Newbie questions (SN3/200/202/282)

Hello,

I’m replacing an ancient B&O system and considering Naim. Likely NDx2 + SN3 or 200/202 + turntable. I’ll be going in to a reseller soon to listen with the speakers I would get (likely ATC, but it’s still undecided).

My questions are around all the upgrades, and the pre-amps.

How much difference does the NAPSC or HiCap or XPS make? How would they change the sound, say of the NDX2+SN3? or 200/202?

Regarding the 202 vs 282, it is hard for me to see the specific differences apart from more buttons! What difference is there between the 202 and 282, sound wise, assuming the same power setup? I truly doubt I will use any of the record features.

Finally, it looks like only the SN3 has a phono stage? All the other preamps will need a separate MC/MM box?

Thank you,
Radix

The 282 is a big improvement over the 202. The 202 does not require a napsc but many people recommend it (I never had it). The 282 does require a napsc, so factor that in when considering price. The 282 has a larger and more refined soundstage. Despite naim holding it’s value, stereo equipment has not only gotten very expensive but has a much smaller pool of users that want to buy second-hand. My advice is to buy the best you can afford at the time and not be on an endless up-grade path.

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The 282 ships with a NAPSC so there is nothing extra to buy. It won’t work without one.

As others have said the 282 is a far better pre-amp than the 202. If you can stretch to a 282 and can match it with a suitable source (very important) then a 282 could be all the pre-amp you ever need.

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Yes, but the built in phono stage on the SN3 supports MM cartridges only, go for a MC and you’ll need a separate phono stage. Conventional wisdom on here is that the built in phono stage is actually very good but my TT has a MC cartridge so I can’t comment. It just annoys me that I’ve had to plug my turntable into the input marked CD on my SN3 rather than the one marked Phono :slight_smile:

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I’d try to reduce options. The Supernait 3 is very good, as a single box by itself. The 202/200 is generally felt to be a little better, but in my experience needs a napsc to sound right. You can then add a Hicap if you want. The real step up comes with the 282 and 250DR, which also needs a Hicap, as unlike the 200, the 250 cannot power a preamp.

Adding a power supply to the NDX2 will make the music sound more natural and real, and hang together better as an overall performance.

A lot of people make the mistake of getting big expensive speakers that are really too much for their amplification and source. They won’t be controlled properly and the sound will suffer.

ATCs are nice speakers. With the Supernait I’d stick with the 7 or 11. If you want the bigger 19 or 40, then the 282/250 is where you should be looking. The 250 is a fully regulated amplifier and more capable of properly driving more challenging speakers.

I’ve owned lots of Naim systems over the years, both large and small, and this is simply my advice based on that.

Regarding phono stages, the SN3 has an MM stage built in. When I bought my SN3 I deliberately got an MM cartridge in order to keep things simple. You can add an external phono stage to all the amps being considered. Naim make a Stageline and the SN3, 202 or 282 can power it from a special ‘Aux 2’ socket.

So have an audition and see how you go. Don’t be wowed by impressive hifi gymnastics, but focus on which setup gets you closest to the music. And whatever you do, try your chosen speakers at home for a week before finally deciding. What can work in the shop can easily be a disaster at home.

Good luck.

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Hi Radix - and welcome to the Forums!

In addition to all the advice above, on a more prosaic level, the excellent Supernait 3 is easier to get hold of right now, if that affects your decision-making.

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I second that. The difference is significant. If I knew this fact now I would have gone for 282/200 rather than 202. the 282 is better in every department and provides a stunning performance with the NDX2. I cannot comment on the SN3 but this is also very well regarded. Good idea to compare your various options, however you also need to factor in where you ultimately want to be with your system as well to ensure you use the most cost effective route. Hope you enjoy your search in finding the set up that suits you best! Finally don’t be afraid of going the second hand/ex demo route. Naim gear is generally very reliable.

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I can only give my subjective opinion, fwiw…

SN3 - simply excellent for an integrated. Loved mine until…
282 - a significant improvement in depth, detail and ‘layering’ of the instruments etc - a lot of fun!

202 - the one I heard a few times (with 200) never made me want to replace my SN3 with it. Good, but didn’t grab me like the SN3 or 282 did.

But…listening is all! What you prefer is paramount.

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best to look closely at the map before setting out on the journey

SN3 is a great AMP and could be the centre of your system, at the start of my jouney back when I looked at SN1 or 202/200 - knowing what my directional plan was I went 202/200 - more difficult now as the SN3 is lovely

with SN3 in consideration - I would look at 282/250 if budget allows and then HCDR either would be a great choice but make the choice based on current wish with one eye on the furture

enjoy the journey !! and the music

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Thank you everyone. Subjective opinions is what I was looking for!

When I schedule my audition of the gear, I’ll throw a 282/250 and into the mix. That at the top of my price range, comparable to the one McIntosh setup I was looking at I was looking at.

The ATC speaker line was recommended by the Naim reseller, who thinks they are the best value, but I’ve not heard them yet.

So many choices! I’ve been living with my B&O for 25 years and not kept up with high-end audio since I took that plunge. Needless to say, there’s been a few changes over that time…

Marc

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Hi Radix

Welcome to the forums.

I can’t comment on SN3 or the pre / power combinations from first hand experience.

What I will add to the conversation is don’t forget that at this level of HiFi your relationship with your dealer / reseller becomes a part of the journey.

It’s not as simple as walking into your local electrical goods outlet and coming home with a bit of kit. Good dealers know the range and will guide you to where you want to be and will foster a long term partnership.

Also don’t forget those ‘incidentals’ speaker cables and something to put your system on (rack) in your budget.

Enjoy the music.

MC cart > SUT > SN3 MM phono stage is an alternative arrangement, if you ever consider swapping things about.

@daviddeaver once told me the second row of buttons indicates that the Output stage is “buffered”, which I think means it is better isolated from the Input stage, which could be a benefit whether you use it or not.

The Supernait 1 had the second row; SN2 and SN3 do not — yet many (not all) rate the 2 and 3 superior sounding.

Best test and make your own decision.

Separating the Output controls can have important operational impacts on multi-room wired setups, which is how I use them. Not separating them means other zones always play the selected source, which is a plus or a minus, depending what you want to do. The difference to me is all about function — I never tested the sound differences, beyond disconnecting all remote zones at the NAC to be sure my setup was not making any difference I could hear in the main Naim system — it does not.

I am running my own ancient Beocenter 2500/BeoLab 6000 as a wired remote zone from my Naim system.

Nick

@NickSeattle That’s very close to what I have – Beocenter 2500 and the Penta speakers. I also have the 6000s from when I used it as a home theater system.

@Radix , I have always used my B&O as a three zone bedroom system, based in the Master Bedroom.

I have to say, as I have said here before, it was a revelation to me how much better my B&O sounds in every zone, with my Naim system as its source.

And the Beo4 is still my all-time favorite RC. Part with yours cautiously, I say.

Best of luck!

Nick

Nick,

Do you drive the B&O from a Naim amp, or line level it to the 6000s amp? I’m wondering how you have the whole system configured.

Thanks,
Marc

Line level to Beocenter 2500 Aux (Tape2), relayed mid-way through a rather nice old obsolete Denon AV Pre, dedicated to spanning the distance. Unbalanced RCA gets the job done, better than expected.

I take a second Line Out from the Denon to a nearby 12-channel NAD amp, for Kitchen, Dining and Rec Room ceiling speakers, through local Niles attenuators.

A third line from the talented Denon goes to a Qute2 in my office.

So much better sounding and reliable than the Party Mode network alternative, at every zone.

All that remains is to wire to my MuSo Qb2, which is painful to use as-is over Wi-Fi alone.

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As newbie I’d start with integrated amp.
The pre/power range is quite complicated and based on older amps, not that its a minus.
If your looking for large ATC, the active editions are another option, really depend on budget and future plan.

A second hand Supernait 2 would save you money to eventual be going for a dedicated phonostage such as Rega Aria with a Planar of choice/budget.
Source first is still valid.

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It is hard for me to think of a vintage-B&O-bro as a complete “newbie”, because that is where I come from. I guess there is always a spectrum.

Until you get the upgraditus itch😀

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