To 222 or not 222?

Having enjoyed being an Internet idler for the past couple of days, reading this and several other threads across various fora, I am still not really any the wiser as to whether to reach up to a new 222/300/250 upgrade, or perhaps update, to my 272/XPS DR/250 DR system which I’ve enjoyed for several years.

Everyone who has heard the new systems, presumably still not fully run in, describes them as truly excellent. Several folk have purchased complete systems, circa £17.5k, sans listening, others have placed deposits for early delivery.

Technical folks, some very esteemed indeed, rate the new hardware a significant step change from its predecessors, having enjoyed the development phase for in excess of a year, and who is to argue with them?

So what’s not to like, what could possibly go wrong as they say?

Well, a few point out the less impressive DAC chip, others that the new connectors require some quite expensive adapter cables to coexist with previous generation kit, a cost which might be lost should a more complete update follow and others despair of the new design aesthetic.

Truth be told, the answer today must be ‘don’t know’ - whatever one decides it’ll be expensive and dealers indicate it will only get more so the longer one waits as used values will continue to fall.

A real upgrade might be delivered with an NDX2/282/SuperCap DR added to the XPS DR/250 DR but then that’s a whole different story.

Hifi cannot ever be about value, perceived or real, but rather the individual’s enjoyment and whether or not they can quite simply afford it.



On the DAC chip, the only thing we really know is that it’s the same as that used in the ND5 XS2, which is an award winning player. But not if the implementation is the same, better, or (probably very unlikely) worse. IIUC it is a worse measuring chip than the NDX2, but that’s a difficult thing to base a buying decision on! :slight_smile:

If it was my money I would demo before buying. Seems like plenty of dealers have kit to demo. Furthermore, it seems like Naim are also shipping stock. No-one’s picked up on that so much, but given folks on here have waited months and months for ND5 XS2s, it seems like Naim are keen not to repeat that, as far as they are in control.

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On the value front, the headphone implementation is that of the Atom HE, plus a better DAC, minus a bit of I/O flexibility, £2500. The streamer/DAC must be ND5 XS2 ability at least, £2500. Plus a pre-amp. On that basis alone, and within the Naim context, it seems like good VFM!?

Tmh opinion-
s.h 252+s.cdr/nds+555ps will be a miles above…
The new line is not intended to deal with the pre/powers, at the high level of Naim.

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This hobby means upgrading every four to five years. The 200 series bought now will retain the value better than the older classic products. So more then one motive for upgrading not only sound and new technology but also trading in prices for older classic products.




What makes you think that the value of the new series will be better than the classic series?


Wondered how long it might be before someone started a thread with specific questions relating to “case usage”, wrt the New Classic products

Nice one.
Great to start such a discussion
And sort out some of the issues

Good luck


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The new products as long they will stay in production will retain better value as opposite the products who are not in production anymore.

There is a lot to like in the new serie. Better headphone amp, beter volume control etc. Kudos for Naim.


I don’t think that the 222 is a good value. In 5 years maybe the streaming board will be obsolete, like the 272 today. The streaming board has already 4 years today.
The new 250 seems to be the king . 25% more expensive but more powerful, improved, and with balanced outputs. I am very curious to compare it to my 250 dr.
The new ps is although a good achievement. Can power a lot of different items.


I thought this might be a question for that fancy new AI plaything. My apologies in advance. I asked: What do you think about Naims choice of the 1791 DAC chip over the 1792 using their own filter with better power supply and clock circuits?

The ChatGPT oracle answered:

It’s not clear to me what the differences are between the 1791 and 1792 DAC chips or how Naim’s own filters, power supply, and clock circuits compare to those used in conjunction with the 1792 DAC chip. Without more information, it is difficult for me to provide a detailed opinion on Naim’s choice of the 1791 DAC chip over the 1792. It is likely that Naim has chosen to use the 1791 DAC chip in conjunction with their own filters, power supply, and clock circuits because they believe it will help them deliver the sound quality and performance that they are looking for in their products. As with any audio equipment, personal preferences can vary, so it’s always a good idea to do your own research and possibly even listen to the product in question before making a decision.


According to the TI data sheet(s) the PCM1792A has a much higher SNR than the PCM1791A. Maybe that will be implemented into the 300 series streamer?

On the contrary, it looks terrific value to me, by far the best VFM of the new trio. (I’m assuming, like me, you’ve not actually heard it!). Paired with active speakers, it could make a very well-priced high quality system.



Value is relative. I’m not sure anything coming out of the UK right now represents value. The costs of goods are going up way more than stuff made elsewhere.

Within the Naim range, as a box that replaces the 202, HCdr and ND5XS in a single box with updated tech, then yes, it represents superb value. In the larger scheme of things as whole, British manufacturers have dawn the short straw I’m afraid.


Doesn’t the Atom HE use the same TI chip as the 222?

I’ll take the 222/300/250 over that line up all day every day. Signed former 252 owner.


I have an opinion on the introduction of the 222: Why? Naim has brought out a revised and updated 250 amp-- nice going. But instead of offering a companion stand alone preamp, say something that would fill the shoes of the 282, we have been offered the 222, a jack of all trades marketing gambit that can of necessity only compromise the integrity of a dedicated preamplifier which would be the natural partner for the 250. Find your DACs and streamers elsewhere in the line. First optimize the basics.


Could you explain your statement? And what system do you have now?

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Maybe just wait to see if a separate pre-amp is offered ?

Most seem to agree, this is likely to happen at some point soon.


Possibly the DAC chip is the same, I didn’t actually check that, but the implementation is different, I assume. This post was the basis for my comment:

In that thread I’ve posted a few times about the context within which the 1791A and 1792A (the DAC chip in the NDX2) operate. Depending where you draw the line, the NDX2, from the interior shots of it, is clearly a dramatically different DAC board than the ND5 XS2. Reading between a few lines, it looks like the DAC board/section/whatever in the NSC222 is an uplift over that in the Atom HE, and possibly a mild one also over that in the ND5 XS2. I don’t want to downright ask Naim staff directly as that’s just cheeky, but they clearly rate the DAC implementation in the 222 over that in the HE, regardless of just the DAC chip. On top of that the volume control is better etc.

They basically use the headphone amp section of the HE as the pre section of the NSC, so it also benefits from all the PS regulation, more so (add this is me speculating without a post to back it up) if you upgrade the NSC’s PSU.

So I’m reasonably confident with the NSC222 you get a better headphone listening experience than the HE.

On reflection, the HE does obviously include the NP800 streaming board, so maybe my value calculation shouldn’t have just added ND5 XS2 to Atom HE though :wink: I still think the NSC222 is well priced within the Naim hierarchy.