New to me SN2 - Observations and what next?

Hi All,

I recently posted about moving a SN2 into my system. It’s displacing a much loved XS2 and I guess like most people that that come here, I can’t resist sharing my observations, and seeking some advice.

It was run in by the last owner so I could get right to listening and, like many others have posted, the difference in sound quality was immediately apparent. I’m not quite sure how to express it; more grip, more depth, more grunt…just more. I’ve been going back and forth between my Rega Planar 6/Ania Pro/StageLine and ND5 XS2/nDAC and overall I’m very pleased.

One item that I’ve been trying to process is how the gap between my TT and streamer has grown. With the XS2 I felt like my Planar 6 and ND5 XS2 were closer in SQ. Both my wife and I have always leaned towards the TT but agreed the streamer was very good and would often default to it out of convenience. With the SN2 the Planar 6 is the clear winner.

Another change that Iv’e noticed is that since adding the SN2 the system is the it’s a bit more “fatiguing”. I’ve been adapting to it, and it’s not enough to make it an overall negative experience, but it’s noticeable.

I’m curious what you might think about my comments above and also what you might recommend for next steps. I’m a bit of an opportunist given I try to buy from the used market but I’m contemplating the following:

  • Replace my Focal Chorus 726’s. This has been on the list for a long time but have been focusing on other aspects. Neat Majistra’s, Spender A4’s and PMC Twenty5.23i’s are some that I’m considering.

  • Replace my Naim StageLine S with a Rega Aria.

  • Add a HiCap DR to the SN2.

  • Other?

Thank you in advance for any thoughts you may have.

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I can’t comment on the various speakers as I haven’t heard them, but I found adding the HiCAP DR to the SN2 bought about improved cohesion and control - so I’d expect would would reduce the fatigue as[ect. Another worthwhile option is using a Naim Powerline on the SN2.


You might need to step back and dogest the root cause of the fatigue. It can come from a variety of places. For example:

  • Lossy digtal audio like MP3 can be fatigueing because the brain works harder to fill in lost (but expected) information.
  • High frequency fatigue from poor speaker-room match.
  • Sound pressure fatigue. Quite common with new gear that has appreciably less distortion which allows you to comfortably listen at louder levels without realising it. Your ears noice though.

To name just three out of several causes. But as with most solutions, a change made has more chance for success if the problem is accurately diagnosed.


Thank you for the input; all interesting points to consider. I’m a bit concerned I over-emphasized the “fatiguing” attributes. It’s still an overall positive change, but I have noticed that it more intense. With respect to your points:

  • Lossy digtal audio like MP3 can be fatigueing because the brain works harder to fill in lost (but expected) information.

I’ve only listened to 24-Bit FLAC files at 96 - 192 kHz via Qobuz but I can appreciate how low quality files could be fatiguing.

  • High frequency fatigue from poor speaker-room match.

I’ve always been concerned about this and I know the room could use some sound treatment. I haven’t changed speakers, speaker positioning, or any other aspects of the room since moving to the SN2 but I appreciate that that the amplifier change alone could have changed the system/room dynamics.

  • Sound pressure fatigue. Quite common with new gear that has appreciably less distortion which allows you to comfortably listen at louder levels without realising it. Your ears noice though.

This could also be a factor. I’ve also been listening a bit more than usual which I’m assuming could be a contributor.

I agree with Mike_S for adding a HiCapDR I did this to both my SN2 and SN3 with very positive results and maximising what the SN2 can get out of your very good sources.
Also a Powerline or very good powercable will provide good SQ improvement to in my experience with the Supernaits.


@Adikt If I were you, I’d try a different speaker placement, maybe you could move speakers away from the walls and see how it feels. Also room treatment could be an interesting idea.

Everybody here had good thoughts, however I think you need to get used to the new amp before considering new speakers or anything else like a HiCap DR (which would be great). At least this is my personal view.


As it is, it looks a nicely balanced system.
Looking at your original post, think you have all the obvious options covered.

Speakers are a very personal thing. Best advice is speakers are sometimes room dependant. So, make sure to get a chance to audition in your own space, before making any final decision. ( PMC Twenty5 23i is a possible target for our next system addition. We might explore the new active option - just announced - before deciding).

FWIW, always felt the Aria is a better phono stage than the StageLine. So, would endorse that idea.

Adding a HC DR to a SN is a nice uplight, albeit it slightly changes the character of the music too. Not everyone agrees about the merit of this upgrade. So, maybe worth trying it first, if you ever get an opportunity, then make your own mind up. (For our part, we added HC DR to a SN3 in our house and thought it a worthwhile upgrade ).

