Nait XS3 vs NAP 200 DR with RME ADI-2 DAC


I am looking to upgrade the amp in my current system:

Bluesound Node 2i --> RME ADI-2 DAC --> Roksan K3 Amp --> Monitor Audio Gold 200 (4G)

Currently I am using the RME DAC as a preamp using its volume control and running the Roksan at a fixed volume.

I am considering upgrading to a Nait XS3 but was wondering if I would get a better upgrade for similar price with a NAP 200 DR (and continue using the RME as a preamp)?

Would I need attenuators if I went with the NAP 200 DR?

Thanks for any opinions

The K3 is a decent amp. For the price of the XS3 it would be worth looking at whether something like the Naim ND5XS2 with the K3 would be a more effective upgrade than an XS3 with the Bluesound/RME combo. That’s where i would start.

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Hi @ZeroGravitas, much is made of the RME ADI-2 in other forums, it offers lots of features and it seems to measure well. I note that many advocate using it directly into a power amp, but as yet I have not heard of anyone using it to directly drive a Naim power amp.

It would be interesting to test.

You would not need attenuators since the RME has adjustable ref level at the output. The auto mode also helps avoid any issues with bit loss from the digital volume control.

I haven’t tried the RME direct to a Naim power amp. It may work well since some of the RME filters are bandwidth-limited like Naim preamps.

In my setup the RME works very well on DAC preamp duty with active speakers. But only a direct comparison audition will tell you whether RME to NAP200 beats RME fixed output to Nait.

Can you take your DAC to a Naim dealer and compare both setups? I’d be interested in the result as I haven’t tested my current setup with any dedicated preamp in the chain.

You could also compare the RME to ND5XS2 and see if you prefer one over the other as James suggested, or if a source change might give you more bang for buck. I won’t comment much on that, suffice to say I chose my RME after auditioning ND5XS2 and after owning Chord Qutest, and I think the ADI 2-dac is tough to beat, but I guess you know that already…


Keep the RME it’s such an astounding DAC. Give it a whirl and see how it works with a NAP. Not sure going for xs3 would give you anything more unless you need extra analogue inputs.

Many are using Chord DACs to drive NAPs on here now at the moment. The RME I feel negates the need for an expensive transport streamer as it does such as good job or cleaning up and dealing with noise and jitter as a good DAC should.

I would be very interested to hear how the RME ADI-2 sounds direct into a NAP.

When i am able, I may give it a try for myself, but in the mean time if any one else is able to do that experiment it might be a great help.

Thanks for all the replies.

Looking through some of the postings discussing using Chord DACs as a preamp there seem to be a few comments that although in theory this is a good idea the synergy is not always there although I’m sure there are others who say the combination works well. I think I may just play safe and take a look at the Supernait 3 which should offer a straight forward and significant upgrade from my Roksan (assuming I find I do actually like the “Naim sound”).

I think the Node 2i used as transport with the RME DAC works well so this is not something I’m looking to change at the moment. But maybe once I have upgraded the amp I might look for a better streamer transport (maybe something like Moon Neo Mind) and keep the RME DAC.

I have only had my current system a few months so I am a bit concerned I am already sliding down the slippery upgrade slope. I owned my previous budget speakers (Monitor Audio RV252) for 35 years and was always happy and content with my system, but since upgrading to my new setup I have started enjoying and listening to music a lot more which has got me thinking how can I get an even better system. But once I have got my new amp and streamer (and cables and interconnects I guess) that will definitely be it. Always assuming I don’t come across any Monitor Audio Platinum speakers going at a good price!

I think I’m joking about the speakers, but I shouldn’t really be planting these seeds in my mind.

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