Whatever you have needs to fit in with your life and be something you feel comfortable with. I have a power supply on my NDX2 simply because I had it already, having used it on the 272, but the NDX2 is more than good enough without it. I use my SN3 by itself and have no real desire to try a Hicap. Things just sound fine as they are.
Something like the NDX2/SN3 can be a fine final system. People can upgrade it if they want but it’s far from necessary.
I have a Nova and been exceptionally pleased with it. The form factor, size, lack of cables and convenience are big factors for me and the sound is way better than what it was before when I had a Nait 5i, as you’d expect for the price difference.
Now, I haven’t listened to an NDX2 and Supernait 3 combo and I’m sure it would sound better, but it’s over my current budget and I won’t be listening to it for that reason, as the temptation would be too great.
How can you not be happy when you can’t stop listening to music and the whole family can use it remotely without ever having to get their grubby mits on it.
Another vote for separates. Well specifically NDX2 plus amp or pre/amp of your choice. In fact I would prioritise NDX2 and then NDX2 PS like XPS over spending huge money on amps. But if only choice is Nova vs NDX2/SN3, go with separates.
If the purchase of the NDX2 / SN3 is not a problem or you can buy it used at a good price, then there is nothing to think about.
However, I would be careful with the comments, it is worth saving / paying extra. It all depends on your income and the country where you live. Buying an NDX2 / SN3 for an average earner in the UK can be relatively cheaper than buying the Nova for an average earner in another country.
We write here about equipment that is about 3x more expensive (if we assume that you will not stick to standard cables), and additionally you will probably choose better speakers, so it will probably be 4x more expensive equipment. And if you decide to do it, you will probably also buy an additional power supply and the difference will increase even more.
You have to decide for yourself if the difference is worth paying extra. It is worth answering a few questions:
How often do you listen to music and for how long?
Do you plan to connect additional components (this is not strong point of the Nova).
Who will use the equipment besides you?
What is the acoustics in your room and how big is your room?
Do you want to listen to music or your equipment?
Do you have other interesting hobbies?
My seller told me that some things are better not to hear if you are not prepared to buy them :). Unless you want to be unhappy :). You can have an NDX2 / SN3, look up and still be unhappy.
I do not advise against purchasing the NDX2 / SN3. I thought about this set for a while, but I was lucky not to hear it :). Of course it’s better. Whether it is worth it depends individually on the specific person and his needs. The differences in perception, in turn, depend on the synergy with the loudspeakers, the cables used, room acoustics, etc.
In conclusion, if you don’t mind your money, take the NDX2 / SN3. If you have an idea how else you can use it, the slightly tuned the Nova will not disappoint you either.
I think a lot of focus has been on sound comparison which I don’t doubt the NDX2/SN3 will do better but as someone who has used the Atom, I can say the Nova is also a very compelling especially if you desire a simpler (less box) solution and a volume control that is such a joy to use.
I have a separates system and a Nova in different rooms. The ND555/Olives/ B&W804S system has a lot more of everything that the Nova/PMC25.23 system does very well, but I’d never knock the Nova rig. As I type I’m upstairs listening to Jim Steinman’s OTT rock on the Nova and it’s great, it also plays classical, folk,blues really well. I’ve not compared the NDX2/SN3 and the Nova directly, I’d be surprised if the system for double the price didn’t excel, but I find the Nova a fantastic player of music, when I’m in the upstairs lounge I love the music on the one box player.
I do have both an NDX2/SN3 system and the Nova. I was going to sell the Nova when I got the new system but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I think the Nova is brilliant and, since I had some spare speakers lying around, I kept it as a second system where it performs very well indeed (and I still love that volume control ). It is not up there with the NDX2/SN3 and power supplies but it gives them a jolly good run for the money. For a single box system, I think it is great. The only tweak worth doing IMO is adding a Powerline which made a significant difference for me.
that’s actually what I did last summer when I updated my system - initially thought Nova was the way to go, and spent a while listening to separates vs Nova - and settled on ND5XS2+SN3. I did try NDX2 + SN3 but the step up cost wise was not clearly justified in my opinion. SN3+ND5XS2 is almost the same cost as Nova, and superior sound quality and dynamics, with more room to upgrade for those who are minded that way. The good deal and great service I got at the AudioBarn made the decision easy, too!
Interesting Forum. I’m a delighted Nova addict, with Scansonic MB5. I guess that you get better sound moving up the Naim ladder, but my Nova has something exceptional: a 5” colour screen which shows the album covers. How nice this is! (I often listen to new music).
Am I the only one to find this screen important? Maybe I don’t know the Naim range well enough and it also exists with separate elements?
Enjoy the music. J.
I also liked the screen on my Uniti Star. However i think that the whole implementation and amount of customisation of additional information could further be improved. So at the end of the day the question is, do we need a screen to “just” display the cover art? Well, maybe we do
The same screen is used in the NDX2 which is the separate streamer/dac from Naim.
Another underrated feature of the Nova which I didn’t mention in my previous post are the customisations you can make via the app. The main one for me is to set a max volume limit on both speaker and headphone outputs. I cannot overstate the value of this when you have youngsters in the house and they accidentally connect and wind the volume up to max. I set mine at 50% and although loud, it isn’t enough to fry most speakers or headphones. I don’t believe this is a feature of the SN3. I guess if you don’t have kids then it’s less of a problem, although even then, accidents do happen.