Nait XS3 wins group test in HiFi Choice

Just to say the XS3 has won the group test of stand alone amplifiers between £2100 and £2500. Models included were from Cyrus, Leema, Musical Fidelity , Primare and Rotel. Most had digital inputs and some had digital and phono inputs.

Only the Primare had line only inputs.

The accompanying gear was Auralic/ Rega 6 and Dynaudio Special Forty

I must admit that with a desire to “downsize” my box count the idea of an XS3 plus Flatcap looks good against the 200/202 HiCap , Stageline and NAPSC .

2 Likes

In the new price list: Nait XS3 + Flatcap XS = £3198 (& 2 boxes), Supernait 3 = £3499 (& just 1 box). If it were me (and I’ve owned Nait XS, SuperNait and, nearly, 200/202), I’d find the extra £300.

Roger

2 Likes

Gorgeous set.

+1

And actually if one gets a “refurbished” SN3 from an authorised dealer (as good as new…), no need to look for the extra £300. In fact, it would leave some monies for new music… :grinning:

3 Likes

How about XS3 + the HiCap you already have?

2 Likes

Now that is a thought, my HiCap isn’t DR so it should go well.

Or chop in your NAP200 and HC and buy a brand spankers NAP200DR.

Ian, if I’m not mistaken you own the Harbeth P3ESR. Tread with caution. I tried the Nait XS with the Harbeth Super HL5s and the sound quality is mediocre. The Nait XS sounded almost the same as the Rega Elicit Mk2 when I compared both with the Harbeth. I’m not sure how different is the Nait XS3 from the XS1 though.

Re. the Nait XS1. The 202/200 is a major uplift from the XS in detail, separation, speed, bass punch and dynamics. The 202/200 is leaner and more detailed than the XS. I’m not sure if your Hicap is a DR version, the 202/200 does sound a lot better with the Hicap DR.

Do post your impressions if you are trying the Nait XS3 (or Supernait 3) against your 202/200. Personally I feel the 202/200 is high quality. Although I have upgraded to the 282/250DR, I still keep the 202/200…

1 Like

Not sure why you think that the Hicap being a non-DR is a benefit??

1 Like

Here, in the US, quite a few integrated amps owners had switched back and forth from NAIM to LFD but unfortunately no review had ever compared them head to head.

Because I think the XS 3 is non DR so hopefully my HiCap ( once serviced) will make an alternative power supply. My desire is to keep as much SQ as possible whilst losing the boxes. In the last 15 months I have added a Clearaudio TT, changed speakers, added a quality distribution box, changed a rack for the AV to HiFi racks and bought a second hand UnitiQute2. Funds might be there for an XS3 but not Supernait 3 and DR HiCap.

The whole point of a separate, better quality power supply is to optimise the power supply to the amp. A DR Hicap is better at this than a non-DR one…

In your shoes I’d swap the 202 for a s/h 282 but your objective would best be served by getting a Supernait 3 if you want a lower box count.

If you have a dealer close by you could set up a home demo and hook up your HiCap and Harbeth p3esr speakers and you would then be able to let your ears do the work and help with the decision.

Good luck with your decision!

“Tread with caution” is very good advice. When I had a Nait XS, I tried it with a Flatcap XS and a HiCap. To my ears the FlatCap enhanced the sound, subtly improving things like bass response, but without fundamentally changing it. The improvement was modest, but sufficiently worthwhile for me to buy one. However, the HiCap changed the character of the XS sound, making the sound the visual equivalent of a hyper-realistic photograph. I think someone on the forum described it as “manic”. For me, it was too intense and simply less musically enjoyable. The SuperNait OTOH, was in a different league and that is what I eventually upgraded to.

You need to bear in mind that I listen mostly to acoustic music and musical communication is of prime importance. Also my experience was with series 1 gear. Things might be quite different with series 3, but I’d still strongly urge you to demo, preferably at home, before you jump. Alternatively, you could just wait a while and stay with your current excellent system until pre-loved (or ex-demo) SN3s start appearing.

Roger

Thanks Roger, my tastes are also acoustic and classical . I used to have an olive Nait to which I added Flatcap and power amp . I recall that on occasions the sounds system overpowered the music but overall there was a significant improvement. (I know I am contradicting myself to a degree)

Switched to the 200/202 NAPSC and thought there was significant decrease in the sense of the occasional overpowering. Then in time added the HiCap and Stageline. I was using PMCFB1 at the time .

Very happy with the sound but there are too many boxes and the system is a nightmare to change .

So I want to “downsize”, I am now using Harbeth P3ESR so they will be driven quite happily and I am thinking of how to do this.

Best wishes

Ian

Sadly the dealer I have used for thirty years is about fifty miles away. But these are very small speakers so I have quite happy to put them in soft containers .

Best wishes

Ian

Hello Ian,

just read your post(s) about the Naim setup you are currently running and I can fully understand your wish of getting rid of all the boxes. I had a similar setup (202/200/FC XS, also the NAP150x), plus the Naim CD5 XS. I was running those on Harbeth, which was ok, moved to old refurb Tannoy SRM12x and the Naim setup was not bad but also not really outstanding. Finally I sold it and bought a tube integrated. For roughly 4 years I was running the Tannoys with a 300b Tube, which was great but on the one hand I was not listening anymore this often, also I was missing something wrt clarity.
And now since Jan this year I am back with Naim, now owning the Nait XS3. I heavily compared it to the XS2 which has a slightly warmer sound but isn’t this clear. The Naim attacks seem to be a bit more forward going. Additionally the one of the guys working at the dealer where I get all my hifi equipment told me that in some Naim systems the integrated might be the better choice over the pre/end combinations (is this the right expression).

If you are considering to get rid of all the boxes the Nait XS3 might be a good choice. With the Tannoys the Nait makes up a good combo. Would offer you a listening session but Germany might be a bit far away.

Best regards

Gerald

Without wishing to add a topic for this question, was does the NAPSC add that the Hicap doesn’t? Just wondering what the value in having both power supplies is.

They do different things; the NAPSC is a dedicated supply for the logic and control circuits, whereas the Hicap is dedicated to the analogue circuitry. Separating these supplies lowers noise and gives better performance.

4 Likes

Harbeth are not recognized to be fast, punchy and dynamic, they are more mellow and very sweet in the midrange and bassy.

I think the xs3 is way enough to give the power the Harbeth need but it just not the match you want.