How Much Should I Upgrade?

Hi All,

I’m seeking out some opinions here on my best way to proceed, if changing anything at all. My current system and vintage
Nait 5i (2006)
CD 5i (2006)
Rega Fono Mk1 (2006)
Rega P25 (2006)
PMC LB1s (2001)
Bluesound Node 2i (just added)

I realize my 5i components probably need a service, but they still sound great in my small room 10’x9’. I just picked up the Node 2i and while it sounds subtly different from the CD5i, both sound good and resolve a similar amount of detail. I think the Nait and the PMCs dominate my sonic signature. I primarily listen to metal, rock, jazz, and classical, including a lot of bad older recordings.

I just went through the exercise of ripping 1500 CDs into AIFF files, hence the addition of the streamer. The Node 2i is a dip of my toe into the streaming waters.

I’ve read a lot about the changing of the Naim “house sound”. When I bought the Nait 5i and CD 5i back in 2006, I was prepared to spend more money, but just fell in love with the bounce and life of these 2 components feeding my PMCs. How much has the house sound really changed?

Here’s the options I’m considering:

  1. Finish putting all my AIFF files on a NAS and leave my system alone
  2. Replace the CD5i and Node 2i with an ND5 XS 2
  3. Replace Nait, CD5i and Node 2i with Atom, Star or Nova
  4. New system with SuperNait 3, ND5 XS 2 and Dynaudio Special 40s



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Maybe an ND5xs2 but audition first. The rest has done you proud by the sound of it so maybe just a service? Qobuz and Tidal through the second series streamers is knocking on the door of rips in many cases, but maybe not vinyl.

Thanks for the feedback. My Nait 5i replaced far more expensive Bryston separates. It’s such a shockingly good piece of kit, even with it’s warts.

I would think, #4 as first choice, and #3 as second choice. You could always keep the CD5i with either system if you still want to spin disks occasionally. Unless you can get a really good buck for it.

4, or 3 with the Nova, both great options at their price point.

And later SN3

Supernait, speakers of choice, keep cd for occasional use and add a dac to the bluesound! I may be alone in this but I think the node is a great bit of kit!


Apart from trying the ND if you still have an itch you could look into upgrading the turntable before tackling the amp. Rega have updated their range a few times since 2006 and there’s one or two other contenders.

Option 1 and sit back enjoy the music. Then stop coming to the forum, upgraditis is very contagious!


Demo them all. Then decide value vs sound difference.

I went through similar recently and ended down a completely different path than expected, now totally different sounding system (and amazing) yet some core parts still there.

I have owned the PMC LB1 Signature many years ago. I didn’t hang on to it long enough as I find the sound to be a bit meh. Ironically I didn’t use Naim amps with the PMC and perhaps that’s the reason they sounded poor. I find the bass to be uneven and not natural.

Personally I would pick Option 4.

I appreciate all the feedback.

I’m definitely going to enjoy my existing system while I get out and demo new equipment. It’s shocking how little equipment is available for demo in my home town of Austin, TX. My intent is to only upgrade if I truly hear a meaningful difference.

The turntable upgrade is an interesting call. The P25 is a shockingly sweet table with it’s Super Elys cartridge, but it’s a bit light in the bass and soft in the highs. But the midrange is gorgeous, a noticeable jump in sound quality over the CD5i.

As I’m getting acquainted with the Node 2i, it lacks the rhythmic drive of the CD5i, but it pulls a little more detail from the equivalent AIFF file. I definitely need to hear the ND5 XS2. At it’s price, I’d expect it to have both and more.

Ironically, my Nait 5i is my most beloved component, but I’ve always wanted a SuperNait. The phono section on the new SuperNait is particularly interesting to me.

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I would go for Supernait 2 or 3. The 3 adds a phonostage. Keep the CD player and go for ND5XS2. The Supernait 2 used is good value and is a good way of getting what you want within budget.

Will be a great system and keep your turntable!

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I think the Bluesound Node 2i is rubbish compared to a Naim streamer/dac.

I sent mine back after a couple days.

Yes, but the ‘rhythmic drive’ of the Naim player is incommensurable with the ‘little extra detail’ of the Node 2i.

The former is the heart and soul of music, what makes you love it and connects you to the music.

Spent some time with my system today. The new Katatonia album, City Burials, is surprisingly well produced for a rock/metal album. I’ve got the vinyl, CD, AIFF, and Amazon Ultra HD version at my disposal.

I agree that the rhythmic drive of the CD5i puts it ahead of the Node 2i. All 3 digital versions of the album are very close in sound quality, which is disappointing considering the age of the CD5i.

The album on my P25 is noticeably superior, even though the bass is a bit light and the overall presentation is more laid back. There’s just a silkiness to the sound even with the increase in detail.

Am I being unrealistic wanting a new digital solution that is better than any of my current sources?

I listened to Electric Ladyland recently on Tidal into my 272/555DR and on to the SL2s.

It sounded way better than any vinyl or CD version I’ve ever heard over the decades of listening to that LP.

Digital repro is capable of something special.

But to get there I had to sell everything I had spare (and I don’t just mean in the hifi realm).

SACD sounds glorious into my Nait 5i from my Sony 9000ES. And my P25 sounds wonderful with good vinyl, even through the FONO.

It seems like the Nait isn’t my limitation. But your electronics are definitely first rate, Jim.

I’m gonna have to demo the ND5 XS2 and see if that’s gonna be my answer. In fact, I just need to get out and let my ears hear what’s possible with the latest electronics.

I find that a Bluesound Node 2 used as a transport into an nDAC powered by a 555PS gives me the convenience of the BlueOS interface and the benefits of the Naim sound. My NDX is certainly a better transport, but I would not discount the Node 2 as rubbish when used this way.

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@JimDog. Rubbish is kind of harsh. It’s like saying Naca5 is crappy speaker cable. It’s not great but it’s not crap. I tried a Node2i it’s not bad for $500. But it wasn’t good enough to keep. I ended up spending much more and getting much more. I would say to the OP maybe adding a good DAC would work for you.