I suspect they will. The Uniti series takes a different approach as did the much-missed 272 and, I believe, the Statement pre. A test case might be the fabled 272 replacement, imminent in 2022, at least according to the rumour mill. And then, perhaps, this will migrate to the classic integrated and pre-anps. But I wouldn’t be surprised to hear howls of protest from the faithful that the old Alps pots just sounded better.
I started my Naim journey with a Nait XS and CD5XS and subsequently added a FlatCap XS. This definitely improved the sound both on the Nait and the CD player. But I would not describe the change as dramatic, more giving a bit more of what was already good about the XS system. Was it value for money? Well I bought one, but it is now just short of £1000 in UK and whether that is worthwhile must depend on the individual.
By way of contrast, I moved on to a SuperNait 1 and HiCap and there I felt the power supply was essential. I would not have purchased the SN unless I could have used it with the HC.
I must have a chat to my long suffering Naim dealer of 35 + years to get his his thoughts on the Flatcap
I don’t think they’re a huge seller here in Australia but one never knows
Certainly I do know the SN3 benefits from the HiCap DR
Please forgive me as I do not understand the 3v reference.
I am old school and do not understand balance control these days. It may have been an accessory needed in the past. Though I have always been told by a previous HIFI dealer who is now passed. That an amplifier should amplify linearly and there should be a need for balance control.
I am here to be enlightened.
You have made me have a rethink. Being a tech guy I always have taken specifications as they have been stated and never thought of the idea that two speakers from the same manufacturer could have different specifications in the real world. Thank you for opening my eyes/ears. Maybe my next purchase will be an SN3.
@Magnolia @Mark84 - the XS doesn’t have a (poorly centralised) balance pot, so any imbalance in the volume pot cannot even be corrected for.
I think the issues are over reported, you only see the “bad” ones reported here. If the majority of volume pots were off, then there would be many unhappy XS owners around.
Obviously I’m biased too I have a lovely XS3, and notice no channel imbalance, even at low volume.
It’s not the xs that I’m worried about it’s the SN3. I’ve read that the balance pot can be off balance at different volumes. Especially low volume. I’d assume the xs is fine as it only has volume. It must be rock solid in channel balance you’d think/hope.
Makes me wonder if the xs is the way to go.
Hello @Gigantor The input voltage reference has more to do with the source into the amplifier and the resulting impact on volume control and output levels and not the balance control. The “average” input voltage to an amplifier using unbalanced interconnects (RCA) these days is around 2v, +/- X% depending on the component and manufacturer. Typically, balanced interconnects (XLR) seem to average around 4v, which would give the impression of immediate higher output volume, sometimes interpreted as amplifier “power”. I am not sure about DIN interconnects which is what I use with Naim but I have not noticed an output level difference between RCA and DIN in my system.
The other element n question is Naim’s amplifier design and volume pot manufacturer choice which has typically favored a very high volume gain, hence the generally accepted postulate the Naim electronics are listened to from about 7:30 to 10:00 on the volume dial, on average, and depending and source signal and recording quality/mix.
The balance control in this case is quite handy and I for one am glad to have it. It can allow for compensation of volume pot imbalance, room symmetry issues and off-axis listening positions. In practical terms, the balance control is nice to have. In purist terms, it’s a shame that its vocation is to compensate and adjust for other problems in the signal path or for room issues. Still, my Naim equipment literally embarrassed two very expensive Accuphase and McIntosh integrateds I recently home demo’d so they do indeed do things that are very right regardless of the vol/bal debate. Brgds.
There are two issues
Volume pot introduces channel imbalance at low volume
Balance pot not central
The XS could still be vulnerable to 1. and not “fixable” with a tweak of the balance pot.
I still think the issue is exaggerated due to only hearing about the failures.
Ah… ok. I had it slightly confused.
So the xs is not immune from the issue at all.
The other way of looking at it is that knowledge is a good thing. Buy a Naim amp knowing there might be a volume and/or balance pot issue. Ask who you buy it from to check before shipping it out.
Staggered how good a bit of Jack Johnson was over the weekend. Qobuz through Primare NP5, Hugo 1, XS3, Neat Motive SX3 - sounded very very good, lost myself in the music and a simply produced and lovely soundstage.
Hello @Mark84 Just some real world feedback here, FWIW. On a SN2 owned from 2013 the vol pot was nearly perfect but the bal pot was seriously skewed. I adjusted/compensated for this by centering the image audibly and then removing the knob ever so slightly to reposition it on the spindle at relative Top Dead Center. This gives visual symmetry for the LED light and is a common technique. Lived happily with it until 2021.
Tried an SN3 over the summer but it was totally off-kilter on the vol pot while the bal pot was fine. I thought that this was too much and sent it back. Then tried two other non-Naim amplifiers but the music just wasn’t there.
Fast forwarding to NOW/TODAY…SN3 number 2 is in the house and the vol pot seems fine but the bal pot is totally off! Yes siree. So, I centered the image with my test tracks and repositioned the bal knob on the spindle. Frankly it is working fine and it’s tracking symmetrically at my listening volumes. So, happy enough to get the PRaT back.
As for other experiences indicating these problems are statistically rare…in my case I am 3 for 3 at a 100% anomaly rate. The good news is that this can generally be remedied for the obsessive-compulsive such as myself and doesn’t even seem to bother some people who aren’t worried about these things.
Lastly, go for the SN3!
Cheers for the feedback. Very much appreciated. Both to @Magnolia & @gthack. I think I shall just continue with the plan and stop worrying about it.
Sometimes, reading stuff on Internet forums isn’t entirely helpful. People are much quicker to post negatives, and small issues can be portrayed as though the world is about to end. For what it’s worth, I’m really happy with my NDX2 and SN3. It’s a nice combination.
If you’re concerned about volume control and low level listening you are probably a good candidate for a 272 replacement as an alternative to the NDX2/Supernait option, as you can be pretty sure it will, like its predecessor, have a volume pot that works nicely at all levels. Depends if you’re feeling patient!
Too late, too impatient, I waited all of three weeks for a 272 replacement . I decided to go for NDX2. Money spent, just trying to scrape the last $1000 together to finish payment.
Cheers for the reassurance, I’m sure it will be fine.
Also, the fact that the preamp becomes redundant once the streamer needs replacing has never sat well with me. But that’s obviously just my view.
Fair comment, although I think there’s plenty of life left in the current streaming platform.
Better performance by separating them in my experience though.