Nova or XS3/ND5 XS2

Having chosen the PMC 25 23i as future loudspeakers, I hesitated for a long time to choose a good amp. I had opted for Uniti Nova until the seller made a demo with an XS3 / ND5 SX2 set. Despite the low power of this amp, the balance, the weight of the instruments and the tone of the vocals were fantastic … The difference in budget is not important; I hesitate anyway

In comparison, the sound with the Nova was more agressive,
I also don’t want to exclude the nova directly

The cable used was the clear path of the agreement.

Do you have an experience with these devices combined with PMC 25.23

Do you know of any cables that could soften the rendering with the NOVA?

In advance, thank you for your comments

I never found the nova aggressive by any stretch (with naca5) but the nd5xs2 and xs2 for me was superior and with a high cap even more so…

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Thank you for your answer.

I had already listened to a uniti star and it seemed sweeter …That’s the reason why I think that the chord cable is maybe not the best for the Nova…

The Nova shouldn’t sound aggressive by any means. I assume you mean the speaker cable with the Nove, in which case the standard Naim NAC A5 is a very good match.

If budget isn’t an issue, the NDX2 with a SN2 is quite nice too.

…ask your dealer to let you listen to the XPS DR > NDX 2 > HiCap DR > SN3 vs the the Nova with your speakers. It will give you a clear picture of the difference of a multi box system vs the all-in-one system. You will be able to make a knowledgeable decision if you listen to the potential of what each will give you.

Good luck with your decision…

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No idea what Chord cables in mention are but, try Nova with other loudspeaker cables such as WH Phantom, Kudos KS1, Tellurium Q and others if possible.
If you don’t need the XS3 phonostage then XS2 seem still available new.(reduced) or s/h Supernait 2 which might be a better match for the PMC.

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Some will question the pairing of xs3 and 25.23i but that’s what my well respected dealer recommended and the demo results were outstanding. In the end I chose 25.21i but that decision was made on the size of my room and wallet. I listened to countless speakers but the PMC combination worked best for me. I will hopefully be getting a streamer in the new year and nd5xs2 is top of the list.
Fwiw I’m using TQBlack2 . I listened to nac5, but couldn’t tell difference.

I have the ND5 XS2 and Nait XS2 connected to a pair of PMC twenty5.22 with Witch Hat N2 cables. Sounds a very sweet combination to my ears. Admittedly I’ve never heard a Nova so I can’t compare. PMC speakers are a great match for Naim.


I’m not sure what you mean by ‘the cable used was the clear path of the agreement’.

I’d say three things: 1. Never use cables as tone controls - get it right with Naim’s own NacA5 first and then try something different from there if you want; 2. If the twenty.23 I once owned is reflected in the twenty5.23i, then they need a more powerful amplifier than the Nait XS, and 3. It’s a mistake to choose speakers first - it’s much better to pick the whole system together.

I tried a Nova and wasn’t that keen - it was very clear and precise, but perhaps at the expense of relaxed musical enjoyment. The separate streamers and amplifiers are worth the extra in my view.


If I had enough pocket money I’d go with the xs3 and ND5xs2
No screen to go wrong. A phono pre included which you may want to use one day. Should you wish to change the front end as time goes by and technology changes it will be an easier option.


The phono stage is very good indeed and was one of the reasons I bought my Supernait. I really liked the idea of the screenless ND5XS2 but the lack of remote put me off. We use the stereo for the telly and with a remote you can switch inputs without needing to use the phone. The Nova can do this, whereas the ND5 cannot.

Of course, what’s lurking beneath what everyone has written but not made explicit, is that the SN3 has the requisite power for the twenty5.23i, and of course its natural partner is the NDX2. The NDX2/SN3 is another world to the Nova, and I only mention this because the OP said that the budget wasn’t so important. Maybe it’s doable, maybe it’s not, but it’s worth the extra if it’s affordable.

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I think the OP’s budget comment was regarding the financial difference between the Nova and the ND5XS2/XS3 set ups. Some of the NDX2 plus… alternatives being suggested are double the price and naturally will sound better.
The Nova, which I don’t find sounds aggressive, will drive the PMC Twenty5 23’s. I have used this set up, it’s a good match. It really depends where you think you will end up, the separates give more flexibility in relation to future upgrades


Well, it’s an idea, and I certainly would not suggest stretching the budget beyond what’s affordable. When I was deciding what to buy recently my dealer was very clear that the ND5XS2/Nait XS3 was significantly better than the Nova. My concern is whether the former can give the drive the PMCs need. There is nothing worse than underdriven speakers and I wonder if the twenty5.21i might be a better match.

There’s not much between them in my view, I went back and forth between the two set ups. The Nova had a bit more grunt and the ND5XS2/XS3 sounded a little more refined, it was a hard call, I went for a Nova. The comparison on HiFi Critic of the two systems is worth checking out, there is a thread on here about the article.
Yes the 25.21’s may be a good pairing, personally I would have no issues with trying out the 25.23’s.


I use the previous generation PMC Twenty5.23s on the end of a Nova (using NACA5) in my second system, and I find it a really enjoyable and musical setup. The Nova has no difficulty driving the PMCs, the system digs well into the music and makes me want to keep listening.


Same here: it could be something else than not enough power in nait xs3. SN3 has 10W more so power is really similar. So why would one ‘drive’ the speakers and the other not? I would understand that SN3 is more refined, shows more details or whatever but this power issue is puzzling me.

Me too. There’s not too much difference in specs between the PMC twenty5 22 and 23 and I’ve never felt that the Nait XS2 was anything other than comfortable driving the 22s so the 23s should be fine too.

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If the XS3 is affordable, then a used Supernait 2 is a no brainier in my view. I had my PMC 25.23 first with an XS2 — very enjoyable indeed. But the SN2 was a worthwhile step up.

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I don’t know about these PMC speakers, but there is a more important difference than the nominal 10W between the XS3 and SN3 in terms of “driving” a speaker load: the current sourcing capability is key, and the reserve, as it were, is much larger in the SN3 than the XS3.

An easy indicator of this is to compare not only the 70W vs 80W into an 8Ohm load, but the 100W vs 130W into 4Ohm. If current delivering capability was not a limit, at half the load (4 vs 8Ohm) the power should double (ie increase by 100% from 70 to 140W and from 80 to 160W)… but it is, so it doesn’t :wink:

But note that the SN3 goes up by about 65% while the XS3 goes up by only about 43%… indicating lower current reserves. Note that all of these numbers are likely “conservative”, but as they are all the Naim quoted numbers, they should be apples to apples. Improved regulation and the larger transformer in the SN3 show their worth here, much more so than in the simple 8Ohm power spec alone. Hope this simplified view helps illustrate at least part of what might be behind some others’ observations and comments… but feel free to ignore if that was a bit too physics-y for comfort!

Have fun whichever you choose… and let your own ears tell you what you like to listen to - everyone seems to agree on that!

Regards alan


Exactly, it’s transients that go hand in hand with this also.