Nova or SN3 & ND5XS2

Hi guys,

I currently run an Naim UnitiQute 1 (with an upgrade for streaming platforms) and recently bought a pair of Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor M speakers, connected with the Naim NAC A5 cables. I only listen to Tidal (and Qobuz/Roon after I have bought an upgrade for my amp)

Now I want to upgrade my amp aswel and I am looking at a Nova or a Supernait3 & ND5XS2. De last option will costs me 2000 euro more. My intensions are not to upgrade for the coming 10 years (at least) after the a.m. upgrade.

My question is, is the SuperNait3 & ND5XS2 significant (and worth the 2000 euro extra) better than the Nova with my speakers? The 7300 euro for the SuperNait3 & ND5XS2 would be the absoluut limit budget wise.



Hi and welcome,

The only answer to this is that you have to demo for yourself. Everything else being equal the ND5/SN is going to provide a greater musical insight but the Nova for a one box solution is very good indeed. Only you can judge whether the extra €s are worth it.

Good luck.



1 Like

Only you can decide if the extra expense is worthwhile.

I’d never buy a Nova so the ND52 + SN3 would be worth the money to me. However, my experience with the ND5 is that the NDX was a much better match with SN2 unless only used as a transport with external dac. So… I’d look at NDX2 (or possibly ND52 + external dac) + SN3. This should be possible by buying one or both preowned or ex demo. It’s pretty easy to find preowned SN3’s at substantial savings.

DISCLAIMER: I’m a naturally frugal person who has never purchased a new automobile. When practical, I’d always buy preowned hifi components.

As you don’t need a turntable, why not second hand SN2 with XPSDR. This combo will drive more easily your Sonus Faber Cremona M, which really need current and power to open.
I could have bought them some years ago, they were terrific through Jeff Rowland integrated.

To my ears, when I compared the SN3/ND5XS2 and Nova (which I own), I much prefer the Nova as it is an elegant one box solution and so cleverly designed.

There is definitely a difference in sound but to my ears they were so marginal that it was not worth the extra £££. I’d say a true upgrade from Nova would be 250dr/282/ndx2 combo - but that’s my take only.

1 Like

Thank you all! I am gonna think about it.

I recently made the move from a Uniti Atom to separates (SuperNait3 and ND5 XS 2). With my KEF R3s, this combo drove the speakers with much more ease. Midrange was much more pronounced and the bass showed my speakers true potential. I immediately realized that my purchase of dual KF92 subwoofers were a mistake and my real issue was not having a capable amplifier.

That being said, I returned the SuperNait3 and ND5 XS 2 for a Uniti Nova. The sound quality is definitively worse than the SN3 / ND5 combo, but not by much. My reasons for making the switch were pinned to usability issues. I hate the + / - volume virtual buttons in the Naim app (the Atom had a slider). Also, lack of volume control when using Spotify connect was a non-starter. I also use Qobuz through the Naim app, but I find Spotify’s UI and playlists are superior in terms of navigation and discoverability.

I was also warned by my dealer that the true match for the SuperNait3 is the NDX 2. With the ND5, he suggested that the sound quality would match that of the Uniti Nova, but “weirder.” He even suggested that the NDX2 + the NAIT XS 3 would be better. If you’re planning on holding onto this system for 10 years, I would consider waiting a bit longer to snag the SN3 + NDX 2 combo.

Ultimately, I would audition the components (in-home if possible) before making the jump.

When I asked my dealer what he ran at home his answer was a Nova. Given he has access to pretty much anything I took that as a testament to how good a product it is.

1 Like

For sure it’s a great product. I almost went this route but I’m even happier with the SN3. Regardless you can’t go wrong IMHO. @andrewngu welcome to the party!

1 Like

last week i heard the spendor a7 at a retailer. we used the nova and sn3. First time for me hearing the sn3. however, there was an HCDR on the sn3. there was a clear difference in favor of the sn3. wider stage, instruments and voices with more body. however, i love the handling of my nova and the control of everything, including tv with hdmi and multirooming, via the app. recommendation: listen and decide whether the better sq wins in favor of the great nova concept

…and I’d add to that that the NDX 2 was only marginally better as a source compared to unconventional Nova use as a ‘temporary’ source last time I compared them into a 282/250 system.

I have upgraded from a Nova to SN3 / ND5 XS2 (both second hand) earlier this year. I loved the Nova and yes, it’s a very elegant system and could easily live with it, however I much prefer the sound of the SN3 combination, very clear a step up and it has stopped my upgrade itch. The built-in phono pre is fantastic too. All systems were / are running a Powerline, well worth it too.

1 Like

I think that shows you just have to try the options.

The Nova is superb, but other combinations may be better on an individual basis.

Too many factors to come down decisively one way or the other, many of which are individual, suffice to say I don;t think you could go far wrong with either option.


This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.