Just how good is the Nova?

I’ve read some very good things about the Nova and it definitely has some advantages for me - a single box solution, a headphone socket, a colour display and that volume dial for a start, but would it be an improvement in sound quality and musical enjoyment?

I currently have a UnitiServe feeding an NDX and playing through a NAC202/NAP200 via NACA5 cables to a pair of Neat Motive 2 speakers. This fires across a room 3.6m wide by 6m long. Other cables are all standard offerings and no additional power supplies. I like the sound it makes, to me it’s open and detailed with a crisp top end, solid, believable mid and a pretty tight and deep bottom end. I can and do lose myself in the music quite regularly.

So far, so good but where do I go next. My logic says add NAPSC then Hicap then look at the cables to maximise the potential of what I already have, i.e. more boxes. However, my experience also says focus on the front end - so NDX to NDX2? My dealer would like it but my wallet is not so happy.

Then the curve ball. Would the Nova give me a very good value step up in SQ? Some say it gives the 282/250 a run for its money so could a single box outdo my NDX/202/200 or am I just dreaming?

I know the real answer is to get a proper demo and I will do that but there appear to be so many options I thought it best to throw my question out there to see what experiences forum members have had. It might cut my options down or give me some other options I’ve not thought about.

I’d be very interested in your thoughts…

I think your logic is correct. :smiley:

1 Like

Julian, the Nova is very competent, I used to have one. But Naim provide separates to overcome the compromises one box solutions inevitably have to trade. I eventually added a 250 then a 300 amp to my Nova, then finally went totally to separates. To my ears the Nova gives a 272/250 a run for the money, but add a power supply to the 272 and it’s easily ahead. If I was you I would continue with separates unless a demo convinces you the one box solution is your endgame. I would work with the dealer in upgrade options and his ex demo kit as and when available for a cost effective approach.
To digress slightly I did briefly sit down and listen to the new Linn DSM Seleckt Katalyst last week with PMC 25.23 speakers. I think Linn have advanced with this new player, but to my ears lacked the ability to get the emotion and energy of a performance. And it’s several grand more than a Nova. However those that find the Naim sound a little aggressive, may like the Linn approach.

Did someone really say that? Total drivel to my ears - not that the Nova isn’t great as a one box solution, but I am quite sure that you’ll find it a significant downgrade to your NDX/202/200.

They probably had one for sale! :rofl:

I have a friend that has a Nova and he has a friend that has 202/hicap/NAPSC/200 with NDAC being fed by Bluesound Node 2. He prefers the Nova over that setup and his friends comments back up his thoughts. Maybe it’s the BSN2 that factors in to that but maybe the Nova is just better.


I demod a 272/250 against a Nova, the separates were maybe 5% better but nearly twice the price without the functionality, looks, future proof etc. I bought the Nova.



I also had à 202/hc/napsc/200 into auralic mini with audiomat or teddy pardo dac. For me the nova is supérior to it. It also have thé New streamer capability and integration. I have often see nova equal 272/250.


:small_blue_diamond: Gazza,…:black_small_square:Just what you describe between these marks,is Linn’s biggest problem today,…and the reason why so many here in Sweden leave Linn.
Many who leave Linn have also been faithful Linn-customers in 20-30 years.

Another important reason why so many leave Linn here in Sweden,is of course how Linn has handled their “LP12-Radikal Problem”.
But it has been dealt with in another thread.

/Peder :slightly_smiling_face:

Ive got the Star and find it fantstic.
Dont you feel that theres some one upmanship on this site. How many boxes can I have!!!
You get to a level,and Ive been there that you endup listening for faults in your system not enjoying it.
We all lose our hearing to some degree as we get older so does it matter if you spend £1000,s on equipment.
I’ll probably be shot down by the hifi snobs but it needs to be said.Music is for enjoyment not how much you spend.


I met a guy the other day who got rid of his N272 and 250DR for a Linn Akurate DSM streaming preamp paired with a Naim 300DR. Says it’s the best of both worlds and blows the doors off his previous combo. So Linn can’t be doing everything bad.

