I’ve been following the naim forum for some time and finally decided to join. I love how friendly everyone is!
I have a naim Unity Star powering a pair of Klipsch Cornwall IV’s. I’ve owned and listened to a LOT of speakers and gear over the last 40 years of being an audiophile, and I love the sense of scale and “you are there live” sound of the Cornwall’s.
I bought a Pass Labs integrated and honestly while it does some amazing things, I actually find it a bit too…soft? Rounded edges of music? Uninvolving? Boring???
I did a comparison after burning it in for 150 hours with the naim and although the Pass does some things different/better, in the end I prefer the presentation and the PRaT of the naim.
So in an effort to get “more” of the naim sound I like, I’m thinking of the Supernait 3, HiCap DR and the NDX 2 streamer.
The Klipsch are about 100db’s of efficiency, so they do not require a lot of power to sing.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to contributing to this great forum!
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’d recommend a serious listen to the ND5 XS2. Many people, and you may be one of them, profess to hearing a big difference with the NDX2. And many of us don’t!
Hi nice to meet you! I can say the sn3 is an amazing bit of kit which has me listening to more varied music for a lot longer since I upgraded from the uniti atom. I think you combo plan sounds good but its always best to try to demo if possible. I will say the nd5xs2 is a great bit of kit but if you want the screen I’m sure the ndx2 will be brilliant too.
I was planning on the nd5x2 (though I do like having a screen), but my dealer (who knows the sound I like) and the fact my ears are really sensitive to differences strongly suggested the NDX2. I trust him and he does lots of business so he is not just trying to upsell me.
A lot of people don’t use the screen, plus there have been some issues with the screen.
I have a Linn Klimax DS3 / Katalyst, which does not have a screen but only a line of text and to be honest I do not look at it. All the information is on the screen on the app on my iPad. This is easier to read, if I need to read anything.
So, as others have mentioned, consider, whether do need a screen or not.
I think a NDX2/HCDR/SN3 will be a nice step into the world of Naim for you. And it’ll give you a solid jumping off point for upgrades at a later time should you choose. I don’t have experience with your speakers so can’t comment there but if they’re easy to drive I suspect the SN3 will make them sound the best you’ve heard them.
I have NDX2 (now with XPSDR) and NDX XS2 in different systems, and have compared them directly.
To me, the NDX2 by itself is a bit better for sound quality than ND5XS2, though many say that you can close the gap to about zero with a second-hand nDAC or equivalent DAC to the latter. The NDX2 is also upgradeable in future to be a lot better. That probably matters more than the screen - a value for money comparison does suggest you really pay for the screen.
The SN3 is good by itself, and plenty good enough to hear the difference between ND5XS2 and NDX2. However, if you can include the Hicap DR, it’s a great decision. Naim has just stopped making its entry-level pre-power combo, and most of us here seem to think that was because SN3 + HCDR was just better.
Finally, and without wishing to offend your dealer in any way, SN3s in particular are available second-hand on both sides of the pond: you could save a lot that way.
Do let us all know how you get on with the new system when you have it!
Lots of great info. Thanks guys. OK - responses in no particular order:
Frenchrooster - thanks for the comment. I actually have a Pass Labs Integrated right now and although it does some things fantastic, it is a bit boring for me and prefer the timing and engagement of the Unity Star I have.
I honestly wanted to do the entry level naim streamer as the thought of spending $8K (retail price) on a streamer to me is pretty high. I’d consider another streamer like a bluenode with an external DAC but I do enjoy the naim steaming app. Not sure I could get a steamer and dac in the price range of the entry level naim streamer that is compatible from a musicality point.
My dealer is pretty far from me so tough to go back and forth driving. He is not the closest to me but I want to remain loyal to him.
I agree that this is an issue you should bear in mind when considering a Naim amp. The Supernait and separate preamps use traditional Alps volume pots which Naim like for their sound quality, but for most people only around a quarter turn of the control will take you from silence to very loud. With highly sensitive speakers you will probably use even less, which can make precise volume control tricky, unless you have a large room and listen at high volume levels.
This problem is worse if you use CD players and streamers that typically have quite a high line level output of around 2V. Those Alps pots are better suited to vinyl sources which tend to be at a lower level.
Hi. I wonder if it stands to reason (have never tried this…) when faced with a volume pot channel imbalance on Naim preamp or amplifier, using a Chord Qutest DAC set at 1 VOLT after a Naim streamer/DAC (instead of 2v or 3v) would help compensate said channel imbalance…?
Would be interesting to know if this has been tried/experimented. Brgds.