Phono stage and 'overview' advice sought...

My first post…

Hello everybody and thanks for the knowledge I’ve gained, and the enthusiasm sparked, thus far from browsing the forum.

I hope you’ll excuse my first post being long and detailed - but if I describe my current situation and my modest system, I’d be grateful for your thoughts and wisdom on my thinking for the way ahead…

Had most of my current system for ages, but looking at some changes:

  • newer Naim components at attractive prices have been crossing my path!

  • lockdown rekindled my desire to sit and listen to music

  • wanted more inputs on the amp, plus headphone provision

  • room approx 13’ x 16’

  • music: all sorts, rock, jazz, classical, baroque & chamber, vocal, folk, spoken word etc

  • don’t usually listen at high volumes

  • haven’t really investigated streaming, but might do in the future

Current very long-standing system:

  • Michell Syncro/RB300/Linn K9 (still have a couple of spare styli)

  • Sound Org. TT stand

  • much loved NAIT 2 (CB era, circa 1988 - never been serviced)

  • Nakamichi BX125 (not used a lot recently, but want to keep it available within an updated system; fairly large collection of taped R3 concerts, plays etc, )

  • Linn Kan IIs on Linn stands - these have always been bi-wired (largely on a whim) with Naim cables

  • also have an NAD tuner and a TEAC cd recorder

Recent additions:

  • Naim CD 5si (still “running in”?, but delighted with it thus far)

  • NAIT XS2 (ex-display, never-beeen-plugged in, irresistible price)

  • secondhand NAT05

Next steps:

  • Not yet using the XS2 - auditioned one a while back, but not in precisely my current set-up

  • Obviously will need provision for the TT, so thinking Stageline, powered from the XS2…

(price paid for the XS2 and a new Stageline would still be way below price of XS3) - or should I look at something else?

  • If I went for the Stageline, would further upgrades be worthwhile given my TT set up - e.g. SNAIC or separate power supply, and if so which comes first? Or am I likely to expose weaknesses in the TT/arm/cartridge?

  • Is my new set up likely to be ‘unbalanced’ or have its priorities out of kilter? Am I setting myself up for being underwhelmed after years of contentment?

  • I’d better save my queries about streaming and bi-wiring for later…

Thank you for your thoughts or observations (and for your patience!). And a happy, safe and peaceful New Year to all.

  1. Remove the bi-wiring - Naim do not recommend this. Never have.

  2. Consider what you might get from pre-loved CB or Olive Naim kit. Much more bang for your buck. And would come with at least built in Phono capability - with luck with Phono boards.

  3. Sell the XS2.

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Thanks for your swift reply, Ian.

Yes, I’d become aware of the dubious reputation of bi-wiring about these parts.
(It was suggested to me as a possibility by the dealer who originally sold me the NAIT and the Kans. At the time I thought I could hear a difference - but have long since thought this could be ‘confirmation bias’. But presumably Linn must have endorsed the idea at some point for their end of the chain! :wink:

I do like the look of ‘Olive’ and have liked the sound of the handful of such systems I’ve heard.

Long ago, I had a NAT02, but that was sold; was living somewhere I couldn’t make proper use of it - and needed the cash.

But aside from sq, I’ll admit another part of my inclination for change is to regain some “domestic harmony” by having more boxes that match.

Much to think about then…

But don’y chuck the extra Naim cable… Very useful and/or saleable…!

You could get an awful lot of Olive… Which also mixes and matches quite well with the current Black, should you wish to…

I run a mix of Olive & Black. CDX2/XPS2 - 82-HC-250.

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Stageline would match well with the XS. Up until recently I was using one with a XS. Personally I’d get the CB Nait serviced you may find it sounds better then the XS. I’m with @IanRobertM on the Olive range. More bang for buck :joy:

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Thank you, SteveC.
Seems I should pause a while and reflect before jumping any further…

re. giving the old Nait a service… is it routine to return directly to Naim, or is there an approved network of individual specialists?

Darren at Class A in Sheffield is Naim authorised and highly recommended.


100% agree with @IanRobertM. I have a mix of olive, black and chrome bumper with 82, Supercap 2, 2 x 135s CB, CDS3 with XPS2, NDS with 555PS. Mix and match gets you best bang for your buck!

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I can highly recommend Darran too - !! :smile:

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Darran has serviced my Lingo 1 and XPS2. He’s reasonably priced and a quick turnaround. Kit comes back serviced the Naim way!

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Thanks, all, for your guidance. I’ll report back in due course… but any other thoughts are welcome!

(I’d seen Darren mentioned a few times, but wasn’t sure where he fitted in to the Naim landscape.)

Welcome to the forum Euclid!

I started with a NAIT XS 2 (70W) model and it was a very fine amp. I did not have a TT but did have a CD player and streamer with a pair of ProAc D2 speakers and it sounded sublime!

I would recommend you set up the XS 2 and give it a listen for a couple of months. This would give you an opportunity for the the XS 2 to settle in and for you to hear exactly what you have currently available. This way if you entertain moving to the CB or Olive down the road you will be able to make your own decision on what sounds best in your room with your ears.

Good luck with your decision and have fun along the way…

I too have a Michell Syncro that I’ve had since 1986. It had the RB300 arm for most of that time but a couple of years ago I upgraded it to a RB808 and a Dynavector 20X2L. It now has a Rega Aria phono stage and feeds in to a Nait XS2. The uplift in sound quality compared to the RB300 with DV 10X5 is astonishing. Not a cheap upgrade but the Aria phono stage was pre-loved, I got some money back from DV for the 10X5 and I managed to get nearly £200 on ebay for the old RB300 which somewhat cushioned the blow. The other source I use is the ND5 XS2 and the Syncro sounds at least as good as that.

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Much encouragement and food for thought… thank you all.

Just for the sake of clarity, I’m not intending to get rid of the CB Nait 2, regardless of which way I go: it’s become a cherished old friend!

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