Upgrade.... or not?

Currently listening to a 272 + 250 two box system, and it has been suggested that I should consider an upgrade to an NDX2 + SN2.

I would welcome opinions as to whether this would be a real upgrade or more of a GAS driven change?

Speakers are PMC 20.23’s, so obvious alternatives are a speaker upgrade or adding an XPS DR to the 272.

Thanks for your views,

KR, J

The only thing that your change would improve is the streamer performance. I think the new preamp and new power amp would be less good.

If you feel the need to improve the streamer, you could try adding an ND5 XS2, ideally as a home demo. Or of course wait for the much discussed but so far not announced 272 replacement. Also there are rumours too of changes to Naim’s integrated amplifiers so it could be that there will be ex demo SN2s coming on the market before too long.

But anyway those are just words. You should listen to the NDX2 and SN2 and make your own mind up.

Best

David

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You’d end up with something different rather than better, unless Roon and Googlecast are critical to you. If it were me I’d think about a power supply, either XPS or 555, assuming you already have a good rack and dedicated mains. If not, do those first.

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If you were starting from fresh there is no doubt that you should consider an NDX2/SN2 v 272/250dr and do the comparison. Given an easy to drive speaker it’s likely that the NDX2 fronted system would be better, source first still works for me.

However having chosen the 272/250 path I would look to upgrading the 272 with a power supply, either XPSdr or 555dr. This protects the money you have already spent as you will undoubtedly lose if you trade what you already have.

I assume the 250 is the DR version, if not you consider having the upgrade done?

The speakers should be the last thing you upgrade, they will reveal improvements made to the source quite easily.

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SN2’s are good buys just at the moment :shushing_face:

I moved to a 272 / 250 (DR) 18 months ago, retaining the 20.23s until late last year when they were replaced (20.26, still not convinced…)

In your position adding a PS to the 272 would give you a very decent improvement, esp if you could stretch to a 555PS - having done that I can thoroughly recommend it. It also guides you to natural conclusion to upgrades as the next logical move from a 272 / 555 is NDX2 with either 282 + its power supplies or a 252 + SC. In each case you’re making a significant jump in box count and outlay. If that’s where you plan to go you may be better off heading down that path now though rather than diverting to a SN.

My dealer at the time of supplying the 250 / 272 did suggest that the 20.23s became the weak point in the system, whereas they’d been ahead of the curve with the previous Nait 5i + ND5XS. They’re wonderfuil speakers though, so personally I’d keep them and make them the potential next upgrade, after a PS.

You dont say why you want to upgrade. What do you expect a Ndx2/Sn2 would improve?

Soutce first - what is feeding your 272? If you rip CD.s or buy downloads you could check out the Melco range.

I support the suggestion of adding a power supply. If a 555 is within budget I would go for that, but to my ears an XPS is well worthwhile.

When I bought my 272 I already had an XPS DR so I never tried the 272 without it. However, after around three years of happy listening I am in the process of changing my system and (for reasons not relevant to the discussion) I am currently listening to my system without the XPS. When I first switched on without the PS I immediately felt something was missing from the sound. It’s hard to describe exactly what it was but perhaps it’s best described as a “physicality” or “sense of presence in the room.” So I would audition an XPS DR, but don’t expect a massive wow moment as the change can be subtle, but for me, highly addictive. I would recommend that you listen for several days with the XPS, get used to the sound, and then try taking the XPS out. If at that point you yearn to put it back in again, then I think your decision will have been made.

BTW I would concentrate on your black boxes before thinking of upgrading speakers. Your 20.23s are no slouch and should show up several steps of improvements in electronics.

Roger

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Apologies the previous post was meant as a reply to Dr_J, not HouseholdNaim, but I couldn’t figure out how to edit it to make that change.

Roger

Thanks all for the excellent and pragmatic advice, although my dealer may be less enamoured of your suggestions.

Will try for a home trial of an XPS DR, although must confess to being tempted by Neat’s new Ekstra’s after an albeit brief audition.

Thanks again,

KR, J

I have the NDX2 and SN2 with Neat SX1s. I will be very interested in your journey as I am also considering a speaker upgrade and like the idea of the Ekstras.

For what it is worth, I deliberately chose my ‘two box path’ to avoid the multi box approach with endless potential for upgrade. However, I am aware that should I wish, I could spend a small fortune on PSUs for the NDX2 and SN2!

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You need to think about where you want to end up - if this is a stepping stone with future upgrades to follow, my advice would be to get the NDX2. Also, to my ears, the old NDX/Supernait 2 sounded better than 272/250, so you might expect the NDX2 to be a further step up. If you want to stream from online sources, again, I would go for the more up to date tech in the NDX2.
On the other hand, if you only stream from music files stored on your own network, and just want a one-off sound quality upgrade, an XPS might be the best, and most cost effective option.

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I auditioned the 272/250 DR using SX1’s as these were the closest my dealer had to my PMC 20.23’s and they did not fail to impress.

Having heard the new Ekstra’s, they definitely deliver above the SX1’s and are certainly more impactful than the more nuanced delivery of an external PSU.

As others in this thread have pointed out, It will undoubtedly come down to how it sounds, or possibly feels, to you.

KR, J

Opinion only! I heard an NDX2 / SN2 combo recently (no PS) played through ATC SCM40 speakers. Very nice, but, allowing for different speakers and different listening room I will stick with my 272. I think this is the problem when soliciting opinions from existing owners. Unless talking about significant upgrades (300 to 500 or 252 to 552 for example), you’ll find a tendency to get either most owners recommending what they already have, or one or two who will always recommend the latest technology no matter what.

Whoever is suggesting the ‘upgrade’ may not be taking into account the not insignificant cost - I would imagine you’ll be looking at a ball park figure of £3,000 even with a good trade-in. That’s a lot of cash which I think you could put to better use (I’d be looking to upgrade the speakers, but then again I’m not a dyed in the wool ‘source first’ proponent!)…

As ever, the only way to choose is via side by side audition, preferably in your own home with your own speakers.

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Thanks @Dr_J, I assumed that you had the SX1s. I am considering upgrading them but when I do it will only be with extensive home demonstrations. Closer to the time I will create a short list then find a dealer(s) that has most of them in stock, narrow the list down to two pairs and then have a home trial for a few weeks. This will be expensive as you usually have to give a card payment for the full proce of each and then a refund once the speakers are returned.

So, in the end passed on the ‘upgrade, as HH said, I’d have ended up with something different rather than better.

Replaced my old glass/wood StandsUnique rack with a FraimLite, not sure if it sounds better, but certainly looks the part.

KR, J

I just got a 555PSDR on my 272 and it’s made a huge positive difference.
Doing that would:

  • be a clear upgrade
  • save you having to sell your existing kit
  • add greatly to the SQ delivered by your preamp as well as your streamer and DAC
  • if you move sideways to the NDX2/SN2 you will need 2 or more different PSUs to upgrade them - and that’s more boxes, more cables, more rack shelves, more things to dust and tweak, more money to spend, and more transactions to complete without making a mistake, and perhaps not better or not even same system synergy/SQ at the end of the process.

Just to be clear, for at least all of the reasons you describe, I did not change my current two box system, but added a decent rack, FraimLite, instead.

And content with that outcome.

Thanks again,

KR, J

That sounds very sensible. Maybe you could think about a power supply for the 272 one day. It would look good in your new stand.

I suppose I could consider XPS DR x2, one for the 272 and one for the CDX2…

However, only after the exchequer recovers from seven levels of FraimLite!

But a definite next step,

KR, J