Upgrade flatline!

Since I came across to the Naim side in the mid noughties then I’ve enjoyed the sound, the sense of community and the temptation to progress with more modern products (at an admittedly modest (everything is relative) outlay).
Initially it was a 42.5+90 using a California Audio Labs Aria CD (a whole non-Naim thread there!).
After some years the 72+140 and CD5 with PSU to inject some bliss into the sound.
And most recently 122X+150X+Flatcap2X and CD5si.
Along the way I haven’t actually discarded anything and lockdown has given me the time to set it all up playing through Allaes, MS Silver RS8s or Quad 11 L2s (my system pic is embarrassing!!)

So here’s the issue and question - there is no significant/progressive difference in performance of the three systems playing through any of the speakers (the Allae are noticeably richer and more precise), so am I going deaf or am I just playing with the entry level devices across three generations and if so where now??
Options that occur to me are to service the 72+140 and keep the 5si, or should I actually trade the 122+150 for something more mid range - but what? Then there’s a question about NAC N272 and embracing a third source and if so what NAP should I aim for? (Haven’t mentioned the Systemdek biscuit tin with RB300 and MP11 or Mitchell Mycro with same arm and cartridge)

So, quite a few questions, but would greatly appreciate any guidance from the wealth of experience out there.


Hi Martyn, I think you might be where I found myself 6 or 7 years ago. I had a fc2/112/150, a Nait2, and. Nait5i. I looked for an upgrade and went for 200/202 with an fc2. It was an upgrade but not to the extent I had expected. I found that the lower end of the Naim range was too close together. This year having time on my hands I decided to try the upgrade path again, and found the 250-2 a significant improvement, and then the 252/SC even more so. I’d look at a 282 as the next upgrade in your position, and then possibly a 200 or 250, in that order.

I’d service the 72/140 and add a hicap. If you like, you can add a hicap dr and even a nap 250 without disturbing the balance.

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Beat me to it, the most economical route would be to service the 72/140 and once they are run in, re-evaluate and at some point add a HiCap.

A 202/HiCapDR/200 is a very nice system and mine sounds great to me with my speakers/room but at a price.

I think you are basically messing about with a few generations of fairly entry level gear, as you suggest.

Writing as someone who runs a NAP155XS (the successor to your NAP150x) into Allaes in a smallish room, sex up your sources if you want to take it further.

The cult of the power amplifier is very much overplayed here imo. Naim have always said, ‘look to the source’.

I’ve never been one for keeping anything not in use. You have lots of stuff that duplicates other stuff. Do you still want to play CDs? If yes I’d keep the 72, get a Hicap and sell the rest. Get an olive 250 and the best used CD player you can afford. A CDS2/XPS would be great. If no, go with the same amp and get a good streamer, such as a used NDX, ideally with an XPS2 or XPSDR. Or to modernise sell the lot and get a 272 and 200. Any of these systems will work happily with your Systemdek.

I’m with HH here. I’d definitely keep the 72, add an olive HiCap and olive 250 and have all three units serviced. I’d also sell the stuff you’re not using. Whether you stick with CD replay or not is a matter of personal choice, but I’d be strongly in favour of ripping your CDs to a server/NAS and switching to a streamer. Secondhand prices for NDX and even NDS are really favourable these days, although the latter would require a separate power supply.

More than happy with my (tweeted) 72 here

And that’s after “downgrading” from a 252/SCdr

Keep the 72!!!

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The magic of the 72 is that it is not the best, but a very well balanced ‘right’ pre.

A good ‘downgrade’ in my opinion.

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Thanks Bruss (and many others)
Sorry for the delay - distracted from the crusade!!
It seems that I should leap frog to the 250-2, but then the question is whether to open up to streaming with a N272 or go with a straight forward preamp equivalent which I presume is a 252?? Storys of clunky Naim app put me off, do you know if I can stream Tidal or Qobus directly from iMac or iPad without using the app??
Can I utilise my FC2X for either of these pre amps?
Does the 3 pin 250-2 input limit compatibility with preamps? Will the 112x work short term and do both of the above choices connect ok?
It seems there’s a strong consensus that the 72/140 is worth a service for a second system in another room, so thanks to all for the encouragement.
Sorry for another slew of questions, but I really appreciate the guidance. Martyn

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