Nait XS used as integrated VS Nait XS pre + NAP200

Hi all,

I am brand new on this community, and would like to ask you guys for your opinion on this:

  • My system starting with the digital: Bluesound Node 2i - Naim DAC V1 - Nait XS - Flatcap 2.
  • Starting with the analog: Pro-Ject 1Xpression w/ Ortofon 2M Black- Stageline N - same as above.
  • Speakers: Dynaudio Focus 160 and a Dynaudio Sub 250ii.
  • I use DIN between the Naims.

The question is how do you think it would be to only use the Nait XS as a preamplifier, and use a NAP 200 as power amp? Will this be a significant step up from the power amp in the XS as I use it today?

Pros (& cons if any) ?

Wish you a good day.

-Thomas

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Hi, a 200 would certainly provide more power to drive your speakers, but I would also consider changing the Nait XS for a Supernait 2. This would give you a better preamp as well as quite a bit more power to drive your Dynaudios. You could sell the Flatcap as well as the XS to fund this, which simplifies your system a bit.

Thomas, when I had my Nait XS the manual showed the addition of NAP200 as an upgrade. IIRC the difference compared with your system was that there was a hicap in place of your FC2.

C.

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your response. The Supernait 2 is a good option. You mention that I can sell the Flatcap as well as the Nait XS.

Additional questions:

  1. How to boost the preamp in the Supernait? I guess the HiCap would be an option. Or would the Supernait 2 alone beat the Nait XS with Flatcap 2 in the preamp section?

  2. I would like to continue to use the Flatcap 2 to boost the Stageline N. I guess the Flatcap 2 will be of good use to boost the Stageline even though I use a Supernait?

-Thomas

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your response. So in the manual for the Nait XS they mentioned the HiCap to boost the preamp section in the Nait, and then added a “plain” NAP200 without psu as power?

-Thomas

Chris,

I just looked up the Supernait online and find that it has an onboard DAC, and it looks like my Flatcap can support the preamp section in it. If this is right, I can just as well sell my XS and my DAC V1, and keep the Flatcap to support the preamp in the Supernait and the Stageline. Am I wrong here?

-Thomas

Hi Thomas,

Hopefully this is clear.

(I went a different path, please see my profile.)

C.

Only the original SN has the dac. I’m not sure how good the Node is, but one option is to sell the Node and V1 and get a ND5XS2. That with your Nait or an SN2 would be simpler and probably better. The SN2 has a DR supply for the preamp so won’t benefit from the flatcap. You could power the Stageline from the SN2 and make things even simpler.

Hi,

Ok, thanks. That is clear. I wonder if I should go that way or sell the Nait XS and the DAC V1, buy at Supernait and keep the Flatcap. From what I read the Supernait (1) has a good onboard DAC and the Flatcap can support the pre.

Thomas

Hi hungry,

Yeah, I mean the original Supernait when talking about selling DAC V1 and Nait XS. Just to keep things a little simpler, and the fact that the SN has the onboard DAC and being able to power it with the Flatcap 2.

There is always the possibility to sell the Node as well. But as a streamer (and the DAC in it is pretty darn good as well) I am more than happy. It speaks with my NAS just perfect, and delivers really good with the DAC V1.

I don’t think the FC2 will do much on the SN. The preamp power supply in the power section of the SN will probably be better. At least, I think that is broadly what SN owners reported here, all those years ago when the SN came out.

C.

Thanks Christopher,

That makes it even easier, if that’s the case (FC2 VS internal psu in SN). I will do a search in the community and have a good read.

Just so I understand this correctly:

If the SN powerstage problably is a better psu for the pre section in the than a FC2, does that mean that that a SN without psu at all is better than a Nait XS with Flatcap 2?

Thomas

I would focus firstly on improving the source and in parallel a move to a more capable NAIT which would get you to a Supernait 2 + ND5 XS2 as one example. I used a HiCap on the original NAIT XS and for a short time on an XS 2, I also used a HiCap on a SN1 and SN2.
I’d expect that the move to the Supernait alone would be improvement enough to not require either a preamp PSU or a NAP initially, you can add either or both of course but replacing what you have with a SN2 and a ND5 XS2 will make a solid difference to the system overall.
I’d not bother trying to fit in the Flatcap or look at the SN1 despite their reasonable used prices.

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From my experience I would say that you will enjoy the Supernait 2 bare more than a XS + Flatcap.
I had a Flatcap for a short while for a CD5 XS, preferred it without and for the NAIT’s always used a HiCap in preference, far more capable overall and a nice improvement to a NAIT XS and Supernait 2. I didn’t get on with the HiCap on the NAIT XS 2 and preferred how it sounded without.
SN1 + HiCap works well enough but the SN1 was my least favourite of the recent NAIT’s I’ve owned. I actually got rid of it and replaced it with a NAIT XS2 at that time and added in a ND5 XS not long after, the HiCap was a constant across those other changes.

