Upgrade down or up?

Hello everyone,
Recently, I get the impression, that there is in the forum, a “new spirit” of, reducing the existing boxes and on the other hand of upgrading the sources to the maximum possible. for example-
A system based on 282/252 / power supply / 250/300 is upgraded to Supernight 3 with the addition of NDX2.2 with a suitable power supply or even to ND555.
It’s a nice idea, but does the person who executed it notice Decrease in quality of the end result or is there no difference?

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Hi, I’ve given quite a lot of thought to ways of keeping the box count low while getting the best sound quality possible. I chose the route of adding an external DAC to my Naim streamer in preference to an external PSU, so I’m committed to a 2-box source. That started out as NDX/Hugo, now NDX2/Dave. I really wanted to keep the box count right down, but the 282/250 is what it is, and the whole system had a few more boxes than I would have liked.
My dealer suggested a Supernait might be the answer, so I tried one at home, but for me it just lost too much of what I liked about the 282/250, so I didn’t buy one. For sure, it’s still a great integrated amp, but to my ears it was a downgrade in pretty much all areas compared to the separates I was used to.


Of course you lose sound quality as you trade down in the Naim system hierarchy.

Question is whether the additional utility provided by a simpler setup would outweigh the loss in sound quality that you inevitably suffer - and that only you can decide.


Difficult question to answer @ditton66. I had a 272/XPS/250 based system that I swapped for a ND555/555PS/SN3 system and I certainly thought it was an upgrade in my small room with the stand mount speakers I was using at the time.
Whilst the 272 fronted system obviously had more bass and drive than the system with the ND555, the overall result was more balanced and provided much greater insight into the music. The 272 sounded very pleasant but rather soft compared to the ND555.
Now I have moved to a bigger space, the SN3 and DeVore standmounts sound rather lost, so I will replace the SN3 with a NAC282 and my DeVores with STC SCM40 actives.
So I learned that the room is an important factor in what works best, but also that if you’re happy with your source then it’s easier to get everything else to fit around it.


I considered this recently - 20 year old 252/SC/250/Stageline for a Supernait 3. In the end I decided to go the recap/DR route and keep my equipment. But the service/updates cost more than the Supernait!


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What you are citing here is the source first approach to system hierarchy. It’s served me well since the 70s and is the balance I tend to stick to. People used to run fully kitted out LP12s with Naits and Mission 770s. Because they sounded a lot better than posh speakers on the end of a big muscular amp, decoding rubbish from a crap source.

As always, you ears should be the judge and although a certain guiding principle may generally apply, never discount the possibility of an opposite finding. Open ears and open minds.


If I may ask,
What was the size of the previous listening space and what is the current one?
If I’m not mistaken, you’re the only one of the forum members who used the Supernite 3+ Nd 555 combination?
And in the same matter-
Can anyone elaborate on whether there is a significant difference in the Nac 52 circuits compared to the pre-circuits in Supernite 3?
Maybe Richard?

My previous room was 3m by 5m and I listened around 2m from my speakers. The ceiling was also relatively low around 2.15m. The new room is 7m by 9m and has a vaulted ceiling that’s over 4m high in places, so a lot more air to move around. I am not seeking loudness, more an effortless and natural sound across a reasonable frequency. I think my DeVores run out of bass energy around 50Hz, which wasn’t that much of a problem in my small room and listening nearfield. Hopefully the ATCs will drive the room better across a wider frequency range.
I believe that the original SN preamp circuitry is more closely related to the NAC282 rather than the 52, but that’s what I remember from early marketing material, so I may be wrong.

I would like to get more insights, from the other members, about the difference and if it exists, between the pre-circuits in the two devices.

The difference between Ndx2 / 555dr is real. A real step.
But the difference between SN2/ SN3 and 282/200 is huge.
I am certain, my dealer and others agreed also in other threads, that Ndx2/555dr/ 282/200 is easily preferable , better and more balanced than Nd555/ SN2/ SN3.
The large difference is in the preamp quality first, but not only.

This is not to say that SN3/ Nd555 is not sounding good. But for similar price , if I were to choose from the beginning with that money, I would go for one box more. ( + another little one).


Sound like a good plan, but with a room that size you could run one of the larger ATC models, such as SCM 100A. Too much for my lounge, but I’ve heard them sounding great in a smaller space than yours. Needs a full piggybank of course. Always fun to spend someone else’s money! Enjoy the journey.


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I upgraded NDX2 to a 555ps.

Later went from SN2 to SN2 with 250DR then finally 252 with 250DR

PSU on the NDX2 was a big improvement - much clearer

250 on the SN2 was an improvement - more punch

252 was a very big improvement- much much clearer


Hi @PeakMan. I’d love one of the classic models but just don’t have the coin. I prefer the look of the classic series and I am damn sure I’d love the sound, and I think they’d effortlessly drive the room too. My dealer had a similar idea and there may be some second hand opportunity down the line. For the moment the preamp and upgrade the the active 40s sounded great.

I have an 11 year old Naim Uniti and UnitiServe plus a couple of KEF speakers. All still work well although I’ve spent about £600 on repairs over the years. I am now concerned that the UnitiServe is getting old and may fail and I am wondering about replacements. I also have a 4 year old Mu-so 1 in another room but connected via ethernet to the Uniti. As an experiment I copied some music to an old USB stick, put it in the USB slot at the back of the Mu-so and found that it was visible in the Naim iPad app and appeared to play as well as it did from the UnitiServe. The same applied when I put the stick into the USB slot on the Uniti. My question, therefore, is what does the UnitiServe add to the mix apart from the ability to rip CDs? High capacity USB sticks and external SSD drives are relatively cheap. For example, a Samsung 1 TB SSD is available from Amazon for £127. (Smaller SSDs are even cheaper.) Assuming I don’t need to rip any more CDs what would I lose by copying my music to an SSD, plugging it into the Mu-so or Uniti and streaming my music from it? A possible replacement Naim streamer is the Uniti Core which costs around £1,900 or £1,773 more than a 1TB SSD. I assume the UnitiServe and the Core must do a lot more for the money but what?

The USB input on 1st gen. streamers is fine for playing music, but not really up to the job of allowing you to browse a large library. If you don’t mind that limitation, it’s fine to use it. Otherwise you will need a server on your network. If you want a cheaper alternative to the Unitiserve just buy a regular NAS with a drive the same size as the US. You should really have this already as a backup to the US. Then, as long as the library is in FLAC, you can just instal a UPnP server on the NAS and it will serve files from the backup.
You can then remove the US, temporary or permanently, and continue playing your music.

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I went from CDS3/XPS2/252/SC/300 to P10/Aria/Nova/250DR for exactly that reason with a P8 in between. The main driver for change was box count reduction. I am happy for now, however my strategy is built on the expectation that there will be a 372 along in a while. As good as the Nova is I fully suspect that the Nova preamp section is holding back the P10.

Many thanks for your helpful reply. In fact I already have a Synology DS918 NAS which we use for computer back ups and to back up the UnitiServe music. So, as you suggest, this may well be the answer. I might also have a look at the SSD solution because it is cheap and simple and lets the NAS focus on its back up role.

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