Sonic differences between Nait 5si & Nait XS?

Has anyone auditioned both the Nait 5si and Nait XS that can give a description of the sonic differences between them? Seems to me, the biggest sonic difference would be the preamp sections… the XS having an active gain vs. the 5si’s passive?

Reason for asking:
I’ve been running my XS for a while now, and while I love the sound, I’m wondering if it’s a little too much amp for my room size? Most of the time, when I’m listening at normal levels, I’m at 9 o’clock on the dial. Once I move past 9, it really starts to get loud. I’m wondering if the 5si would be better suited since it has a passive preamp section and therefore no gain on the preamp side, such as the XS. However, what will I lose sonically between the two, switching from the XS to a 5si? My cdp is a CD5x.


I used to have a 5i-2 and switched to an XS. Personally i found the XS a much superior amplifier, especially with the power supply upgrade option which i have also done.

I didnt find the XS any louder than the 5i-2 though, better, but not louder and the 5i-2 could go plenty loud enough! I wonder if the 5si would actually be any “better” from a loudness point of view and so all you would be doing by downgrading is having a less capable amp.

Have you thought of the power supply upgrade for the XS. It made a big difference for me.

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What is making you think that the XS amplifier is too much for your room? I run a 5Si system in a small to medium sized room, with fantastic results and one day will be looking to upgrade to an XS2 system, in the near future. I am just curious as to why you feel your XS amp is too much? How big is your room and what is the rest of your system?

Ok, I’ve just re-read your post and you describing the sound being ‘really loud’ past 9 O clock. Do you mean it just being sheer loud but still sounding sublime? or do you mean loud but it starting to grate and sounds ‘over the top’?

Hi Steve,

Sound is sublime, but nicely loud at 9 o’clock. The music is never shrill or ear piercing–at any level. I guess maybe it’s just a subjective thing of hearing the volume and impact of music at 9 on the dial. For example, I once tried a Musical Fidelity A5 integratred, which has 250wpc. To achieve anywhere near the same level the XS produces, the A5 would be at 12-1 o’clock on the dial. The MF did nothing for me and wasn’t around long. The only other integrated I ever owned that has anywhere near the impact and dynamics of this nait was when I had a Krell 300i.

I heard both before deciding to get the XS, which is more refined (more details…).

I have a small room, and have always found that the Naim amplifiers rarely need to go above around 9 to give me the volume that I want. My personal view is that small rooms are most fussy with speakers, and they can be too much. I have experimented a bit. I wanted floorstanders, tried a few, and never found a decent match. Fast, agile, bookshelf speakers are best, and thus the amplifier never sounds like it is getting bloated. It can be turned up higher without losing control. What speakers are you running?

Yes, I too agree here that the speakers maybe worth considering instead if you’re considering loudness? For clarity I would look for a PSU.

I using Vandersteen 2C. At first, this combo sounded great, but perhaps it’s too much speaker for the room when using the XS.

The thing is, I love the full range sound, especially the low bass detail. So, if I were to change speakers, what would you guys recommend?

I heard the Totem Tribe Tower in a small room and they sounded great.

We have a Nait5XS with FlatcapXS, as well as the CD5X. This amp is a nice upgrade over the Nait5i which we had before. I would never go back if you have the nicer amp. Adjust your speaker placement but your setup is already a winner. Try to add a Flatcap if you can justify it. It is just that much better and works well with both your CD and your amp.

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Move your speakers away from the walls if you now find your room is booming. Don’t assume that the place where they have always been is the right place for them now.

Room conditioning is a topic in itself but it gets tricky and complicated. In my room, I swapped the layout so the speakers fired down the room instead of across. It made a huge difference and some fellow experts were getting excited about standing waves, resonant frequencies etc.

I have the XS and and confirm that I rarely move the dial past 9 o’clock on any of the inputs apart from the phono which requires a bit extra. 9 o’clock gives 75 - 80dB in my largish 12m x 6m, @ 10 o’clock I get 80 - 85 dB, once I go above 11 the music tends to fall apart and become unpleasant at ~95dB. Although again on the phono input I push it around to 1 o’clock when the moment takes me. S400 Speakers.

I owned the 5i and now the XS 2. The latter is the more mature of the two. I did struggle a bit at first with room placement and speaker matching making me question the upgrade. However now that I’ve got everything sorted out, I’m quite happy, and would never consider going back to the 5i.

Amp to speaker / room matching is very much easier if you don’t intend playing your system very loud as you’ve discovered it is when you turn it up that issues can occur.
First thing to do is to try and tweak what you already have, is your system isolated properly, can the speakers be moved around. Set a day aside and play around with your set up you may find you already have a solution.

we auditioned the 5si coupled with cd5 , dealer then said listen to this …the XS and it was a significant step better. Speakers were and still are DynAudio Focus 110s. The room in our house at that time was a large maybe 9 x 4 m rectangle ie much longer than wide. Room in today much smaller 3.2 x 3.4. It is complicated by a similar sized room beside it with large opening in middle to it, sort of semi open plan. . I’ve always been surprised at how loud I’m listening to it without appreciating its loud, if that makes sense.
It’s easy to listen to loud and immerse yourself. Only notice when leaving room and re entering. I wouldn’t personally ditch the XS for a 5si

I have the 5si and for now I’m happy … As soon as I can afford it I’ll go to XS since Supernait is expensive! Anyway the 5si defends itself very well m …

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