Sources or speakers?

Until recently I was sure I preferred Chord over Naim sources. I initially added a Hugo to an ND5XS and that was a huge improvement. When I got an ND5XS2 I thought I preferred a Qutest, but after a period of listening to the native ND5XS2 I wasn’t so sure. I’ve since got an nDAC and really like that. So I’m now not sure what I prefer as I aim for an endgame! To find out, my plan is to get a power supply for the nDAC (probably a second hand XPS) and then audition a Hugo TT2. If I find I prefer Chord I can sell the Naim quite easily, if I don’t I can look out for a 555PS for the nDAC.

However I’m also wondering about my speakers. I’ve fairly recently added a 250DR and although they still sound great, I get the feeling I could get more out of the system by changing. Specifically I’d like more bass. Home auditioning would be the way I’d do that.

Can you offer any thoughts on a) is my approach to choosing a source sensible, and b) might it be better to investigate speakers before source ? I am not considering upgrading amps, and the ND5XS2 is pretty new so is with me for a few years at least I hope.

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Information on size of the room and speakers required. I see you have B&W PM1. What is the size of the room?

Interesting since i am also wanting to compare my new Qutest to an nDAC at some point.

In this forum you will likely be told that the source is more important. While this may be true from a certain perspective, i won’t take it as a rule. However, your weakest link is the source at the moment. Instead of adding more boxes and thinking about a Naim DAC, i would think about upgrading to a NDX2 and add XPS or 555 further down the road. It will likely easily outperform the Ndac/XPS/ND5XS2 combination. Don’t forget that adding a box comes with additional cables and an additonal Fraim shelve or other, which also adds to the cost.

I have also noticed that you only seem to have one source connected to your DAC. I think the Naim DAC is really useful if you want to hook up 2 or more devices to justify its use.

As for the speaker - that largely depends on taste. I don’t think it is holding your system back. Every speaker you will hook up will benefit from your very good source and electronics.

Why do you want more bass? You have REL subwoofer??

Hard to imagine a nd5 would sound better than a chord dac in your system. In my experience with the nd5 in a sn2 system the sound was quite thin. The ndx was a significant improvement and the Hugo > ndx. You really need a better source.

Thanks all. I appreciate that I will benefit from a better source, my issue is whether to try different speakers before I look into that (the REL does improve things @conlegno, but something feels to be missing). Opinion seems to be probably not. Might work out that way anyway - I don’t expect to be able to book an audition any time soon.

Have you optimized your room and speaker placement, including your sub? Maybe the sub is not integrated properly? If properly set up, you should not be missing any bass. Could you name a few tracks where this is most apparent to you?

I’ve done my best to :slight_smile: I’m noticing it mostly at low volume but can’t name a track or tracks off hand. Maybe it’s my ears, maybe it’s upgradeitis !

Yeah looks like the latter to me :slight_smile:

I would keep the speakers (i assume you like them) and look at your source if you really want to improve things. Otherwise maybe be just be happy with what you have an try to optimize your room and speaker placement further more?

There are a few other tweaks you could try with your setup as measuring your room response with a mic (100$) and adding a custom DSP profiles for 150$ (if you are a Roon user) or/and just try the Sumiki Master Speaker placement. There has been mention of both in this forum.

I feel that these are cheap ways to make huge improvements instead of spending more money on actual gear, especially since your gear is really good already and upgrading won’t solve what you are missing.

At Xmas I got a mic to use with REW (I use Roon) but have never got round to using it. Sounds quite complex to get the most out of. Maybe worth a go next weekend to see if that reveals anything

You could take the complexity out of it:

I also bought a mic lately and may give it a try. Also measuring will surely show you your bass response in your room without the sub, which will allow you to adjust the crossover of the sub more precisely.

I am eager to try it myself, but family prevents me from spending the whole day tweaking :slight_smile:

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