Mixing OC and NC for value?

Having spent time reading all of the various NC threads I’m still struggling to identify my most cost effective upgrade path. Should I take advantage of “bargain” used OC prices or move to NC at greater cost, but with perhaps more longevity? And which would provide the best value and SQ?

I started out just thinking I would upgrade my streamer with a DAC. Then I listened to an NDX 2 and though that was a better idea. Then the NC 200 was announced followed by the 300 series and now I’m unsure if I should go further and upgrade my amplification as well.

So, in terms of value, I’m now wondering if a mixed NDX2 / 332 / 250 system would sound better than a 222 / 300 / 250, given that a good used NDX 2 can be had for ~£3,500, making the costs the same. Of course, a 333 would be nicer but it’s just not affordable in the near/medium term unfortunately.

I know I will need to demo both to decide, but is this a sensible idea?

There is no reason why new OC untis would become any more obsolete that NC. The NDX is pretty much the same streaming board with a more expensive DAC chip. And there is no fancy tech in the pre amps old or new.

Second hand is a differtent matter obviously with well known risks.

Streamers might go out of date, but amps certainly don’t.
In other words, a 250 DR is still a [insert adjective here] good amp.
Mind you an ndx2 is still good. The first gen you might dismiss if you are thinking roon and or qobuz baked in.
I think if I had nothing and the budget I would still go ndx2/282/hicap/250DR. And maybe consider xpsdr as well.

Are you thinking of 250 DR or “new” 250?

I’m thinking NC 250 rather than DR.

Just remember none of the older kit is suddenly broken.
So you could do: Ndx2/282/hicap/new 250 for example.
It’s all a massive step up from an xs2.

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Quite correct - and something which should not be forgotten.

Upgrade-ittus though, is a difficult disease, for some to overcome… :thinking: :crazy_face:


Hear, Hear!
I would whole heartedly agree with the words of my learned colleague :wink:


For the budget I have a 252 / Supercap ought to be affordable. But much of what I see used is quite old, and although I appreciate it can be serviced (at some cost) I suspect Naim will be looking after NC kit for far longer. So that concerns me somewhat.

For me this will be an end-game system that should see me out, being now retired!

P.S. Getting home demos of discontinued kit is also an issue for me. I’d have to buy blind. Bear in mind I haven’t heard these configurations before.

Thats quite a budget - around £12k based on ‘new’ prices.

I do not think Naim will be supporting NC units for longer. This still support units they made back in the mid 1970’s - and should be commended for this.

But a used 252 / Supercap is similar money to a 332. But how do I decide given that home demos of discontinued kit is nigh impossible? Is there any first hand experience here?

I get the love here for OC kit. For good reasons I’m sure. But I’m not hearing opinions on the comparison I posed: NSC 222 / NPX 300 / NC NAP 250 vs. NDX 2 / NAC 332 / NC NAP 250. As I said, they can be had for about the same cost.

I think it’s not just a matter of value (or cost) nor the perceived ‘ranking’ between the classic and their new classic counterparts, but how the new and old components sound when mixed. I remember reading in one of the other threads that the strength of 222/NPX300/NC250 is how they complement each other, which is what one might expect as they were developed together. I’m running a 222 with a 250DR and fortunately it sounds wonderful to the point that can see this 2-box combination as being my simplified endgame system. However adding one or even two 555ps to the mix hasn’t been the slam dunk improvement that I was expecting, to my ears at least.

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If I was spending that sort of money on a whole new system I’d want everything to match, both in looks and electronically, with the ability to put it into standby at the touch of a button. I wouldn’t even consider the NDX2. So it’s either 222/300/250 or 333/332/250. See what you dealer will do for you and go for whatever you can afford.

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Personally, I would definitely not mix, especially that I now know that I prefer the NC sound.

I got my 200s before the 300 came out but I always knew that I am not going to be interested in more boxes

So yes, only 222-250 here and no anxiety, sorted, and sounds really good.

Wouldn’t go ahead without a demo, it may be completely different for you.

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Honestly none of it is sensible until you demo. You may not like the NC sound and decide to stay all OC. Or you may decide you love the NC sound and wan to move on from the OC. PS - the NDX2 is not that same as the NC streamers. It’s a different sound all together. In all honesty your comparisons don’t really line up. The NC hierarchy, sound, pricing, is different than the OC. There is no linear or analogous comparison b/w the two. Demo first then decide how you want to proceed. And I would be reluctant to mix streaming and analogue. I think you’re okay mixing OC/NC PS though.

We seem to have proof positive already…!!

For some, I would say - just buy the NC units - and be happy… :smiley:

For those prepared to put the hard work in, somehow get to try both OC and NC - and compare. Then decide… :thinking:

Thanks to all for thoughts on mixing OC and NC. No easy answers - to be expected I guess :grinning:.

Looks like I will have some serious demoing to do. Hopefully my dealer still has some OC demo kit so I can make comparisons.

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I would also point out that the NC release has meant that many are upgrading. Naturally they are using dealers to do this and trading in their OC kit as part of the upgrade.
Keep your eye on the dealers in your area that can easily be travelled to. As kit comes up, those dealers will be only too pleased to demo for you in order to move it on.
This is how I got my NAP 300 (2018 build) for a significant reduction on a new one.
As previously mentioned, the OC kit isn’t instantly to be avoided…:wink:
Happy Hunting!


The NC will be at least 10 years away from needing a service. It is also the latest iteration of Naim’s considerable know how and sounds fantastic (300 series anyhow).

Have a good listen to the NC is whichever flavour you like/waist to pay for. As you say, it is difficult to get a demo of obsolete items but some dealers may still have stock at a reduced price.

The OC is certainly by no means ‘broken’ now that the NC is here but it does not sound the same as the NC. Only your ears can decide which flavour you prefer.

For what it’s worth, after extensive listening it is the NC 300 series all the way for me!

Good luck.

I have the 332/300/NC250. I think the NDX2/332/NC250 would be fab and better than the 222/300/NC250 since you would have a better streamer and preamp

I think the vast majority here have completely missed the point. Who buys a pair of shoes without the matching handbag and vice versa?
It’s really a shame that our Mick is not around these ere parts anymore as he would keep you chaps in line