Where to pull the pin? The Sweet Spot in amplifier upgrades

Riddled with some wrong assumptions I think.

1 - the 202 brings arguably more to the sound than the 200.

2 - there’s no linear progression here. The 282 and indeed the 250 offer many improvements but if they’re not to your taste then it’s largely irrelevant.

Dear Mike,

This was meant to be purely an observation on hardware changes as stated by NAIM from a technicians point of vies. Not from an audio point of view.

Thank you for your comments.

Warm regards,


Dear Skip,

I have been so far unable to locate any n-Sats locally here in Oz. Though have found some in the UK used. As has been suggested by sktn77a. I should be looking at my speakers first. I will do so and speak to my Naim Dealer. Though for now and the immediate future I will be happy with my Celestion’s.

Thank you for your recommendation.

Warm regards,


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Mitch, Would I be right in thinking that the Celestions sit in front of some open bookshelves? In other words, a pair of more or less back to the wall n-Sats in the same position would almost certainly not suit. Is that your interpretation too?


Dear C,

The Celestion’s are on their original lead shot filled (by me) Celestion stands. The speakers are positioned about 2 feet in from the rear and side plasterboard walls. However on the left side there is a full height sliding glass door. Toed in at a guess of 30 degrees, maybe less, maybe more. About 3 metres apart, seating position about 3 metres back on a nice comfy couch. Ceramic tiled floor with a rug down. I do try minimise hard surfaces. Though living in a beach side town, dealing with sand is a way of life : ) Tiles are easier to clean and cooler during summer.

The speakers have been hardly used to due to the unreliable Amber 50b amplifier and the YEARS of shift work that I have done.

I am now enjoying them as I once should have for a long time. They are dated, though as I am no longer working at present. I am very happy with them. I did take a lot of reviews about their lack of bass to heart. Though as a once bass player for my local church. If I can follow the bass line and finger the strings in my mind I am happy with them. I think I now understand the British way of doing bass with regards to their speakers. They are very enjoyable.

It would be hard to justify another pair of speakers to me dear wife. (We received a phone call yesterday (Sunday) that the tradies will be back today to prepare for the concrete pour tomorrow (Tuesday) for Shelley’s outdoor spa. Shelley and her girlfriends are so looking forward to it.

Thank you for your comment about the n-Sats and thinking of possibilities for my setup.

Warm regards,


Hi Mitch–What does your TT sit on, and does it have the Karousel bearing? Just curious. Getting these right would add greatly to your listening enjoyment with headphones and thru speakers.

G’day JR,

The turntable is sitting a professionally mounted Project It 5 wall mount and yes it does have a Karousel bearing. It is a full blown Akurate model with the exception of the cartridge. The Linn gentleman recommended the OAD phono preamplifier and Lyra Delos MC cartridge. I trusted him with his selections as he has been doing vinyl more than I. The Linn is assembled and mounted. Now I await a small step to mount the phono amplifier and power supply and a pair of 3 metre Wireworld Oasis RCA cables. They were the only ones long enough to route behind the TV stand and cover the distance from the turntable phono amplifier output. The phono amplifier was set up by the Naim seller.

I hope that helps JR.

Warm regards,


Ideally you will want to hunt down a pair of dedicated wall brackets (N-Brackets) but you may find that they are even harder to find than the N-Sats.

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Thanks for the reply. Your existing Naim rig is more than worthy. It is easiest to upgrade the speakers for a given set up. The nSats punch well above their weight and are special if you can find them. Shipping to Oz is not trivial. Good luck with your search…

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There are a few sweet spots in the range depending on budget:

Nova at $10K
SN3 and NDX2 $20K
NDX2/XPSDR/282/HiCAP/250 $50K
Then the sky’s the limit.

It’s all diminishing returns for your money though. Ideally one needs a budget and an end point in mind. Off course, most of us fail miserably in that regard, so good luck :sunglasses:


Hi Mitch. I think the sweet spot in Naim’s line is the SN3. From a tech standpoint going up to the 202/200 really doesn’t get you much. The SN3 is top of the line integrated vs 202/200 is bottom of the line separates. In fact Nap200 has less power output and a smaller power supply. I think the next performance jump is 272/250DR but this is a big jump in price. And imo a SN3 w HICAP DR is a better landing spot.


