How big the difference?

I’m thinking of upgrading the 5si to either xs3 or sn3. I’d like to know wich difference is bigger - between 5si and xs3, or between xs3 and sn3. I’m using nd5xs2 as a source.
Please, tell me your opinion. I understand that the answers are a bit subjective.
Upd: speakers are Spendor 3/5
Upd: I will have to go blind, without any audition.

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I think it’s a close call, but as a XS3 and ND5XS2 owner, I would say this pairing is better. The SN3 would probably call for a better streamer.

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A few points:

(i) The law of diminishing returns applies to hifi. The more expensive your system, the more you need to spend for a given amount of improvement in SQ. On that basis, the XS3 probably will give you more bang for your buck.

(ii) Constantly upgrading can be an expensive way of getting to a final destination. If you think you might want to upgrade again in the near future, making the jump to SN3 now looks more attractive.

(iii) The comparison is really speaker dependent. The SN3 will be more capable of driving some some speakers than the XS3, so you need to think in system terms, not just individual boxes.

Roger

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Not necessarily I haven’t listened to the xs3 as I wanted an amp with balance controls but I really enjoyed the nd5xs2 with the sn3, I actually have this pairing on order. I would suggest a demo of the differences between the 3 via a dealer.

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I’ve never owned a Nait 5i but I had a Nait XS2 and the step up to a SN3 was huge and better still with a HiCap. I also have a ND5 XS2 streamer and I’m very happy with that coupled with a SN3.

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I am one of the, I think very few, who, whilst acknowledging there are things the SN3 does better than the XS3, actually prefers the XS3 in my system/room.

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I’m afraid I will have to buy without any audition. This is why I’m worrying.

The speakers are Spendor 3/5. Which option fits better?

I’ve been through the same choices, I found the xs2 a clear step up from the 5si. The Supernait has a different character to the other two, a very weighty powerful sound. I found the xs2 vs supernait was more of a different sound character preference that one being clearly better than the other. I really liked the supernait but after a while listening to it I found it a bit too full on, so went for the xs2 which I found a bit more relaxing. Just my preference though. If you’re buying blind then they are very easy to sell on again, but ideally a back to back demo of all 3 at a dealer.

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Yeah. The dealers around me have at most Muso and 5si. I had to buy nd5xs5 going blind.

I own a XS3, it is a good amp, and has allowed me to demo various source improvements recently, new TTs, phono stages, ND5 XS2 vs Hugo mk1. Each time there’s been plenty of information to make the demos useful. If you cannot demo before buying, maybe go for the XS3, assume it’s closer to the to SN3 than either are to the to 5si, and save the extra cash for something else!?

“The NAIT XS 3 offers much of the performance of our reference quality SUPERNAIT 3 in a simpler, slimmer package combining a 70W power amplifier with five analogue inputs plus a phono stage. Its high-performance preamplifier stage is as transparent as you would expect from a Naim Audio amplifier, and it also shares the single-ended class-A headphone output of its larger sibling.”

There is perhaps some sense too for sticking with components within the same range. People do post about owning ND5 XS2 & SN3, given the “source first” mantra I haven’t seen many people go XS3 & NDX2, which is perhaps surprising. Maybe most Naim fans secretly favour the amp in a system!?

If you think you’ll end up at a SN3 at some point though - maybe save for that, the NAIT 5si is a good amp too (I thought it was a decent improvement over my NAIT3 when I had a 5 to compare), and is thus a fine place to be whilst you save. Good luck deciding :slight_smile:

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When I put my system together, late in 2020, I went for the Supernait 3 rather than the Nait XS3. One of the reasons was because my speakers are small, sealed boxes, and a bigger amplifier will get a bigger sound out of them. I don’t know your speakers but Mr Google tells me that they are also small, sealed boxes. On that basis I’d get the Supernait 3.

Bear in mind that you may want to up your sources at some point. With your ND5XS2 it’s easy to add a dac. For example you can find a used nDac for very good prices.

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This is what I’d like to achieve. However I’m unable to understand how come that a bigger amplifier gets bigger sound. I thoght it is just a matter of volume. Could you share some more details?

I’m sure there are many technical reasons but I don’t really understand them. Here is a real life example. When I swapped from a 250 to a 300 using Naim SL2 speakers, it was as if the speakers had grown by about 60cm in size, while keeping the volume constant. Another example is putting a 250 on Linn Kans, compared with using a 110. They just sound bigger, more alive. Bass goes lower and is more solid. It’s just better. I’m a big fan of small speakers with a big amplifier up them.

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Agree with your last comment HH

Apologies, I don’t have enough personal experience of Spendor to advise. Perhaps some current Spendor owners might be happy to contribute.

Roger

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XS3 is good, SN3 excellent a real whiff of the high end in an integrated. Both amps pair well with the ND5.

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I can’t answer your “difference” question but, I can tell you my nd5sx2 and sn3 make my tannoy dc10a speakers sound ASTOUNDING! Since purchasing these, I no longer have experienced any need for upgrading. I am aware that I could improve the sound but that would require THOUSANDS of dollars. I am at the diminishing returns point and am very happy with what I have. Enjoy the music.

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The “bigger” amp is capable of delivering more current to the speakers, particularly during transients that are bass heavy or just “loud.” It’s not just that the more powerful amp can ‘play louder.’ It’s a matter of remaining very “clean” (not distorted) during those loud and/or bass-heavy transients. To say is simply. The SN3’s amp is indeed capable of delivering more, clean, current than the XS3. That is in part what you’re paying for in its higher price. And it’s a very desirable feature even with “small” speakers at “moderate” listening levels.

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I’m assuming here that in your ante penultimate sentence the second SN3 should be XS3. People are easily confused.

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