upgrade to xs3 from 5si for PMC's

Hi, I’m new on this forum and have a question. I’m currently powering my PMC’s Twenty5.26 floorstanding speakers with the (baby) integrated amplifier 5si from Naim wich I already had before purchasing the PMC’s. I was very surprised to experience that de 5si seems to drive those (rather big) PMC’s very well… At least when nog playing too loud spl, which I 99,5% of the time don’t do. At moderate volume it seems to pair very well. For the lowest frequences (and actually more for improving soundstage) I use a Velodyne SPL 100 Ultra sealed subwoofer which I also already had in my system. I’m pretty happy with the setup I must say. But of course… having the little 5si I’m very interested in what a more serious integrated amplifier of Naim would bring extra to the table… More specific looking into a new xs3 and wondering whether how much of an upgrade it will actually bring… (jump from 60 tot 70 watts - OK, I know, they’re Naim watts…). I’m not wanting to go the path of multible boxes with pre and power amp seperately. Or at least not for now. And I value sound quality over ‘louder’. I’m just looking for a nice amp to drive the PMC’s with good grip to moderate levels and wondering what for an upgrade the xs3 would bring. I’m not into vinyl (just streaming) so a (used) SN2 would also be an option in more or less the same price category. But does the SN have the same playfulness/joy as the 5si, which I like very much? Does the xs3 retains this while bringing better SQ and enough power for me/the PMC’s?
thanks!

You have fallen into a classic trap of being massively over-speakered. You have a very basic source and an entry level amplifier with large and demanding £8,000 speakers. A Supernait 2 would be the very minimum and ideally a 282/250DR, with a source to match. The 26s are capable of massively deep bass and if you feed them properly it’s very unlikely you’d need a subwoofer. So it’s time to get that bank card out I’m afraid.

1 Like

At higher spl you are absolutely right. I swapped my Naim 5si with a Musical Fidelity M6si (which is a beast) from a friend of mine and this indeed brings the PMC’s to another level… when playing loud. (I tried it for one week) But when listening at moderate levels which I normally do, I certainly preferred the little 5si which sounded more engaging. I liked it more and wouldn’t change it for the M6si for the volume levels I usually listen. Therefore looking for an more modest (in power that is) + sound quality upgrade in the Naim path, rather than chosing for (for more or less the same price) power/pure grunt with another brand.
Or do you think I better give priority to power? NS2 would bring both I believe, indeed. Although I heard from another Naim owner that the step-up in power from 5si to xs3 is bigger than from xs3 to SN2 (of even SN3). And that the SN might not have the same ‘fun’ factor/playfulness as the xs… (I heard this from somebody who owns the xs3 AND the SN3). Therefore my interest (for now) is in the xs3. But loving to hear your experience. Thanks (and yes… nd5 xs2 is next on the wishlist)

The Supernait is not just about grunt. It’s a bigger better amplifier all round. You’ll find a bigger amplifier controls the speakers better at all volume levels. I used to have the smaller 20.23 and used them with an 80W SuperUniti. Then I swapped to a 272/250DR and this was the amplifier they really needed. It just brought them to life. A friend uses a Nait 5i to drive 20.23s and it is totally gutless and lacks any drive. That’s why I’m suggesting a 282 and 250 would be more appropriate. The 250 is still an 80W design but it’s fully regulated and has far, far more drive.

You mention the ND5XS2: with those speakers and hopefully a Supernait or 282/250 you should be looking at an NDX2. You could also use a 272/250 which would be cheaper, but the 272 does not have all the functionality of the NDX2. That may or may not matter.

I hope that helps rather than confuses.

1 Like

yeah but Max4 is not complaining about lack of life from 5si/pmc combination. Anyway most people would suggest SN for speakers of such caliber.
But if you are ‘almost’ happy with 5si then nait xs3 wth nd5xs2 for sure will make you happier.

2 Likes

But until you’d heard what they can do you don’t know what’s missing. I certainly wouldn’t recommend ‘just’ a Supernait for such speakers and I’d be surprised if many would.

1 Like

I think what HH is saying, and I certainly agree, is that amplifier choice is about more than just power and how loud you listen. I use active ATC speakers which have power amplifier packs delivering 240W and I listen in a typical modestly sized UK lounge. Does that mean I am deafened all the time? Of course not, but if you take say a solo piano piece which starts with an ff chord, the dynamic swing from silence is enormous and many amplifiers struggle to reproduce this realistically.

Would an XS be better at this than a 5si? Undoubtedly. Would a SN be better still? Sure. Would you get even better sound by spending more on electronics and less on speaker? I strongly suspect so, particularly as you’re running a sub.

Roger

I remember on the old forum there is a comparison with some sort of “spiderweb method” to compare the 5si, Supernait 2 and XS2 and I found that to be an very good post. Bigger is not always better and the involvement aspect is higher on the XS and 5si. The post nails it in my opinion what the differences are and shows in which aspects each amp shines.
I can’t find the post anymore so maybe someone here still has the link to the post.

Edit: https://forums.naimaudio.com/topic.php?p=1&oid=32541172442538518&coid=159503632588890

I would strongly advice you to read this post as you love the engagement / involvement of your 5si

1 Like

In absolute terms you might be right Roger, but the chap has come here as a first timer with a pair of speakers which I take to be a given.

I haven’t heard all the amps he mentions so don’t feel I can offer advice, apart from my general comment of working with existing speakers which I very much doubt Max4 wants to sell.

Chris

1 Like

That is a cool chart IMHO. It really does sum up what I’ve noticed.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.