Supernait 2 Upgrade

Hello all I’m new to the forum so please go easy on me!

Sorry to bore you with history, but…I was big into Hi-fi in the late 80s to mid 90s and had a nice system with a Roksan Xerxes, Audiolab 8000 pre/power amps and some nice KEF floostanders (can’t remember the model tho).
Anyway for various reasons (kids/moving house etc.) I switched to more of a 5.1 setup with some KEF eggs/sub.
Anyway, eventually I missed it and started building a new system.
Currently My system consists of:
Naim Supernait 2
Rega P8 turntable (with Hana SL cartridge.)
Roksan Kandy CD player.
AE309 speakers.
REL T/9x sub.

It’s a nice system, and I do really like the sound. I mainly listen to vinyl and the odd CD (i do sometimes listen to streaming services, but tends to be on my phone and usually via headphones.)

My questions are:

  1. Would an off-board power supply be a good investment to add to the SN2?
  2. If so is the Hicap 2 a good match as I have an opportunity to buy one for £475?
  3. Or should I be looking at getting a Hicap DR instead? (even if I have to wait a bit longer to get one).

Many thanks in advance!

@Jay-C
Welcome to the mad house! I had a Supernait2 - its a great amp. The default answer to almost every question posed on here is try it out for yourself. That of course is not always an option. I’d say if you’re going to add an external PS, do it right and get the current HiCap DR which is designed to go with the SN2. These can be had in great condition second hand for around £1k. Another default view on here is, cultivate a relationship with a good dealer, because they will usually be happy to let you have the chance to listen to equipment in your own home before you buy.

There are plenty of people who love what the Hi Cap DR does, AND there are people who prefer the SN2 without it. (I’m one of them - But its your ears, your room and your system - hence try before you buy IF you can). All the best, 1GL

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Welcome to the board. It’s fun but as 1GiantLeap has said you’ll get a lot of sound advice to “use your own ears” or something to that effect. Everyone’s room, ears, brain, system etc is different. That all being said if it was me I’d be looking at option #3. You already have a nicely balanced system IMHO

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The SN2 already has an inbuilt Discrete Regulator supply for its preamplifier stage, I’m not sure if the benefits of having a beefier supply, but not DR (hicap 2), outweigh the inbuilt, but DR, supply. As others have said, a demo would be ideal!

What phono stage do you run with the Hana SL?

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I would be prepared to bet that a Hicap, even non-DR, will comfortably outperform the built in preamp PSU in a Supernait. It certainly does when compared to the similar supply in a 200DR.
The Hicap benefits the built in supply precisely because it’s in a separate box, physically isolated from the pre it powers, as is the case with all Naim separate preamps. It’s also a dual rail supply instead of the single rail provided internally.

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I have a Pro-ject tube box DS2 which I really like tbh. Plus I do sometimes run a second turntable and the DS2 has two switchable inputs.

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Many thanks for the warm welcome, and also for your very detailed answers - all much appreciated! My local Hi-fi dealer who I have demoed items from before (and where I got the Rega TT and the DS2 phono stage among other things) is not a Naim stockist sadly, so I will have to find an alternative. Main reason I asked the question was to get opinions on whether I should go for the used Hicap 2 now or step up to the DR. I am now convinced it’s probably worth not just getting it and instead trying to arrange a demo of a Hicap DR just to see how much I really need it!! Many thanks again all.

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I added a Hicap-DR to my SN2 and I love the results. Everything sounds better and more robust.

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I agree with this. My experience also, when I had SN2 and added HiCap DR.

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I’ve got the SN3, but the HCDR was a large and obvious uplift when I added it.

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Same here, great upgrade for the SN3

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Beware. Two years ago I was very content with my ND5XS2 - Qutest - SN2. Bought a used Hicap DR (from someone on here it turned out) during lockdown for the SN2. Just out of interest you understand. Spent the next 18 months or so replacing just about everything !!

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Let me guess it was so good you needed to find out just how much better was possible?

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Yup ! I’ve spent more since than I ever thought I would and now have something that sounds better than I ever thought possible. For me, that hicap was the gateway drug

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I bet your system sounds amazing now! I want something similar for my ProAc’s but I have to wait. Slippery slope indeed.

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With Naim’s almost never ending upgrade path you’ve really got to be made of the stern stuff or either broke like me, otherwise almost impossible to resist.

I did the bonkers upgrade path in the noughties rapidly (555,552,500) before multiple box fatigue, money spent realisation and the need to find funds for a property changed things.

Worringly , i’m showing signs of disappearing down the rabbit hole again, certainly nowhere near that level again and with fewer boxes this time.

The Hicap DR could be like doing your first line of coke, beware of the drug dealers. Very addictive!

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Ahh, the ol’ slippery slope …

Edit: @marcusman beat me to the slippery slope addage.

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Like others here, i added a HiCap DR to my then ND5 XS 2/NAIT XS 2. After that came the big spending spree (well for me anyway). Out went the NAIT XS 2 for SN3. I played around for a bit with the HiCap DR in & out of that system and in that configuration i preferred it without.

It was only when i swapped the ND5 XS 2 for a NDX 2 that the HiCap DR really started to make some sense. Then came XPS DR and that’s when the system really started to fly, so much so, that i haven’t even bothered to take the HiCap DR out to hear what effect it’s currently having. All i know is i’ve never regretted purchasing the HiCap one bit. So i’d say just go for it, bearing in mind that you will also need an additional SNAIC 4 to connect up with.

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