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Hi M,

Thanks alot for your reply. In your opinion, if you have any on this; how does the DAC V1 compare with the DAC in the streamers you mentioned?

I don’t know Thomas. I chose the XS path because I favour agility and speed over grunt. Others differ.

C.

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The original Supernait is a very boring amp to listen to, IMO. I much prefer the XS to it. I also don’t think the FC is great value with the XS, so I would just keep that amp bare or jump all the way to separates.

The Node works fine as a streamer, you could get a better DAC than the V1 and that would be a big upgrade for your system. Having had both the Node and the ND5XS, I would rather use a Node + DAC setup as I was not a fan of the Naim software at all.

However, this may be better these days with the ND5XS2.

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The bluesound used with the internal dac even the original Node I have is depressingly good even used without a dac. Yes when I compare with my ndac used with my ps 555 the dac is better but it really has to be. Depending on how you see your system in the future, one alternative is to drop both dac and powersupply and go for a supernait 3, or at least try to listen to a supernait 3.
Claus

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Good question, I’ve personally never owned a Naim DAC V1 so take my opinions on face value. I have owned a Supernait 1 and also Naim ND5 XS, ND5 XS2 and NDX2. I also own both a Chord Mojo and Chord Hugo 2 DAC as well as an iFi iDSD Micro for comparisons sake.
I’d say it’s worth pausing here to consider how the DAC V1 was designed and what it’s intended purpose was. It acts as a very capable desktop preamp DAC and headphone amplifier paired most commonly with the NAP 100 power amp. It’s intended to be used in that configuration as a PC based desktop system with a minimal footprint driven from a computer primarily.
Any level of integration is a compromise and as you progress through the Naim range the level of isolation between power input and audio output increases with more isolation between the noise of the AC to DC in the power supply and the sensitive electronics so with that said, the DAC V1 is doing the best it can given its intended setup and use.
If you then take a dedicated digital transport and DAC like the ND5 XS2, whilst it has an internal power supply it isn’t in close proximity to the preamplifier and also benefits from using the current Naim NP800 streaming subsystem. This is common across the current range and as you move to an NDX2 and ultimately the ND555 the isolation and management of noise increases accordingly.
If you compare a NAIT XS (I’m assuming you have the original one here) to the Supernait 2, the SN2 has a larger power supply and higher power amp output as well as benefiting from a DR enabled preamp stage which results in better grip and timing, better bass extension and more weight to the output from your speakers.
It can in turn be further refined with the addition of a HiCap PSU to give the SN preamp and headphone output cleaner, lower noise 24v DC power.
If your room and speakers demand it, you can run the SN2 as a preamp only and add in a NAP 200/250 as a number of forum users have done and enjoy the results.
I would say overall that the SN2 + ND5 XS2 even without a HiCap will be a noticeable step up from what is possible with a DAC V1 or a SN1 using it’s internal DAC.
I owned the Supernait 1 primarily as it had a DAC and it reduced system complexity but it is a compromise and a separate DAC/Streamer is preferable.
The current ND range of Naim streamers are very capable and I owned an ND5 XS2 for just over a year and used it primarily with a SN2 + HiCap DR.
If you look at current used or ex demo prices for those two boxes you can get a SN2 for around £1800-2000 and an ND5 XS2 for similar money.
If you sold your current NAIT XS and Flatcap you should get about £700-800 for the NAIT and at a guess about £300-400 for the Flatcap, greatly dependent on age and condition but that’s a rough guide.
That gives you a nice contribution towards a new system based on a SN2 + ND5 XS2 to aim at.
It’ll depend of course greatly on budget but I’d be inclined to look at that approach vs pushing what you have more or looking at things like a NAP 200.
If you wanted to do things in stages, I’d let your Flatcap and DAC V1 go and look at a used/ ex demo ND5 XS2 first. You can comfortably use that on a NAIT XS and they will pair nicely.
Later doing a swap out of the NAIT for a SN2 will give you more control, better punch and more weight to the sound presentation.
Beyond that you can add a HiCap to the SN2 for a nice refinement to the preamp.
Cabling is worth slotting in as you go, Hi-Line DIN IC is a safe choice and swapping in Powerline mains IEC’s makes a nice improvement.
It’s also worth noting the benefits of a dedicated mains radial circuit for your HiFi, usually not that expensive but helps to keep sources of noise away from the system and generally considered a worthy improvement regardless of system level and performance capability.

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