Hello, I currently have a Bluesound Node 2i via Naim DAC on a Nait 5 (very first version with just 4 buttons on front). I would describe the sound as very open/airy.
I wonder…what would be the most significant upgrade - I can get either for a reasonable price:
The 4 button Nait 5 is not the original Nait 5 I’m afraid. Before the Nait 5i was released, there was a Nait 5 which had 8 buttons and much more features. Your Nait 5i has more power, but less refinement than the original Nait 5.
I don’t have the Naim Dac (assuming the nDac here), but there are several forum members running a Naim Dac with a Supernait 1 / 2. Maybe also Supernait 3.
It also depends on your loudspeakers too which you don’t mention. If loudspeakers are difficult, an amp upgrade would relatively make more sense. But given what you mention now on this topic, I’d go Supernait 2 …
Looking at the options you suggested i’d lean towards the SN2. I owned the original NAIT 5, had a lot of fun with that but a SN2 (also owned one of those in the past) will give you a whole lot more and you can add a HiCap to it down the line for further refinement.
What speakers/cabling are you currently using, I assume you’ll intend to keep those as they are with any changes?
I can’t say what you would find with the NDac, but when I had an ND5XS I was persuaded to add an XP5XS - and was very disappointed: very marginal improvement, certainly not worth the £1600 or so that I paid. I sold it and bought a Hugo DAC to feed from the ND5’s digital output, and for 3/4 of the cost it was a much greater improvement.
So it’s not the original Nait 5 I have, but the one after that…
I own Paradigm s2 Signature speakers with Nordost flatline cabling.
The Dac is the Ndac, which did result in a huge improvement when added to the Node 2i.
So, wondering what would result in even more improvement - and what kind of improvement it will be - I can go for either the XP5XS (occ). added to the DAC or replace the Nait 5 with a Supernait 2 (occ.) or an almost new new XS3.
Will the sound be more detailed or even more open/airy or…?
Yes, like the others have suggested, I think the SN2 we give you the most bang for your buck at this point.
The nDac is very good from what I’ve read here and partners well with the SN2. I have an NDS/SN2 set up, with no plans of upgrade. The SN2 has lots of power and provides a great soundstage.
I haven’t actually heard your particular older Nait unit, but I did buy a Nap 250 Chrome Bumper to go with a Superuniti that I had. It darkened the SU’s SQ down so much that I sold it and bought the SN2, and ran the SU preamp thru the SN2 power amp. Even without using the better pre in the SN2, there was a big difference; much better in all respects.
Now, of course, the SU is gone, and I run an NDS thru the SN2.
SQ is clear highs, and yet less harsh than the SU, large sound stage, great bass, nice instrument separation, and instruments sound very realistic. I could go on, but I’m running out of superlatives.
Members here, are running some pretty high-level sources, using the SN2 as the pre and amp.