I spent some time chatting with folk a while ago in one of the SN3 threads. However I am also contemplating the Nait XS3 as well as the SN3.
I am leaning toward the XS3 for one reason, and the SN3 for another. Hence really struggling to make a decision.
I think the best solution would be to audition. It’s because with the XS3 in some reviews, bass comes into question. Like I think e.g. the HiFi News review of the XS3. It suggests the XS3 delivered bass level only hinting at the slam the Supernaits would do.
On the other hand, some reviews say the XS3 has a substantial bass upgrade over the XS2. Both in level and quality.
At the moment I have Rega Brio 2017. It’s paired with Dyaudio Special Forty, and Either a Chord TT2, Hugo, or Qutest. Th Brio is easily the weakest link, but still a stonking amplifier.
For total critical listening, I can power the speakers straight from the TT2 outputs. It has quite a few watts there. About 8w into 6ohms single ended, and about 20W into 6ohms from the balanced outputs.
Having an amplifier is about convenience. It means I can use the Qutest (line out) for more menial computing tasks. (Plus PC gaming.) Then I can switch to the TT2 when I want music. Or I can go to the TT2 directly driving the speakers. It means swapping the speaker cables from the amp, to the connectors I made to attach to the TT2.
It means I really don’t need a real mind-boggling amplifier. To be honest I could cope with leaving my Brio there. However I know I am pulling down the DACs and the speakers with that amplifier. I think it’s obvious I will upgrade the amplifier.
The reason for an amplifier is for easy switching between DACs; TT2 and Qutest. It’s bliss to just swap over. Alternatively I could leave my TT2 straight to speakers, and leave it like that. However It means I can’t use the Qutest. I like using Qutest for more menial work, thus preserving my TT2. Having TT2 on all day, is not comfortable.
Cost of SN3 vs an XS3 and maybe a PSU for it later. Some say get the SN3 now instead.
Having a better amplifier would make using TT2 with an amplifier easier, (compared to TT2 direct to speakers).
Can I ask please, for anyone with experience of both amplifiers, your top of the head thoughts. Your immediate impressions. I’d maybe like to move this weeks before Naim up the prices. I honestly think the XS3 would be right I so many ways. However if it’s bass is quite a bit less compared to SN3, that makes it a hard choice.
One last reason that swings me toward the XS3, is like the lower power output in Watts rating. There isn’t a vast difference. However my Brio at 50W into 8ohms, 73 into 4 ohms, is a bit loud sometimes when listening whisper quiet. The output on the TT2 a can be variable, so I can drop the input to the amp, but that’s not ideal.