Been pondering the idea of adding a dedicated PSU to the pre amp section of my Nait XS2.
Funds presently do not allow me to purchase the esteemed Hicap DR.
So have been looking towards the flatcap XS, possibly ex demo or pre loved.
Looking at used/ex demo current prices, the flatcap XS is roughly less than half the price of a used Hicap DR.
Is the Flatcap XS a worthwhile upgrade for my nait xs2?.
What- if any changes could I expect to hear with the added Flatcap XS?.
Should I leave my XS2 as is?.
Would I be better off paying more than double for the Hicap DR?.
No, get a SN2 instead and sell the XS2
Have to be honest I added a flat cap to a CD5 XS last year and it made no audible difference for me.
I once added a Flatcap 2X to my then 122x and CD5X and was delighted by the improvement that it made. There are many very contented users of the FC on their Nait XS2, and the Flatcap is the Nait’s natural partner, rather than a Hicap. As ever, the way to know is to try one, though it can be a challenge if buying new.
I would skip the Flatcap. I once upgraded my XS 2’s pre-amp with a HiCap DR and it took it up a rung just as it does for a SN2 or 3. Remember it’s the ‘DR’ module that really lifts the XS 2.
As HH says, it’s best to try one and see. I really liked what a Flatcap2 did on my CD5 and also my NAIT5.
When I had XS2 and a Stageline S, I compared Flatcap XS and Hicap DR, trying ALL the combinations of powering…
For me, the Hicap made the XS2 sound “forced” and almost showed up weakness of the Stageline. Using both the Hicap on the Stageline and Flatcap on the XS2 was an ear opener but beyond the budget available at the time!
I settled on Flatcap powering the Stageline directly and also the XS2. Lots of snaics and an additional interconnect but it was the most pleasing result. If you think about it, 4 power rails at my disposal to drive phono stage and pre-amp.
I liked flatcap xs on my xs2 and felt it was a better match than hicap dr and a definite improvement on bare xs. I kept the hicap on a stage line. The hicap seemed a bit too much and in your face presentation to me. I even tried a supercap dr on the xs2! which I was trialling on the preamp in the main system and didn’t like that either.
That was exactly my experience when I had CD5XS and Nait XS. The FCXS just made the setup a bit more musically communicative, ie. I enjoyed listening to it more, but did not change the fundamental character of the pair. However, adding a HC did change that character and not in a good way, to my ears. “Forced” is a good description, “manic” was how one dealer described it in the forum.
OTOH the improvements from adding the Flatcap were incremental and modest and whether they,re worth £1k has to be a personal decision. Sticking with the bare Nait XS, whilst saving for a SuperNait might also be worth considering.
Supernait 2 I’d probably lean towards. I imagine you’d be more rewarded by that than any psu noodling on the XS.
I’ve owned most of these combos myself over the years as well.
Thanks for all your informative replies.
I am leaning more towards a trade in for a supernait 3.
Always loved the Naim sound signature but would like a slightly larger, more expansive soundstage.
After reading up on the supernait 3, it could give me the fast, dynamic nait sound I love but with a larger soundstage.
Or a SN2 if a phono stage is not needed.
Oh the swarm of the SN. The flatcap was fairly worthless/invisible, especially given it took a rack space. I ended up trying a Hi-Cap later (non-DR) on my XS-2 and liked it in some respects, but I don’t think I could say it unequivocally improved things across the board. What you might seriously think about is matching and spending serious money on the source to the XS. I know this is repeated endlessly here and just as endlessly ignored because amplifier upgrades are easily accessible, but consider that if you are not lacking in power, your issues might be elsewhere. I had an Atom for a while and I actually think it’s Naim’s best product. Ignore prestige. pedigree and figure out what works for you.
Years ago, added a Flatcap to my NAC 90, yes worth every penny - NAIM wouldn’t make it, if they , their dealers and consumers didn’t think it made a difference. Naim are ruthless in culling unproductive models , so if a product has been around in one guise or another for around 30 years , you can draw your own conclusion
Some users have preferred the sound of the XS2/3 plus Flatcap over the equivalent SN
If you consult 100 experts you will get 101 opinions , there is only one opinion that counts- yours.
My Nait XS2 is being fed from a Chord Qutest DAC.
I dont really have issue with the sound from my system.
The Flatcap XS idea was more of a thought “Could I improve further?”
But if I had to nitpick.
I do like the idea of a bigger soundstage and reviews seem to point to the supernait 3 improving a great deal in that regard.
It’s an expensive experiment, but as between a flatcap and a SN3, I’d say try the SN3 and skip the FC. I would say just don’t expect miracles.
I had FCxs on 152xs and really liked the improvement. Tried a hicap DR and agree with previous comments.
Forced, unnatural, congested.
FC was more open, organised and musical.
I have upgraded from a NAIT XS 2 to a SN3 and all i will say is to go for it if you can afford one, and to forget about external PSUs for the time being.
I did the same as Stephen… the SN3 gave a greater authority to the sound, a richness if you will.
Sorry, but I can’t recall whether there was an increase in soundstage over the XS2. I think so, but don’t want to give you a false hope.
The XS2 was a little cracker tho…as was the SN3 until I heard a 282. That was a sea change!
I had the following combo for a while: Nait XS, CD5XS, FCXS. I was very happy with the system, the FC made it sound more refined (bigger soundstage, better definition) - I only bought an SN2 because the local Naim dealer made the sort of offer “that you can’t refuse”, but which you actually can refuse.
This led to more power supplies, a CDX2, more cables, etc., the usual story. I sometimes wish I’d kept the XS system…