Phono Stage on Supernait 3

Hi All
Im new to this forum, and have a question for Supernait 3 owners.
Im wondering how good the phono stage is on the SN3. For best sound reproduction are you using the on-board phono stage or an external one?

I have a Clearaudio Concept turntable and currently use an external Rega Fono MM Mk3 phono stage in conjunction with my current amp (roksan kaspian) with Monitor Audio Gold 300s (5g).

Im considering upgrading to the SN3 and would like opinions on whether to use the on-board phono stage or stick with the Rega one.

Thanks in advance for your help

I had a Rega Fono MM 2017 with my Nova before I moved to a SN3. I find the SN3 record reproduction significantly better. I can’t say for certain how much of that is down to the SN3 and how much is down to the phono stage itself but my money is on the phono stage.

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I think it boils down to which cartridge you’re using and which gives the best match.

In absolute quality there’s probably not that much between them.

The Rega phono stages undoubtedly have a good synergy with Rega cartridges. With other cartridges it’s a question of suck it and see which you prefer. They are both very good.


If you go with the SN3 it’s simply a case of swapping between the Fono and the inbuilt stage in order to see which you like best.

This. While it’s undoubtedly a great phono stage, cartridge compatibility will likely be an issue for the SN3 because of it’s high input capacitance. See my replies in the similar thread about the XS3, which shares the same input capacitance, recently: Naim XS 3 Phono v Rega MM phono

I’ve had a brief period of similar comparisons with the SN3 and found its phono stage very good indeed and/or very well implemented. To me it’s clearly better than the Rega Fono as I had a chance to compare to the Aria and found the SN3 to be at the same level or better - there would be some subject to preference there but to me the SN3 sounded richer, warmer and fuller compared to the Aria connected. The Aria also sounded louder than with the SN3 own phono, the latter allowing more play with the volume as well. For the SN3 phono sounding better one should of course also factor in the integration, shorter signal path, impact and quality of extra interconnects etc. So I would personally very confidently recommend the SN3 upgrade in this respect, not to mention the one box solution.


Thanks very much for this information everyone. Very useful and helpful

You keep peddling this line so maybe you think you don’t need to but have you ever actually listened to a supernait 3 phonostage?

By the way I haven’t but I do have a stageline N fed from a Decca and it works a treat, despite some pundits saying neither resistive nor capacitive loadings are correct.

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As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t (but would like to).

To be clear, I’ve never said it’s a bad phonostage. In the post you’re replying to I even say “it’s undoubtedly a great phono stage”. I just point out, because this is important, that with many (modern?) MM carts the frequency response will be significantly affected as they’re designed for low capacitance.

This doesn’t mean the phono stage is bad, just that this must be considered when matching cartridges.

And even them, perhaps you like the resulting frequency response, like a kind of EQ. Or maybe your hearing has deteriorated enough that the roll-off while in the theoretical “audible” spectrum isn’t in your audible spectrum.

It is an important factor to consider, not necessarily a reason not to get it, for anyone buying/using it, especially if they already own a cartridge, designed for a certain recommended capacitance.

And here the OP is even asking about two different phono stages, which to use. And this is a big difference between the two, so why would you not mention this? Why the opposition to stating a simple fact which is relevant to his question?

In my early 30s I got my hands on a Hewlett Packard signal generator that was redundant from work. I could just about make out 16kHz through my Mission 700s, though I’m not sure where the limitation lay. Now with streaming there are tones available on Qobuz so it’s easy to test, I’m down to just about picking up 14kHz through my NBLs when the wick was turned up a fair bit. In both cases I probably wouldn’t have noticed the tone if not listening for it. I certainly can’t hear 16kHz now at the age of 61 but considering I’ve ridden motorcycles for most of my transport for the last 40 years, don’t drive and have never used ear plugs, 14kHz ain’t bad, I’ll settle for that.

I’d venture that the issue here is that every time someone mentions the SN3 phono stage you raise its capacitance. You’ve not even heard it yourself so it’s entirely theoretical. As with anything the only way to make a decision is to try it. In this case the OP would have both the Fono and the SN3 so it’s simply a case of moving the plugs from one to the other. Capacitance is just a small part of the final result and I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill.


I know you don’t want to hear this, and I thought several times about posting, and it’s never too late, I would really think about earplugs if there are no reasons you cannot use them. I’ve always used them, they make a massive difference to comfort on the bike. Even an ex professional rider I know admitted they found them beneficial, after years of not using them.

I used to ride 8k miles a year, had no car, including long stints on motorways, my hearing would definitely be worse now if I hadn’t used them, the few times I rode without would leave me more tired and with sightly ringing ears afterwards. Anyway, I hate myself for writing this now X) Ride safe 8)

Nope, it’s real. Plenty of sources if you’re willing to spend 5 seconds googling.

Fully agree the OP should just try it when he has both.

But frequency response is a big part (if it indeed is in the audible range). In the case of MM carts that’s what capacitance can affect. I’m not making a mountain out of anything, I’m just making the OP aware of this, in response to his question. He can use this information as he sees fit. As mentioned in my reply to @Yeti it will depend on other factors like preference, the OP’s audible range, and of course the cart he has.

I really fail to see why you and others get so het up over answering the OPs question by pointing out a simple, undisputable, fact. It’s not anything subjective or even a value judgement of the device, which as I pointed out, undoubtedly is a fine phono stage when matched correctly.

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I’m not remotely het up about anything, merely bored with you trotting out the same response every time someone suggests using the SN3’s phono stage.


Ok, you’re of course entitled to that. I just think it’s worth pointing out as it’s what sets it apart from any other phono stage that I know off. I think many people might not realise.

I guess it’s similar in that way to your source vs big speaker argument. Something you feel is worth pointing out often as (I assume) you think people aren’t aware of it.


This is probably a discussion for another thread.

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I recently acquired an ex-demo Supernait 3 as an upgrade to my SU. A second-hand NDX2 is due to join us within the next two to three weeks, all being well.

I have been listening to my venerable Beogram 4002 tangential deck with MMC 4000 cartridge through it (MMC = Moving Micro Cross) and it sounds great, although I think I might upgrade the cartridge at some stage.

Apart from a Beogram 8002 with MMC 2, I also have a Rega Planar 3 with RB300 arm. It currently has an Ortofon MC10 Supreme cartridge installed, on loan from a friend. This is a high output mc and out of interest I have just hooked it up to the SN3’s phono input direct.

Happy to say that it provides decent sound levels at the 10 o’clock position on the SN3’s volume control. Speakers, btw, are Castle Howard S2 quarter wave.

So, high output mc cartridges are perfectly useable with the SN3’s mm input.

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