:small_blue_diamond: Marka,…Of course not,…there are always those who want to listen to “cleaner and clearer” instead of to music :wink:.
In our group of sixty people,there are five of them that have Linn’s new top exakt-system,the other fifty-five do not like what they hear.

So no rule without exception,there are always those who prefer “cleaner and clearer”.
But most of my friends,…prefer the musical presentation,with among other things,…emotion and energy.

/Peder :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I find my Nova great and close to the next steps up in seperates. I’d say speaker matching is a big factor in performance though. Give it a demo!

There’s always a bit of one upmanship wherever you go in life. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
On the whole though people on here have upgraded over the years. I bought my first Naim kit in 1989 (a Nait 2) and upgrades came along over the years.

For me, the challenge is to get the best possible sound quality from the smallest number of boxes, and I am quite sure that I’m not alone in this. If I could get the same sound quality from one box instead of three, and better still, if that box was invisible, I’d be very happy. In reality, it doesn’t work that way. And as for…

I don’t know what your trying to suggest here, but this is a HiFi discussion forum. If you get it right, a more expensive system can allow you to enjoy your music more. I think most people here like to spend some of their hard earned cash on that, and I don’t see why that makes anybody a snob. Besides, if it does, I think you have been hoisted by your own petard, as a Star is going to be seen as an extravagant purchase by most people.

1 Like

Many thanks for all the replies and thoughts, it sounds like opinions differ, naturally, and it’s not necessarily a clear-cut decision. Obviously there are various factors at play here including sound, cost and convenience and the solution for me may not be the same as a solution for someone else. I think my next step is to get a demo Nova and try it a home against my current system. That A/B comparison will help to steer me down one path or another… In the meantime I’ll keep enjoying the music! And the Forum!

FWIW - In an effort to keep a low box count which is a goal for me, my choice is a streamer and integrated amp. Started with ND5XS and NAIT XS 2. Next move was NDX and SuperNait 2. This week I will take delivery of a NDX 2.

So my end goal is to never grow over four boxes if I eventually end up with two power supplies.

One of the thoughts on moving in this direction was that the technology for the streamer boards and DAC will be updated more often over time and that is the piece that will be needed to replaced/updated on a more frequent basis. Members on this forum have certainly demonstrated that the amplifiers and power supplies can last for one heck of a long time if properly maintained.

Good luck with your decison!


This! I am of the same strategy. nac282/napsc/hicapdr/nap250dr for the long haul, ndx2 for current gen streaming/dac.


Hi, I sold my Unitiserve/Hugo 2/202/200/hi cap dr/NAPSC system and replaced with a Nova. When I demo’d the Nova I was really impressed. After 6 months with the Nova i’m not disappointed. I prefer the sound of the Nova but i’m not sure it’s better than my previous set-up. It might be more forgiving of older and poorer recordings which helps with longer listening sessions. It has a well balanced, fuller sound to my ears.

Although I always thought the Hugo 2 was a brilliant dac in hindsight I think in combination with a 202/200 system it is not well balanced. The sound is too lean. Another issue might have been the S/PDIF connection from the unitiserve to the hugo. I believe from older threads the S/PDIF on the unitiserve is not as good as it could be.

When people say it’s almost as good as a separates set-up 2 or 3 times as much are they listening with their wallet or ears! As a Nova owner it’s great reading and I do believe the Nova is fantastic value for money in Naim terms. But I can’t believe Naim would shoot themselves in the foot by offering a £4K one box solution that is very close to an £7.5K two box solution (272/250dr).

I’ll be happy to be wrong!

For reference my speakers are PMC Twenty.24 and I use Chord Epic speaker cable.


Hi @diggerbj and welcome.
Couldn’t agree more with your post, I’m pretty certain in terms of the Naim hierarchy you largely get what you pay for. I like the Nova and agree it’s good value, infact I run two, I like the simplicity and sound, for years I have had racks of equipment then moved into an old 17th century cottage with smaller rooms and the Nova’s are a great solution.
I run them with PMC Twenty5 23’s and Neat SX1’s.

1 Like