Used SN2/SN3 vs used 202/200DR - opinions

Hi All, as I’m planning to step in NAIM, I got this kind of question for folks that already has some experience.
In my market used SN3 is like 3.0-3.5k EUR depending on age and condition, so this is +/- the amount for used NAC202/NAP200DR - hence below key questions:

  • will combo 202/200DR perform way better then SN3 alone (is this significant difference worth investing or just slight)?
  • does it make any sens to stretch the budget now and go with 250DR in good condition and initially only NAC 202 in just acceptable condition and then after Year or two replace 202->282 - to finally end up with 282/250DR combo?
  • maybe it’s also worth to consider SN2 in very good condition and add HiCap (then the price will be 3-3.5k EUR so the same as for used SN3 alone, theoretically SN2/HiCap shall be a little better then SN3) ?

the speakers are Aria Evo X n4 and the source is Eversolo

any opinions/suggestions of folks who have heard above components more then welcome. thanks

To my ears a 202/200DR beats a Supernait comfortably. Supernait owners will of course disagree!

If you intend to climb the separates ladder, upgrade the 202 to a 282 first, then consider a 250. 202/250 is not a good match.

If you do get a Supernait you can still upgrade in stages as it can be used with a separate preamp or power amp.

As always, check the service history of anything you consider buying. Lots of older units out there may be in need of attention.
Good luck!


It’s pretty simple

A pre amp and separate power amp will be better than an integrated amp in the Naim world

The ultimate question for you is what do you want to end up with ?

Personally initially would go for 282/hicap/250dr ( remembering you always need the napsc with 282)

But long term ultimately ending up with the 252/supercapdr/250dr

I have both the latter and the SN3/hicapdr in different systems and both excellent but latter system slaughters the SN3 - simple as that and so it should for the money


I started my journey in a similar way, auditioning the XS3,SN3 then the 202/200, I opted for the 202/200, it was ex-dem so price wise very close to new SN3.
Moving on a ND5XS2 was added, then a hicapdr , tried a 282 and that gave a big improvement to the system, finally not long ago added an NDAC to the mix and things are sounding really good, still a few steps to go but overall very happy, so I’m pleased I chose to go pre and power route their are plenty on the forum that are more than happy with a SN3 just depends how far you want to go, hope this helps in any way.


I found the sn3 better as it sounded more cohesive and 202/napsc/200dr added weird harshness to some of my songs on demo day. Since they were second hand it maybe that a service would have changed my view or I’d have felt differently if I’d tried the 202/200dr with a hcdr instead. In the end I upgraded from the sn3 to 282/hcdr/250dr in that case the pre/power option was at least to me obviously better and worth spending more.

So I’d definitely suggest a demo if possible as you are probably going to see people argue for both options. Also what people consider worth the extra money is a personal thing. One person can hear a night and day difference while another would say it was minor and difficult to decide.

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Close call but if you want to upgrade in the future 202/200DR.


Started my Naim journey in October 2022.
SN3 vs 202/200.
Went 202/200 and never looked back.
Now have 2 systems (see profile) and am thrilled with both.
Not knocking the SN3 as it’s a fabulous Amp, just very pleased I swung to the Pre/Power formula.


From this forum I get the impression that SNx don’t have the same sound as Naim pre/power.
I have heard 202/200 when thinking about upgrading my power amps but my problem was more ditching my front end than the sound. Of course the new classic don’t have the same connexion issues with non-Naim gear. I understand that a better Naim pre greatly improves sound.

When it comes to connectivity, there is generally a cable available to connect most devices.
I guess the only real issue comes with things like balanced XLR on OC products.

If your plan is to upgrade and not stay with the 202/200 then I would go with the SN3 if that is at the limit of your current budget. The 202 and 200 are probably the two hardest pieces to resell when the time comes to upgrade.

I would buy the SN3, then HiCap DR, then 282. Right when you acquire the 282, you could sell the SN3 to buy the 250DR with no out of pocket cost on the secondary market. That is the path I would take. With this path, you’d only have one piece to sell (the SN3), which is also extremely easy to sell.


Smart thinking :+1:

There are many relevant threads.

I happy to be corrected on most of this but…

Many suggest that adding a Hicap to the excellent SN3 makes a 2-box good enough that a 202/200DR is a bit different but not obviously better. Not all agree with that, but that view may have been common enough to hasten the demise of 202/200.

Some reckon that adding the Hicap to 202/200 puts it ahead of SN3, but many don’t seem to think it a huge upgrade.

Almost all agree that 282/HC/250 will be a good deal above all that in SQ. However, many don’t want all those boxes and/ or the bill attached (even on eBay).

If you really want 282/HC/250 and don’t mind buying and selling on eBay or similar, then SN3 is a sensible stepping stone if you want do it progressively.

In that case, the above comments to get SN3, then HC, then 282, then 250 (selling SN3) looks 100% sensible.

If you are not sure that you will ever want to spend the money for 282/HC/250DR but doubt that SN3 is your long-term solution, there is another option.

Many of us like the olive 82 even more than the excellent 282 that replaced it, just as some (including me) marginally prefer the olive 52 to a 252.

Similarly, a 250DR is a bit better (at least in hifi terms) than an olive 250, but the latter is not less enjoyable, and I suspect that most of us would rate any (serviced) 250 a long way above any 200 or SN.

This matters because olive 82/HC/250 boxes are plentiful and great SQ per £. If you hanker after amplification to make the most of your source without breaking the bank, that just might be the answer.

Good luck!


Good post


If you can get a 282 HiCapDR and 250DR would be much better amplification.

The 202 and 200DR are avialable for less money on eBay but you will get alot more going for former set up I suggested.

If on a budget get an 82 HiCap Olive and 250 olive. Will be better vslue for money and sound awesome! I had an 82 HiCap Olive and CB 250 and it sounded awesome. Later changed out 250 for 2 x 135s CB. Added 2nd Olive HiCap. Then went Supercap 2. Then I left it for years.

The Olive era kit and even CB maybe worth considering. Cheap as chips now for what they do! :smiley:


thanks for post, very valid - most probably will go this way as you said:
SN3, +HC, +282 and sell SN3 for 250DR

my only question/doubt is why at first step you suggest 282 and not 250DR what I mean is
SN3, +HC, +250DR(and SN3 as pre) and then sell SN3 for 282 - is this valid path as well?

however - very good recommendation from you side - thanks

All, thanks for all valid posts, will read them through, however looks that this way is good one and save some stress and money when sell/buy comes, so the SN3, then HiCap DR, then 282 and then SN3 for 250DR as final step. the Olive path is also great but there are not so easily available on my market


You’ve got the steps right spider

Good luck on your adventure

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In theory, the pre-amp stage in the SN3 is less good than the power amp stage. That suggests 282 before 250. However, if you are going down this road, what actually matters is which boxes you see at good prices when you are ready to fund the next stage.


Putting it another way Nick

Source first , then pre amp, then amp

Preamp is so important in the hierarchy


As a generalisation, this has been shown to be right by many ears over the decades.

Of course, if you have NDX2 (esp with PS) or ND5XS2 + nDAC as your source, that source is a decent match for a 252 or 52, and is certainly not needing to be upgraded before getting a 282 or 82.

Equally, I’d rather have 252+250 than 552+90 (or power section of SN3, which is well above a NAP90 imho), so there are limits to the monkfish approach.

In this case, I think we all agree what is most likely to work for SQ, but what the OP’s ears decide and what can actually be bought at a good price in his area may well matter more than my theorising anyway.