I’m sure the 282 would benefit from another psu.
So then you look at a SN3, again a psu?
If you buy a 282, would you wish you’d bought the 252?

Even take the sn3/psu money to another amp manufacturer and on paper you get a lot more power at least.

£4K gets you a very nice used MF Nu vista 800. And that is a lot of amp, albeit with the lack of OEM support now. But there are a number of good ex MF people to help.

I’ve seriously considered this, but doesn’t improve my TT listening. And I have a very good deal on a NDX2 at my fingertips, but I am fairly certain an Allo and TT2 would equally/outperform and cost less and significantly reduce potential of becoming obsolete as streaming tech continues to advance. Without doing down this discussion, pretty sure I’d like to have my DAC and network bridge seperate - this Is one of the key reasons my SN1 is still very relevant.

Well - I’ve considered Hegel H390 - essentially an updated SN1. But I have an irrational emotional attachment to Naim!

…and save the money for more important things. :wink:

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You don’t mention whether your hicap is the dr version or not. The DR version works very well with the SN1. This improves the replay of all your sources. The SN1 is becoming an older amp. Mine is 13 years now. If money is burning in the pocket, why not give it a service?

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I have 2 local Naim dealers, and they both do very well.
One will point you in the direction of Naim if you mention it, and he remembers you have Naim. The other tends to offer other amplifier options unless you stamp your foot and insist on Naim.
Both will insist for your budget you listen to other amps and make your mind up. Both will loan you thousands of pounds of kit if required.
I feel a visit coming on. Makes no sense as I like my amps. Feels like a bit of tyre kicking.

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Hi @Occean The SN1 seems to be one of the less loved Naim boxes, but that does not reflect my experience and it seems from your posts as if you enjoy the sound of your current setup. So a few suggestions to build on your system rather than radically change it.

I would agree with @Ardbeg10y and support the idea of getting your HiCap DR’d, if it’s not already a HCDR. The DR upgrade to my HC was the most cost effective change I made to my SN1/HC setup.

How old is your SN1? If you do plan to keep it, the proposal to get it serviced also sounds like a smart idea.

Finally, I found the DAC in the SN1 to be it’s weakest part. So if digital is an important source for you, consider picking up a nDAC. I ran SN1/HCDR/nDAC for several years (eventually with XPS) and to my ears the nDAC outperformed the internal DAC by a significant margin. And if you decide to jump elsewhere you could probably move it on with little loss.

Let us know how you get on.

Roger

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Another option is to squeeze in a Chord Mojo / Hugo. Different sound to the Naim (n)Dac, but personally I like to switch every now and then. There is a good synergy between the Chord Dacs and Naim. Especially with the SuperNait. The SN1 is a bit of a ‘brutal’ amp, but the Chord dacs are refined.

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Huge fan of Chord Dacs. My cousin have a Chord system and is bloody impressive.

OK, I have taken a punt. Got just ordered a brand new Chord Qutest for 1k. Leaves my options open for potential amp upgrades. If I need to sell, won’t be loosing a lot.

Also soon as my dealer has stock he is going to part-ex my HC for a HCDR.

Stage one of decision done and thank you always for your rational advice!

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Well done! Once you get a Hicap DR, the dac improves too.

Looking at your system, I think you have chosen wisely , a tweak is much better than an overhaul .

Though perhaps a good UD player might augment the system , especially with a Chord Qutest

@Occean
interesting choice your …upcoming turntable, is this a special edition with nagaoka cartridge?
Waiting your views on it.
Also how you are doing with your JBLs, still impressed? Are sensitive enough for a low powered valve amp?