UnitiNova upgrade path

Plus one for a Powerline and a sub with a Nova - both make a real difference.
Separates are a different ball game…


I would second the Powerline & NAP250DR and see what you think at that point. Both would give a significant upgrade (to the Nova) and would be a step towards a seperates system.

I would look at feeding your Nova with lossless formats rather than MP3 before spending anything on amps or cables. Maybe a subscription to a lossless streaming service - free trial periods will let you see just how much of a difference that will make.


As a Nova owner I am a little surprised at the number of people who ‘upgrade’, or express a wish to do so after generally short periods of ownership.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. Your money & your choice sort of thing.

If you have heard better systems, perhaps at your dealers, & want, & are able to move up to these, then fair enough.

Your post seems to indicated ‘upgraditus’ due to what you have read rather than what you have listened to.

As you are like me, very happy with the Nova, I would strongly suggest two things -

1 Give the Nova more time & make sure you are certain what you like & dislike about it

2 As you say you do like the Nova you shouldn’t be in a rush to do anything & will therefore have plenty of time to audition alternatives &, importantly, make sure that any changes do not unbalance your current system causing you to regret changes & spending lots of money without achieving the improvements you were hoping for.

Above all, enjoy the whole process. This will make it a certain as possible that you do indeed eventually end up with a better sounding system & not just a lighter wallet!

Please don’t think I am picking on you. It’s just that I think I see far too many on these forums who get sucked into upgrading for upgradings sake & who have no clear idea of what they are trying to achieve other than ‘better sound quality’. To my mind this always begs the obvious question ‘Better in what way?’. They then often seem to end up with systems they are never entirely happy with.

Whatever you do, good luck.


I have a Nova and love it to bits - fantastic piece of kit. I would echo a couple of comments on here. Do switch to a decent power cable. I use a Sean Jacobs PowerBlack which is very reasonable in price but made a big difference. The second is to use a decent streaming service - either Tidal or Qobuz (which I use). You will be amazed at what doing those 2 things will get out of your Nova for not much money


Totally agree with Canaryfan above, the Nova is really good in itself. That said, there was recently a thread about upgrades paths for the Nova:

And by the same member an earlier thread exploring Naims’ offerings through the various ranges which may be helpful for context:

Another one about Nova upgrades:

I started with a Nova and have to say that it is a superb bit of kit on its own and capable of producing superb sound and with plenty of power packed in it. For the type of music that you listen and the sources it comes from I’d say that the Nova is very good indeed and all that you will need for a very long time.

I haven’t tested the Nova with a NAP250DR however jumped straight to a NAP300DR amp since that is my ceiling as far as amps go. I do use a high end turntable and Flac files from a hard drive as well as streaming through the Nova. There are people that maintain that adding a 300DR to a Nova is a waste since the 300DR is that good that it will show the limitations of the source. And there are others that will say that adding a powerful amp to the Nova would make a massive difference.

In my experience neither is true. The 300DR will make a substantial but subtle difference in the sound and it certainly is a worthy addition. On the negative side, as i have recently discovered, the 300DR will emit a low pitch hum which is goddamn annoying. It is not loud enough to disturb your listening at normal sound levels but it is certainly audible at low volumes and when it’s quiet. People blame dirty mains and all of that and advise to have a separate circuit installed for it. That may be ok with some but in my book it is just disappointing.

As far as Powerline goes, other people have noticed an improvement in sound. I did not notice any sufficient improvement to justify blowing £600 on a cable. Forget other people’s opinions and go and do a blind test yourself with the type of music and sources that you use.

But, in my opinion, the best thing to do is stay away from this forum or others like this. Because the more you dive in here the more you get the bug to upgrade (even if you dont need to).


This is a normal thing for toroidal transformers to do and is indeed caused by dirty mains. The 300 has a larger transformer than the Nova, so is more susceptible. It is definitely annoying when it is loud, but no reason to be disappointed with Naim as there is nothing they can do about it except using a different kind of transformer. However they believe in the SQ advantages of doing it their way and we want them to stay Naim. There are other hifi companies already. The hum does not affect the sound though as the manual states.

