Upgrade to New or Old Classics?

Hi everyone. I’m new to the forum (but not to Naim) and really appreciate your knowledgable posts so thought I’d ask for some advice. Current system is:

ND5 XS (not 2) running Tidal (but in future, on a new streamer, would also run Qobuz)
NAC 122X
NAP 150X
CD5 (but hardly ever used)
B&W 804 Diamond (from about 2013 so I guess D2?)

Room is about 3.5 x 4m and will need some treatment as some surfaces are very reflective

Clearly the electronics are weak link so time for an upgrade

Have auditioned 222/250 with and without NPX (clearly worthwhile to add this) but then heard the 300 series and the slippery slope beckons!

So likely to go 333/332/350 and maybe add NPX later

But…could do the OC bargains as discussed on this and other forums (for example my dealer here has 252 with SC for about Euro 7,500)

My questions are:

NC vs OC given I’m replacing all the electronics rather than doing piecemeal upgrades?

Is the speaker match good? (I’m guessing the 350 current delivery easily drives the 804s)

Should I invest less in the electronics and also change speakers? (However I have enjoyed the 804s and would even consider 803s in future although they might be overkill give the room size)

And a wild one…(with apologies to Naim purists)…go with a streamer/streamer-pre with Dirac room correction (eg new NAD M66, Trinnov Amethyst) with the 350s?

Interested to hear your comments!

Welcome jbuck.

I’ve moved your post as I feel it really needs its own thread. A lots of questions there and I’m sure you’ll receive plenty of opinions and advice.

As for room correction, I would advise some caution; it’s not a panacea, and my experiences thus far have not been great. Yes, it has great potential, and it can do some remarkable things with terrible acoustic situations, but ultimately you tend to lose something really fundamental along the way - enjoying the music in my case! Overall I’d say it’s still quite a way from being “there”.


To drive the B&W 804, you should be looking at 300DR minimum from the OC range or 350 from the NC range they are a notoriously difficult load to drive properly - look at the ‘Stereophile’ review of these speakers.
At 85Hz they are 3.5Ω at -45° phase the amp will be driving a load that is demanding the same current as a 1.75Ω resistive load! This is a really difficult speaker.

I concur with Richard’s comments about room correction I have also played around with it and in general found exactly the same. I do use room correction but only applied to a sub. The delicate midrange and treble signal to the main speakers is left untouched - I find this the best of both worlds.

If it was me I’d go for the New Classics simply because they have auto standby and don’t need to be left on all the time. Big transformers running 24/7 just seems wrong.

I’m amazed that you have lived with those speakers driven by a 150x for so long. They are quite large, and in that room I’d be looking at the 805D4, assuming you don’t want to change from B&W.

Thanks Richard

I’ve heard similar comments on room correction although there seems to be some consensus that it has dramatically improved in the last few years. Not a panacea though, agreed

Thanks Xanthe

Are you regularly using a sub with 2 channel listening? I also wondered about doing this but don’t think the 332 supports that (L & R XLR and L & R RCA outputs only)?

Thanks Hungry Halibut - also seems a retrograde step making a significant investment in older generation kit (great though they are) when essentially starting from scratch with a new system

I’ve moved countries and apartments several times so has not always been the current room but get your point on the 150x! Previously drove an old pair of Ruark Talisman.

I’d agree with HH, NC really is a no brainer…… if it’s within budget.


PS And maybe……. audition a Nova with some new speakers? Just a thought, especially if you’re moving around a lot.

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Thanks Osiris - not moving again for a long time so box count and portability not an issue now! Still have a 1st-gen UnitiQute though!

I broadly agree with this but, aside from having to add standby to meet new regs is there any evidence to say the NC is any different to the OC in terms of performance from cold?

In other words should it too be left on 24/7 for best performance?

NC it is then :grinning:!


Naim seem to think so in their musings on the website…

Thanks for input so far.

Anyone else want to comment on speakers they think would be a good match to 222/250 or 333/332/350 as a preference over the 804s?

The world is your oyster; personal preference rules with speakers…

ATC; Spendor; PMC; ProAc are popular British brands with Naim.

Sonus Faber; Dynaudio et al for European.

Magico; Wilson Benesch if you really want to push the boat out!

or stick with your excellent B&Ws…

That’s an INSANE deal (I’m assuming they are new)!

Yes my sub is always in use, both 2 chan or AV use.

It’s simple really the 2 XLRs go to the power amp; short RCA cables to a miniDSP 2x4 which then drives a longer cable to the sub. It does both the room correction to the sub’s output and the crossover to the sub (more precise control than the filter in the sub itself)

However the LF output of your speakers makes this impractical for you as the bass from them is more than sufficient for your relatively small room (they will already be exciting the primary room modes at 43Hz and 48Hz.)

And source too

Those loudspeakers belong in a much more expensive setup, its cheaper getting older black classic or simply buy other loudspeakers ?

This is the thing, standby is not shutting everything down, it keeps critical audio circuits powered up so warming up won’t take as long. Another great aspect is the soft startup/shutdown that this allows, it was described in another topic how the stages of the power up and down work (4 stages iirc), no more switching off/on boxes one by one in a set order (and reaching behind the rack to pull the plug on a napsc!). Now it’s a single button press.

Naim have put a lot of thought and work into this, even if it’s driven by regs.

I am probably biased but I think the best match for NC power amps is ATC speakers. The 222/300/250 into SCM40s is wonderful I think and I am very happy with my system. The full 300 system into SCM50s also works really well.

What @paulbysea said!

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