Maybe add one additional idea.
That’s adding a psu to the nDAC. For example a lovely pre-loved XPS DR

Also, using a DC1 between ND5 XS2 and nDAC. (See you already have this) :+1:
And, add Hi-Line interconnect between nDAC and SN3.
Cherry on the cake might be PowerLines ? Starting with any power supplies.

Finally, a “left field” idea for you…
Not every home can accommodate changes to electrical supply, but if its easy, maybe also consider installing a dedicated mains power supply, just for your Naim HiFi. In most cases the cost of this electrical work can be modest (say £500-£1000) and its value is worth around the same as adding a Naim psu (£1500-£2500) .

Hope that helps.

Completely get your point about understanding the various upgrade options, first, then simply waiting & watching. If you know where you’re going, doesn’t really matter the order in which you get there. (The end result being the key focus).

Good luck & happy listening


I am surprised that the P6 is the ‘clear winner’ against the nd5 xs2. It suggests that the nd5 is underperforming.

Re the fatigue, is it present with both the nd5 and the P6?

If it is more obvious with the nd5 then I’d suggest the Hicap DR for the nd5 as the first step to try.

I wouldn’t change the speakers until I had evened out the sound from the nd5 vs the P6.

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@bruss My understanding is that the HighcapDr cannot be used on the streamer. Only on the SN.


I will be interested to hear your thoughts if you do try different speakers I’ve listened to the spender A4’s a couple of times and really like them. They were definitely in contention for my last speaker upgrade before I fell in love the Harbeth sound.


Correct. A Naim streamer or nDAC need an XPS, or similar. Like a Naim CD player does.


My apologies. I’m not familiar with the Naim streamers or their possible separate psu’s.

I am still surprised that a highly recommended streamer has a poorer sound than the P6.

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@IanRobertM Even further, the ND5XS2 cannot be used with a PS. Only the external dac can be. Only the NDX2 and above can be used with a PS.


I have a similar set up. Sn2, P6 with Ania and Fono MC as well as a Nd5sx2. I started with a set of Focal 918’s as speakers. I have since changed the speakers to Neats, added a HiCap Dr and an external dac to the nd5sx2. The 918’s did not get along well with the SN2 so changing to Neat made a big difference. In my case I went with Sx5i’s which, according to the MD of Neat, were
designed using the SN2 as a reference. That move was a massive improvement. There are lots of speakers out there that work well with the SN2 that you could consider. Next I added the HCDR which was a nice improvement but not as dramatic as changing the speakers. Finally I added the external dac which was a big step up for me. Prior to having the nd5sx2 I had a Ndx with external power supply. The nd5sx2 was very close to sounding as good. Many have reported that adding a ndac to the nd5sx2 brings it close to the Ndx2 but I don’t have first hand experience with that. I went another route with the dac.

Keep in mind the room, and most importantly your ears, are big factors so your experience may be quite different.


Thank you for the comments. I wasn’t surprised the Planar 6/Ania Pro sounded better to me, I always felt it had a bit of an edge, but changing my amp seems to have widened the gap. I also acknowledge that the music is a significant factor here. I did lots of back-to-back comparisons, switching from the TT to the streamer, using music I feel is appropriate to be critical about. Even then, it’s just not the same thing, it’s comparing vinyl to a a streamed digital file.

This reminded me of a quote:



Hi @Adikt
Some good advice on this thread - all helpful.
It’s down to how much you are able to improve the environment (dedicated mains, improving room acoustics, moving the kit esp speakers) to get the most from what you already have and of course your budget. Having done the above I’d then find speakers that are a better match than the Focal 726’s with the SN2.

I had a SN2 for years (and loved it) and I’m not surprised it sounds great with your P6. I found adding a powerline and using Tellurium Q black II speaker cables brought very good cost effective improvements.

Neat and PMC are a brilliant match with the SN2. I highly recommend PMC 25 i series - brilliant speaker choice for any of the Supernaits. The 25.23i’s (and 25.21i’s) sound sensational with the SN3 - if you can get a pair of those second hand, you will notice a big improvement and may not need to consider power supplies etc.


I’ll definitely check back in with everyone when I make a change.


I hate to state the obvious but the fatigue started when you replaced the XS with the SN. A used Supernait2/Hicap would cost about the same as a used Supernait 3 which would have a smoother and improved sound. It’s a slippery slope trying to mitigate a problem with a solution that doesn’t address the original problem.

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I’m highly biased towards finding some new speakers as a next step. The other speaker I’m quite interested in is the new budget friendly PMC Prodigy5 which have been getting good reviews.

Thank you for your thoughts. I still feel I’m on the right track; I briefly put the XS2 back in and all things considered prefer the SN2. I have no doubt the SN3 is spectacular and will likely pick one up at some point in the future.