Unity star to separates

Hi, this is my first post, so sorry in advance if it has already been covered. I have a unity star and am thinking of upgrading it to an NDSxs2, nac 202 and nap 200dr. Could anyone tell me what sort of difference I might expect in the sound ? (And if you think this is a sensible thing to do ? Cheers. Bob

Welcome to the Forum.

It’s not a system I’d buy. A £2,300 source with a £4,600 amplifier is not a good balance. I’d be looking at either an ND5XS2 with Nait XS3 or an NDX2 with Supernait 3. If you really want separates then the NDX2 would be a good match to the 202/200. The separates are of course more flexible if you plan to upgrade further in due course, which may or may not be of interest to you. Bear in mind that the 202 really benefits from a Napsc power supply and to me doesn’t sound right without one.

As to sound, you really need to try it for yourself. To me the NDX2/SN3 was very significantly better than a Nova, and if you were to buy the combination unheard you shouldn’t be disappointed. The ND5XS2 and Nait XS3 would also be a significant upgrade over your Star, but to a lesser extent.

It’s worth including your speakers in your profile, as it helps others to give more relevant advice.


Hi Bob, I would perhaps save a little and get the entire XS range. (Depending on your speakers)

I was listening to the ND5XS2 recently - using a Rega Aethos as amplification. Others suggest a SN3 as being compatible - it’s a fine bit of kit and arguably the best pound per sound source that Naim do .

Best wishes

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Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate what you are saying about having a balanced system. What would you feel are the main sound differences between the two streamers ? Bob

Hi, thanks for your thoughts. I had an opportunity to listen to a Nova, before lockdown, and it had better bass, sound staging, and tone that my unity star. I was impressed. So I was thinking that it would be safe to go for something like the nd5xs2 and the pre power, (adding perhaps a napsc ?) without needing to audition it, in the hope that it would definitely be better than what I have at the moment ?

Do you think that the pre power duo are much better than the supernait 3 ?

My speakers are not very well known, they are Opera Superpavarotti.


I would definitely take a 202/200DR over a Supernait 3, to my ears it’s a very clear step up if you don’t mind the extra boxes. Preferably with a NAPSC, and if you want to improve it further, get a Hicap DR later.
I would agree than an NDX2 is really the level of source you should be considering, although the ND5 will do the job, and upgrading it with a separate DAC later is another option.


The Nova will have better sound, it is at a higher price point with fewer features than a Star.
I wouldn’t try and mix ‘n’ match streaming separates with any Unity family member.

The NAPSC is a power supply for Naim separates , if you like the Nova sound then upgrade , the Unity range is mainly about simplicity , the Classic range is far more complex . People sometimes add power amps 0r maybe a CD player to a Unity product , but that’s about it

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The Uniti line can very well serve as a pre-amp. You might consider that route as well, depending on what you are looking for. My Uniti Atom now drives a Purifi power amplifier with excellent results. I have tried a NAP200 before but that gave only a small uplift (change of sound). I love the streaming platform in the Uniti line and I would never compromise on that. The only upgrade I might consider is when the new 272 comes out, assuming it will include the same streaming platform, or even better. But honestly, my current setup already sounds THAT good, that I can hardly imagine it will be a huge step forward. Having owned all kinds of high-end audio equipments in the past I think I can make quite a good comparison.

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I am considering a similar upgrade route from my Star.

Currently, in line with some others, my thinking is to keep the Star, get a Naim power amp, probably a 250 and then a 272 or the replacement when funds allow,


I’m thinking of getting the Eval like @afgverhart, although I’d love to compare it against a 250dr. I seem to recall Naim used to recommend the 200 as an upgrade, although that’s now gone from their website. The 300 is not an option as I don’t want to add more than one box.

I am not sure where you are located, I live in The Netherlands. If you live nearby you could try it.

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Thanks! That’s very kind. I also live in the Netherlands, so might take you up on that at some point. But now, where to find a 250dr to compare to :slight_smile:

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No problem. We can connect whenever you are ready for it.

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I never hear anyone mention the HDMI auto switching for TV as a consideration for upgrades. I have an Atom and keep looking at the separates, but I (and the family) have really found that the tv through the auto switching is so convenient as we can use the tv remote for volume. This draws me to the nova when the time comes, as it is something I would miss. I am willing to sacrifice a little in quality for the convenience. Just something to think about.

P.s. My wife is so useless at operating technology and refuses to learn anything other than how to turn on the tv and change the channel/ volume.

Another question, do you have pre-gain en-/or disabled? From what I’ve read it’s better without, but the load at 2.2 kOhm per channel is something many preamps might struggle with.

Actually I tried to disable the pre-gain earlier this week as I was curious if it would improve the sound. In my setup, it sounded worse compared to the default (pre-gain enabled). It sounded less refined and less dynamic. I missed the warmth in the music so I enabled the pre-gain again after a few hours.

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I had a pair of Opera Secundas for a week’s home demo powered from Rega Maia, the early sealed ones. Very sweet speakers at low volume with that amp but they went all flabby when the wick was turned up. I do wonder how they’d have fared with a bit more grunt.

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Just collected my new 250DR, even whilst it is still warming up and running in, it is a significant improvement. Now will have to save towards getting new pre amp and streamer, hoping the 272 replacement appears soon and then speakers.

I was intending to upgrade from a unity star to a two box system. I tried a Nova, which was much better to me ears, with better bass control and soundstage. So I figured that if I went anywhere above this, it had to be better ? I was going to get a a two box system; ndx5 with super nait 3, which would probably have been much better than the star ? Anyway, I changed my mind and went for a Ndx2/202/200dr - it comes on Monday.


As do i, and i would also be interested to hear this! Perhaps we can arrange a listening session together some time when things have normalized somewhat… :blush:

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