Has anyone gone from a CB250 set up to a later one box?

I am wondering how a sn2 or sn3 would sound compared to a CB hicap/32.5/250. All other things remaining equal - room, speakers,sources.

Anyone tried such a change?

Excellent question Bruss

I have both but are in different locations 100km apart and are on different sources/speakers

I like both but my feeling is the SN3 (with hicap Dr) is better in terms of bigger fuller sound stage and more grip

Although may not have quite the detail, not sure

You have encouraged me to have a session side by side using same source and speakers



I haven’t made such a comparison, but is Chrome Bumper stuff really that much worse that the current Classic separates range, because a 282/Hicap/250 would wipe the floor with a Supernait.

Not a fair comparison but I removed the sc/252/250 classic yesterday and swapped in the HC/32.5/250 CB. I thought someone had thrown a curtain over the speakers. Later today I will try the hc/82 Olive with the 250-2 classic as a direct comparison. I need to sell the kit that I shan’t be keeping so its getting near to decision time which to keep and I need to put aside sentiment (the cb would stay). It has set me wondering as to whether I should let all of the study kit go and settle with a SN and HC DR.


I was contemplating exactly this matter when I found this forum.

The present LP12/Ittok/32.5/HICAP/250/Kans set-up was mostly bought when I was a student and I’m now - technically - a pensioner.

Thoughts have wandered to modern convenience and domestic tidiness. Entry level to a new modern Naim preamp is £5K plus. Can’t be bothered with the present ultra-separates culture - phono preamps, multiple PSUs, streaming bridges, DACs, femto clocks, mains cleaners - I could go on. I want an audio system, not a train set.

Thoughts are:

SN3 on its own for analogue pre/power.
SN3 with NAP 250 and possibly HICAP - if even possible.
Uniti Atom HE as preamp with 250. Not so keen as I’d like to separate digital and analogue ‘boxes’, on the principle that digital is constantly advancing.

Hope this isn’t too much of a drift from the original post.


Not a drift at all and entirely relevant. I am with you on the streaming side. There are still too many changes in that arena to lock in a streaming solution to the single box. I like the idea of an SN with the option of a Hicap, plus the option to add or change the streaming input from a separate device.

Personally I would not relish the thought of stepping down from separates to a Supernait. Not that it’s a poor amp by any means, but it’s a significant downgrade.
Maybe it’s worth testing each of your CB components separately. They are old, and sample variation was much greater back then quite apart from the possibility of a component performing poorly due to age.

The SN3, Hicap and 250 is entirely possible but really not sensible, as the SN3’s preamp would very much limit performance. If you have three boxes you’d be much better with a 282. I wish I had your restraint - I had the same system as you when I was a student and over the years I’ve had more Naim boxes than you can shake a stick at.

These days I’m keeping it simple with a Supernait 3 and some ProAc Tablette 10 Signatures, which are the same size as Kans but much more rounded and easy to live with. Add decent sources of your choice and you are away. The concept that the 282/250 ‘wipes the floor’ with a Supernait is really rather silly. The separates are of course better, but then they are more than double the price. But they certainly don’t make the Supernait sound rubbish, broken or whatever.

Be aware that the Supernait 3 has an MM phono stage, so if you have an MC cartridge you need to either get an MM, or buy a separate MC stage.


All CB kit is serviced recently.

Why would you choose a Supernait as a preamp? If you want a 3 box system get a 282.

I think that was my question. Is it a step down?

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I don’t see the point in getting a high quality integrated amp then adding an extra box or two, which can make half of your purchase redundant and take up as much space as dedicated separates.


I agree, therefore the current comparison of what I have ‘left over’ from my upgrade path to see which to keep, or consider replacing. There is money tied up in this spare kit that could be released for my next upgrade to the main system. Do I really ‘need’ the 252 system for my study or would something else do. Problems, problems. :slight_smile:

Unless every single component was changed I don’t think you can ever rule out the chance that an amp that old can sound a bit off. Thus my suggestion to see if you can narrow it down to a single underperforming box. Still, if it doesn’t sound great to you I guess there’s not much point in keeping it.

Both your systems are woefully inadequate on the source front, so that’s where the freed up funds should go. In the second system, neither of the sources is really up to a Supernait 3, let alone your current amplification. A bit of serious rationalisation and reprioritisation would be a really good idea. Bear in mind also that the Spendor A5 is one of the worst speakers ever made. You could get something so much better.

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Agree HH

Complete front end rationalisation required on both fronts , sort out those first

Then make the decisions

But for a system for study I would have thought the 252/250 is over the top

Room to move Bruss fun times for you ahead

Thanks HH and Bevo.

I am happy with the P8 but the streaming is the upgrade path I will follow for source in the main system.

I would raise approx 13K from the release of all the spare kit. I am open to suggestions as to where those funds should be allocated to the main streaming source, and the replacement study kit.

What’s the area size of study Bruss ?

Small. 3m x 3m. Two doors in adjacent walls. I sit centre opposite a blank wall where the speakers are positioned.

NDX2/XPSDR would be about right for your 252/250, but skimping it a bit with a 552/300. For local streaming NDS/555 would be nice if you can do without a more comprehensive range of web streaming services.