Keep Nova or change to ND5XS2/XS3

Hello all,

I have made the move to the Uniti Nova (I had tested against the Linn Majik DSM variants and Atom). I like the device very much. In comparison to the Atom, the Nova has the missing details (here Linn scored strongly) and due to the power of 80W/8Ohm also the necessary bass, which was somewhat lacking for me with the Linn and the Atom. The low frequency range could be a bit clearer. The Nova seems to me to be a bit thickened. I found the display quite nice at first, but you don’t really need it.

Since there were some inconsistencies with the delivery (don’t want to go in detail) of the Nova, my dealer offered to exchange it for the ND5XS2 and XS3 as a gesture of goodwill, if I wanted to.

Now comes my problem: Unfortunately, I can only exchange without being able to listen in comparison. What can I expect? What about the level of detail (should be a bit better!?) and how will the low frequency range behave? The XS3 only has 70W/8Ohm to offer, but the unit is purely analogue. Will the low frequency response be maintained and possibly become a little “drier”?

I don’t mind the change from all-in-one to separates for better sound. Crazy as we all are, the upgrade virus is then more easily preserved.

I don’t know what kind of ‘inconsistencies’ that you mean.

Personally, I would not change from Nova to ND5XS2/XS3, if you really would like to make step forward, than I suggest something like the SuperNait3/ NDX2 level …

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The inconsistencies just concerned the delivery of the nova. But therefore my dealer wanted to do me a favour, if i would prefer.

I agree with the above comment. Nova is very capable and a ND5XS / XS3 is likely a side way move.

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You can always add a Hicap DR in the future to the xs3 , think that would nudge a nova :thinking:

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I think I would want an SN3 with the ND5XS2 to really beat the Nova and you might still want a HiCap as well. The Nova is often underestimated imo. A simpler upgrade to assist with your bass concerns is to add a Powerline.

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I have had both at the same time and did extensive comparison.
Both have their charm but I would rate the separates better.
The Nova can have a thick but sometimes bloated bass and can lack some warmth / emotion at times. The xs3 combination ja a slightly smaller soundstage but the bass is definitely punchier and tighter and has more musicality and better timing.
I tried it over a lengthy time period to be sure of the differences and every time I came back to the same conclusion.

I also tried different powercords on the Nova and it did improve things but didn’t give me the same emotional connection as the XS3 combination. I now have moved on to a SN3 which improved things even further.

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When I was choosing a new system last year, my dealer was very clear that the ND5XS2/NaitXS3 was better than the Nova. I’d suggest you should consider what sort of setup you want. The more modern looking Nova with its swish volume control or something more traditional? Might you want to upgrade later? Do you have two shelves available? Do you want to be able to change digital sources or stop a stream without using your phone - the ND5XS2 has no remote? Which setup do you want to look at in your room? There must be a reason you chose the Nova over the separates in the first place. I know which I’d choose but then I’m not you.

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I think you need to look elsewhere for the thickness in your bass. The Nova has exceptional bass control and I suspect speaker positioning, speaker cable etc may be more to blame.

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Hi Hifi_Naim_CNNL,
what about that article in hificritic. Is there a way to get hold of it? How did you manage that?
Thanks over the border.

I have had this bass boom with 3 different Nova’s, 2 different speakers and played with positioning of speakers and tested with Tellurium Black II, Chord Epic X, WitchHat Phantom speaker cables. All of them had this thickness in the bass. When switched to XS3 it was tight and punchy every time.

Edit:
Have to admit the muddiness/boominess was marginal but audible when comparing it to the other combination

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I’d go with the separates, for sure: more flexible, upgradeable, and likely a better sound.

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I would be tempted by the offer since I started with a ND5 XS with a NAIT XS 2.

You may want to consider asking the dealer what the difference in price for a SN 3 with a NDX 2 would be to replace the NOVA. It would take care of the upgrade twitch for awhile.

Good luck with your decision…

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More flexible longer term,no screen to die …

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This is exactly the configuration that I selected in my choices.
I had started by listening to a Uniti Star, then the Nova with PMC5 23I. I found a difference but not exceptional.
The dealer installed the xs3 with the nd5 xs2 and there it was great. A big difference with the star and the bass was better than the Nova. Above all, it was the weight of the instruments that impressed me.

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@hungryhalibut makes very good points. I guess it’s difficult right now but you really need to hear for yourself.

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Interesting. When I tried the ND5XS2 with an SN3, it was clearly better than the Nova but not by a huge amount. I have not heard the XS3 but thought that maybe it wouldn’t better the Nova by much; from the comments above, that would appear to be incorrect. But there is always the upgrade path risk with separates :slightly_smiling_face:.

I now have an NDX2/SN3 based main system but have kept the Nova. It now has old speakers, situated in completely the wrong position, connected with Chord Clearway cables and it sounds really tremendous with a very clean bass. Make of that what you will!

I’m not sure I would be too worried about the screen; I haven’t heard of any failures on the newer streamers. I find the screen very useful but it does of course depend on how you use the unit - I can see that it may not offer much to some.

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I agree with you adeypoos. I find my Nova epic in bass performance. It’s driving Dynaudio Contour 20’s, with Van Damm 6mm cable (I tried many cables including very exotic ‘bell-wire’ types), the Van Damm opened the bass, it’s epic cable at only £10+ per metre, terminated in quality solid connectors. I spent a whole day positioning my speakers, finding that sweet spot for my room, seating position and most importantly ‘my ears’! Speaker positioning is so important. I also designed and built my own stands (having parts laser cut and powder coated); I found off the shelf stands did not position my speakers at the correct height for my listening position, I designed in a laminated top plate with 3mm neoprene rubber sandwiched between the actual stand plate at a 3 mm steel outer plate. 3/4 filled the upright column with ‘Acubites’. Very pleased with the results.

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I tried the xs3 with the Chord Clearway and also with de Nova.
When you increase the volume, the sound is more transparent and the bass more precise. It’s even more audible with classical music. Separation of instruments is even better

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I find the Nova bass to be tight punchy and agile with the right recordings. Then again I have a NAP250DR on the end of the Nova driving Obelisks which might be helping the pre-amp section better define the bass output. I agree it could be worth looking elsewhere for the thickness in the bass first before making a commitment you might regret.

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