New to Forum, want to improve Sound Quality

Hi everyone,
1st post here.
I have a 202/200 NACA5 into Kudos X2. My source is an RP8 bought new when they were first launched with the Atheta, phonostage is the Aria, with Rega phono cable into the pre.
As you can see I am 100% vinyl. Over the last year I have had more time at home playing vinyl and want to improve my sound quality, nothing wrong with what I have accept maybe if I turn the volume up a bit. My system in in the living room with dimensions of 6 x 5 metres.
I contacted a dealer and had a 282/250DR on loan, I struggle with the vocabulary of the results but the sound quality was slightly better but not much, the leap to 252/SC 300 and PS is doable but I am worried about the rest of my system keeping up so want to ask advice on here about speakers, cables etc. What should I do next, I don’t want to try the 252 and be underwhelmed as I must have other issues holding it back?

Thanks
TCW

I’d start smaller and add a Hicap and NAPSC to the 202. This should match your RP8 nicely.

Yeah add a hicap

Sorry, already have both of those, forgot to mention it , my apologies

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I’d suggest trying a Planar 10 with Apheta 3. If you are looking for better sound quality - and you might want to think about exactly what you mean by that - it’s best to start at the source. Nothing further down the chain can add what isn’t there in the first place. Ensure the Rega and the Naim are properly supported on really good stands, and make sure you have a good dedicated mains. With those solid foundations in place you can then investigate better amplification and speakers should you feel it necessary.

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That makes sense, thanks.
I have just bought the Audio Desk vinyl cleaning system so perhaps should have though about the Rega.

I would accept the advice of Mr Halibut, you have a fine system that retails at £5000 + new, the RP8 is a fine product but you need to balance source and amplification , indeed there is a very old debate that says source should be the main spend.

I would look at Planar10 or an LP12 Majik - Linn and Naim go together like steak and chips, pork and apple etc . An LP12 will open a long and expensive upgrade path, as I frequently say - one of my biggest audio mistakes was trading mine in .

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I have an RP8 hana sl cartridge and ph10 phono stage, all feeding a 252/ 250-2. The sq at any listening volume is outstanding and the RP8 is not lacking in any way. The RP10 will no doubt bring an improvement but I wonder if the RP8 is not the root cause of your problem? It may be the cartridge or the solidity of the tt mounting or even the speakers not making the best of the room. I ‘d look at yhese before leaping to spend money on a new tt.

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Hungryhalibut is a pool of knowledge :grinning: start at source and work through system finishing off with speakers. The upgrade route I have followed this time :thinking:

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If a full pre and power upgrade only give a “slight” improvement do you really think the answer is another full pre and power upgrade? If you’re not noticing significant improvement the issue is not your amps.

I cannot see why the higher volume issue you mention would be source related.

It’s more likely to be the speaker or speaker/ room interaction IMO.

Demo another speaker optimally positioned before you upgrade anywhere else.

.sjb

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I used a pair of X2s for quite a few years, initially with a Superuniti, later with a 200 and then a 250DR. They are great speakers, but they do have their limitations as you might expect for the price and size, and I think the biggest gains for you would be a speaker upgrade.
Having said that, an amp upgrade will still allow you to choose from a wider range of better speakers when the time comes, so if you’re going to do it, do it first and choose the speakers later. Then they can be selected to match the system, and just as important, the room.

If you didn’t get a massive improvement on the 282/250DR loan, then the issue is definitely elsewhere IMHO.

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Well

I would humbly offer a different opinion. If you want better sound why not shoot for better sound. There is no shame in that. I don’t understand the “get a better rack and mains” argument. If going to a 282/250 didn’t help much I doubt the other solutions offered here will. I mean sure. You can upgrade your table but…

Maybe the issue is that the 282/250, while being more expensive, is just not much better than the 200/202 which I own. I recently “upgraded” to an integrated (ok. Moonriver…less than a new 200/202). $5000 US. Difference is striking. No disrespect to Naim or other posters but consider this. I don’t know the Aria. You could also look at new speakers. Harbeth 30.x ?? I understand source first. But on a scale of 1-10 if your source is a 9 and everything else is a 6 your sound is going to be a 6

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Never heard of moonriver, is it the 404 you have?

Looks interesting.

.sjb

Yes. 404 reference…No DAC in it. They had a model with DAC but the plant in Japan that made the chips burned down. Sad but true

My thought as well.

I would take a slightly different view… the source is important but it’s too simplistic to start on that and work down stream… it’s never worked for me.

The most important component from an overall SQ perspective are the speakers and room … focus on them being optimal for your room and amp, ensure your room is relatively easy going on reverb and reflections.

Then in a Naim system, really focus on the preamp, what with Naim is called the NAC. For many years in Naim circles the NAC has often been said to be the heart of the system. Use the best NAC you can afford and it will typically bring along the rest of the system with it.

Then I would focus on your audio sources… now it mainly has the path to communicate what it’s bringing to the party.

Then if not addressed in the speaker / room coupling in step 1, I would look at power amp

Finally once the speaker, room, and electronics are sorted I would focus on supports (eg Fraim etc) and leads.

6 Likes

I think your dealer should be your best source of advice - weren’t they puzzled by the lack of improvement with the 282/250 and have any suggestions about the best approach to get an improvement?

Thanks for all your comments on here,

Yes, the dealer was puzzled so suggested bringing all my equipment to them to figure it out in their demo room, they are not a rega dealer, they are being very helpful. It’s an offer I would take up with them.

Welcome,
If second-hand equipment is relevant to you-
Try searching-
NAC52 + SUPERCAP after service
This should bounce the audio quality significantly.
Leave the current amplifier and see if the result satisfies you.
If you are not satisfied with the result, then it’s time to look for NAP 250 after service.
All this at a assuming that your listening space is reasonably handled.
If not,this is the first thing to take care of, before upgrading equipment
Good luck