Supernait 3 & ND5 XS-2 vs Separates

@Remicub - Don’t do the 272.
The current generation of streamers is way better than the last generation.
Save a few months more and just go for a NDX2/SN3 system.


Thank you, you’ve saved me NZ$50K. I think you are right, there is a sweet spot below separates if you have a great source. I’m sticking with my SN2/HiCap/NDX2/XPS DR, which to me, sounds wonderful and is expensive enough.


Small difference is a relative statement, I am a critical listener and even the smallest increase in dynamics for an instance is already huge. I haven’t compared them, I know SN is inferior, but I am completely satisfied with mine, maybe it is due to my system balance, as with my previous amp (5si) I thought something was missing, it was not able to drive my speakers properly, which now SN2 does effortlessly, so balance is crucial, which is probably the reason I am not looking up the ladder. Cheers and glad you like your SN too.

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To be fair maybe I’ve not given it a fair crack of the whip… plus I know naim equipment likes to run in. Plus maybe well be my modest speakers for the system…

You could be right here. Did you have enough shelves on your rack to set up the separates properly? This becomes a lot more important as you climb the ladder, along with cable dressing etc.

This thread clearly shows there is demand for a Statement level integrated. The argument, “I want fewer or a one box solution” is perfectly sound. How many boomers do I know who are downsizing to much smaller homes and more compact systems? Right now, NAIM fans looking to do this have but one option: the SuperNait 3.

I would argue that changes to this amp (versus the SN2) have brought its sound signature closer to that of separates. Meaning the audible performance delta has changed for the better.

I would dare more of you to take the SN3 for a test drive :slight_smile:

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Statement does of course combine the electronics and PSU’s in to one physical “box” and flips it all 90 degrees removing the need for a Fraim. Integration of sorts, at a price.

I’m currently between a SN2 and a SN3, should appear some time this week by all accounts.
It’s been mentioned many times but a SN based 2 or 4 box system with a NDX 2 gives you 80%+ (to my ears) of what can be had above it higher in the range with a slope of diminishing returns to financial outlay.
It sits at a point that gives you an extremely good listening experience without feeling like a financial stretch.
It’s not an insignificant outlay, even accounting for buying parts or whole systems used or ex demo but once you have it you can comfortably stick with it for many years without need for change.


Hello @Remicub I’m a newbie, to naim and also the forum - been lurking mostly but there’s lots of great people, all of whom are very generous with their time and knowledge share.

I recently purchased the ND5XS2 and XS3 and I’ve been very happy, however I’m already starting to think about adding a HiCap DR to my amp - annoyingly I can’t do much in the way of upgrading my Streamer and at some point in the future will probably chop this in for the NDX2.

However, the sound is stunning and I’ve not yet turned my system off - the recently discounted Qobuz rate is also a bonus.


You could explore third-party DACs — a few here have gone down this route without loosing what they like about Naim…

Thanks @Naim_The_Dragon I’ve seen several mentions of this ‘upgrade’ though im yet to work out how you do this. Does the DAC go dac/Streamer/amp or streamer/dac/amp?

Morning — the DAC goes between streamer (digital out) and amp. Obviously the DAC in your ND5 would become redundant making your ND5 a relatively expensive transport, but many people here have praised the transport qualities of the new ND streamers. I use an Allo USBridge Signature as transport for my Chord Hugo 2.

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I have done this with Naim streamers into Chord amps, as have plenty of others, and it can be a very cost effective upgrade. The discontinued Naim NDAC is another possibility. What you prefer is very much down to personal taste, so it’s always worth having a good listen for yourself. The original Hugo or Qutest is probably where I would start looking, although the ND5XS2 is good enough to drive the higher level Chord DACs too, if you have the budget.

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I think they have a number of Naim options let’s not forget the likes of the Nova .

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The usual budget caveats apply here but I currently own a ND5 XS 2 and have used its digital output in to Chord DAC’s then on to a Supernait, effectively using the ND as a transport only with favourable results.
@Crashwilliams, the system you already have is very capable and sure to give you many hours of enjoyment. In terms of what you may think to do with it from an upgrade perspective then as you already mentioned adding a HiCap DR will give it more control and definition, giving tighter control of the bass and opening up the midrange soundstage a little. I’ve found the HiCap a great addition to both NAIT XS and Supernait based systems myself and it has the benefit of being useful for multiple system configurations up to the NAC282 if you evolve to a pre/power based system over time. You can also use it to power SNAXO active crossovers, Phono preamps and headphone amp as well so once you have one they tend to grow with the system nicely getting you all the way to a NAC252 if needed.
If you look at your ND, a common path is to replace that at some stage with an NDX 2 and then this gives you the option to add an XPS DR to really let it shine, if you are aiming to stick to a sensible box count a move to a Supernait 2 or 3 from a NAIT XS is also a common path, it’s one I also took myself and found a lot of enjoyment from, more refinement more punch but without it taking over the space with too much equipment!
You also have a lot of options that are known to work well as you evaluate your source requirements. Moving to a higher spec ND solution with an NDX 2 and if possible an XPS DR will allow you to take a lot of what you’ve learnt from the ND5 XS 2 and evolve that but you can also look at separating out the transport and streamer functions and doing that either with the same manufacturer, Chord Electronics is an obvious choice with either a Hugo 2 or a Qutest, and either combining that with a Chord transport such as the Hugo 2GO or something like an Allo DigiOne Signature and even then looking at adding in Roon to give a curated journey as you both manage your own library and tap in to streaming services to discover new material.
The nice thing for you is there are a lot of forum users that have taken similar journeys and have either owned these devices in the past or are using them actively today so at the least you can have those users give some feedback and inputs to help you evaluate your needs and optimise your enjoyment as budget and time allows!


Thanks @naim-the-dragon and also @chrisus – I’ve had a look at the Chord DACS and they’re stunning, though there’s very little chance of me getting these passed my better half. Bar some smallish teaks, my recent upgrade to NAIM ND5XS2 and XS3 was supposed to be it, certainly for the next several years!

@Mr.M – I really appreciate your response, thank you so much for taking the time to write at length. Fewer boxes is definitely my thinking (and wallet considerations) - if truth be told, I wish that I’d initially gone down the NDX2 route, maybe sticking with my Audiolab in the shorter-term – I’ve obviously still got that option of the NDX2 by trading in my current streamer. It’s good to know that my going down the HiCap route will suffice my (newly found) itch(!) and if reading this right, can be used on the XS3 and NDX2 as when I come to do it.

Still, I’m very happy with what I’ve got, just want it a little bit better!

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Sorry! It’s too easy to spend other people’s money. You did mention a Hicap and NDX2, though, compared to which some (Chord) DACs appear quite cheap.
Probably a good idea to enjoy what you’ve got for a while first, though.

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It’s certainly worth looking at things like a dedicated mains radial circuit to feed your electronics. Also the importance of your equipment shelves and racking will play a part in the synergy of your system. Then you have obvious changes you can make like the interconnects and the power cables which are all common updates that owners will make to their systems over time. These can be incremental and based on budget but all of those changes will bring benefits and rewards to both the system you have today and any updated versions of it you may grow into in the future.
You can think of making improvements to the equipment rack, cabling and mains supply as being the same as changing a black box in many ways.

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Thank you @ChrisSU and @Mr.M (apologies for hijacking your thread @Remicub)

Sound advice and will sit tight for the moment, enjoying what I have a little longer.

Re my shelving, I’ve got my system on a three tier Atacama Silver/Bamboo HIFI Stand.

Screenshot 2020-03-12 at 16.37.23

That’s when the obsession with cables and power supplies kick in…