Does It Last?

The euphoria of adding a new peice or upgrading existing kit often brings a whole dictionary of descriptions of the improvements (or not) of how things have changed. All good so far … but … how long does it last?
Do we get used to the new sound to the point where it doesn’t sound that special any more and we start scrabbling around for another upgrade or do we just sit back and relax, enjoy what we have and live with the fact that ‘it’s ok’?
Maybe not that special any more but OK.
What is happening here? We know we all hear differently but does our brain subconciously tune itself in and decode what we hear to a sound that it thinks sounds best irrespective of all the time, trouble and not to mention, cash, that we have spent on said new kit.

Many seem to be forever chasing their tail and demolishing their bank balance in the persuit of a sound they like, others tweak (mostly on the cheap) and the rest just get on with the reason for a music system and listen to their media.

Which ever group you place yourself in, what happens when the excitement of a new purchase starts to fade? What is our brain telling us when we start to get used to the ‘upgrade’?


It really depends on the person.

For me, that sense of giddy enjoyment tends to last for years. The only thing that doesn’t last is new smell unboxing euphoria. That’s gone the next day. I don’t box swap. And after a decade when I have funds to build a new system, I often can’t bear to let the old one go.

If you ask people, you’ll get different definitions of box swapper too. I know some say they don’t box swap and keep hifi for a long time… only to reveal that to them “a long time” is just 2 years. If I moved a box on in 2 years, I’d regard it as a failed purchase in most cases.


My own hi-fi history has basically involved a few large changes at intervals of a decade or two - in fact since 1988 when I assembled my first system I have only had two big upgrade splurges. My experience is that the benefits of major change like that last for many many years if not decades. It’s certainly a cheaper way of doing it than seeking incremental change every year or so.

The last splurge (last year) involved:
Naim SBL-ATC SCM40 and dedicated center channel
Squeezebox touch-Naim NDX
Naim built in phono stage-Trichord Dino Never Connected phono stage
Rega RB600-SME IV

A huge leap forward in sound quality on all sources resulted and this is now one of the best sounding systems I have heard in a home environment.

I’m now pretty close to where I always aspired to be, to go higher would be prohibitively costly for me barring a lottery win. The key is to now get on with enjoying the music and films I love.


If I don’t play any music for a week or so and then put something on I’m blown away every time.


100% agreement.

Only a few weeks after my comments about how fantastic my system is sounding at the moment, your spot on, give is a few weeks and I start to think is there some more I can get out of this?

I do think you get used to the “sound” after an upgrade. Partly because you may have dropped a load of cash on it and your expectations rise. Years ago a helpful Linn/Naim dealer said to me you have to meet it half way. Which was a way of saying you want/need to hear some music.
Listening to the sound soon wears off, but not the music, I hope.
If you leave off playing music for a week and return to it, and it gives you that boost its a good system at least and you have more than justified your investment. Or being devisive, it meets your expectations, perhaps not somebody elses?
So its all subjective in the end. All part of the fun.

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I think you’ve got that exactly right. What I’m looking for is a system that puts me in touch with the music. I got my 272 nearly four years ago and used it with an XPS and a 250 for over two years. It was good but not quite right - I suspect because the speakers really needed more. I then upgraded to a 555PS and a 300 and everything clicked into place. The speakers disappeared and the music filled the room. I have had the same boxes for nearly three years now and am perfectly happy with them. I’ve long forgotten the initial excitement of installing the 555 and 300 but the lovely natural engaging music remains, and that’s really the whole point of spending all that money. I put music on and don’t think about ‘the system’ or ‘the sound’ very much at all.

Back in the day I was a serial upgrader and box swapper for several years. It didn’t completely stop me enjoying the music but I did get a bit obsessed and it definitely led to a reduction in that enjoyment. Having ended up with a brilliant setup that I couldn’t afford I had a massive downsizing and then built up slowly again, but not to the level it was before. Having been there I now know that I don’t need to be there in order to get great music. That knowledge is very helpful, I feel.


Agree. I started a thread in March “SQ perception inflation “ lots of interesting thoughts.

Does it last? Well, for me it still does 4 months after my 2nd upgrade (that’s TEAC 600 EUR integrated amp to Uniti Star) which improved my first upgrade (old Missions to Dynaudio EMITs). Both upgrades got me all over internet and fora like these. That’s where things start I think (unless you have audiophile friends) because it plants a seed in your brain that there’s some pairing out there that ticks all your personal sound profile boxes better that what you have now… My listening room is so small that speaker placement twiddling was (so far!) enough to enhance the music experience, and a small room also limits your fantasies about changing gear (floorstanders make no sense). I still have half of my ripped CD collection to work through again… And even then, tracks I’ve replayed more than once still make me smile when noticing new things, like the instruments wall of sound in Bruce Hornsby’s Spider Fingers… suddenly hearing the high hat seperated out wonderfully… I’ll touch base again when I get bored, but so far I am the happy-camper-just-listening-to-his-music category.

