Naim Nova as PreAmp? McIntosh as amp

I‘ve seen people using the Naim Nova combined with a McIntosh MC 452 AC. I was wondering what generates the sound if you combine these two parts - is it the Naim or do you get the sound of the McIntosh? Or is it a mixture?

Plus, what do you think of this idea in general?
I‘m interested cause I have a rather large room and I‘m curious how my Naim Nova would sound if I combine it with a high power amp?
What do you think?

Not quite the same but similar. I have a Uniti Star feeding a Meridian power amp. The Star becomes the preamp and the sound is from the power amp although the power amp in the Star is not apparently disabled. Added some authority and the synergy is very good. I had the amp before the Star and it was an unexpected but happy experiment. Hope this helps

Some reported great synergy between Naim and McIntosh.
The Mc 452 is a 12k power amp. The pre In the Nova is something like a Nac 112 or 202.
It’s not well balanced.
You are running a 2k pre ( something like that) with a 12 k amp.
However it works better than a Nova alone…but not the best balanced combo.

Interesting, thanks! So, what might work best as a poweramp for the Naim Nova? Any ideas??

Naim 250 DR

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The McIntosh deserves a better pre and sources. It’s just that Greg. But if you have already both, you can run both. It’s not a problem.
Maybe later you will upgrade the pre and source.

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If I take a Naim DR 250 wouldn’t I have the same power as before? The DR250 has 2x80 watts. My Naim Nova which I would use as a preamp has 2x80 watts aswell. So I would trade 80 watts for 80 watts, right? Cause the Naim Nova wouldn’t deliver any watts if I use it as a preamp… Or am I mistaken??

No, I don‘t have a McIntosh amp. I just looking for a way to give my system more power. I have the Naim Nova and I‘d like to keep it as a streamer and if possible preamp. But what can I do to get more power?

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80w from the 250 dr is much more than 80 w from a Nova. Power is not only watts.

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The Naim Uniti’s are ideally intended to be used as ‘all-in-ones’, adding a poweramp like the NAP 250 DR can certainly be an improvement, but I would only take this step if you are also planning to improve your source and pre …

Mmmh, so what can I do if I‘d like to keep using the Naim Nova as a streamer, but like to have more power?
The thing is, I don‘t know any other streamer that works as good as the Naim Uniti.

NDX2 or ND5XS2 ?

NAP 250/NAP 250DR will improve the Nova - demo if you can.

Those two 80wpc amps are too similar to commit a whack of $ to a change. A noticable change would be the 300dr, and at that price range there’s a lot of great amps to consider. Tho the 300dr would probably be the best choice. But don’t waste your money on a reallly small change. I added one to my Superuniti, and hardly noticed a difference. Again, both 80wpc.

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Agree David, but also here; a Uniti Nova with a NAP 300 DR is really not doing justice to this power amp. You really need to look at the source as well when spending these amounts of money.

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Thank you!

This is what I was thinking. Even a DR 300 might be a small change compared to the money that I would invest. This is why I was thinking about a McIntosh.

Thing is I found out that the Naim Nova works really good with a bad internet connection. Something you never read in any reviews.
This is why I‘d like to keep it, if possible, and combine it with a high power amp - like McIntosh.

Reg. streamers in a „bad internet surrounding“:
I compared Naim, Hegel and some others here in my home (Bad Internet Connection). While Hegel is a great amp/streamer that I‘d really like to have - you cannot compare it with Naim regarding its playing in a bad internet Surrounding. Hegel just doesn‘t play - streaming, Appleplay, Chromecast, …whatever. It just didn’t work. While Naim always worked in the exact same moment.
So, a great sounding amp like the Hegel 390 has monies for me if it‘s not working in my house.
The Naim did his job. But I miss the power!!!

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Interesting discussion …
I recently added a NAP 250 DR to my Nova … results so far are not conclusive
The NAP 250 DR has definitely changed the presentation. There is more bass but the speed and attack that I fell in love with on the Nova has receded slightly. The addition of the 250 has made my system sound smoother, slightly less engaging
The Nova really set my expectations high for the 250 … I was expecting more of the same … but better.
Over the years I have had many different systems ( valves, digital, class A etc ) and the biggest change was the Nova … and I loved it. Currently if feel I have maybe taken a step backwards … but only a small step .
Its early days yet and I need to give it more time and experiment with bi-amping ( currently not using the power section of the Nova ) …



I also really like the Nova sound, but I also missed a little bass, and power. My room is pretty large that must be considered (around 60qm/645 squarefeet).
I added a good subwoofer, which was a good help.
But I‘m still thinking what a high power amp might bring and which to choose (although I definitely need to save money before…).

Hi Greg. What exactly do you mean by missing power? Does the Nova not drive the speakers properly? Do you want it to sound louder?

It’s important to understand that driving speakers is not just about power as measured in Watts. As has been said, the Nova is an all in one and is not ideal as a long term partner for an expensive power amp. If you want to stay with Naim then perhaps the 300 is the amp you want. But if you do, then the Nova isn’t good enough and you should really be looking at an NDX2, 282 and Hicap DR as minimum.

Maybe the best thing, if you are fixed on having a hugely powerful amp, is to borrow the Mac and see if you like what it does. It’s highly unlikely that anyone here has experience the combination.

Another option may be to ditch the B&Ws and get some active ATCs, such as the SCM40A. You could then look at alternative streaming preamps of better quality than the Nova in the future.


Hi! Yes, I think I have to test it sometime…

I was just hoping that I wouldn‘t need a new streamer or preamp and could just look for a poweramp and keep my Nova as a pre/streamer. :slight_smile:

Reg. the power: Compared to the Hegel 390 is miss the pressure that the Nova delivers. Hegel 390 has way more watts so I thought that might be a main reason.
Best would be, for me, a Hegel 390 that works as the Naim Nova. :slight_smile:

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Try driving your bass section with the Nova and the high/mids with the 250 dr. In my system, to my ears and in my room this set-up gives me more engaging bass and more pronounced highs/mids+ better sound-stage.

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