(SN3 vs Uniti Nova) + Focal Kanta No. 2

Hello Forum Members,

Whilst searching for review compassions between a SN3 vs 202/200DR I cam across an old thread 2020 on a similar topic. Though unfortunately it is closed:

Anyhow, not to worry. I am still banging my head against a wall from my last post about speaker and Subs.

It is interesting to notice that NAIM suggest pairing the Focal Kanta No. 2 with the Uniti Nova.

I am wondering because manufacturer’s try to be efficient with their products and use common parts. If the Uniti Nova is not a CD5si + SN? + ND5 XS2 in one box. I think the Nova plays CDs. The Burr-Brown DAC as used in the ND5 XS 2 is the PCM1791A as used is used in the Nova. (oops, made an error. What I took for CDs in the advertisement was a remote control).

Therefore would I be correct in my reasoning that given I have the following equipment:
CD5 XS, Nait XS2 + Flatcap XS.

That if I wanted to upgrade my Celestion SL6Si speakers to Kanta No. 2 speakers (eventually, could be years) that I should upgrade the Nait XS 2 to a SN3. Given that the SN3 has the same power handling as the Nova of 80 watts rms into 8 ohms. The SN3 is also specified at 130 watts into 4 ohms.

Given the Kanta No. 2 speakers are specified at 8 ohms and minimum impedance at 3.1 ohms.

I must tread carefully here. My dealer suggested that if I wanted to drive Kanta No. 2 speakers I should look at a 282/250DR/300DR.

As I look at my empty wallet, there is no time soon that I would be able to afford a 282/300DR system or Kanta No. 2 speakers for that matter.

Though it would be nice to place stepping stones to allow me to build my system up over years.

There is 202/200DR though my dealer did say only if I must.

I think you may see where I am going. To nip the upgrade path in the bud if the SN3 can handle the Kanta No. 2 speakers.

I hope I have made myself clear. I do appreciate that the SN3 is not a 282/300DR and that power amplifiers are able to drive 2 ohm loads for a long time. Though I do not believe that the Nova would have an equivalent 250 DR amplifier inside.

What are your thoughts please?

Kind regards,

Mitch.

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SN3 should have no problems with Kanta 2. Can’t imagine why someone would think a 282+300 is required.

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Nova is not a SN3 + ND5XS2 in one box. If you are looking to upgrade maybe ex demo 272 + 250DR. Right now I see this combo available slightly used for about the same $ as a new SN3. I really enjoyed my SN2 for the past eight years and didn’t feel the need to upgrade anything but my source. If it were my money, I’d get either a better source + SN3 or a 272 + 250DR all used of course.

2 Likes

Dear Katzky,

Demo equipment does not come up often enough for myself in Australia. I take your point as I left a “?” when including SN? as “?” is a wild card. It could have been SN2 or SN3 or something completely different. The point I was trying to make is that its output is 80 watts RMS as in your first response that I do not require a 282/300DR to drive Focal Kanta No. 2 speakers. The SN3 is a less expensive option short term.

In my last post

I was enquiring whether to purchase Subs to go with my Celestion SL6Si speakers and if my dealer sells a Unit Star with Focal Kanta No. 1 speakers if I could upgrade (if it is an upgrade) my speakers to Kanta No. 1 speakers and drive them with my Nait XS 2.

My dealer said I would be better off with 202/200DR combination to go with the Kanta 1.

If my reasoning stacks up if SN3 can drive a Focal No. 2 speakers. I am now postulating if my Nait XS 2 can drive Kanta No. 1 speakers. It may appear that this is so.

This path would allow me to purchase new speakers and stay with the my old setup.

Though the value is going to be in a listening test to see if I prefer the Kanta No. 2 speakers over the Kanta No. 1 speakers enough to justify the out lay or stay with my Celestion’s and maybe purchase a SN3 or as my wife desires, keep the money in the bank. The room space is there (marginally) for Kanta No. 2 speakers, though it is the bottom end I am after. Please read previous post on subs that two subs put me half way to purchasing Kanta No. 1 speakers.

I have placed my dealer’s recommendations in brackets.

Scenario 1. Linn LP12 + CD5 XS + XS2 (202/200DR) + FC XS + Kanta No. 1
or
Scenario 2. Linn LP12 + CD5 XS + XS2 (282/300DR) + FC XS + HiCap + Kanta No. 2

This leaves me with either of two purchases.

  1. Purchase Kanta No. 1 and if I wish save up for a 202/200DR over time.

or

  1. Purchase SN3 + HiCap and save up for Kanta No. 2 over time.

Scenario No. 1 is the least expensive option and most affordable.

Scenario 2, is the most expensive, though maybe the best option long term.

