Naim XS or Supernait 1


My old NAD C390DD died last week and I am not looking for a replacement, as I recently purchased a Naim Mu-So 1, I am considering NAIM again as it feels like good quality and sound.

My speakers are B&W CM9 and I mainly listen to Bruce Springsteen, but it is also used for TV and movies.

Currently I cannot decide between the XS which seems quite good, but at the moment I have no DAC, so I would need to purchase that as well. I could also purchase a Supernait 1 which is twice as expensive as the XS but then it has a DAC, so there is no need to purchase a DAC afterwards.

Any recommendations ? I heard CM9’s are power-hungry.


Not heard the XS, but I replaced a Nait 5 with a SN1. It was a massive upgrade driving Dynaudio speakers which are power hungry. The DAC in the SN1 is showing its age, but still capable.

Supernait every time, but the DAC is not great, its OK for stuff like TV & it’s a bit fussy depending on TV hardware. Mine was OK with a cable TV input, but not so when I can changed to a TV with optical only.
Sorry I know that’s not helpful, just telling you what I found with mine, but the Supernait will drive most any load.

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I own the SN1 with some dynaudios and I love it. I’ve also heard the XS2, which sounded amazing with my speakers, and which ultimately inspired me to buy the nait. I think you’d be happy with both, but the SN1 has the luxury of a the DAC, which is absent in the later editions. The DAC still sounds good to me as well.

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I agree with Mike - SN1 every time for me too.

In my system the XS sounded a bit weedy but the SN1 sounded like a proper amplifier, more along the lines of 202/200 level in the classic range (although different sounding to 202/200)

The DAC is a useful add-on for background listening but it’s no match for a proper DAC and I wouldn’t use it as my primary source.

If you go for the SN 1, it’s internal dac does improve when you add the hicap to the SuperNait. I’m surely not unhappy with its dac, but I prefer my Chord Mojo.

A benefit of the SN is that it improves when the load is heavy and when loudspeakers are inefficient. I found the dac pretty fast too, I mean lip-sync in my case.

Thanks everyone - it seems like it should be the SN1 then.
Regarding DAC I am planning to buy a ND5XS2 later on, which may have a better DAC.

When I changed to my NDX’s DAC instead of the Supernait for TV, it was a marked improvement.
So if ND5 is your next move, you will be more than happy

I had an XS setup: CD5XS & NaitXS and eventually swapped the Nait for an SN1. It was a marked improvement, but by that time I also had an nDAC on the CD5XS, so did not use the DAC section. Also, I always used the SN with a HiCap and this made a substantial difference. I do not know your B&W speakers, and the specs suggest they’re reasonably sensitive but large floor standers usually benefit from a more powerful amp.

If you aim to add a ND5XS2 in the future, I would definitely go for a Supernait 1 over the Nait XS, but include adding a HiCap DR in your plans. If your immediate budget runs to a SN2 plus a cheap DAC for the short run, that might be even better and possibly less expensive in the long run. (HC not so essential.)


I would recommend Supernait over Nait XS if you listen to Bruce Springsteen. The Nait XS, sounds a bit soft. From what I gather the Supernait sounds more punchy and dynamic than the Nait XS.

Almost no one will recommend the XS series before the SN series, but I would. This choice is clearly dependent on your room, speakers, and source(s), but in my experience, having owned the XS, XS-2, and two different SN2s, this is not the no-brainer question other threads might have you believe. It’s true I have not heard the SN1, but not one person I’ve heard would recommend that over the SN2. Accordingly, to the extent the XS outperforms the SN2, which is my opinion, it must outperform the SN1. I wouldn’t bet my life on this, but it at least has some superficial logic/validity and should be considered.
I actually compared the XS-2 to the NAD when I reviewed it. The NAD was bested.


Less can be more in our hobby.

A friend complained for what seemed like years of bloated bass from his speakers in his room, driven by his SN.

I suggested trying a slightly leaner, spritely Nait XS. He wouldn’t. He argued, ‘how can a cheaper, lesser amplifier be better?’ I kept suggesting the idea.

Eventually he borrowed an XS from his dealer and tried it at home. His response to me, ‘you were right, damn you!’ He bought one.

As Michael says, above, no way is the SN a no-brainer.

And he’d probably have been even happier if he’d put a HCDR on the SN1.


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Actually I thought a Hicap on SN1 transformed it more/different, the SN2 is easier to live with single, some even prefer it that way.

If you can accommodate two boxes also consider the 202/200 combo. It has a different sound to the supernait and when I compared them using a CD5x and some Dynaudio stand mounts one I greatly preferred. Others seem to prefer the supernait so it’s not a cert either way.

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