Value vs price

My system is currently NDX2/SN3/Titan 606 which I think sounds fantastic. After much deliberation and trying to think ‘less is more’, I am considering a change (notice I didn’t say upgrade?) to an NC300 system comprising NSS333/NAC332/NAP350. This is a move from a 2 box to 4 box system with the electronics now biased towards amplifier rather than source (cost basis, old system vs proposed system).

The old system cost about £19k including cables. The proposed system has a nett cost of £20k with a total worth (based on new prices) of £40k.

Based on the cost figures, I could expect the new system to be twice as good in terms of SQ minus any element of diminishing returns.

There lies the rub - how do we measure ‘diminishing returns’?

I am a very ordinary person with extremely finite financial resources. My proposed spend of £20k is £5k above what my long suffering partner had already (reluctantly) agreed to. She now accepts that I will spend that amount but considers it money wasted rather than well spent. I owe this woman so much for her patience and understanding.

My system is so good that I sometimes question my own sanity in wishing to upgrade. However, With my current system, I was not concerned about any individual component’s contribution to the SQ but rather the musical effect of the whole. I have been very happy with this decision for the past 5 years or so.

My proposed system may be fantastic with an NC NAP250 but I will always be wondering what might the NAP350 mono blocs improve on? The particular deal that I am looking at means that the cost difference of NAP250 vs NAP350 is only £5k (can’t believe that I am using a term of ‘only £5k!’).

I feel that the 350 route is far more cost effective than the 250 route. Unless a listening test proves inconclusive to the benefits of the upgrade, I will proceed and buy it.

This has to be my final system as the only way forward, with very old technology, is the ND555 with PSU at £20k plus amplification!

I know I have faced my ceiling.

By doubling the ‘value’ of my system, I do not expect a doubling of the SQ but certainly expect a significant improvement.

The point is, where lies the justification of our costly upgrades assuming that money is a finite resource?

What spend makes sense?

None of this makes sense objectively, but we choose to spend our money on Naim equipment (of whatever age) in order to be able to listen to the music that we love.


Just analyse it as the conversion of a store of value (and your work efforts, if generated this way), in to a pleasurable pastime.

1 Like

Whatever you decide, don’t be tempted to spend more than you’re comfortable with. Ultimately It will ruin any enjoyment of the system. But if you can afford it, and it brings you joy, then why not?


Thanks @Richard.Dane , yes I am comfortable spending at this level but obviously could not stretch to the 500 series. Let’s face it, at my age, could I really appreciate the difference?

Very well put @HappyListener , yes the money is available as a result of both of our very hard work over the years.

1 Like

Indeed @graham55 , my proof of the upgrade (should I proceed) will be measured by how many more hours I listen to my music!

I reckon that I have had pretty good value-for-money from my system, given that most of it is now over 30 years old.


Whatever YOU think is worth spending. If you think long term enjoyment is with your proposed system then go for it, after demoing of course. You already have a very capable system already though…

Take partner considerations into account too. A happy relationship (for me) is more important than any Hi-Fi upgrade.


Why not do it in two steps….amplifier first. The NDX2 should hold its own with the 300 series amps. Once settled you could try demoing a 555PS with the NDX2 versus the 300 streamer and see which you prefer. The modular approach is the beauty of Naim.


This is obviously a very fraught issue for you and, I suspect, most others, ordinary or not!

My suggestion is to compare the amplification and source at a dealer with other brands. The Benchmark AHB2 (£3k) is a fabulous amplifier, as are the Chinese streamers/DAC/pre amps (less than £1k).

You owe it to yourself to explore these other options, against Naim boxes, especially since Naim are now going for balanced connections. At least you will then know that the significant price premium Naim are asking is worth it (or not).


The purchase price is unimportant (as long as you have enough money to make the purchase)

The important figure is the cost of ownership, or in the case of upgrading, the cost of upgrading vs not upgrading.

If your current system has a current secondhand value of £10,000 and a value in 5 years time of £5,000, the cost of ownership is £5,000. £1,000 per year.

If you purchase a new system for £20,000, which will have a value of £10,000 in 5 years time, the cost of ownership is £10,000. £2,000 per year.

So, upgrading to the new system vs keeping existing system will only cost £1,000 per year.

I know women who spend more than that getting their hair and nails done. :grinning:


That’s a great perspective.

You’re trying to rationalize your buying behavior, not exactly new around these parts. And I doubt you’re as ordinary and possessing of finite resources as you claim else you wouldn’t be considering spending the obscene sums of money you plan to spend on what is nothing more than a hobby. As Richard says if you can’t truly afford your purchases you will likely be miserable after, seen that here as well. If you’re unsure just get the 250 and add the 350s later. You may even find the 250 is enough and save the money for something else.

PS -I’m reminded of the observation made by someone that certain people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.


You could move on up in the green light hierarchy for cheaper.

Brilliant deals on classic boxes just now.

Try a PSU on NDX2 (almost mandatory) or split SN3 into 282/250DR or 252/SCDR/300DR. All very doable at current offered prices.

Loads of ex demo boxes on the go. I saw Sevenoaks doing a 12 month old 300DR for £5k.

And save your marriage.

Those fantastic speakers deserve better. I’d bite your hand off to own them.

You might try a PSU and stop.


‘Value v Price”. They are of course inextricably linked. Results will vary dramatically based on :-

a) an individuals financial position

b) how rewarding the person perceives the incremental improvements that spending more CAN bring.

I also feel that there are many hifi owners with systems that cost less than mine who love their systems every bit as much as I do. The most important gift we share is the deep enjoyment gained from listening to music. That can’t be manufactured or bought at any price.


With apologies for the rather blunt honesty, but to me the first post read very much like someone trying to justify something that, ultimately, they know is not justifiable. I got a strong sense of ‘the lady doth protest too much’.


Yes! Better spend it on women, booze and cars!

Kidding. If I had a spare 20k unallocated, I’d happily spend it on hifi.


Looking back on your figures, I’ve under estimated the cost per year, so in your case £1,000 per year is an under estimate.

But whatever the annual cost, how does it compare with the cost of owning a car, holidays, pets etc.

1 Like

Two Norwegians and a Boxer pale hifi spend into insignificance.

1 Like