I left out my Linn LP12 Akurate as it was non-Naim equipment and when I first posted and later corrected because I mistook a remote control for a stack of Cd’s. My eyesight issue for not wearing glasses on the computer. My eyes must be getting tired.

Thank you for your reply it has been most welcome.

Warm regards,

Mitch.

Or Scenario 3: Leave everything as it is and possibly purchase a ND5 XS 2.

Warm regards,

Mitch.

There’s a similar thread running here:

2 Likes

I’d suggest that you are tying yourself up in knots. It sounds as though it will take years to save up for these expensive items so why not be happy with something more modest? The CD player and amplifier match perfectly. You seem to have doubts about your speakers so why not try something current and at an affordable price, something that will match your Nait XS2? It doesn’t have to be Kantas. Take a look at some speakers, Focals or other makes, at more modest prices to see if they really are better than your much loved Celestions.

5 Likes

This sounds like very good advice. There are quite a few very good speakers out there even less than the Kanta 1s. As an example, I have an XS3 and XS2. I was running ProAc Tablette 10s Sigs on the XS3 and wanted more bottom so took a chance on some Buchardt S400s. I am very pleased with their performance, so much so that the ProAcs are now relegated to the XS2 system.

Just want to add that the link below is a good example of what sounds like an excellent product for the price and would be very fulfilling in the right system.

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I noticed that some of the lower range Focal products are very easy to drive and have the potential to make good matches with products like the XS2 , Atom etc. Where speakers are concerned it is about synergy and the music we listen to .

Many of us have higher end products , but it is the law of diminishing returns and we lose sight of how good the basics in the Naim range are

3 Likes

Hi,

The Kantas don’t need a 282/250, I’ve heard them with a Nova and ND5XS/SN3 both were great but of course the latter delivered more. This of course assumes that the Kantas will work in your room and be to your liking. As @hungryhalibut says I think you are at risk of over complicating this and yes there are other speakers that might easily fit the bill.

But in your case I might suggest that you seriously consider switching the speakers first. If I remember correctly those Celestions were brilliant but were quite demanding. I would have thought your XS would happily drive the Kantas or say something like the Kudos S10s.

Just some thoughts.

Regards,

Lindsay

4 Likes

It’s easy to get tied in knots. I was thinking for a long time how to upgrade my Nait 3. I had a few upgrade paths laid out, involving Nait 5s, flatcaps, stepping stones to an XS3 or SN?, all sorts. In the end I px ed my Nait 3 for an XS3. Should see me right for ages. I’m sure a SN would be better, but what I have now makes me smile. To be honest, so did my old Nait3, and I only worry about kit differences when I demo things. For the 99% of my life outside a dealer, I’m just listening to music.

I think the variety of options within the Naim portfolio, together with their enviable record of reliable and serviceable s/h kit, is a double edged sword. And it’s easy to obsess over options without the feedback of ever being able to demo them. I also think many of the options would sound fabulous, and differ by degrees only. If the obsessing over options is what gives you pleasure, no-one should really advise otherwise, but also, “keeping it simple” would not be an awful option :slight_smile:

@Gigantor I’ve been reading your other thread too, I think sorting speakers that suit your room would be a great starting place. That might be enough, given your sources and your XS2. The XS series are hardly budget amps, yours with an upgraded PS too.

I’ve actually never heard a difficult pair of speakers with an underspecced amp, so I understand your worry about having an amp that’s not “good enough”. But equally, I’m not sure your XS2 is so “bad” it would make any speaker upgrade worthless!

Your option 3 is interesting too, of the kit I’ve bought in the last 5 years, a used UnitiQute1 has had the biggest impact to my enjoyment of music. Opening up streaming has broadened my listening immeasurably.

Best of luck deciding.

Relegated!? Your poor XS2 :wink: Love that you have one of each, would you say the XS2 & 3 are much different?

1 Like

Dear Lindsay,

Thank you fo your reply. I am a tech head at heart. Three trades, Industrial Automation Electrician (not automotive), RAAF Radio Technician, RAAF Calibration technician test and measurement. I read specs and Naim does not list all its specs on all its equipment. The information is there, though you have to do your research to get down to the nuts and bolts. I have read many reviews and they appear to be cuts out of the manual as I daresay that not many journalists know their electrical physics calculations. Enough of me as that is the mindset I have a military one.

Then there is the practical world after reading between the lines with what is paired with what then I make deductions which could be true or false from all the experienced golden ears.

I am trying not to spend a dollar though nothing is for free and money must be spent some where.

If Naim market a Uniti Star with a Kanta 1, it must be for a reason. If Naim market a Nova with a Kanta 2, it must be for a reason.

