Like yourself I read through the forum for a few months prior to jumping into the Naim pool. Started with a ND5XS streamer, Cambridge Audio CD transport, Nait XS 2 with ProAC D2D speakers. At the time the ND5XS and DC Transport were new while the Nait XS 2 was the dealer’s demo unit and the ProAC D2 used.
Over time I traded in the Nait XS 2 for a SN 2 and down the road added a HiCap. The ND5XS was traded in for a NDX then another trade in for the NDX 2, then added a XPS DR power supply to the streamer. The ProAC D2 speakers were traded in for a pair of Naim S400 Ovator floor speakers, then traded in later for a Pair of ProAC D30RS speakers. …and eventually a NAC 282 preamp powered by the existing HiCap DR was added to the SN 2, then replaced the SN 2 with the NAP 250 DR.
Probably the most important point of the travel log above was this was done working with one dealer and I actually used the same salesman for each transaction. I did speak and interact with many of the sales folks at the dealer and all were informative and outgoing in providing customer service. The dealer delivered and installed the majority of the items purchased. I always felt that price I paid for new and used gear as well as the trade-in value was fair along with the great customer service. A win-win situation.
Good luck with your decision and have fun along the way!
I absolutely love the look of my Olive boxes and don’t find them dated at all - just classy - although I also like my modern Naim units too. As they are all recently serviced and brand new MM cards, with a modern deck and modern speakers, they also sound fabulous on all sources.
Unless one is very well heeled it makes sense to buy much secondhand rather than new, the greater buying powe making it possible to assemble a higher quality system for the same outlay. However, whilst good amps and speakers last decades, mechanical equipment like CD players have a more limited life, and in digital playback DACs in particular have been developing (improving) so fast buying anything developed more than very few years ago may be limiting to sound quality, so tgat is where buying new makes more sense to me.
This is the way I have developed my own system over the decades, to reach the level it is now.
Dear Riba, back to the thread. Over my 37 years of Naim ownership, I always feel that any 250 - whether CB, Olive or newer - will out-perform any lesser Naim power amp. People used to call systems “mullet” if a 250 was used with a moderate front end.
Well, a 250 will make the most of practically any speaker within normal budgets, which lesser amps won’t. Of course you need a power supply for the preamp.
I would go used if I were starting again, and indeed the only new Naim I ever bought was a 42 preamp in 1985.
82/hicap/250 would be a great place to start. Then the upgrade is Supercap, then 52.
Longevity? Bullet proof.
Enjoy the journey!
@RIBA welcome, firstly I’d like to say that at 30ish you’re probably way too young for this forum.
As for the gear, try and audition as much you can and settle on what you think sounds the best. There’s many here who’ll have conflicting experiences with different combinations and there’s every chance you may just get confused.
Also remember Naim is a series of upgrades, so there’s every chance what you get today will be totally different to what you’ll have in 10 years time. Good luck.
But also remember that whilst upgraditis is perhaps the norm for hifi aficionados, it doesn’t have to be - if you are content with the sound of your system there is no need to change anything until or unless something fails. Naim, other brand, or mixture, some people just get something they like and stick with it for decades, others embark on a path to a particular hifi goal reached through upgrades as often as they can afford until they get there, while some go through upgrading only to find when they get there it is too much (complexity, number of boxes, space, tied-in value or something else), and then downgrade, usually termed downsizing).
Others seek an audio nirvana, never actually achieving it despite continual upgrades, changes, tweaks etc, perhaps because the anticipated nirvana doesn’t actually exist… great if the ‘upgrade’/tweaking process itself gives them pleasure as a hobby, but sad, at least in my view, if they can’t achieve satisfaction listening to music, tiring of it whenever they try to relax with a long listening session.
Generally on forums one finds a palpable disappointment and disbelief at anyone who dares to say something along the lines that they are done and have their end game system. A kind of knowing but also slightly sad and desperate “well you say that but we know you’ll be back” said more in desperation than belief because it highlights the fact that the writer is still on a journey that deep down they know has no end. Less because there is no end and more because of who they are. It’s hard to believe that you love the boxes more than the music and many will never admit that but it’s not actually that hard to build a brilliant system you could live with for the rest of your life so…
Make your choices, buy your stuff and then stop. Get music and listen. What you might initially see as flaws or weaknesses might simply be things you need to get used to. That takes months or years not a few weeks.