I have a 300PS, a 555PS, a SuperCap, and an XPS. (Oh yes, I enjoy writing this :joy: ). Most of the time they are nearly completely silent on my mains, you would have to put an ear on them to hear a hum. And then there are certain times of day when someone somewhere turns on whatever device and there is a hum.

As you would expect, the units with the larger transformers are louder, and when there is no music playing it can be a little grating at times with four of them. On the other hand, I have a combined living room and kitchen, and the motor of the fridge is louder.

As for the forum and the upgrade bug, I seem to remember everyone was trying to slow you down

I must have sensitive hearing but the hum is audible when watching TV and it is certainly annoying. I have ended up turning the 300DR off because it was irritating me.

I stand by my comments about the upgrade bug linked to frequenting the forum though. It wasn’t a matter of people trying to slow me down or speed me up but rather the comments pushing you towards upgrading everything. There gest of the comments was that unless I bought top pre-amp and top source to go with the 300DR I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the 300DR properly. So much so that at one point I regretted buying the 300DR. Until a few guys (yourself included) kindly reminded me that my system is still a hell of a lot better than what a lot of others have.

It’s the nature of this type of forum that it always pushes uyou indirectly towards buying the best and upgrading as much as possible. It’s inevitable. It is very easy that whilst admiring/chasing the top of the range, one can lose sight of the fact that Nova is a £4k piece of equipment which is certainly better than a lof of systems out there.


Oh yes, the hum can certainly be audible, I said so and didn’t intend to imply otherwise. My point is that this is what toroidal transformers do when there is DC present on the mains. They can also be nearly perfectly silent with clean mains and they are silent for me most of the time. Naim believe that toroidal transformers have SQ advantages and this is the price you pay on 300 level. Being disappointed with Naim for this is like being disappointed with Ferrari because your new 458 Italia makes scraping noises when driven over the dirt road to your garden shed.

The forum can indeed be a seductive place, but in your case there was certainly no shortage of posts arguing for caution. Nevertheless, Nova and 300 is still wonderful, as it was for me (though for me it was just an intermediate state and I knew I would go 252), and you will enjoy it for countless hours. If the hum is too bad to be bearable, your dealer may be able to help, or the forum threads on power conditioning. Measuring the mains quality is one option and if you are lucky it is out of specs and you can complain to your supply company :slight_smile:

Ok, so I’ve just pulled the trigger and a shiny new Nova should be with me very soon to replace my current 172XS/250.2 combo. I’m looking forward to a little more convenience, using a streaming service and the Nova does seem very well received by many SQ wise too.
Part of the appeal is a single box and of course I’ll have to give the Nova time to settle in.
I’ll definitely sell the 172 but… reading a number of Nova threads I’m already wondering what the 250.2 may add to the mix.
Obviously I can just try it and moving to one box and newer technology has been part of the appeal but just thinking out loud as to who has added power amps to their Novas.

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250.2. a big upgrade IMO, also add a powerline to max out the Nova!


Seems slightly counter productive to go from a 2 box streamer/pre and power to a single box Nova, then back to a single box plus power amp, thus discarding a very good power amp inside the Nova. Of course sometimes it just happens like that i know.


It’s not that I particularly plan to, I’ll use the Nova on its own but as I said above I was merely ’thinking out loud’ having just ordered the Nova.
It gives me an additional option I guess before selling on the 250-2.

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…I think it might have to do with the type of speakers. Some have found not much benefit over the bare Nova of a 250DR whereas I personally found it to be a big upgrade, as always its worth evaluating using the usual criteria (i.e. is the additional cost of the upgrade <= the price you would put on the increase in SQ)…always worth a try before selling it on…

Speakers are Kudos X2’s. I’m interested to hear the difference

I came here to ask about turntable options and am finding the forum quite interesting.

However, I refuse to be assimilated. I might end up buying a turntable but will not be buying racks, powerlines, dressing cables or rewiring my house :joy:


Be afraid… be very afraid
The forum will drag you in…


Well, that’s an indicator for you. It’s a bit like my mrs when she goes shopping. She goes for butter and comes back with half the shop. :grin: :zipper_mouth_face:

Trust me, that the same thing that I said when I first joined here. Managed to resist for around 3 years. :smile: After all, there is a reason why companies open up forums. :wink:


:joy::joy: ok I may well end up eating my words but have strong resolve, so far…