Nova or Supernait

All very interesting.

I moved from a separates system (Roksan M1 Caspian mono blocks, Caspian M1 pre, Qutest DAC, Chord Blu MkI CD transport) to a Nova last summer.

I was and I still am very impressed by the Nova. However, I couldn’t resist the urge to tweak and finally added a 250.2 to the Nova, having contemplated a SN2 amongst other options instead of the Nova.

I use a MC on my Roksan Radius and a Vertere Phono 1 preamp, so the SN3 wouldn’t be a good fit for me, in that regard.

I often read others’ thoughts regarding the Nova - here and elsewhere - and whilst it’s quite difficult to objectively compare others’ findings (different speakers, rooms, cables etc) I enjoy the searching and reading.

My current dilemmas are twofold: one, could a trade in of the Nova for a dedicated pre with my 250 really be so much better, obviously, this would depend on which pre I went for.
Two, how to maximise my CD playback. I have an Innuos Zenith MK3 going into my Nova via an Audiophilleo SPDIF converter, and good though it is in streaming my local and Qobuz music, it isn’t much better if at all than a cheap Sony UHD used as a transport into the Nova, when I play my large unripped CD collection.

I’d like to keep the Innuos, but I’m now not too sure about the Nova, much as I like it’s form, function and SQ. I’d like to maximise local, Qobuz and CD playback. I’m very happy with my vinyl sound, though maybe that would also benefit from trading the Nova for a dedicated pre.

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The uniti range is fantastic and in many cases is all the system you’d need.
It’s good where space and system cost are high priorty as well as for those not likely to tinker and tune down the road.
I took a serious look at a Nova about a year ago, almost got one, then ended up with a Linn Selekt DSM.
Still a one box solution (smaller than a Nova in fact) but with a MM/MC input, options for Exakt system expansion, and in my case room to accomodate a full 5.1 decode and speaker setup, allowing it to be a lounge AV hub and decent 2 channel setup as needed.
I can even replace the onboard DAC seperately as required.
I could also combine it with my SN3 if I wanted to using AV bypass (did similar with my NAIT XS)
A SN3 covers a lot of bases in your case and lets you accomodate vinyl (MM) with good results and gives flexibility to tune your digital source and even improve the amplification with a HiCap later on (works fine without btw)
Ideally, I’d listen to both but I would expect you to get more amp from a SN3 vs a Nova and a sensible and well defined path to refine it further down the road as time and funds allow.

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It’ll depend a lot on your budget, listening space and factoring in for the things you lose moving from a Nova to a Pre/Power amplification setup.
You could combine a NAC 202 and NAP 200 for example as a first step then add a digitial source like an ND5 XS2.
NAC 282 + HiCap + existing NAP 250 is another option here.

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…after reading through the thread which has a lot of valuable insight my only thought would be regarding the streamer. I found that the NDX 2 when I added the XPS DR power supply was a major improvement in the music. Yes an increase in box count but, for me with my ears, my room and my system brought so much more pleasure when listening to the music. BTW, I control the system via my iPad or iPhone but do enjoy seeing the album cover appear when playing an album, but would not miss it if the NDX 2 did not have a screen. The ability to add a power supply was worth the money to experience the increased enjoyment when playing music in my system.



This comes down to budget and to an extent time to enjoy your investment.
I’m sure if I gave you $50k you’d replace it with an ND555 and a couple of PS555’s.
The performance gains come from putting space between components and increasing the capability of the power supply.
In a majority of scenarios our aspiration to improve what we currently have exceeds our financial budget. The benefit of a Naim seperates system being you have a well defined and well trodden path as you move around the performance tiers.
To be honest, If I was spending the sort of money even an XPS DR requires (new/used) I’d be surprised if I wasn’t getting something for my money!
I’ve got a similar system as you may recall from other threads, I actually simplified mine when I removed a HiCap DR I’d been using on a SN2. I toyed with the idea of a PS555 for my NDX2 a fair bit through last year, but ultimately the conclusion I reached was it hit a sensible balance between time/money/space.
I do do other things along the way, moved to a full fraim rack for one and have added powerlines through the years.
As we all know, the toughest part of these journeys is knowing when to stop for a while and enjoy what you currently have!
I think if I were to do anything in my case I’d add a 555PS to the NDX2, it does improve it, I’ve tried it before!
I did have an ND5 XS2 before the NDX2, it is very good for the money, the NDX2 is noticeably more refined and capable and has PS options the ND5 XS2 doesn’t if that’s important to you.
I’d say a more interesting comparison is perhaps the one I made myself to the Nova ans similar options, in my case ultimately ending up with the similar but more flexible Linn Selekt DSM.


Yes, the latter option is one I’d certainly consider. I’d also need a DAC, I think, if I were to keep my Zenith in the set up as streamer and server.

Assuming funds allow the NAC282 + HiCap DR would be a great choice.
Do you still have your Chord DAC? Could you put that between your Innuos server and a preamp?

Funds do fortunately allow, but I’d have to add a Qutest (I sold mine last year) or an RME, perhaps.

Just to clarify, the 282 is a standalone preamp?


You’d get a NAPSC with the NAC 282, you also need to put at least 1 HiCap DR between the NAC and your NAP 250 as below.

You can add a second HiCap or even a SuperCap, the purpose of the SuperCap being as an intermediary step towards replacing the NAC 282 with a NAC 252 which requires a SuperCap for power.


I have just today demo’d 1) the Atom; 2) the Nova; 3) SN3 + Lumin T2; 4) SN3 + ND5XS2; 5) SN3 + NDX2. All with Dynaudio Special Forty speakers, as this is what the dealer had. Streaming tracks through Tidal only.

