Supernait 3 - Bookshelf Speakers 2.5k budget

Pulled the trigger on a Supernait 3 last week and am enjoying what it has to offer so far.

Next on the upgrade list are my speakers. Currently got the Q Acoustics 3030i which were a stop-gap whilst I was moving into my new house.

Actually, these Q Acoustics have surprised me as I really wasn’t expecting as good as they deliver, however they are still very budget speakers and clearly a huge bottleneck with the SN3.

My room is carpeted with a big L shaped settee and other furnishings to abosorp the waves.

I’ve auditioned the Dynaudio Evoke 50 when I bought the SN3 and I was impressed. I honestly think the soft dome tweeters are a must for me as I’m sensitive to certain treble characteristics.

Music tastes are really varied so need an all round player. One minute I can be listening to UB40, then Opera and then 80’s pop. I don’t however listen to hard rock at all.

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I heard the Evoke 30s and the Special 40s on the end of a SN3 recently when demo’ing speakers - whilst the Evoke was excellent, the Special 40s were a better quality speaker (more of a polished sheen to the high end in particular) and bass extension was comparable between them. For that money, I’d go for the Special 40 if you’re into the overall Dynaudio sound. I also heard the Contour 20i at the same demo - a step up, particularly in bass extension, albeit also a big step up in price. Hope that helps!

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I use a pair of ART Emotion Monitor with my Supernait 2 with some excellent results.

There is a pair available on a certain online auction site at the moment for less than your budget…

They aren’t very high profile but there are a few fans out there and they go well with Naim imho.

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You have a lovely amplifier in the Supernait 3. The challenge you face is that you have budget speakers and a budget source. If you upgrade your speakers, will you be able to upgrade the source relatively soon, in order to balance things out?

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I’ll have a look at those ART emotions. Never heard any ARTs before so would need to find a demo to make sure I like the sound.

As for source, the plan is to get the matching Naim DAC or the Denafrips Ares II. I’m upgrading in stages though and I’m pretty sure the biggest difference will be speakers followed by DAC.

I’ve got some high-end headphone equipment to sell which should easily fund the DAC.

Do the bookshelf speakers need to be close to a wall? If so then non-ported or front ported design would be the order of the day.

If you don’t go to the top of your budget then the Ares 2 would be possible as well. ProAc Tabs, Spendor Classic 4/5s or Guru Juniors would fit the bill nicely.

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I have a Supernait 2 paired with Harbeth C7es3 XD speakers. I compared them to Totem Tribe Towers (that I previously owned) and ATC SCM 19. To my ears, the Harbeth are clearly better. The Harbeths make beautiful music with the SN2.

If you can, I suggest you hear them with your SN3.

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Yes. Good point. the bookshelves need to be relatively close to the wall.

So your search will be as I suggested. More limited but some good stuff to be found.

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You ought to at least audition a pair of ProAc D2s which come in at just £80 north of your budget. Unlike the Tabs, they need to be a little forward of the front wall, but they sound glorious and would work with your Supernait 3. Happy hunting.

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Another vote for Dyn Special 40s. But I do think the SN3 will shine more with better speakers than from the 2.5K/pair range.

Another nice option is the Sonus Faber Sonetto I. Much better are the Minima Amator II and the Olympica Nova I. Although pricier, I think these will do the SN3 more justice.

I think you are spot on, maybe the bottleneck the OP speaks of is down to the source as much as the speakers, maybe as the OP likes Q Acoustics he should look at their mid range speaker at £900 with £1600 for a source or if he is in a long- term planning mode then the Q Acoustics 300 @£ 2,500 - with free stands at the moment from a well known chain.

If it was me, I would keep the speakers and add a ND5XS2 for spot on £2500 .

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Is your total budget therefore about £3.5k across source and speakers?

I would at least try a DAC, and swapping the budget allocation, before assuming the speakers would be the best initial improvement.

A NDAC and XPS (non DR) is just doable for 2500, leaving £1k for speakers. The Proac Tablettes come in for much praise around here, you might find a gently used pair for £1k. I run Neat Motive SX3s, they are also available for around the £1k mark, and definitely less on the used market.

There are lots of Chord options on the DAC side too. I wasn’t sure if you’d heard the Naim DAC or Denafrips to know you prefer their sound to Chord?

Well all these comments have certainly made me think twice. I’m arranging a demo at Audio T in Manchester as they stock most of the speakers on my demo list.

I was even contemplating upping my speaker budget to 4k and going floorstanders to give me that low end grunt - never owned floorstanders before so this is a lot to think about.

I am coming from the IEM world and own a high end DAC (Luxury and Precision P6 Pro) so I could do some testing with that as my source for the SN3. During my time in the IEM world I’ve owned many DAPs/DACs including the Chord Mojo and in all honesty I’ve always struggled to understand the price differences when the sound is so so similar, and this is using high-end 3k IEMs like the Empire Ears Odin which don’t suffer from room reflections/nodes and the like.

I’d like to keep the NODE 2021 as it has all the streaming features including Bluetooth and Local Media Sharing that I desire. This leads me to think I’m best suited with an external DAC but based on my previous experiences I’m sure the biggest differences will be speakers, especially when going from a £300/pair to 2.5k/pair and above. Maybe I am wrong.

Would the Chord Qutest be a good pairing with the SN3? I see lots of those coming up on the 2nd hand market.

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Cannot comment on the Qutest, as I haven’t heard it, but it’s surely worth a listen too, if that doesn’t make the decision making process too varied!?

I for one wasn’t suggesting there won’t be a big difference between £300 and £2.5 speakers, just that with £3.5k total to spend it might be better overall to allocate more on the DAC than the speakers. Or at least listen to a system with that approximate allocation.

The SN3 is paired with a wide range of sources and speakers, at all sorts of budgets, but it isn’t unusual to see it paired with the NDX2 (£5k source), and cheaper speakers than you’re thinking of.

How come the change from high end IEMs to speakers? I can imagine being used to what must be huge amounts of detail and resolution from high end IEMs, that you want the same from a pair of speakers? But assumptions are always dangerous :slight_smile:

There may be a good reason for them coming up on the second hand market!

As you have the opportunity to demo at Audio T, just see what works best. The Node will always be a limiting factor no matter what dac you choose, and the quality of Bluetooth will likewise be a constraint. I suspect you’d be amazed at how good modestly priced speakers can sound with a really good source and amplifier.

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ProAc’s D2R… The Quetest is a very musical Dac… I owed one, have a Hugo TT2 now.

Hairy Hailibutt Has ProAc’s Tablets Signatures I believe.

I have ProAc D20R

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Eek!

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The Bluesound Node is good. Paired with the Chord Qutest it is very good. I compared it with the Naim ND5 XS2. The ND5 didn’t stay.

Let your ears decide.

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I think you’ve just been a victim of auto correction …