Since getting Dave, over 2 1/2 years ago now, I marvel every time I start playing in that respect yes, it does last!

There has been times when I think I have found the “measure” of what my little system does - imaging, tone and all those other hifi tropes.

Then at times putting on something I’d forgotten about, or a new fresh album - and my expectations get erased.

Some could have a handful of real favourite material that’s played to death, then wanting a device change just to make the listening experience different.

In the past having not so much a great system, I did feel that all my albums and material replayed sounded like it was recorded by the same band in the same recording studio.
No matter what new music was put on it still sounded boring.

No doubt more highend hifi can get me closer to a point that everything sounds unique like the performance was in my room - but at the moment I’m not that bothered.

:red_circle: Install and Optimize…

It’s all about how you’ve installed and optimized your music-system,.NOT about what level you are on.

Do you have knowledge,.and have installed your music-system according to Musical Preferences,instead of Sound and Hifi-parameters.
Then it doesn’t matter at what level you are with your music-system,.it will last a long time,and you will not “feel the urge” to upgrade.

• So my advice is,.if you lack knowledge about what I write above.
Get That Knowledge,.but keep in mind,it takes years to learn.
So rather pay someone knowledgeable to do what I write about above,.then you’ll learn the basics by watching him do the work.

AND,.then it will last a long time,in response to the OP’s question.


Are you sure it wasn’t the Blue Jeans ethernet cable that made all the difference?

OK that’s partially in jest but maybe with a grain of truth. I’ve just been listening to a couple of rips of Sandy Denny’s home demos from discs in the 19 CD set and it struck me just how much the emotion was pouring out of them given how poor some of the recordings were.
Remembering back to the cable mania thread I was inspired to try a couple of the cheaper favourites, in my case the Designer Cable cat5e and cat6a cables. With my setup the cat5e let the emotion through better than my set of found patch cords while the cat6a did all the hifi things but that vital component was lost, the why of it is beyond me.
That emotional communication is a delicate thing it seems.

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It fades in and out.

Sometimes I think… ‘that sounds really fantastic’. Other times ‘this is a bit dull’ (but often that’s driven by the content- old MP3s sound dull).

Then I’ll do something, like move the macmini hosting the library and it’ll sound better (though I can’t see any reason why it should) or make a minor change to something and it will sound better.

I’ve not really added anything that significant since I swapped the pre to a NAC52 (or was it the SNAXO2/4 to a 242?) about a year ago but the system continues to make me feel content.

Was that an olive SNAXO?

I have an ancient CB NAXO for my SBLs - I think it needs servicing, but have wondered if the current 242 might be an interesting upgrade - was there a significant difference? I actually opted for an ex-dem CB NAXO for the SBLs over 20 years ago as for me it sounded smoother than the olive SNAXO demoed at the time.

Hello everyone, first post on this esteemed forum as I now consider myself a real Naim owner for the first time :slight_smile: Going to be a bit of a long post to properly introduce myself and hopefully contributing another perspective to the topic.

Does it last? We will see … I just got a NAP 300 DR and right now it is blowing my mind and I am so happy. It’s been with me for 48 hours and so far it has been growing tremendously (I have had it play music 24/7, as 100 or even 200 hours of run-in time would take an unbearable several months with my normal listening habits). Most impressive was when it bloomed like a beautiful flower about 30 min. after turning it on.

Generally, it seems that I get the itch every 10 or 15 years, and it’s just been such a year. The current system:

Rega Planar 8, Ortofon 2M Black (recently replaced my Planar 3 from 1987)
Naim CD5i-2 (owned since 2009 and I don’t think will need replacement)
NAD C 658 (streamer/preamp with MQA and Dirac Live. Recently replaced a Rotel RC-1070 from 2005)
Naim NAP 300 DR (just replaced a Rotel RB-1080, also from 2005)
Monitor Audio Gold GX200 (since 2012. Happy with it and it has grown nicely when powered by the 300)
All devices on Sicomin Bases in a Creaktive Trend rack and the speakers on Sicomin AntiSpikes.
All Audioquest cables for now, left from the previous setup (will re-evaluate when the Naim chain is complete, I am sure)

When I was young in the 80ies, a friend infected me with the hifi virus and he had strange-looking boxes from something called Naim. This was obviously pre-internet and we lived far from the city with little in the way of non-mainstream news, so it all seemed deliciously mysterious and rebellious to me.