  1. Atom. Love this little thing. So lively, so musical, just enough bass to enjoy, just enough depth. Glad I’ve got one in the dining room.

  2. Nova. Bigger, thicker sound, more grip. Very good match for the Special Fortys. Got one eye on getting the Nova to drive PMC 25.24s and I think it would be capable. Bass is good and everything is well controlled. Fair soundstage for the money, I’d say.

  3. SN3 + Lumin T2. I immediately missed the Naim sound, the Lumin was not for me with the SN3 at least. Distinct lack of good ole prat. Too thin, not musical enough.

  4. SN3 + ND5XS2. An improvement to my mind on the Lumin, which is amazing given there is a fair price difference. Started to see what the SN3 was really about. BUT, IMO not better or worse than the Nova, just different. Lighter on bass and less authority. More delicate touch. Between this and the Nova, I think I preferred the Nova but it was close.

  5. SN3 + NDX2. Superb. Would have bought it immediately if I had the funds. Quite easily the best combo but no surprises given the cost and spec. How much better than the Nova and the ND5XS2, quite a lot. This is a sound I could listen to for hours and hours. The soundstage was very good but not crazily out there. Way more depth than all of the others, particularly on vocals. Control of bass a class above.

Hope that helps… I’m faced now with the decision between a “budget” option in the Nova (second hand GBP3000) or waiting, saving and going for the incredible SN3 + NDX2 (if I can get NDX2 second hand, about GBP7500 together) to drive either the PMC 25.24s (which I loved following a previous demo) or Dynaudio Special Fortys.


That’s a very nice write up, clear and concise. I have the NDX2 and Supernait 3, having downsized from a bigger setup and I think it’s great. I tried the Nova but didn’t really take to it in either form or sound. I have a power supply on my NDX2, which is a nice option to have, even if you never actually get one.

Based on my experience, and your listening session, I’d save and get the NDX2/SN3. It is a really nice system.


Extremely helpful, I think I will do just that and lookout for a deal on the SN3 NDX2, really believe in you get what you pay for and for me it should be a great combo for my Neat SX7’s as I want to keep them, to throw a spanner in the works doea anyone know how different a SN2 will be to a 3? The reason I ask is I won’t be uising the phono stage in the 3 as I have MC cartridges.


Appreciate your thoughts and efforts to share with us.
Much like HH, I have a SN3 + NDX2 and can’t argue with your findings on this occasion.
I’d be inclined to ride your time and aim for the SN3 + NDX2, not to diminish the capability of the other options you outline but as you’ve found, that source and NAIT together deliver a whole lot of the Classic range with a manageable footprint and within arms reach purchase price.
Factor in for cabling and setting also in your planning, in my case I’m using a HiLine DIN IC, Powerline AC cords and full Fraim rack to sit it all on, those system tuning items do bring a balance in to the system as a whole and over time will add further refinements as your system develops.


I’ve owned all of the Supernait versions, having most recently moved from a SN2 + HiCap DR to a bare SN3. They are similar but the main distinction I would make between the SN2 and SN3 is that the SN3 has more midrange cohesion and the bottom end has a bit more grip. These are things which were improved on the SN2 by adding a HiCap DR in my case.
I traded in multiple Naim kit to get my NDX2 to replace an ND5 XS2, I felt the jump up to the NDX2 warranted the loss of the HiCap DR and I’ve not added one to my SN3, I’m more likely to add a PS to the NDX2.


Brilliant, question well and truly answered!

There’s a recent discussion on this very question which you may find helpful.
I think you are wise to seriously consider the SN3 + NDX2.
No surprises - it my system and I run it with PMC 25.23s and it sounds glorious. I think you are asking a good question to also then consider whether the SN2 might get you close to this for less money.
(Apologies if I’ve not managed to link to the relevant thread above)


Nice write up! If you go for the separate route you might still consider the ND5XS2 with a used nDAC for the time beeing. It should be around 2000 pounds less than the NDX2, which does not seem to pop up second hand as often as it did a year ago. I missed buying one from a dealer at around 3500 last year :slight_smile:

For me this would the way to go if 1) you want to connect another source (maybe a cd player) 2) do not need a screen 3) don t want to get tempted by a PS upgrade.

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Can you write what speaker / power cables were connected to the set? The right cables can completely change the perception of a set and let it sound the way it can. For me, the change of cables was comparable to the change of Atom-> Nova, and maybe even bigger (both with the Atom and the Nova).

For me, the Nova started to sound nice after a few weeks of warming up with better power cables.

Only a matter of time before someone pips in that the nDAC only really “shines” with a 555PS hanging off the back of it, but yes, options are available!
What I would say is that I’ve used Supernait’s with lots of different DAC’s over the years, there’s something very synergistic between the SN3 + NDX2, they do indeed pair very well, and whilst there’s more to be had leaping beyond that to a Pre/Power setup, you get a lot of bang for not so much cash and a lot less power and space.
I was determined to run it as a 2 box system for at least a year to get to know what it could get to properly. I’d admit that the NDX2 is probably happiest with an XPS DR driving it and for added indulgence a PS555 takes that somewhat further, but it does a very good job with neither of them much as the SN3 does without a HiCap DR. I think the SN2 benefits from a HiCap and I certainly used one on mine all the time I had it, I also used one on a NAIT XS and XS 2, more variable results to be had there in my case but then the XS won’t keep up with a Supernait in many aspects of presentation.
I would also add that if budget is constrained, get the NDX2 first and worry about the amplification as a secondary step.
I sort of wish I’d done this with hindsight, I faffed about with a few options from Chord and an ND5 XS2, ultimately the NDX2 did the best job for me and is a definite keeper.