Though the proof will be in the pudding when I go for a listening test. I have been ruminating about this for a week or so as I have OCD and try to obtain the best bang for my buck with leaving an upgrade path there if I want to.

The Celestion’s by all means are meant to be hard to drive (sorry 30 minute phone call) therefore my dilemma purchasing the correct amplifier.

I have measured my room and its 25m square. 4.4m x 5.6 (W x L) which equates to about 14.4’ x 18.3’. Though my listening position is only three metres away at the apex of an equilateral triangle. The speakers are mounted on lead filed stands two feet from back and side walls.

The Kanta 1 speakers are 4 dB more efficient than the Celestion SL6Si and since the Kanta 1 speakers are pair with a Uniti Star I now feel safe in adding them to my system to replace the inefficient Celestion speakers and use my Nait XS 2.

I know feel safe with the its purchase, though is it the right one for the room as I wish more bottom end. This maybe something I will have to live with and back I go to withe Celestion’s and a possible SN3 purchase as some say it has more grip for the bottom end.

So we are back for a listening test and I have a better idea what I am looking for. If the Kanta 1 speakers do not impress me compared to the Celestion speakers I may either purchase a SN3 or a ND5 XS 2.

Or more vinyl and CDs

I think my dear wife will be happy with the latter.

Warm regards,

Mitch…

To me the differences were slight but exactly what I was looking for, some additional detail, tighter bass , maybe just more PRAT but still the same sound signature these integrateds are known for. When I first listened to the XS3 I knew it was the sound I was looking for and chose it over the SN3. The big difference came when I added a HiCap DR to the XS3. I think that combo is marvelous. The HiCap DR on the XS3 gives more of everything, detail, bass, soundstage, imaging without the loss of the emotional presentation I have become some fond of. I don’t like presentations that are too analytical so I have gone about finding the small missing elements to the sound through cables and supporting components. I listen at low to medium levels anywhere from 60db to about 80db. The XS3 and HiCap DR sound rather magnificent at these levels.

3 Likes

So do I. 88 Db would be a peak.

It is the low frequency muscle that concerns me as the impedance drops the current goes up.

I am now happy that a XS 2 can drive a Kanta 1.

Mitch.

I’d gently suggest that an over reliance on specifications is unlikely to yield the best result. A Kanta 1 could be a good buy if you plan to upgrade to at least a 202/200 or a Supernait 3, but with a XS it’s an unbalanced setup if you plan to use it long term. Why do Naim recommend the Kanta 1 with the Uniti Star, rather than with the much more appropriate Aria models? To make more money and to big up the Star’s abilities.

Of course the XS will ‘drive’ the Kanta 1. An Atom will drive a Sopra 1. It certainly goes loud, but a more balanced setup will give a more satisfying and engaging result. This is all in my opinion of course, and others will disagree. Bear in mind also that your CD player will start to get out of its depth, though of course the LP12 will be fine.

I’d suggest you try two options: your XS with Kanta 1, and Supernait 3 with more modest but still good speakers. See which brings you closest to the music.

5 Likes

You’ve probably seen them, hifi news reviews have lab results, there’s definitely a XS3 review online with lots of measurements available

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Dear HH,

This is my plan. To short list complimenting components by ear after I have narrowed participants by data.

I think this is a logical approach. Otherwise I would be spending money that I can not afford at the time on my dealers recommendations on 282/300DR for a Kanta 2. Plus Hicaps or Super Cap for symmetry.

My room is 25 square metres with a listening position at the apex of a 3m x 3m x 3m equilateral triangle from the speakers on my comfy couch layered with blankets to stop the dogs scratching the red leather. Life with dogs, life with wife, happy wife, happy life :smiley: The 10 year old pug is glued to me now that I am at home. Only leaves me for Shelley in the morning to be fed.

The Kanta 1 speakers may only require to be matched to the XS 2. It might be a question of which one to upgrade first? Amplifier or Speaker. I am having second thoughts on the Kanta 2 speakers due to their size and where my listening position is in the room. I must listen with an open mind and ears.

If the Kanta 1 speakers do not have the extended bass and HiFidelity that I expect. It may very well be a SN3 to power my Celestion SL6Si speakers and add a ND5XS2 down the track with a HiCap. Or as you suggest a 202/200DR.

Thank you for your well regarded comment.

Mitch.

If you have near 9k to spend, better have something like a 4k source, 3k amps, and 2k speakers.
Even if a Nait XS can drive Focal Sopra 1, the later will really open with something like 282/250.

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Have you ever tried Sumiko Masterset? It’s a speaker positioning technique that only requires a track with a wide range of bass note, your system and a good deal of patience. Oh and your ears. The instructions are around the web if you do a search. At worse you return your speakers to where they are now but you might find nodes where the room helps fill out the bass.