Supernait 3 pre-amp for active speakers

I have more or less decided that this year’s upgrade will be a pair of active ATC speakers (probably 40A), I’m currently using an SN3 in a passive setup. So was wondering what with the plethora of outputs on the SN3, can I simply hook up the ATC and use the SN3 as a pre-amp. Looking at the manual presumably I could just use the the pre-amp out with a 5 pin DIN to XLR pair, but it doesn’t explicitly state it can be used like this? Any thoughts will be much appreciated.

You can use it as a preamp in the way you suggest, or take a signal from the pair of RCA sub outs. I do wonder if the preamp of the SN3 is really good enough for active ATCs; maybe a 282/Hicap DR would be more appropriate.


Yep, that’s exactly it. DIN preamp out to XLR.

At some point you could trade the Supernait for a dedicated preamp like the 332

1 Like

Thanks, my alternative approach was to ditch the SN3 and go all in with ATC - was looking at the CA2 which is half the price of a new SN3 so figured if the SN3 could be used then it should be ok, at least to start with :wink:

Certainly useful as a starting point, and will allow you to make comparisons up the Naim chain or outside of it with a good home demo in your own system.

If you choose the ATC preamp why not just buy it and trade in the Supernait. Selling that should raise enough funds to buy a CA2, possibly even with enough left over to buy the cables. I’d expect it to do a better job of driving long cables than the Supernait, and you won’t end up with an unsuitably terminated pair of cables.

Surely ought to listen to gain an idea of what it will sound like? :thinking:

I think your endpoint system should determine what you do. If ATC40A are the endpoint and the SN3 is a temporary pre until you can afford something better, then it makes sense. However, as others have said the SN3 pre is not of the same calibre as the SCM40s and it will hold the system back. There are people on the forum who are using the 222 with SCM40s and report it is a good combination as do people with 282 or 252 preamps and I suspect there will be people using the 332 with the active 40s too.

I can’t disagree with this in principle, but this is the only forum I read in which people regularly make newcomers feel like they can’t improve their system incrementally.

Every other brand of hifi has the same issue: better speakers will necessitate better amps which will necessitate better preamps and sources.

But nowhere else are people told not to upgrade your speakers unless they’re prepared to immediately spend tens of thousands of pounds to upgrade their system at once.


This won’t work, as the preamp is powered (electricity) from the power amp.
You can use the biamp socket.
Or use the sub out.
Unless you have a hicap, then you can connect from output 3.

I haven’t done ANY research, and am not familiar with the parts in question (grain of salt, much?)…

If you are using ‘active’ speakers and they have volume control capability (I feel this is the topic at hand); then you could use the AV Bypass function of the Supernait, at least for ONE source, and see if taking it out of the equation (preamp circuit) has any BENEFIT to the audio…
edit: yep as others have said- do not do- correct; completely WRONG thing to do with powered speakers
Not sure if coffee, or always looking for use cases for bypassing preamps in Naits; supreme apologies, and 'thankyou for (politeness) forum/community catching QUICKLY!!

AV bypass delivers the input direct to the power amp section of the supernait. It’s designed for eg using a cinema amp with the supernait powering the left and right speakers thereby using the preamp output from the cinema amp.
Anything else plugged in is going to be very very loud. Deafening in fact.

This could be a great way to destroy your speakers. Please do not do this.

1 Like

I tried the sub out from SN3 to a Nikko power amp.
It sounded rather midrangey.

They don’t, at least in the case of ATC’s SCM40As, which is what I understand the OP is proposing to buy.


1 Like

The CA2 is a fine pre, but does have a rather different sonic signature from the SuperNait. If at all possible, I’d audition before deciding. Alternatively, you could stay with Naim and go for a NC 222. More expensive, of course, but it would take you into streaming and offers the option of a power supply upgrade later on.

The ATCs are very revealing speakers so will benefit from any investment on the front end you care to make.

Oh and the ATCs should come with a pair of ATC supplied balanced cables, at least mine did (inUK) which would work with either CA2 or NC 222.

Hope you enjoy those SCM40As as much as I do.


The ATC active speaker each have triple power amps plus active crossovers mounted on their rears. They have no volume controls.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.