I would like to do some upgrades on my system but I am not sure which will have a better result and that is why I would like your opinion. My system consists of a Naim Dac V1,Nac 72,HI Cap, Nap 140 and SBL. The amplifiers were serviced 5 years ago. My main and only source is Dac V1 through which I play from an external J River disc, and in the last year mainly Deezer HI FI, which for me turned out to be more convenient and pleasant. I listen to all kinds of music at moderate levels, and my room is about 15 square meters. What I would like to improve is a little lack of bass at times, and when listening to higher levels, there is a slight lack of coherence. I have a budget of about 1000 pounds that can will increase if I replace any of the components. The options I am considering are several.
- Add a good streamer to Dac V1 to improve the source a bit and use Qobuz service.
- Replace Dac V1 and buy NDX or at best ND5XS2 but in both cases used.
- Replacing Nap 140 with 250 olive. What would you advise me? Thanks to everyone for their opinion!
Hi and welcome back,
Your amp and speakers seem very well balanced so if I were you I’d upgrade at the front end. Several times I’ve heard the ND5XS2 combined with a SN and made great music.
Naim 72-HC-140 is a lovely and well balanced system
Can you install a dedicated mains power circuit to your hifi location. Best upgrade (for maybe less than £1000) you could do.
Take a look at the various forum threads for a technical specification. Ask for a local electrician for a quotation.
The 140 is, of course, a great amp, but a 250 will grip and control your speakers and give you better, and more controlled bass.
A source upgrade that gives you access to lossless streams from Qobuz or Tidal would be good too, and presumably you could do this though JRiver without spending on hardware if necessary. Upgrading the V1 to an NDAC would be a good improvement in the areas you mention too.
A serviced 250 will probably cost £1k or more. Good upgrade but not the priority here imho.
Swapping in a s/h nDAC, same comments alloy.
A better streaming source for Qobuz should beat both of those for vfm I suspect.
If you like the character of your Olive system sound (as I do), then you might like the Atom HE with a power amp level of your choice…?
I ran SBLs from 72/140 for a while and personally I would upgrade the source in your system first for overall improvement.
However the 250 would definitely give more bass quality and definition if that is a clear performance target. Of course check the seals in your SBL are OK and also that they are as close as possible to a solid wall too.
I now use mine with an Atom and an old olive 250 and that is remarkably good considering the simplicity and outlay.
I disagree, you could probably trade the 140 and V1 for an NDAC and olive 250 for little more than the OPs £1k budget. Both of those moves should address the specifics areas he wants to improve, namely, “a little lack of bass at times, and when listening to higher levels, there is a slight lack of coherence”.
Switching from Deezer to a lossless service may have no hardware cost, other than possibly an SPDIF converter depending on what he is using now.
Upgrade your source first in that system. I’ve had a V1, 72hc140 and SBLs. The V1 is the weak link there.
Thanks everyone for your opinion! I like the character of the system and wouldn’t want to change it, just a little more than anything to add. I check the gaskets periodically and the SBL is set 9cm from a solid wall, just a little more muscle I need. What I see as an option for a streamer is the more budget PrimareNP5 MK2 if it does the work on the front end and maybe replacing the 140 with a 250 one go. The other option maybe replacing the Dac V1 with an ND5XS2.
All fine, what is written before.
- nap250 and SBL really like each other
- nDAC is one of the Best Buy’s these days and works fine with olive
- nd5xs2 is very good and offers a lot (also perfect with olive)
Would agree with @ChrisSU - 250 plus nDAC is a way. A bit above budget (exchanged with dacv1 and 140)
An ND5XS2 would be a great way to add streaming functionality, including lossless Qobuz and Tidal, although if you are committed to Deezer, note that there is no native support for it on any Naim streamer, so you would need to use AirPlay or Chromecast.
That aside, I’m not convinced that the DAC in the ND5 is really an improvement on the V1, so I would still be looking at an NDAC (other DACs are available ) for a real sound quality upgrade. I admit that I’ve never made a direct side-by-side comparison between the two, but I have heard the V1 sounding very good indeed, and if you really want to improve on it significantly I think you would need something at NDX2 level.
I agree that the addition of a (recently serviced) NAP250 will make a huge improvement.
The NAC72 is a fabulous control amp, and will not be embarrassed - unless you were to decide to switch in an NAC52 for comparison.
You should be able to get a free Qobuz demo, if not would a couple of paid months break the bank providing you can cancel with a month’s notice?
I love Qobuz but am doubtful it would give what you want.
I’ve only ever had olive NAP 250s and run active SBLs. Strongly suspect the olive NAP 250 would be a big step up in terms of control from the NAP 140.
That said it may control/tighten bass which you feel is lacking.
When I went for SBLs I think I lost an octave or more of low bass compared to older standmount Epos ES 14 speakers - they may have been less accurate or coloured but they had a lot more bass.
It’s not conventional but maybe consider comparing newer speakers or even a REL sub?
An ND5 XS2 would probably be an upgrade worth considering too, but if possible demo one.
I have no idea of the difference in sound quality that the ND5xs2 will bring compared to the Dac V1 and unfortunately I cannot demonstrate. I have read quite a few threads on this wonderful forum and it has steered me towards the ND5XS2 or the older NDX in my budget. Indeed the DAC V1 is very engaging and capable, especially in its role as a DAC, and I am happy with it. I used it with the Nap 200 and it was a very balanced and pleasant combination, but I switched to the Olive system, which gives me more pleasure. That’s why I wouldn’t rule out adding an extra streamer transport to the Dac V1, Would these options like the Primare NP5, Auralic Aries Femto, iFi Audio Zen, SOtM sMS-200 NEO Mini make the desired improvement.I’m thinking of canceling my Deezer subscription and using the services on Qobuz or Tidal in the future. The Nap 250 is a clear step up for me for a classic combo, maybe for the future if the funds don’t come, but my choice of source is difficult.
The Nap 250 is a clear step up for me for a classic combo, maybe for the future if the funds don’t come, but my choice of source is difficult.
Hello again @I.M
If you’re looking in that direction, maybe add Innous Pulse Mini to your short list. The Sense UI App is one of the best I’ve used.
Needs an external DAC, to really shine. Maybe start with your V1. Recommend the nDAC, as a step up from V1. But that could be done in time. Also, the Pulse Mini can be upgraded with the addition of Innous separate LPSU. So two further incremental improvements to be made, if you wish.
Thank you very much, I will look into your suggestions.I appreciate it!
If you could borrow one to try, I’d be tempted to listen to a sub. Re-reading your brief I think the questions are around bass and cohesion.
I found that adding a BK sub at £450 changed everything and not just the bass. This is with the crossover right down at 40Hz and the gain a little above the lowest position. The blend with the SBLs surprised me.
If not, I’d try all the other suggestions.
I didn’t know jRiver had Tidal and Qobuz integration. Today just with the release of Tidal there is a noticeable difference and I’m happy with this almost free upgrade. The decision is made, as much as I love the 140 it will be traded for the 250 Olive. After selling it and on Dac V1 will fund ND5xs2.I hope I’ve been chosen correctly. Once again thank you all very much and I appreciate your input!