What to spend £3k on

Have got £3k to spend on HiFi next month. What would be a worthwhile upgrade please based on the following current system:

SN3 (non-Naim power supply)
CXN v2
P8 / Apheta / Aria Mk3
Apollo Storm Rack

I’ve been looking at the following:
Innuos Zenith Mk3 (used)
MScaler (used)
ND5 XS 2
NDX 2 (used)
250DR (used)
NAC 282 (used)

Note: Long term plan is to get to a four-box system

I’d be tempted by the 282 or the NDX2. Just my my gut feel and my Naim bias.

But you’ll end up with 5 boxes if you want to get the best out of it.

Get a proper hicap.


Used NDX 2.

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Agree. Then, with a couple of Naim PSs, one on the NDX and the other on the SN, you can achieve a four box system, one box at a time. Each should give you a nice lift in SQ.


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A used NDX2 for £3k? Can I have one too please? :wink:

Are they really available for that amount these days?

How about a TT2? Might be worth a listen. I still don’t think they’re as low as £3k, but closer to that number than a used NDX2 I would think

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Aim is a specific number of boxes (4 not 3 or 5?), rather than any other goal? Does that include speakers? And music store?

NDX 2 will need another £1k thrown at it which isn’t the end of the world. I’m just conscious of spending £4k on it and not seeing that much more improvement over the CXN + Qutest.


I’d have thought a mighty fine DAC, your existing streamer, SN3, given where you are now, would be a good place to be.

Not sure what the ND5 XS2 brings you right now.

A 282 just invites a NAP200/250 later, and more boxes.

Once you’re there you could always demo the NDX2 +/- XPS DR to see if it betters the Chord front end.

  1. Proper Naim ps= Hicap
  2. 282
  3. Mscaler
  4. Nd5xs2 to replace the Cambridge transport.

3, 4 or 5 works for me.

What I don’t really want is a Brains + Braun rack.

I’ve got my TT and Phono / Power which take up a shelf plus the top shelf and not keen on too tall a rack.

It might not, but it’s so personal. Even used, a NDX2 is a pricy box, so I’d really want to compare the two front ends myself. Of course that may be tricky under present conditions.


Nice system!

If I were you, I think I wouldn’t change the streamer as it’s probably fairly good (unless you don’t like it or would be keen to make it an all Naim system?) but I would get the best DAC I can afford … and even push the budget a bit if possible?

I would say that investing in just a very good DAC that you like to add to the CXN is probably money better spent than NDX2 (+ PSU?) but as above it’s an option and I did sell mine for just over £3k (admittedly a little while ago so they may have gone up). The ND5XS2 would give you the Naim latest streaming platform/interface but I don’t think a worthwhile (if any?) improvement in SQ.

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I would be tempted to go for a 282 and 250DR, both used. The SN3 is the weakest link in your set up and this would represent a great long-term upgrade.


It’s worth thinking about which four boxes you want to end up with, then plot the best way to get there. At the moment your options seem a bit random. Do you want a Naim source? Do you want a pre-power or an integrated? Do you already have dedicated mains?

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For me, a separate Naim pre/power amp needs more than a bare NDX2, so I would want an XPS if you go all-Naim.
Alternatively if you like what your Chord DAC does, many have found the Hugo or Qutest to be a significant upgrade over the DAC in their Naim streamer despite their relatively low price. Upgrading to a TT2 should be below budget, or you could add an M-Scaler.

I would add that saving money by buying used items unheard can turn out to be a false economy. Keep an open mind and be prepared to try a few different options if you want to end up in a good place.

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As @garcon indicated, the DAC is the key component in digital replay. You have Qutest: the question perhaps is which would make a bigger difference, adding M-Scaler or changing Qutest for TT2. Best have an audition of one against the other.

Another question could be, what about speakers?

If you get the m scaler then you can use with the quetest abut a tt2 or even dave down the line. Having said that i can vouch for the innuos as well!

Ideally you need to decide on what this 4 box end goal is first, and work towards that. I’ve had 4 boxes (SN2, HiCaP, NDX2, XPS DR) and it was very good. Now I 5 boxes: NDX2/555/252/250 and it is somewhat better, as you would expect. The 555 only replaced the XPS as a great opportunity presented itself. The 252 ran with the SN2 in power amp mode until a 250 arrived. I had planned for a 282 with my HiCap, but a better used option came up in the 252.

Deciding on the end goal, and minimizing the number of steps is ideal, though second hand opportunities can often change things.

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