Upgrade Nait 5 or time for a new amp?

Hi all!

My first post to the forum. I have a Naim Nait 5 in excellent shape that is running a pair of Focal Electra 906 speakers. My question to the group is am I better off servicing my existing amp and upgrading with an external power supply or should I instead roll that money into a lightly used modern Naim integrated? Seems from what I have read that the latter would be the better decision, but my understanding is that the Nait 5 has a warmer sound signature than most Naim amps which I happen to really enjoy. Reproduced voices, for example, sound almost as good as my EL34-based amp. In comparison, I tried out a Supernait 1 when it first came out and while it was more powerful, I though it sounded bright by comparison. Granted, that was many years ago and may have been influenced by a bad speaker pairing. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to try the XS amps or a modern Supernait as I no longer have a local dealer.

So how significant is the jump in soundstaging and fidelity in the integrateds produced in the past 6 or 7 years? Do any of the newer Naims share a similar sonic signature to the Nait 5? I have a phono preamp and DAC which I would like to continue using, so I have no need for these to be built in.

Many thanks!

All I can say is I have a Supernait 3 here and certainly have no brightness issues just a very strong presentation with great dynamics and slam.
Well worth a listen and I’m told rather different from the first variant.
Hope this helps. :+1:t2:


Not sure how helpful my comment will be as I haven’t heard a Nait 5. I own a XS3 and did listen to a Supernait 3 at home and, whilst acknowledging there were some things it did better, I found it a bit overpowering and preferred my XS3. I do have a small and not particularly easy room though and easy to drive speakers. That all said, I don’t find either amp particularly bright, I just found the presentation of the XS3 a bit easier on my ears.

I’m guessing most people probably do prefer the Supernait though, so, however difficult it may be, you really need to listen for yourself if at all possible.

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I had a NAIT 5, lovely amp. I’d look at a NAIT XS 2 or maybe 3 depending on your budget.
I’d expect thet to be a better plan than adding any extra boxes to the 5. I ran a HiCap DR on a XS 2 with positive results.


If you’re happy, keep it and service it. I’ve done the same. The Nait 5 is the most used amp in our house since it’s connected to our TV.

If you’d like to upgrade e.g. to get more dynamics, you want to be looking at the XS range as @Mr.M also said. I’ve auditioned the xs2 and xs3 and I liked them. I liked them so much that I left the other demo room having a full 500 system into active Titans just to have the intimacy of the Nait xs3.

The Nait 5 really has it all. A decent volume control, balance control, ability to upgrade, many din connections and its timbre is fantastic. It’s a bit warm indeed, but doesn’t lack too much in other areas.


In which ways did you find the XS2 better? Thanks!

It’s a few years back now but it gave better control over my (then) speakers and had a lot of punch, adding the HiCap DR just lifted it all either further, at which point the system had outgrown those speakers and I changed them for something better (went from Tannoy to PMC I think?)
I was mainly using a Naim CD player then, also added a Sonos Bridge and later added a Arcam rDAC to the Sonos digital out.
I got the NAIT 5 originally to replace a NAIT 3R and enjoyed it a lot, the XS that replaced it was just that little more refined and in control of everything. I later had a Supernait 1 then went back to an XS 2 which I prefered overall. I never owned an XS 3, instead moving to a SN2 and to where I am today at a SN3 in that system!


Managed to find an old photo of the 5 I had :relaxed:


Thanks for the advice! Yes, the timbre is spot on on the Naim 5. It’s very striking in this regard and something that attracted me to it’s sound immediately. Would you happen to know if upgrading the supply produces a noticeable improvement? People I’ve spoken to who are fans of the various Naim external supplies were a little down on its cost/benefit for the Nait 5, but I don’t think they were regular users of the amp.

I felt that adding a Flatcap 2 to power the NAIT5’s pre-amp really made the amp for me. With a CDS3 up front and driving a pair of SL2s, I was really surprised at how well it performed.

Of course, note that most FC2s will need a service these days…


Firstly add a Flatcap.
Secondly service the amplifier, if you want, but I’m not sure how much it will bring.
Then enjoy the Night/Flatcap combo until you can afford 252/250, don’t worry about anything in between.

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Ahem! The proper upgrade path to that would be

  1. Add a supercap to the Nait5.
  2. Move the nait5 to poweramp duties and introduce the 252 as the pre.
  3. Replace the nait5 by the 250 poweramp. Enjoy the Nait 5 in thy second system.

I’ve done that but I found that adding my Hicap DR to the Nait 5 was a too noticeable change. Listening fatigue was the result. Something I could not unhear after heared. My olive hicap was better suited.

The dilemma is would you add a flatcap + service whilst that costs the same as upgrading to a Nait xs?

I can’t answer that. We’re just happy with our Nait 5.

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All environment and personal preference will give the exact answer.
Flatcap is not much cash, but adds to Nait5.
We also do not know the final point of the journey, might be 252/250 just out of scope and SN3 could be.
Not sure XS is better than 5 to bother.

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Thank to everyone for their excellent replies. Lots to consider. Looking at the Flatcaps, I see that there have been a few different models through the years: Olive, XS, 2, 2X… Besides the vintage and number of devices that can be powered, are they otherwise similar in performance or are there significant differences?

The original Olive Flatcap provided a single 2x24V DC output. The Flatcap2 came in the new 5 series casework and provided a 2x24V output and a 2x22V output that could be used with two different units at the same time, e.g the 2x24V on a NAIT5 and the 2x22V on the analogue output stage of a CD5. The Flatcap2X had a small change to the casework (i series style) but main change was that both outputs were now 2x24V. FlatcapXS had a fascia change (now anodised alluminium instead of powder coated zinc/magnesium alloy).


I had a Nait5i & CD5i. Adding a Flatcap2 was a great improvement for both units, more so than adding a HiCap2 to the Nait to my ears, the HC2 being more hifi. In the same way I didn’t like adding a 2nd HC2 when I had a 282.

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Steve, sure a CD5 and NAIT 5, not the i series??

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You’re correct Richard, the Nait5i & CD5i is my current bedroom system. It was a previous system of Nait5 & CD5 I owned in the early 2000’s to which I added the Flatcap2.

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I hd a Nait5 upgraded with a Flatcap2, it was fine combination, but didn’t have quite the oomph to get the best out of my Dynaudio Audience 50’s. I upgraded to a SN1 and that did make a big difference. So may depend on what speakers you are running.