Whilst not exactly the same I have a SN3 and a Rega Aria phono stage, I’ve tried both direct into the SN3 and how I run it normally, via the Rega. I’m not sure there actually is a winner, the SN3 phono stage has a certain something about it, maybe edges things for sharp edge timing, the Rega for a more fulsome sound, but its real narrow margins, particularly as I have an Exact on the end of a RP6.
Short version, doubt you’ll be disappointed with the native phono performance of the XS3.
Many thanks n-lot. I think I have got my head round this now, and I am up and running !
Non of the stages discussed will be outright better than the onboard stage in the xs3. The at95 is a decent cart and will match will with the slightly darker sound of Naim phono boards (compared to Rega). I would save your money if it was my call and sti k with the XS3 stage and spend the rest on records….
For what it’s worth I have a P8 with an aria but was very happy with a stageline for many years… and I ran an at95 with my old Linn Basik straight into a Nait 3r and it sounded great…
Thank you all for your contributions. I have now been up and running for about a week and have to say it is an extremely close call, with the Rega phono stage just edging it. The Rega phono sounds just a bit more detailed and fuller. I have also decided to stick with the AT95SH, as it now sounds even better. However, in truth I would be extremely satisfied with the XS3 phono stage and if I didn’t have the Rega phono already I wouldn’t go out and buy one, as the difference is not significant enough, albeit does sound better. Mrs Griot even did a blind test for me on some of her favourite tracks and 5/5 times, she also preferred the Rega. Rather satisfyingly, she said, to quote “ we are being shortchanged by streaming!” However, to be fair I don’t have a streamer to connect to the naim yet ( maybe the next purchase? ) So she is not really comparing apples with apples. As an aside , I am surprised at how much of a difference there is between the 5si and the XS3 I was very happy with the 5si but I think the xs 3 is significantly better and I am already beginning to wonder how i can get an even better sound, but perhaps that is for another thread. Now back to wrapping myself in the gorgeous sound of John Coltrane’s My Favourite Things and it sounds so good even Mrs Griot s nodding her head in rhythm!
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