Supernait 3 upgrade options

Hello folks. I am getting conflicting information recently on upgrage paths on my Supernait 3. I’m being told that because I’m not using a Naim Source component the robust Naim supernait 3 with a Flatcap or a hicap won’t benefit much with it’s power supply.

Overture Audio said If wanted real performance to jump to the Supercap. I just paid $ 5000 for the Nait3 and his advised is to buy an amplifier? He suggested suggestes A NAP 250 minimum and use the Supernait as a preamp. I’m limited on funds and was informed that a Hicap or Flatcap would enhance the unit. I wanted to make smaller incremental u)0pgrades and tweaks. I’m Looking for feedback.

Using an Ayre C-x7eMP CD player and Totem Forest Signatures. I have ordered Synergistic Research Foundation series cables fromm the Cable Company for a test drive. Also have some Chord intonnects on 0the way. NACA5 5 is waiting in the wings if Wireworld doesn’t pan out. I could use some words of wisdom on th upgrade path.



You will get an improvement with any of the external power supplies, but it will not be a big step. Adding a 250DR will give you a larger step, but will clearly cost more.
You need to know where your system is heading; pre/power with power supplies and how far up the food chain you are aiming.
Will you be sticking to Naim, or spreading the love to other brands? Power supplies will be good if you stay with Naim, amps and pre-amps will be better if you want to branch out.
Just remember to enjoy the music on the system you have at any time, enjoy the journey.


I don’t know if the Supercap is a smart upgrade (not even sure you can use a Supercap with a Supernait?), but it’s certainly a very costly one. The “advice” that a Flatcap or Hicap won’t be of much use because you’re not using a Naim source is, frankly, rubbish. A Hicap probably adds a lot of good things to the Supernait (it did to my NAP200/NAC202), so probably worth trying out.


Yes, this, as it might influence whether to get the Hicap if aiming for a 282/250, in which case you would use it in both systems.

I have the Forest Signatures and had the SN2 and Hicap, then added a 252/SC using the SN2 in power amp mode, until I swapped the SN2 out for a 250.

Not sure that helps exactly. I guess, try and plan towards an end system. But, I recommend only adding a pre or power amp as a step to full separates.

One easy and worthwhile upgrade is the Naim power line on the SN3.

I’m the meantime, enjoy the SN3, as it’s a fine integrated amp.

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Hi, I am not sure I follow, you’ve recently spent $5000 on an integrated and you are looking to upgrade? Why? What’s missing from the sound? The Ayre player is a lovely cd player I have owned two in the past, not sure how well the supernait drives the totems?


As pointed out: see where you want to end up; slowly moving up the ladder. Pre/powers eventually: start off with a hicap on your SN, as that will benefit it, & further use if/when you a move up to a pre, then maybe swop out the SN with a power.
Enjoy what you’ve got for some time, & get good advice from here, don’t be forced into anything you don’t want; a good ‘dealer’ won’t do that :relaxed:

The Hicap or flatcap don’t power the source, so it doesn’t change if the source is Naim or non Naim.
An SN3/Hicap/ Ayre CX7 is a great trio. It will drive easily your Totem. Enjoy it, burn your Naca 5 ( other thread I saw from you) and take your time.
The upgrades are best enjoyed by step by step.
And much later you can add a 282 or 250 if you want to arrive at 282/250 level.
But keeping SN3/250 as a definitive system is not the best. Better then buy from the start something like 282/200 .
My feelings.


If you are limited on funds it does not make sense to upgrade as the next logical step from the SN3 is the 250/282. Of course you could make it a 2-step upgrade by adding the power or preamp to your SN3 first, and later add the other component (power or pre depending on your first choice) and then selling your SN3.

Don’t forget that more boxes also means more cables, more racks and so forth so this also adds a considerable amount of money to your upgrade.

There are no magic shortcuts for upgrading in the Naim world. You will always have to spend at least twice the amount of your current unit to call something an uprade.

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If you go to the Naim products web page, find Supernait 3 in the Classics section, you will find this

This shows the upgrade path Naim recommend.

