Naim Nait XS2 vs XS3

Hi all,

I am currently pondering to upgrade from my Unitiqute2 to a dedicated amplifier. I recently bought a used Naim DAC and streaming duties are now covered by a Raspberry Pi/ Roon solution fed into the DAC. I.e. the UQ2 is only used as an amplifier and I feel it is probably the weakest link in the system.
My preferred option at the moment is to replace the UQ2 with a NAIT XS and I received an offer from a dealer to trade-in the UQ2 for a new NAIT XS3. They also have a used NAIT XS2 (from 2018) on offer and I am wondering how big the difference between the XS2 and XS3 really is. Since I do not have a turntable the phono board of the XS3 does not really matter for me.
I was also checking for used NAC152xs/NAP155xs combos but most of them are around 10 years old and probably need servicing.
Any thoughts/ recommendations are most welcome.

P.S.: Speakers are Neat Iota Alphas

Regards,
Marco

Depends on the costs involved, but I think on balance I’d pick the xs2. (new xs3 £2200, I found an xs2 from a shop for half that).

Thanks. Costs depend a little bit on what I decide to do with UQ2 (keep or sell). But in any case, I am probably looking at a difference of about 1000 EUR between used XS2 and new XS3.

An excellent combination which probably trounces the lot of them.

(Fair point about the servicing, though I won’t be servicing either my 152XS or 155XS until they are about twelve years old.)

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Thanks for your feedback. NAC152XS/155xs combos are difficult to find here in Germany. However, I discovered a dealer who offers a NAC152XS at a decent price (about 40% of the original retail price) but its from 2009 and one with a NAP155xs from 2015 (for about 2/3 of the original price). The total cost would be between a used XS2 and a new XS3.
Argh. Too many options.

Okay. Well it’s a big generalisation but I would say we don’t hear that much about servicing preamps on the forum. It’s more power supplies and power amps.

In my view, it’s either a good deal for an XS2 with money left to improve the source (maybe a Chord Questest or Naim DAC?), or a second-hand SN2, which shouldn’t be any more expensive than a new XS3… Obviously, an SN2 might call for source improvement in the not-too-distant future…

I had an XS2 in the past – a very fine amp indeed. Now I am running an SN2 – that’s even finer, especially with a HicapDR in place. A Chord Hugo 2/2Go serves a source. :grinning:

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S/h Supernait 2 will handle these speakers much more safe.
Rather than new XS3 I’d choose above or XS2 if not separates.

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My first system was a NAIT XS 2 (70W) with a ND5 XS and ProAc D2 speakers and it was a fabulous system. I have not heard a XS 3 to date since it has been over a year since I have been to the dealer showroom and they did not have them in the demo room before Covid restrictions arrived. So can not comment on any differences between the XS 2 vs XS 3.

Others have mentioned the SN 2 above and would recommend that as an alternative as well if one was available. I moved from the XS 2 to SN 2 and felt is was a very nice uplift in performance.

I have upgraded the streamer and added power supplies and my current system is XPS DR > NDX 2 > Hi-Line > HiCap DR > SuperNait 2 > NAC A5 > ProAc D30RS. I retired this year and consider this my retirement system with no plans to upgrade from here.

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Anyone able to stick to the brief?! :wink:

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Hi Marco

Depends - never say never on a turntable , you may need that flexibility down the track so phono stage might be good

Regards

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While I would say there is not a ton in it, I think the XS3 has just a bit more clarity and detail, plus a smidge more solidity in the bass end. Both are very solid little amplifiers and great foundation for a nice system.

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Many thanks for all your comments and inputs. I am currently leaning towards the XS2. Or maybe I will just add a NAP140 to the UQ2. The wonderful world of Naim ; - )

A Nap 100 on Qute need RCA interconnect
You will need a 4pin Din/RCA ic for Qute/Nap 140

I’d go for the XS 2. It’s just two years old and significantly cheaper than the XS 3. I’ve just replaced my 2016 XS 2 with a 282/200 combo. The XS 2 is a great amplifier. I’ll be selling mine and I’ll get at best 1/2 retail for it, so used they are a bargain compared to a new XS 3.

If you decide to get into vinyl later you can add a Stageline. Used they are not expensive, still well cheaper than the XS 2 - XS 3 price difference. A Stageline also opens up the opportunity to use an MM or MC cartridge on your turntable, whereas the XS 3 is limited to an MM cart.

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I feel like a used XS2 is the most sensible and cost-efficient solution to improve my system.
One thing I am curious about is the volume control of the XS2/XS3. What I like about the UQ2 is the 0-100 volume control. I know that the NAIT has the short/long press functionality via the remote control but am wondering if the volume can be controlled in similar small increments like on the UQ2.

The speakers I have are 92dB sensitivity. I never went above 12 o’clock, and regular listening up to 9 I guess. I haven’t experienced a UQ2 volume, but I have never wished I could adjust it up or down a bit more than I was able. Via app control (through a streamer) and remote I’ve always thought the increments were sensible, not too much nor too little.

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Many thanks. That is very helpful.

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Personal opinion - go XS3 - better than xs2 , just adds a little more grunt and great with the neats, I have heard this combo and it’s wonderful

Plus MM phone if you decide to go that way in the future and can always use Aux for MC with stageline /ps

If not interested in vinyl that’s fine , at least all sorted with xs3 and then think about front end

If you go xs2 I reckon you will won’t to change anyway , niggling away

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Good point. Thanks. Does anyone by chance have any experience with adding a NAP140/180 or a NAP200 to a UQ?
NAP140 and UQ would at least be the same form factor and probably look cool.