Arranged a demo of 3 highly rated integrateds.
Naim Supernait 2
Simaudio Moon 340i
All 3 Integrateds where compared directly against my Nait XS2.
Front end consisted of my Nova Fidelity X12 Hi Res SSD Storage/Server.
Converted via my Chord Qutest DAC.
Loudspeakers where not my AE509s but a pair of Spendor A7s.
The first up was the Rega Aethos- Great amounts of detail with plenty of power and grip in the bottom end.
Then the Simaudio Moon 340i - Velvety smooth and warm sound with an airy soundstage, good bottom end definition.
Next was the Supernait 2 which IMO bettered both the rega and simaudio.
A real muscular sounding amp with plenty of grip and good amount of detail.
Lastly was my Nait XS2, and to my great surprise it was my instant winner.
The XS2 was simply just more exciting and involving than all others (including the supernait 2)
Bottom end and detailing was slightly better on the supernait 2 but to my ears sounded duller, not as transparent as the XS2.
The rega couldnt match the speed, focus and timing of both the Naims, or their standout midrange.
The simaudio moon was instantly a non starter for me being far too smooth and slow, possibly a better classical music amplifier.
I did also end up trying a Hicap DR on the XS2.
This did bring the XS2 closer to the Supernait 2 in both detailing and bottom end slam, but took away a little of that XS2 excitement.
I did quickly realise that nothing quite sounds like a naim amp, especially the superb midrange, timing and speed.
I now know that no other amplifier would do for me, yes I am a naim addict.
Thanks for the real life demo comparison. I’ve been considering an “upgrade” to my XS 3, that I love but was not sure if any appreciable improvement would be realized. I do have a HiCap DR with my XS 3 that I do like and evertime I listen I am amazed at it’s sound. I guess the next step would need to be a 250 DR and 282. Need to go listen and see if even that combo is enough to warrant the “upgrade”. Thanks again!
For me, the XS2 strikes just the right balance of all the naim integrateds.
It has the fun, liveliness and clarity of the 5si, but also approaches the detail, refinement and extended/controlled bottom end of the supernait.
Some Naim kit has that visceral edge of excitement that isn’t so present as you go up the range and the fuller picture (so to speak) of replay is provided.
I think this is why some people like the presentation of the CDX & CDX2 CD players, as these have a live edge about them. Some people interpret this ‘live edge’ as brightness, which can be tamed by adding dedicated PSs.
I found speaker choice and matching was more of a factor than a dedicated PSU.
That is why I finally chose the AE509s, Warm, Smooth, refined but fast, clear, very dynamic with a powerfully controlled bottom end. Works really well and perfectly compliments my XS2
Bruce - the term ‘grip’ is (IME) mainly used to describe how tight the replay is in presenting the flow of music and things like bass in particular. Sometimes, one can hear a piece of music and it sounds OK through a system - and when one hears it through a higher-spec system, the detailing, immediacy, control, speed of change in musical cadence and general presentation can be different (better to many).
Poor grip is listening to a system with an amp which cannot optimally control speakers, which is why the better option is always for a bigger amp to drive relatively modest speakers.
I fully agree about the Moon 340i being slow. A few years ago when I owned a Nait 5i V2, I listened to the Moon at my local dealer. It was very detailed and airy, but just too slow. I preffered the speed and punch of my 5i. I eventually bought a SN2 which was even better.