Hi, you didn’t mention what are your speakers? I noticed someone asked the question but I couldn’t find your response on the speakers you are using.
Apart from all the excellent options of integrated amps, at the lower price bracket I would add Sonneteer Orton into the list. Highly refined and delicate sounding amp as opposed to illuminating, lively, bold, dynamic and forward. The Sonneteer will match well with speakers that are detailed, refined and delicate, and depending on listening preference it can sound very nice.
The problem is to go from 552/300 ( 4 boxes) to much less boxes and not big decrease in sound quality.
Apart a big integrated like Aavik or Vitus, or active speakers and only one box preamp ( like Townsend Allegri) , there is no many other solutions if the OP wants to keep the Nd555.
Same here. I asked the same question 4 or 5 years ago when I was searching for the elusive integrated amp. At that time the only integrated option was the Supernait 2 from Naim but after getting told it wasn’t sounding too super, I got the 282/250DR instead.
Life is too short and I’ve settled for something else. I’ve waited far too long to own a (super) integrated amp.
No problem Sstock. The 252/500 should be significantly better than 282/250DR. The latter has a big vibrant and dynamic sound, rather lit in the treble which combines well with speakers that need a boost in excitement. Nevertheless it is not an entirely neutral presentation, and the highly delicate and revealing Marten speakers exposed the shortcomings of the 282/250DR. A bit too bright and unrefined sound with the Naim.
The 282/250DR match Harbeth speakers better than Marten though with its bold and dynamic presentation. Speaker-amp matching is certainly very important.
Actually, I may sound a bit silly, and I always feel too embarrassed to ask - Having owned a number of Naim pre-amps/amps over a period of more than 30 years, I still do not know what it means by PRat?
I just always feel if the system sounds good, natural then it is good for me.
An interesting quest you have taken on! I will follow if with interest. Unfortunately I don’t have much personal experience with higher end integrated amp. And you have quite a few suggestions already, but I guess some are quite bulky an might not fit your down size criteria… one that caught my attention a while back was Rega Osiris. I have not heard it, but Rega usually don’t release products just because they can and at around 2x the price of a SN3 it could be worth a demo. And most likely someone here already heard it and can share their experience.
The one thing you have to realize is that you will regret the move to less boxes as you have a quite nice system as it is. So think twice, especially as it’s a thing driven by your better part as it seems.
But if you keep at the plan, I would potentially suggest to go more drastic and consider one box solutions of AVM or Devialet. The AVM is even possible with Tube sound…
On the Shahinians, I’d second everything Kevin writes. What’s more they’re very tolerant: they’ll play quite acceptably close to a wall for domestic bliss, but being on castors can easily be pulled out and repositioned for “serious” listening. The Obelisks which you see in Kevin’s picture provide very realistic scale in a relatively small package so could help you “downsize” without pain if you get on with them.
I had a “trying to downsize” period a few years ago, but simply couldn’t find anything that didn’t leave me feeling disappointed, whether from Linn, Vitus, Rega and others. Actually some of the “high end” stuff left me not so much disappointed as appalled. Tons of detailed oozing syrup across a massive black soundstage with little instrumental fidelity and no life.
In short, I’d say don’t rush into anything without an audition or just a short one. The gloss of difference could easily wear off fast.
The only exception was the little Shahinians, but I was so impressed with them that I ended up getting their big brothers, the Diapasons, which are roughly double the size. Even then, people have commented on them being “small” for what they do and they certainly don’t tower over one like some top-end monoliths. Many have said they find them less visually intrusive than the SL2s they replaced.
So… Shahinians could be all you need to reduce how the stereo system imposes on the room - assuming, of course, you like how they sound.
PRaT is an abbreviation of pace, rhythm and timing. Like you say, if it sounds natural, real and engaging then it’s good enough for me. Most hifi I’ve heard doesn’t meet that simple test, especially on the engaging front.
I still think getting a bespoke sideboard to encase the existing equipment is the best bet.
You could also use it to go into a complete other direction from a sound perspective. This I heard in Munich two years ago and is highly recommended a song high powered tube amp, Westend Audio’s Monaco
With Linn active speakers it could be only one box and by using Space Optimisation (with either one or two box setup) you could position the speakers more easily as they no longer need to be in the ideal position.
A full Chord stack looks great too and sounds fantastic and could stand on a convent sideboard
However, all the options above, although to my liking, will not sound the same as a Naim system and clearly from your choices this is the way you’d like to stay. Companies such as Salamander Designs make hifi cabinets which would completely conceal your electronics. I’m sure there must be companies or bespoke cabinet makers in Denmark who could do this.
in my case Linn kit in the lounge is on a Fraim, which is between two cabinets making it virtually invisible. I prefer it that way as it is about listening to music not looking at hifi. Of course, I cannot conceal the LP12 or Spendor speakers, but they look part of the furniture as the record plinth and speaker cabinets match my cabinets.
Good luck - my approach would be to conceal what you have, it’s very fine kit, rather than change it.