I have been running a NAIM ND5 XS feeding a NAIM NAIT XS 2 and B&W CM8 S2 speakers that I have enjoyed very much since early 2016. I almost exclusively play from Tidal (Hi Fi subscription) but I do have an old CD player that I use as a transport and feed this into the ND5 XS. I also have an old Heybrook Turntable with Rega arm, but I cant use that as present as the XS2 doesn’t have a phono input. So now I am wondering about whether to upgrade or just stick with what I have. I am open to suggestions, although cost as always will be a factor.
Ideas so far:
Better speakers - any suggestions?
ND5 XS 2 to replace the ND5 XS - is it a worthwhile upgrade?
NDX2 to replace the ND5 XS - is it worth the cost (maybe secondhand?)
A power supply upgrade - although I’m not sure what is compatible
SN3 (or SN2 if secondhand and good value) to replace the XS2
My room is a rectangle of ~4.7m x 3.5m, so not large.
I don’t know your speakers, it is worth observing that of all components the speakers have the biggest influent of any system component on the character of the system’s sound. Getting the speakers right for you, so the sound balance and character sound right to your ears and taste, can make a big difference to enjoyment. Unless you have done so previously and concluded that your existing speakers are perfect for you, it way well be worth auditioning a range of different speakers to find out if/what other speakers suit you better. Personally I found early on in my hifi journey that transmission line speakers do bass the best, and studio monitor types give the balance of sound that sounds right to me (adding minimal colour to the sound), however with a medium sized room (I wouldn’t call yours small) not tiny) it can be more of a challenge than in a larger room, however at one tine I had my old IMF RSPM speakers (large, transmission line) in a room of similar size and had no problem at all.
As for the ND5XS, that is where I started with streaming. After a while I was persuaded by the dealerI’d bought it from to add an XP5XS power supply, telling how it would make a big difference. It didn’t - the improvement was marginal and nowhere near worth the ex-demo cost of £1600. I sold it and for less money bought a Chord Hugo external DAC, using the ND5 just as renderer (transport) - and the difference was very noticeable:from seeming similar, suddenly digital was definitely better than vinyl. The DAC has a major influence on the sound quality of digital, and is well worth exploring alternatives. There are a number of existing threads on this worth reading, e.g.
If you are stretching it to an NDX2 I would go NDS with XPS. I haven’t heard the NDX2 but would guess the NDS will be a noticeable uplift. More than a shift in amplifier. I really shouldn’t say anything though since I went from NDX to NDS/555DR Which to me was a monumental difference. But then I also had a 282/250DR which might or might not make source changes more apparent.
Thanks for your thoughts. My speakers at the time were something of a ‘best of those I demo’d at home’. So it may be I should start there. However, I don’t want to unbalance the system.
Given where I live now (N Yorkshire), access to a reputable Hi Fi shop / showroom is more difficult and home demos may not be easy to come by, so a trip to Middlesborough or Leeds is likely. Are there any good delaers in these areas?
I’ve heard good thngs about the Chord Hugo - I’ll add that to my list to listen to.
In terms of budget - spread over the next few years - I could probably stretch to an NDX2 and SN3. But I worry that my speakers may then be letting the side down.
Overall I am fairly happy with the sound, although I feel it could be weighter, and present a better sound stage (to be able to separate instruments better and reveal more details). However, I don’t yet know how much better it could sound, hence I’m looking for experiences of those who have trod a simlar path.
I’ve no idea about M’bro. Fanthorpes in Hull are excellent. There used to be Lintone Audio in Gateshead, but apparently they’ve closed recently, and replaced by a new hifi dealer called Audio republic. The person who told me that just a few days ago seemed to get good vibes from visiting them - and said the owner of the new business, formerly of Lintone, still remembers my last visit because of lugging my IMFs into the demo room for comparative purposes! Apparently Audio Republic have a branch in Leeds, but no idea what they’re like. I auditioned Hugo by mail, from Nintronic in London, who were very nice to deal with.
I find it quite difficult because I went for a big leap and changed things up and out over a 3 to 6 month period. I went for improved amplification first and then found my sources lacking.
I ended up changing the speakers, amps and sources and spent alot of money quickly.
The results were fantastic and mind blowing at the time.
So, if your medium term goal is to change it all, perhaps demo systems which interest you. And then work out the order to buy.
I researched everything and decided I could get alot more for my money by buying Olive and Chrome Bumper amps rather than classic.
Mixed with classic I believe I created a fantastic system for alot less than the classic system. And as it turns out many of us here think the Olive and Chrome Bumper gear can be just as good.
As a starter if staying with similar to what you have I would get a used NDX2 and keep the XS2 for the time being. This being a source first way of working. And start looking at speakers and the SN2 and SN3 and also look at 282 HiCapDR 250DR.
Have a listen and see where you are at.
Or take the route I took and improve your amplification and get 82 HiCap 250. Olive or Chrome Bumper and get an NDX2.
If ‘Boro’ or Leeds are within reach, I’d recommend a trip to York instead to visit the fine people at The Sound Organisation. Naim dealers of many years standing, they should be very well-placed to help you.
Also, York is a much nicer place to visit than the other two!
I agree. There are no proper hifi shops in the Boro. There’s a Richer Sounds if you are after certain things and the staff are excellent
The Sound Organisation in York would be my choice too- I live in N Yorks- they are excellent.
Incredibly there is an excellent hifi dealer in Stockton. They have an online presence too- and sell a large amount of secondhand kit.
Hifi sound is the name. They have 2 excellent demo rooms and are dealers for many high end hifi kit.