Upgrading good but old components

My system consists of a NAIT XS + HiCapDR + nDAC. All these component are over 10 years old and have since been discontinued. My primary source these days is a Bluesound Node 2i which conveniently streams lossless copies of my NAS music library, and Hi-Res streaming services, to the Naim DAC. I also occasionally use a Myriad MCD200 through the nDAC to check the honesty of my Node 2 against the original CD recording. My speakers are Fidelity Acoustics RFM2.

There have undoubtably been advances in audio technology over the past decade, but it is hard to determine what improvements the latest models of Naim components offer over the ones I have. I am generally very happy with the sound I get from my system, but am wondering if upgrading one or more of my components would give me a noticeable improvement in sound.

I live in rural BC so don’t have nearby access to a dealer where I can listen to and compare different components. A few years ago I threw some good money away on upgrades to my speaker cables, interconnects and power cables, without hearing any of the promised improvements in sound quality. I am hoping some of the wise heads on this forum can offer me some better suggestions to explore when I next visit a Hi-Fi dealer in Vancouver.

Ideas I am considering include: sending my 12-yr old HiCapDR away for a recap and service, replacing the NAIT XS with a Supernait, and replacing the Node 2i with a ND5 XS2. Comments on these and other ideas are welcome.

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Send the units away for service when they’re due and they will be like new.



I don’t think any of the things you are considering would make a significant difference in sound. There have indeed been advances in electronics in the last 10 years: DACs and Streamers especially, but you are using a pretty good DAC now and would not I assume therefore, be using the DAC in the ND5XS2. Speaker technology has also moved forward. The user interface between the BluseSound and the Naim streamers is however significant, and if you are familiar and happy with the BlueSound then you probably don’t want the hassle of learning the Naim App. Personally I like the Naim App better (I have both the ND5XS2 and a BlueSound 3).

Another thought: Naim is not priced very competitively in Canada, so you may want to widen your search. I have not listened to the speakers you have, but if you think there is something lacking you might want to listen to some other recent products when you get the chance.

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It’s no hassle at all.

For me, the Naim app has been intuitive and easy to use straight from the get go.

Why would anyone bother having a Bluesound streamer and deck when they have a Naim ND5XS2?

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I chose a Nait XS over the original Supernait when I got it because it sounded better to me, not because it was cheaper. I still use it in my second system, and it’s a cracking amp. Perhaps this would change with the Supernait 3, which I have not heard, but I wouldn’t just assume it.

I upgraded within the black Classic series before actually going way back to an Olive system. Newer is not always better, and Naim’s analog amplification (especially if you don’t go to New Classic) is already not moving anywhere near as fast as to render your units obsolete. I would service the lot.

I would be very surprised if Node + nDAC was significantly bettered by an ND5 XS2 unless you want the looks of a matched system with fewer boxes (which is an OK reason AFAIC, just not critical to me) or you get a good deal on one. I’d look into Linn and other streamers before going down that path.

As for your experience with cables and whatnot, I’ll not make the blanket statement that I think those are always a waste of money, but there is so much nonsense out there and it’s so impossibly hard to compare every option available that I do think the sensible thing for most folks is to stick with the stock Naim items.

Different systems?

There are many good reasons for upgrading, but components being “old” is not one of them, IMO, assuming appropriate servicing is available. If improving SQ is a primary aim, it’s hard to give very specific recommendations with no idea of budget, but one possibility would be to jump to New Classic and replace the electronics with NSC222 and NAP250.

BTW my experience is different from that of @ricsimas. To my ears, a SuperNait is a significant step up from a Nait XS and I have had both. Of course, that will likely be speaker-dependent and I don’t know yours, so best to listen first if at all possible.


It’s pretty simple Andy without going over the top

ND5XS2 with NDAC ( NDX2 is better though and you don’t need the nDAC )

Supernait 3 with Hicapdr

Either 4 boxes or 3 boxes

Keep it simple

The ultimate 4 box solution is

NDX2/XPSDR/SN3/HICAPDR if funds available


Whether one gets a good deal does not determine whether the sound quality of BS Node/nDAC is better than ND5XS2.

Node ruins the Naim sound for me so is ruled out.

ND5XS2 with nDAC is very good.


Whilst individual manufacturers may have released more advanced gear, which could possibly mean better, the only area where I think major positive developments have happened generally is with digital replay, particularly DACs, and of course with online streaming there are always changes to the technology required to access different providers’ services, so generally in this regard the newer the more “future proof”. (Also possibly others of the newer technologies, like class D amps, but I have less awareness of them.)

Old components do not necessarily mean bad at al (and IIUC Naim can still service any of its old products other than speakers and a few CD platers, bringing back to original peak performance. And new may or may not mean better*. That said, from what I’ve read (I haven’t heard any), Naim’s products over the years and up the ranges have evolved, their original prime focus on timing seeminly having been to the detriment of some other aspects of sound reproduction, that gradually changing as other aspects were improved without losing the timing. As a consequence it seems as if the latest products may be closer to neutral sounding, maybe to a large extent losing the fabled “Naim Sound”, but with losing nothing in terms of the core value of timing, so better for anyone wanting neutrality and accuracy while still achieving timing excellence.

*I recently bought a 30 year old amp, because it is the best I am aware of for the money, back then rated as one of the best amps ever made, and it can be serviced and brought back to original performance or better.

Thanks for all for the comments and suggestions so far.
I have been asking myself whether new is necessarily better than old. I like the sound of my current system, and wonder if has changed over the past 12 years since I acquired most of it. I expect my ears have certainly.
It seems sensible to ensure it is serviced so I am hearing the best it can do before considering other options.
Canadian Naim Serivice Center anyone? - used to be Plurison but no longer it seems.

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Hi Andy - I highly recommend you contact Focal Naim America based in Montreal. They are the authorized Naim repair centre in Canada. They are good to deal with and do great work. Many of us from Canada on the forum have been happy to work with them to get our gear serviced.


I would pass on a Supernait 1, but a preowned SN2 can be had for a steal these days in Canada. An ND5XS2 would sound great thru an SN2 and since you already an nDac, that would improve the SQ even more. I believe you would be impressed with the sound of such a system especially for the cost.
I have purchased all my preowned Naim components in Canada and got very good deals on CAM.
Hope this helps.
All the best.

I didn’t say that. You may find that some things can be “better” in other aspects other than sound quality, e.g., it’s an insignificant sound quality difference but it’s a neater setup. That’s what I was trying to convey.

Really? Any generation when being used only as a streamer? That seems a bit exaggerated to me, having used one in the past as well as Naim streamers.

Well, that was my perception when I tried it in my all-Naim system.

For me, form follows function in HiFi.

depends on the new vs used obviously, but I would prefer ns333 with a pre/power or even Nait 50


Which is also what I said of myself in my original post, but I think is an acceptable decision criterion for someone else to have.

Repeating here for ease: