Streamer upgrade options

I’m currently running a Squeezebox Touch straight into the internal DAC of my SN1 + HiCap. The system is mostly used for background music, casual listening and parties. My appetite to upgrade the source is mostly driven by convenience: I would like a nice and stable app for iPad or iPhone to access Spotify and other streaming services (Tidal, Qobuz). Increased sound quality comes close second in my priorities.
Here my identified options to upgrade the source:

  1. trade in the SN1+HC and get a Uniti Nova --> 1 box solution, neat and clean
  2. buy a 2nd hand NDX (NDX 2 is too expensive for me)
  3. buy a new ND5 XS 2
  4. get a non-Naim streamer (Sonos?) with or without the nDAC
    What would you suggest? thanks in advance for the valuable piece of wisdom.

I’d seriously consider option 1. You don’t mention what speakers you use - what are they ?

I have ProAc Studio 140

Nice speakers. Should be a good match for the Nova. If you don’t go this route, then the ND5XS2 is another solution. Remember though that your SN1 is probably coming up to an age where it is due for a service so bear this in mind.

I think i’d still take Option 1 from your list.

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Option1:- Nova

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I’d lean towards the Uniti Nova unless you have an appetite to keep going later down the line and continuing to make changes.
You’ll find a Nova a very rewarding and straightforwards replacement to your current system.

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If you keep the SN1, make sure you get a Hicap DR instead of a Hicap non-DR. Hicap non-DR is good, but Hicap DR is better.

I tried the DR sometimes ago and it’s very nice indeed, but my source is the weak link now I need to address.

I like the concept of settling with one solid solution. Shall I want to upgrade later on, Nova can get a NAP200 right?

Correct, both SN1 and HC are reaching 10 years age. Still sounding good but service is imminent. Funnily enough, no one suggests the NDX (first version); is this because of sound or capabilities/future profness?

I doubt you will find a 200 to be a really worthwhile upgrade on a Nova. I put one on my Superuniti (predecessor to the Nova) and it did sound better, but nowhere near enough to justify the price, and I only did it as the first step to move to separates.

NDX/Supernait would be a good option for sound quality. You just need to be aware of its limitations in terms of streaming functions it can support. No Qobuz, Roon, Airplay or Chromecast, WiFi performance is not great. If you don’t see those issues as important to you, it’s a great buy now that used prices have dropped.

I put a 250DR on a Nova. Yes, a marginal improvement. However, not worth the outlay of a new 250DR. In my opinion, if you want to hear what the Nova is capable of, play a hi-res radio flac stream into it i.e. JB Radio 2 192 KHz 16 bit.

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If you anticipate wanting to go beyond a one box setup later down the line you need to be clear in your own head what your systems plans are overall in terms of next steps, possible enhancements and longer term expectations.
Given what you’re used to today I’d expect the Nova to be a nice improvement overall and will do all the things you’ll need it to in one box with low complexity.
It’s not going to be the last word in performance, any level of integration is a compromise, but I’d personally not think of it as meriting further upgrades later down the line, if that’s your preference then perhaps a SN2/3 + ND5 XS2 or ideally an NDX2 is a preferable choice, however the more refined you make the system the more complex and expensive it becomes relative to a Nova. How far you want to explore the performance potential is down to your own time and budget ultimately.

If you are already thinking of adding a power amp to a Nova I’d suggest that the Nova is the wrong thing to buy. If it were me I’d get either an NDX2 or an ND5XS2, and then sell both the SN1 and the Hicap and get either a Nait XS3 or a used SN2. The XS3 would match the ND5 and the SN2 would match the NDX2. The SN2 (and 3) include a DR power supply for the preamp so a Hicap doesn’t have to feature, though it could if you wanted at a later stage.

The superseded NDX would be good, and cheaper, but doesn’t have Qobuz integration, which you said you wanted.

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Thanks, all valuable inputs. I’m tempted by the 1-box solution because it removes the constant upgrade itches. Also, it seems that you guys are happy with the user interface provided by Nova/modern NDs. Is this really top class? how does it compares with Linn or Devialet or Sonos?

I would opt for a Nova. As you said it : neat & clean

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That is what I thought at the time…however.

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+1 :grin:

I do like the Naim app and the range of services the new streamers offer.
You could also look at Roon, which is very good at what it does, although as with all these things, some really like it, others don’t.
In fact, if you have a computer that can run Roon, you could run it into your Squeezebox with no extra hardware. You would need to jump ship from Spotify to Tidal or Qobuz, but that in itself could be a big sound quality upgrade, especially if you go for a Qobuz HiRes subscription.