When I turned 18 in 1987, I got my first own real gear. (With money my parents had gifted me “for my future”, a spending choice which made my parents very happy as you can imagine :wink: )
Most I built myself from kits: A preamp and power amp based on blueprints from the German “Elektor” magazine (this was the time when you also would copy BASIC programs from mags and key them into a calculator), the Planar 3, and TDL Small Monitor Compact transmission line speakers - these were based on the huge UK TDLs but designed by the German distributor and less crazily huge (but still stretching for a student’s accommodation).

This first system lasted me around 20-30 years. After 18 years the amps were replaced by the Rotels in 2005. The TDLs where with me even longer, for 25 years until in 2012 the Rotel power amp blew an output transistor when idling. Nothing is like coming home and finding the chassis hang out of the box (and no spares in the world anymore). And the Planar 3 was with me for 33 years until this winter. If the itch needed scratching I tinkered a bit with cables, stands, etc. I was happy most of the time except for a few days or weeks after listening to way more expensive systems.

When I got the Rotels, Naim remained an impossible dream due to price. The Nait 5i was just too small for the TDLs, and up the Naim scale was too expensive at the time.

However, the two times I seriously evaluated a Naim device was when getting my CD5i and a friend’s Nait 5i. In both instances, the Naims were so much more fun than the competition at comparable price points that it was clear that a Naim system remained a clear goal.

When I needed to get a good online streaming solution last autumn, I therefore aimed for the Naim NAC-N 272, but the dealer counseled that it might be better to wait for a hopefully-to-be-updated NAC-N (possibly on the New Streaming Platform) and get the NAD C658 in the meantime. The difference I spent on the Rega Planar 8 a little later. I was happy again and told a friend how content I was, and how I would not need another upgrade for a long time :laughing:

Then came SARS-CoV-2 and a lot of time at home. When the neighbor complained about noise, I started to shop around for headphones & amp, but it did not satisfy me even in the several-thousand EUR area. The dealer suggested to consider an amplifier that might not always need to be kicked to be fun. Listened to the NAP 250 DR and it was nice but it did not blow me away. The 300 DR however did, and I am at an age now where every upgrade can or should be the last one for a given area, so I bit the bullet and here I am. The NAD and the Monitor Audios seem to work very well with the 300, and though I am sure that the 300 can do much more, the NAD and the MAs are not getting exposed as being annoying or an unbearably weak link, so far.

Now I am looking forward to that NAC-N 272 successor hopefully becoming a reality and hoping that it will be so good that I can avoid the 252/NDX2/Supercaps. And I doubt I can wait another 10/15 years now :joy:

At this time, the thing that bothers me most is that the glowing Naim logos on the 300 are brighter than on the CD5i :rofl: Maybe due to the CD being 11 years old, and the logo’s background also seems to have peeled off a bit. This is clearly a very good reason to send the CD to Naim for servicing soon!


I had a CB NAXO (powered by a HiCap) which was replaced by an Olive 2/4 (powered by a Supercap). There was a great improvement, but I didn’t use the olive SNAXO with the HiCap so it’s hard to tell how much was down to the improved power supply.

I then changed for the 242, there was an improvement but not as great as with the move from the CB to the SNAXO.

Also… with the second hand pieces of equipment it’s hard to know whether previous owners have been adjusting the pots inside which could change the relative volume of bass and treble (I assume later equipment has level controls for bass and treble as the NAXO did).

Not sure if any of this helps!

Thanks Stephen that is helpful. I certainly tinkered with the pots myself a long time ago, but there were pencil marks I assume from the factory and I’ve set the pots back to those.

There are so many ways I could improve my setup, but active adds some complexity to the equation.

Something I’ve always wondered, perhaps it’s been asked, is in relation to upgrades with the crossovers - for example I’m sure a Supercap would improve my 282 but I’ve wondered if a Supercap on a 242 would give a bigger uplift across the board.

The other one is upgrading power amps - with active a step up to 2x300DRs would be pretty expensive but the 242 would potentially allow me to use different NAPs which the CB won’t. I suspect a 300DR driving the SBLs passive might be better than active with 250s but I may be wrong.

I had a 282 with a Supercap at one point and a SNAXO 242 with a HiCap. It sounded better with the Supercap on the 242 and the HiCap on the 282.

On the question of power amps, I don’t think there’s any increased range of NAPs available with the 242 than the NAXO is there?

The only difference I can see is that the split is vertical rather than horizontal (something to always think about when swapping active crossovers around!)

Funnily enough I felt that might be the case!

I think I assumed you could use a pair of 300s or higher with the SBLs, but as the CB NAXO sends L/R channels to different 250s a perceived benefit of the 242 was one amp for LF the other for HF, potentially different. I think Richard Dane mentioned before that counterintuitively perhaps the better NAP would be best for the HF duties.