Upgrade path advice for a Naim xs2

I have an xs2 amp, love it but wondered what the upgrade paths are. I currently use a naim stageline phono that is powered also by the amp, so maybe an external power supply for both?

Or maybe a power amp?

Budget around £1500.

Other items in system are:
Rega P6
Auralic Aries G1 streamer
PMC DB1 Gold speakers

Trade in the xs2 and the stageline for an xs3 which already has a phono stage?


Hi Dan. Do you have a DAC? The Aries is a pure streamer and needs a DAC to feed into. Or do you mean the Altair G1 which has a built-in DAC? If so, the ND5XS2 at around the same price seems a natural match for your XS2 amp. Mind you, all these are outside your budget.

BTW Is your amp an XS2 as in your post or 5si as in your profile?


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Fit a hicap dr to the xs2?


I went HiCap DR when I had the same XS2 amp, still have the HiCap DR but now connected to SuperNait 3 which the XS2 was traded in against. Really nice combination that I had for some time.

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Part ex the XS2, plus £1500, for a SN2. Or even a SN3.

…or the P6 for a P8. Which source do you listen to most?

…or chop in your Stageline and £1500 for a 2nd hand Superline and MC cartridge (assuming you currently run MM)

…and before someone else asks, what are you missing/wanting from the upgrade? :slight_smile:

I have done this recently
I went
XS2 with stageline S powered by XS2
Purchased 2nd hand olive hi cap onto xs2
the stageline was still powered by XS2
Sold xs2 as an amazing deal came my way Supernait2 with Hi Cap DR
Powered stageline S with olive hi cap
Very happy thank you :blush:
Hope that helps

Thank you for the swift responses. I was looking to “get better” sound. I assumed that the sources should be ok but maybe get a bit more “umph” from the amp.

One area was adding a sub. But I thought giving the amp a bit more power maybe a good starter… I don’t know, all a bit of a rabbit hole with naim I am finding :joy:

Apologies - the Altair G1

Add a HICap DR


I had an XS3 that I upgraded with a HiCap DR first, that was quite a staggering upgrade, honestly. It really opened the whole sound up, took off a bit of an edge that I had in my room and really helped to separate out the individual elements of the music.

After that, I traded in the XS3 for a Supernait 3, keeping the HiCap DR. That was another step up again, though oddly I thought it was less of a leap than the original HiCap DR upgrade on the XS3, still very noticeable though, mainly in the grunt it gave the music.

So my advice would probably be a HiCap DR, or failing that a Supernait 3 (which has a built-in phono stage which is actually very good), with one eye on a HiCap in future.


At least until recently a used SN2 was about £1,500 (Pinkfish). Quite a bargain actually.

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…fwiw, I would plan on trading in the XS-2 and move to either a used SN 2 or SN 3 as the first step. The SN 3 may not be within budget but would talk with a dealer to see if the XS 2 plus the £1500 would get you there. If not then save to make up the difference. After the SN 3 was purchased I would be aiming for a HiCap DR.

I moved from a XS 2 to a SN 2 a few years back and it was a wonderful uplift in performance! I later added the HiCap DR which was a nice addition as well. The HiCap DR also was available when I decided to move to a NAC 282.

Good luck with your decisions and enjoy the journey…


I’d look to swap your Nait XS2 for a SN2 rather than add a HCDR.

My experience was with a Nait XS1 and I found that adding a HC (nonDR) changed the character of the amp, making it sound more forced and unnatural to me. I was not alone; “manic” was how one dealer-poster described the effect. I guess it depends on what you listen to and your sonic preferences. If you can arrange an audition if you’re thinking of jumping that way, I would do so.



I’ve recently upgraded and once you have narrowed down your options getting a demo is time very well spent.
My choice was between XS3 and SN3 and ended up with former.
That said the speakers I have are floorstanders and didn’t need the extra muscle of the SN3, well to my tastes, but this underpins whilst forum advice is really good there is no substitute for a demo.
Good luck and enjoy the process.


Please confirm - is it an XS-2 or XS2 (2013+)?

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The later - sorry

I wish I could be more helpful here, but I’ve only owned the XS-2, XS3, and SN2. I thought the SN2 had a more neutral sound than the XS3, but,…wait for it…I preferred the more unbridled energy of the XS-2 among the three. I also used a FlatCap and HiCap and the FlatCap was either no better or made things worse. The HiCap was more interesting and I enjoyed the slightly improved clarity it brought to the XS-2 and the SN2. I never tried a power supply with the XS3. I knew very quickly the XS3 was not what I was looking for. I also have the Rega P6. I didn’t catch what cartridge you are using, but my upgrade from the Ania to the Ania Pro was significant and worth it. I don’t know anything about the Naim phono stages, but my experience is that you need to spend at least $1000 to get something special. I also have the Altair G1 and like it a lot, although I think I slightly preferred my Chord Hugo Mk. 1.

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