When do you upgrade?

You have people with a specific plan, a timetable, a particular component in mind. Others just float along and make their decision on a spur of a moment.

When do you do your upgrades? The time that the sound or looks of your system begin to bore you? Only after you have set aside enough funds for next purchase? When NAIM introduces a new product? Following a visit to the dealer or when a great bargain crosses your path?

The index finger is always hovering over the trigger, just waiting for the order to pull…


Usually when I can afford it or when there’s a new product worth the effort (and the expense) and occasionally when Mrs Pete’s away. :rofl:


When and as I can. I had a pretty average system for around 10 years with an audio lab M dac, homemade Speakers and a homemade hypex amp. Then I got a little money and decided to get an Atom. This reinvigorated my passion for the hobby, and music, then I started to work on a plan to end up with a great system. The natural choice for me was to build the speakers first and then work on the electronics for however long it takes. The projected plan is 202/200+NDX2. I have the 200 on the atom at the moment. The only thing that may change my plan is the arrival of a new 272.

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I’ve always envied you @Haim one who obviously loves music yet has (if I’m remembering correctly) a pretty consistent system for 10-15 years.

I hope I’m cured but I’ve often updated after reading effusive “night vs day” comments on here and other fora that got me imagining there was a sonic Nirvana at the €ND of the rainbow.

Now however I would consider it a success if I had my current system in 10 -15 years time but had listened to loads of music. (Which is what I think you have achieved).



Why do you ask? Is temptation finally getting to you?

I’ve decided I’ll now only change/upgrade a component when it fails.

I think I probably fall somewhere between the two camps. I downsized the system around the time I stopped working but covid lockdowns have encouraged me to reevaluate this decision and upgrade again. I do have an endpoint in mind, however, the order in which I have gone about it has been determined to an extent by bargains appearing, resulting in me buying an item when hi-fi lore says it should come after another item. In years past I would have been all about the source first, now though my view though is if I get enjoyment out of my system even if it is currently unbalanced and rear-loaded, then spend the cash rather than have it sitting in the bank doing nothing. This results in me having a system that many of the self-appointed guru’s of the hi-fi laws will disapprove of (which would have included me in days gone by). Whilst I can see some merit in their stance, they forget that if I enjoy listening to music on the albeit unbalanced system, that is the most important thing in the here and now. Also, I can look forward to knowing I will get even more enjoyment as the system returns to being better balanced in the future.

Any upgrades I do now, are governed by firstly cost and then by availability. Nothing I have bought in recent years has been ‘new’ - just new to me. Used or pre loved, take your pick.

Everything is serviced, as/when required, to keep it functioned as intended. So any used item of unknown history is serviced as soon as is reasonable.

Seems to work for me… :slightly_smiling_face:


When we’re getting the most out of what we’ve got, and wonder what another upgrade would bring to the music…

Mind you these things take time - cables/interconnects in excellent ex-demo condition can take months to find.

At the moment we’re stalled on further upgrades as it will require a furniture change to handle more boxes!

I think for me, it’s an element of dissatisfaction with a system that prompts a change/upgrade. One indicator is spending less time listening to music than I once did. Also hearing alternatives can be a spur to change. My most recent change of system was a couple of years ago when I had 272/XPSDR/250DR into PMC Fact 3s. My particular XPS buzzed like a nest of hornets at times, the 272 did not offer streaming from services like Qobuz and I felt that the system was not always giving me the insight into the music I wanted. Being completely wowed by some active ATCs at a show started the ball rolling and after around 18 months of occasional auditions (illness intervened) I invested in a completely new system – does that count as an upgrade? I’m sure it’s my endgame system, but I’ve said that before!


I’ve no plans for any major future upgrades, … (no, really), … but historically, the first I knew of anything changing in my system was when my trusty dealer would randomly call me with “you really need to think about moving up to this”, followed by a trade-in quotation.

I have to say that they consistently steered me in the right direction, and always at a price which put a smile on my face.

So, find yourself a decent Naim dealer, establish a good relationship, then sit back and enjoy the ride.


There are two different upgrade scenarios for me.
The first, it can be called the active upgrade, happens when my system is either annoying or boring me. In this case I start looking for something new or at least different from what I have now. Unfortunately I am in this mode for the past few years. It took me that long to figure out what was behind my problem and how to fix it.
The passive upgrade is one I wasn’t looking for. Many things can lead to it, like listening to another system, no matter where, a review or something written on this forum.

I’ve never been one to bow to fads, more a matter of steps to long term goal combined with practicality. Overall for me there have been a variety of triggers:

Until about 20-25 years ago it was a matter of affordability of upgrades, however since then the primary trigger has been if/when something dies.

Another trigger is if/when I come into money (last was 5 years ago when my mother died and I inherited a small sum, but enough for a hifi revamp. As she was the person who first instilled in me a love of music, it was fitting to improve the hifi).

Now having just retired I plan to review the system with an eye on long term usability and stability, while considering whether any affordable improvements to sound quality are good use of funds, given that I will have no more significant income, and balancing my various uses of money. E.g. time to consider a replacement store/renderer, and consider whether I want to know if M.Scaler is worthwhile in my system, and consider whether I want to continue with present part home brew speakers with active drive or if something simpler can achieve at least the same sound quality while easier to manage in long term…

Box swapping drives me nuts. And a carefully matched system that undergoes a box swap almost always sets off a chain reaction of more box swapping. Wirth noting, people’s definition of box swapping varies. One person thinks it’s any change at 6 months or less. Another, (me) thinks it is any change at 3 years or less.

I tend to procure entire systems. Make one adjustment in the first 18 months. Then not touch it for a minimum of 10 years. Exceptions are components that unexpectedly die and are hard to repair.

I did this with my last AV system (5 years), Naim system (7 and counting), and Luxman system (still fairly new). All were built in one go. There is no upgrade ladder with me.

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When SWMBO is in a good mood… :joy:

Seriously, I tend to have ‘burn it down and start again’ upgrades rather than incremental… so in my latest round, the only survivor was the Node 2i as a Roon endpoint… I like the idea of transformational change which renews my enthusiasm more than a bit here and a bit there - I also find that the wholesale change leads me to different music for some reason… I guess it’s like picking up my Les Paul makes me want to play different music than picking up my Tele or my Strat.

Whenever Tyler from NextLevelAV calls me and makes me an offer I can’t refuse. Latest upgrade was the Naim Solstice. In this case, the offer was - “You’ll be getting one of the first TT’s in the US”.

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It’s often been agreed on here that not many jump in at Statement level, or even 500 series. We start where we start and move up as the urge and financial situation combine. That’s been my case at each step, where financially an upgrade is a non-event, there’s something available that represents a decent step up, and most importantly I have a fancy to make that step. It’s rare that all three fall into place at once; the last time was giving up on a 272 replacement ever appearing and coincidentally a used 555 appeared on the radar, and currently I’m starting to get the urge to swap the 252 for a 552 - the stars have aligned again and reasons not to are falling away.

That also leads ever closer to the end game, which at present would leave just speakers to upgrade. Maybe.

I upgrade every time Alibaba stock drops 50%.

I’ve always advocated this, and have followed it the last couple of decades. As you say I got tired of replacing one box, then looking at what the next weak link is.

But, I seem to have deviated with this last system. I’ve replaced both the TT and the phone preamp. Although both were an upgrade, the former wasn’t triggered as such. I’m now looking at building my own speakers which should be an upgrade as well. Only the Star will remain, and I expect that and all other components to now survive for a very long time, although I guess the speakers are a bit of a risk not having heard them first.

I always said that my current configuration would be my end system………………….