The Flatcap is designed with the XS range in mind

There is also a section marked power supplies , which may or not be beneficial . Naim products are often designed to be upgradable , but can be confusing to the newbie.

Enjoy it, please don’t get confused, if the SN3 meets your needs , don’t worry about upgrading just yet

Options in terms of cost and logical upgrade path:-

  1. Powerline
  2. Hicap DR
  3. Retain Hicap DR and get 282 preamp and keep SN3 as power amp.
  4. Then sell SN3 and get 250 DR as Poweramp.

The SN3 is excellent , so just enjoy for now and if you are flush with money or a desire to upgrade the above path is logical in terms of cost/ performance.

The 282/200 is also a cheaper option than the 282/hi/250 if that is ultimately a stretch too far, or too many boxes.


This is a perfect upgrade path, roda! :ok_hand:

Adding a Hicap DR is a huge gain in depth and soundstage, so this makes absolute sense!

I would also go for the 282 in the next stage. If you would then change the SN3 in a poweramp I would test a 250 DR or a 300 DR at home. IMO a 200 DR will not give a better performance than the SN 3. But one could also try it.

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Thanks Krautnaimie.

That is the path I would follow having a SN3 myself.

The Hicap DR gets a mixed opinion from forum members here on a SN3, but a couple of Naim staff recommended that path, so definitely worth an audition.

The Naim hierarchy always suggests source followed by preamp next. But like you say you could try a 300 rather than a 250 if you have demanding speakers and a welcoming bank account.

I have read too that a 200 over the SN3 is a sideways move rather than a significant step forward.

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Absolutely agree! :+1:

There is also to mention that if you would listen to Vinyl, you had the biggest improvement with a HiCap DR, regarding MC with a Stageline or MM with the inbuilt phonostage in the SN3. I would sy that it is a must if you love Vinyl!

There is also a nice video somebody posted in this forum some time ago: Naim Classic Series Upgrade Path Full Presentation Focal Scala Utopia EVO @ Nintronics Dec 2019 - YouTube


Recommended viewing!

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Curious, given the fairly standard view of source first, then preamp, why lots of recommendations for upgrading the SN3 are for power amp upgrades first. I think this is one of the first threads I’ve read where a number of folks are recommending preamps as the first upgrade. Hopefully my perception is accurate X)

What is the rationale for upgrading the SN3 with a power amp first rather than a pre? Hard to drive speakers? Might be helpful to the OP if Totem Forests are particularly hard to drive (I don’t know if they are!)

I ‘borrowed’ and HiCap DR to bolt onto my SN3 from my local dealer. He said I could keep it a week. After listening to it for an evening I phoned and told him he would not be getting it back. Now, I am not saying there is a night and day difference - the SN3 is already an extremely capable Amp. But for me, the HiCap DR opened up the music a fair bit, revealing more detail and increasing soundstage. The bottom end has more weight and slam. If you do have one on loan I imagine you will not be taking it back. Of course, this combo does take the SN3 to nearly a £5000 amp and that gives you many options in the marketplace.

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The question being asked was specifically about the SN3 upgrade path. I would always go source first myself , but with the SN3 I would personally add the Hicap then the preamp as that is the normal upgrade path to follow. I would then do 250 next.

However, some might take the path of using a superior power amp if they had difficult speakers to drive. That wouldn’t be for me with my set up. I remember a Kudos demo where they used a SN3 with Hicap and active 250s driving a Kudos 707. Obviously they were showing off their speakers so they needed an amp capable of extracting the best out of their speakers.

But to reiterate , as the question being asked was about the SN3 specifically , I would do the Hicap first , to then allow for the 282 upgrade and then a 250.


You have a great one-box solution, so what’s driving the need to upgrade Gracie? You just want ‘better’ or is it to fix something you don’t like / improve a specific weakness?

Good advice, the first 2 option of which can be purchased pre-owned, allowing the OP to also have spare money for a second powerline, or upgrade some interconnects from cd to sn3.


Cheers, was hopefully just replying generally on the thread, didn’t mean to ask you specifically, sorry about that! Really appreciate the response though :slight_smile: