Thoughts on upgrade path from Nait 3

Hello! Fairly new here, and I wrote a very long post about my upgrade plans from my current system. Been thinking about upgrading for a while but it was something @JimDog said on another thread that made me delete the whole thing - in a good way! The suggestion was to consider a 272 as a way to add streaming to an existing system, IIRC. Made me realise we all have our own ideas about upgrades, but other ideas are available!

So, I wondered what folks might consider as a way to upgrade a Nait 3 (serviced 3 yrs ago) with MM cards, Systemdek IIXE (chorus/goldring mm - off being serviced as we speak) CD5, Neat Motive SX3 system, for about 2.5 to 3k, ideally in stages (I do not have the whole sum sitting around X) ) and ideally with the addition of streaming. Retaining CD, vinyl and adding streaming capabilities. I do have a UQ1 as a second system running the TV with Neat Iotas.

System is currently all on Atacama shelves, and I have spare shelves (7 in total!), speakers on good stands and connected with NAC A5.

Varied musical tastes, pretty much everything apart from classical (sorry!!)

That was still a long post :slight_smile:

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If were me i’d go for a ND5 XS 2 first and then save really hard for a NAIT XS 3. You will then have the latest streaming platform and an amplifier with decent headphone and phono stages all matching each other. It would also match your SX3s like a hand in a velvet glove and will bring together a uniquely balanced and a very, very capable system indeed.


Thank you @Stephen_Tate, that’s definitely food for thought! And a really different plan from either what I was thinking, or implied by the 272 option. The path I was working on was maybe a bit weird, allowed incremental improvement

  • Nait 5 (original) & 2nd hand Stageline, sell on Nait 3
  • Flatcap 2 supporting the CD5 and Nait 5
  • nDAC, with something like a Bluesound Node2i
  • XS or SN, sell on Nait 5, and maybe Stageline if I could stretch to the -3 of either

At the moment I am really enjoying the sound of my Nait. When I had it serviced though, I had a 5i on loan. I definitely remember it sounding better than my post service Nait 3. So I’m kinda wondering if the approach above would bring noticeable gains at each stage.

I’m not immediately desperate for streaming in my main system, I spend as much time listening to my UQ1 as the main system. But would definitely like to add it. I’d probably go XS-3 first rather than ND5-XS2 if I decide to go big early, rather than improving by jerks :slight_smile:

…just sat here enjoying listening to the Manics, not in a rush :smiley:

A Uniti 2 would be a good place to start CD, Streamer and amp all in one then add a stage line into U2 powered socket just two boxes and less than £1400 all in.

For the sums you are talking you won’t do better.

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That’s another route I hadn’t thought of X) I am glad I asked as I almost pulled the trigger on a Nait 5 earlier, definitely worth thinking through a few of these and taking my time.

I’ve almost been talking myself into buying off auction sites, which is a real shame as I really appreciated the help from my local dealer when I had the Nait serviced, they sold me the CD5 at the same time, and loaned me the 5i whilst I waited for the service. Maybe once things open up after lockdown I ought to go listen to a Uniti 2 vs my CD5 into an XS-3 (my local dealer has healthy 2nd hand stocks, though no Uniti 2 right now) and see which appeals more.

Thanks all, appreciate the suggestions!

Seconded. I’ve got a Uniti 1 as my second system doing the AV front speakers and really enjoy it.

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I really appreciate the suggestions so far. After a fair bit of thought, and showing remarkable (and uncharacteristic!!) restraint over several recent auctions, I think I am coming round to the first suggestion here: XS amplification and a ND5 XS2. For various sentimental and illogical reasons I do like my old TT, and even though it’s a recent acquisition I love my CD5, so they’re both staying.

So my decision is really which to buy first:

  1. An amp upgrade, XS 2 & Stageline/XS 3 or
  2. ND5 XS2 (into my existing Nait 3)

And given I have a streamer in my UQ1/Neat Iota setup, any ideas if my CD5 into XS, or ND5 XS2 into Nait 3 would sound significantly better? Or just dramatically different!? It would be another year or so before I could complete the last step in either case.

I think I am obviously going to have to audition, just interested in opinions.


Adding a switch (a s/h Cisco 2960 for the princely sum of £35!) and ethernet to my UQ1 has brought stability and I think a SQ uplift. Witchhat N2 cabling is also inbound for it, to replace the v old Supra. It is allowing me to discover a mass of new music, along with various threads in the Music Room! I’m buying CD and vinyl of anything that really sticks. I’ve bought more new music recently than I have done in ages, due to the streamer and the threads mentioned!

The desire for streaming in my main system is reduced below that for new amplification. So I think I just committed to a new XS3! Which is very far away from my original plan, but should set me up with my current sources and be fit for any future streaming solution I decide.

It was an interesting decision in a few ways. A SN2 is similarly priced, though would need a phono stage. And a XS2 would have been much cheaper, even with a phono stage in addition. Local dealer availability also came into it. I think dealer support - even if hifi dealers aren’t top of many lists of industries to support right now! - is important.

As a slight contradiction to the above, I did separately source a Stageline N in advance of any decision, so can now use that with the XS3 and decide if it matches my hybrid Roksan Chorus Blue/Goldring 1042 cartridge better than the internal MM stage. Either way, it lets me go for a SN2 should a nice one turn up. Or sell it on if it’s a bad match for my cartridge. Their values seem to be strong enough for that gamble.

I went with the XS3 in the end to give me MM stage options and as a really solid platform to either go with a ND5 XS2 next or be a pretty large contribution to a SN of some form should a nice one turn up at my local dealer.

I strongly suspect my endgame system is a SN of some vintage, my existing sources, plus a ND5XS2. I think the XS3 should be a lovely stepping stone and will suit me whilst I save for the next step.

I’m sure other options/routes would make sense too. Most of my decisions are rooted in brutal logic, unfortunately I’m very attached to my Systemdek, and weirdly my CD5, and that played into this decision heavily. I don’t think I’ll go far wrong with this slightly emotional decision. It will be hard saying goodbye to my Nait 3 too, I’ve owned it over 20 years! From the likes of my post of it on the Olive thread, it is a well respected little box.

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I think you might be underestimating how good the XS range really is :-))))

Long may you enjoy your music through your new amp.


I’d be willing to accept that :slight_smile: Another reason to go new with the XS3 - there should be years of service out of it, my Nait 3 is a 1993 serial number! I don’t swap gear often at all, if this is it barring a streamer, that’d suit me!

Enjoying music through the UQ1 at the moment, kids choice of music: Foo Fighters!


Cup of tea, and a bit of unpacking to do :slight_smile:


Years ago I owned a Nait 3 and actually upgraded to a 92/90 which was a nice step up.

On that basis, why not stay “Olive” and go for something like a 72/140 pre/power combo?

It’d blow the socks off the Nait 3 although you might need to factor in servicing.

Heh, it is way too late for that X) I have one XS3 gently warming to room temperature as we speak :slight_smile:

Thanks for the suggestion, I did actually consider staying olive, I was watching a few NAC72s and NAP140s /180s. In the end I had lots of options and decided that I’d go for an XS3 as a good step up and best set of compromises for where I am with sources and plans.

I might still try an olive pre/power at some point, but am sure the XS3 will be lovely… just listening to the first few tracks through it as I type this, even brand new and not run in it’s very nice indeed!

Excellent, I was too eager and didn’t read your post about the XS3. Never heard one myself but at that price point it should be very nice indeed.

Looks like you can add a HiCap at some stage too which would probably do very nice things to the pre-amp stage.

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Three weeks on…

What a lovely thing! I think it’s really settling down now. Able to pick apart loads of detail in the bass. Separation and imaging is improving I think.

Also slowly gravitating to the Stageline cf the inbuilt stage. I don’t think there’s much in it, the Stageline is a touch gentler, which fits with reviews of it I think. But the imaging seems improved. And a bit more detail. Though I’m still making my mind up, and I’ve put so much music through the thing I’ve hardly listened to the same album twice X)

I’m hedging a lot of those comments as I’m really just enjoying listening to music, and not paying all that much attention to picking it all apart.


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