Night and day differences - the real truth

There are many different series of Naim products to cater for many different tastes/aspirations.

People constantly seek to improve the SQ of their system, within their listening environments and with their personal quality of hearing.

These improvements can be either the ‘boxes’ that they buy or the cables and other environmental changes that they implement.

With the exception of the minority who are ‘super capable’ of hearing the slightest nuance in detail/performance, I wonder how many of us can claim that a particular change can have a night and day performance increase.

I have an NDX2/SN3/Kudos Titan 606 system and cannot imagine that even the statements would give a truly night and day improvement. Certainly substantial but to be truly night and day would it not have to be on a par with my system vs an old transistor radio? If products could honestly be considered night and day better, shouldn’t they be the defacto system against which all othes are judged?

Many people state an improvement as night and day but I suppose I am asking for opinions on what night and day differences can possibly mean.


I’ll get the popcorn…….


For me it falls into 3 categories….…i do not like (not very often), i like but not “moved” to buy………most fall into this category. The worrying category is when you just hear something and you know “must buy”.


A few years ago in 2020, I had a Supernait 3 based system which was great. It enabled me to enjoy music to a level that make me think I was missing nothing. Fast forward a few years and I have a ND555/NAC552 that’s very different to my ears. How? I’d describe it this way. The Supernait let me hear everything significant. The 500 series adds more resolution, but it’s more that it makes a wider range of music enjoyable. I do like jazz and ambient music and hearing the details of tone, rhythm or reverb etc can make a huge difference. The differences are more noticeable and relevant on some music than other, but it’s better all round. I’d quite understand if someone said the difference is actually quite small for the money, but for me the difference is huge and makes a difference to what I listen to. I listen more now than I used to.


It’s all subjective, one man’s………….

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@Bjm - I’d love to hear 606s on my SN3 and NDX2. As I’ll never be in a position to buy them I will never know what they sound like - or if they make a night and day difference. I do hope you felt they made an appreciable difference when you got them. What a terrific and simple system though. I hope you are enjoying your music regardless.

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This is the standout statement from your post. You did not state that the differences were night and day but the absolute conclusion is that you listen more. The perfect qualification for your upgrade!


I would not claim that the difference was night and day over my ND5XS2/xS2/Neat motive 1s, but as a complete system, it was a big increase in SQ which easily justified the additional spend.

Not night and day by any means.

I am now considering either the NSS333/NAC332/NAP250 or NSS333/NAC332/NAP350 but all with the 606s.

My additional spend after trade in will be either roughly £15,000 or £21,000. These are very significant sums and I expect an appreciable improvement but I do not expect ‘night and day’. If it was true night and day then why would anyone buy the NDX2/SN3 rather than wait a few years and buy the much better system?

Maybe the 300 series will never be attainable for some but NDX2/SN3 may be - they can be rest assured that they are not a million miles behind. I love my system but want (and can now afford) to spend more to get an appreciably better system. If I upgrade, it will certainly have to be my ‘forever system’.


What a great topic to start a debateful weekend.


Surely, answers are going to be black and white!


Or fifty shades of grey?


True…I’m debating whether to spend some of the kids’ inheritance on photographic gear.


I don’t think it’s that complicated of an expression. Night/Day = significant/obvious/distinctive/etc. Some upgrades are night/day some are modest and there’s shades in between. I also expect that most night/day differences will also have more universal agreement among listeners whereas modest changes will have less agreement. And of course none of these observations are absolute and people are prone to confirmation bias. So there’s that.


‘Night and day’ implies absolutely completely opposite. Rather different from an improvement unless the original was awful and new thing wonderful (or vice versa). Otherwise at least an really huge change, that no-one could possibly miss no matter how poor their hearing as long as they can hear something. Not really a helpful term in considering hifi differences.

In most cases my hifi changes have fallen into the ‘incremental’, bracket, though some more stand-out than others. The most ‘stand-out’ steps for me have been the following, spanning over 50 years:-

  1. Changed Garrard SP25ii for Thorens TD150. Very noticeable difference: no rumble!!!

  2. First non DIY speakers: IMF TLS50ii. Transmission line monitors that stood out head and shoulders above all others auditioned. They set my hifi path from then onwards, only large transmission line would do, and did me well for 15 years or so until I upgraded to their big brother.

  3. Adding Chord Hugo as external DAC to ND5XS: ND5XS had been very similar in sound quality to the two CD players I had had, very competent and enjoyable. Hugo suddenly made it all very natural sounding, something I hadn’t noticed as missing from recordings before.

  4. Hearing Chord Dave DAC: a literal “wow” moment, my cellist son sitting next to me, with no idea what we were listening to, uttered that under his breath just a couple of bars into the first piece of music, echoing my own feeling. Quite stunning the detail and clarity, and three dimensional soundstage, multiplying the naturalness be a factor of infinity.

  5. Adding PMC MB2 speakers to replace PMC EB1i (latter triamped with ATC midrange): the ability particularly playing loud was simply stunning.

  6. Changing from Bryston 4Bsst to Musical Fidelity A370 class A amp: the final step, an effortlessness that pervades all, with a bass response somehow revealing something I hadn’t realised had been limiting.


Night and day might be a very overused phrase on our forum. I have never experienced night and day difference but I have noticed significant changes. Never once have cables made any noticeable difference to me. Going from 252/300dr to 552/500dr was a difference. Going from Focal Maestro Utopias to ProAc k10’s was a nice improvement. But even having said this they all took a while to break in. I think we all “want” to believe when we spend a king’s ransom upgrading that we will experience “night and day”, but it is more subtle with the law of diminishing returns coming into play. Night and day is more like Ford Pinto to a GT500 (for us Ford guys).


Cannot be said any better, mic drop moment.

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Thank you for the topic @Bjm

Night and day:

  1. Having had a belly full of my Amber 50b integrated amplifier dying for the third time, a different electronic component each time. I listened to a number of new amplifiers at my local four-hour return trip HIFI shop and was sold on an XS2 when the rolling thunder at the start of Telegraph Road started. It was so clear and jumped out at me, and this was with my own speakers that I took in for the demo. The album never sounded so good, and I put this down to several factors, including the sound room at the shop. Knowledge in hindsight and my wife standing beside me, I could not justify the SN2, another AUD 2.5k.

  2. When I read a review about my Marantz CD-85 being limited in its upper frequencies, I think from memory the roll-off started at 15kHz. I purchased a CD5XS—no night and day due to my 55-year-old ears at the time, now 60. The mechanics of the NAIM CD tray appealed to me. Plus, HDCD and the ability to turn off the display. I have not heard any sound difference with the display on or off. It is defaulted to off when playing CDs, and the same with the XS2.

  3. While purchasing the CD5XS, I also splurged out on cables, interconnects, plus an FCXS. I thought, in for a penny, in for a pound, and driving in city traffic is not an enjoyable experience. Therefore, a hamburger with a lot while in town avoids going to and fro between home and the shop.

  4. Later, I upgraded the speaker elements, bass driver, aluminum dome tweeter to Kevlar bass driver, aluminum ribbon tweeters, and crossover and had the speakers repacked with special speaker foam. This was night and day, as I could now hear cymbals shimmering and piano keys ringing out with delight. This was the least expensive upgrade, for AUD 1k, which I could audibly hear.

  5. Then, small things nuanced me and replaced the bare stripped copper Naim speaker cable ends to include gold spade connectors. Just for piece of mind as a bit of a neat freak. The connection looked better than twisted bare copper scrunched under screw-down speaker terminals. Now the gold spades fit nicely under screw-down knobs. No detectable sound difference, though I felt happier with an excellent connection.

  6. Speaker cable: I have heard the difference between inexpensive and expensive cables. However, when going to Naim, I replaced my expensive speaker cable from 1980 with 2 x 5-metre lengths of Naim cable, again for peace of mind, and that the XS2 was matched with these cable lengths.

Yes, I dream of minor upgrades that may happen one day. Though not in the near future. I did go overboard with the Linn LP12 a couple of years later, and if I had better internet bandwidth, I might have considered an ND5XS. However, the sales staff had minimal experience with such items, which did not leave me with peace of mind for technical support.

All in all, a very happy chappy. Shelley has her FOXTEL, and I have my music in a room where we share or sit together watching the AFL football, and NRL State of Origin Rugby League matches.

Warm regards,

Mitch in Oz


This is the thing I totally get where you are coming from. I had a 272 which I was really happy with…I had chance of getting a 555ps…I added omg…the difference was staggering…yet it didn’t sound broken before…


The only night or day experience you will get with any hifi gear is when you either turn it on or off. Everything else is really just small steps, and the higher you go them steps normally get smaller.
That’s the reality