As a generalisation - for VFM, buy kit 5-25 years old ahead of nearly-new and buy nearly-new ahead of actually new.
You’ll get lots of answers here because none of these options is bad, and the pros and cons are pretty subjective.
If you have not heard good olive kit you should do so before buying it. IMHO, olive boxes are a bit less quiet in background, less detailed and less neutral than modern boxes, but they do at least as well in foot-tapping, infectious boogie. As you can see, other ears with other systems and preferences may report different views.
I just swapped from olive 250 to 300DR - that’s the first modern amp I’d rate as more musical/ enjoyable/ pacy than the olive 250 - all upside and no compromise from that change. With most power amps, comparison to my 250 just showed how brilliant it was, and I’d rate an old 250 as well ahead of a 200 or lesser amp.
I’d also agree with comments above that the DR gives a lot more dynamism versus any ‘classic’ (i.e modern-looking) non-DR boxes.
On pre-amps, I won’t be changing my olive 52 for anything short of a 552. I chose not to change my 82 for 282 or even 252 but kept on looking for the 52 - which tells you what I think. I like the old 72 a lot for VFM and would much rather have 82+HC than a newer 202 or even a 282.
Separating power supply from pre-amp is something of a Naim obsession, and with reason. I’d agree with comments here that adding a Hicap to a Supernait will suit most people a lot better than adding a 200 power amp or a 202 pre-am, for example.
The 272 is imho a great preamp (around 82/282 level) but attached to a less good and perhaps outdated streamer. @ChrisSU is right about PS too - an 82 needs a Hicap (which can be cheap) but a 272 won’t work that way and really benefits from an XPS (harder to find and not so cheap).
It is also worth noting that many think the key reason for dropping 202/200 from the line-up was a good decision, because SN3 +HCDR sounds a least as good for marginally less money. As I understand it SN3 + HCDR is significantly better than SN3 + 200DR - and cheaper.
Assuming you don’t have a strong preference for the presentation differences, all that means that I’d lean strongly toward 82/ Hicap/250 here. I think my overall ranking for amp choices for you would thus be: -
- SN3/HCDR or older Hicap.
- SN2/ Hicap.
- SN2 or 3/200
However, that’s very much my list and others may disagree. I also don’t know whether adding a Hicap PS to a 202/200 (as @QuickSticks has) makes it a bit better than SN3+Hicap, but I suspect that it does.
Finally, classic boxes over 15 years and any olive boxes (but Hicaps and power amps most of all) will need a service if they have not had one in the last 10-15 years, and a service is a major exercise and not that cheap. A serviced Hicap and 250 are often much better value than bargain un-serviced boxes.
Can you try hearing some of this kit before buying?
Do let us know what you finally do!