New person seeking upgrade path ideas


I’m Andy in North Lincs and this is my first post, so hello everyone!

I started my Naim journey 3 years ago with a 272 and a used 250.2. Various desires to use my turntable, access the latest streaming services natively, further improve SQ and keep costs fairly contained resulted in my current system of a 250DR, Olive 82 with HiCap, ND5SX2 with PMC Twenty24. I also have a digital-only CDX2 and an LP12. I mostly stream (Qobuz) with vinyl as 2nd source and CD a rare 3rd.

I do actually have 2 HiCaps (both serviced by Class A this year, but rather different ages) but personally think the 82 sounds better balanced and a bit more airy with only one. Hope that’s not heresy :joy:

I enjoy the sound of my current setup but sometimes feel it could use a bit more weight and be a tiny bit less brash at volume. I have a fairly big listening room with lots of reflective surfaces but also a lot acoustic absorbers. To be honest I’m not really sure where to take my system next. Is there any point in moving to a 282 for instance? Or an NDX2? Or a SuperCap? Part of me really fancies a 300DR though I’ve never heard one, but I guess that might be a bit of an imbalanced system? So I guess I’m looking for ideas about where I might best focus my attention.

Thanks and best wishes to all.

You should improve the streamer first


An envious system - but where to start? Most say source first, but in a system such as yours you might consider other steps. You mention a Supercap as a good place to start, I would agree. You don’t mention a budget, but I’m sure you have one in mind with an eye on the pre-loved market.
What is your LP12 setup - perhaps an upgrade here would bring benefits?
I hold up my hand as I’ve just returned to LP12 after a break of 30 years. I like the analogue sound very much, but appreciate the convenience of streaming. But getting out of my chair every 20 minutes or so helps with mobility, if nothing else; however, the overall experience is greater with the LP12.

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Hi Andy…welcome to the forum, are you using a Naim fraim as an equipment stand. If not it would be a good up grade now and for the future.


Another upgrade possibility is to use the ND5XS2 as a transport into an external DAC. An nDAC would be an obvious choice and they’re good value now. It should be less expensive than replacing the ND5XS2 with a NDX2 and offers further upgrade possibilities with adding power supplies.



Or another ‘dedicated’ support system, perhaps… Isoblue, say…?
Other supports exist… :slightly_smiling_face:

It seems that you enjoy streaming and vinyl equally. What spec is your LP12? The streamer, the NDX2 is very good but I think I’d be inclined towards a really good DAC and then as streaming technologies change you can change the renderer.



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Of course, but i stick to what i have tried, cannot comment on other stands myself, others may care to comment.

Thanks for these ideas! My current support/rack is a BlokStax which I must confess I bought more for aesthetic reasons than anything else. I’ve always worried that a Fraim or similar might not give as much ‘bang for buck’ as a black box upgrade - so I’d love to hear experiences about this.

Regarding budget, I was hoping to be able to put some sort of half-decent uplift in place for say £2k-3k plug of course anything received from selling off any existing kit.

I was interested to hear the nDac suggestion. I’d assumed that the dac in the ND5SX2 would be somehow more modern/better - but I wonder if that’s a false assumption? I’m certainly not scared of adding an extra box if it will help :slight_smile:

(Edit) Just to add on about the LP12 spec. It’s got an Ittok LVIII with an AT33EV MC cart, Cirkus, Trampolin2 and a Sole subchassis so I’d say it’s sort of ‘mid’ level. I’m pretty happy with it. I got it rebuilt this year and that made a big difference.

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OK, so you have a ‘dedicated support system’ Good…!! :slightly_smiling_face:

I have Isoblue - which was a lot less than Fraim. Good enough, for me. YMMV, etc.

Karousel the LP12?

My starting point with Naim was a CD5XS and NaitXS. Eventually I added an nDAC, using the CD5 as transport. That was a major step up in performance, taking it above the next level CD player at least to my ears. It added weight and smoothness, making music more realistic and enjoyable at least for me. I have not heard ND5XS2 with nDAC, but there are quite a few on this forum who run that combination and might like to comment. I’m not an expert on the internals of Naim boxes, but I don’t think the fact that the nDAC has been around for a good few years should put you off. And you could probably move it on without losing too much if you decide against it.


At XS level so no surprise there.
nDAC is a couple of steps above ie. same chipset as former top of the range streamer and way better analogue output stage.
Just keep using your transport and be delighted.

Hi Andy,

My suggestion would be to get a decent dealer so you can listen to some of the above suggestions in your system. My experience is that dealers get good second hand deals AND let you borrow them.

A left field suggestion would be to consider an autoformer passive pre, such as Townshend or Icon - they will work well with your 250DR.


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Hi Andy

Welcome to the madness…:joy:

Just remember that this Hifi game is very subjective and very much based on your particular environment and ultimately your ears.

You can’t go wrong starting with source first and that goes as far as getting the fundamentals right first also.

I’d start by getting a dedicated power supply for your system if possible (own consumer unit and 10mm supply).
Secondly a great stand. Obviously a Fraim is the ultimate for Naim boxes but is expensive.


Popeye :+1:t2:

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I have a CDX2, 282 w/ HicapDR and 300DR, and it works great. From 250DR to 300DR with my Dynaudios the difference is huge. From CDX2 to NDX2, and I have done the home test, is more a question of what to listen. If your main source is Qobuz you will be better than ok with the NDX2.
Right now my CDX2 has gone for repair, but I still enjoying TIDAL with my Unitiqute2 as a streamer.
There are a lot of “source first” opinions, but if you get the other end rigth, whatever the source you will be fine.

Compulsory have just done it - along with the DC conversion a real eye opener. Makes you wonder what they’ll get up to next?

Hi again folks. Thanks for all these great ideas. I’m going to have to go and audition a Fraim at some point, I guess!! I sometimes find that dealer demos give a rather different result to what I end up with at home, so I guess in general I should start asking about home demo.

I have to confess that I’m viscerally drawn to the idea of a 300DR - I gather it’s a big step up from the 250DR - though having an ‘XS’ source and a 300DR might count as a mullet I guess?!

Trying an nDac seems like a no-brainer - I can just sell it for little or no loss if it doesn’t add a lot. I’m going to focus on improving the digital side of thing before working on the LP12 again, I think.

Adding a supercap to my 282 back in the days is possibly the my “favorite upgrade”, for me it just sounded so much more musical than the hicap, highly recommended!

Thanks Joppe. Given that I have an Olive 82, do you know if it matters if I use a Supercap or a Supercap2?