G’day Mike,

Here in Oz,

Without optional external power supplies:

NAIT XS3 $5,250 or plus a Flatcap XS 2 $2,100 = $7,350
SN3 $8,000 + NAP200DR $5,200 = $13,200
202 $4,850 + Nap 200 DR $5,200 = $10,050 + Headline 2 $1,400 = $11,450
282 $10,550 + NAP 250 DR $8,700 = $19,250 + Headline 2 $1,400 = $20,650
252 $14,600 + NAP 250 DR $8,700 = $23,300 + Headline 2 $1,400 = $24,700
252 $14,600 + NAP 300DR $18,300 = $32,900

According to my theory the entry point above the SN3 would be the 282/NAP250DR = $23,300
As this setup comes with a NAPCS one has to decide between having 2 x HiCap Mk2 DR $3,300 x 2 - $6,600 or if one does not like the two box look which I would not. The other option is the Supercap at $10,000 AUD. Faced with either $29,900 or $33,300.
Then I still have to find a Headline 2 for $1,400

Looking at the price line without power supplies which we will no doubt purchase as well one day if not at time of purchase we see.

XS3 $5,200

SN3 $8,000

202/200 $10,050

282/250 $19,250

252/300 $32,900. I possibly should not have included the 252/300 as it comes with its own power supply which opens another can of worms.

Though from the price data sourced from an Australian dealer one can see the incremental steps and the one large step as physical components change in the pre-amplifier and power amplifier.

Again purely as a guide as it was mentioned in a post or words to that effect.

I am not wishing to get into war of words. Though this how I see it and not to be confused with how we hear it.

Where does one enter and where can one be happy pocket wise I leave up to the individual. My pockets are not endless. Though I can possibly see a new set of speakers and maybe a SN4 by the time I am ready to enter the market again.

Warm regards,


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No SN4 Mitch - 4 not a good number in some markets.

By the time the SN5 arrives they might have perfected a MC phone stage to match your MC cartridge

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I think you have answered your own question. Just enter at the price bracket or budget which is comfortable to you.

Apart from cost, it will also depend on the sound that you are looking for as the various amp combinations sound different. Personally I would audition XS3, SN3 and 202/200.

Genuine Naim wall brackets for N-Sats are pretty much impossible to find. However the way they are mounted is extremely easy to replicate using many generic wall brackets that are readily available.
Basically they hang from a flat plate with two U shaped slots near the top and a single point contact near the bottom. A few minutes work with a drill is all it takes. Of course there may be some who believe that the precise metallurgy of the genuine Naim back plate is absolutely crucial and anything else will sound broken but it works for me.

I’m glad to hear that your excellent cartridge got the turntable it deserves.

If I read this correctly, you have a first rate TT that you haven’t had the chance to listen to, and you are already shopping for new boxes? Buy some records, get the TT home, and savor for a while. Buy some stuff that Shelley likes–it won’t go unnoticed, and she may join you in front of the speakers.

Sure, you could make a DIY pair of brackets, although I can’t, off hand, think of any off-the-shelf type that could be easily modified with nothing but a drill!

Used pairs do occasionally appear for sale, but it would require some patience. A couple of years ago it came to light that the US Naim distributor still had some new stock gathering dust in their warehouse.

Basically any bracket that has a flat plate for speaker mounting that is about 5" square will do the job - larger would work but would be visible from the front unless cut down. There are 2 U shaped slots at the top and a central hole near the bottom that a small bolt goes through. Two projections on the speaker fit loosely into the slots and a metal plate on the speaker rests against the bolt so the speaker is decoupled.
My N-Sats came with the floor stands and when I decided I wanted to wall mount I basically just replicated that arrangement. The stands are now up in the attic. The layout is obvious if you look at the back of an N-Sat and there seems to be a fair bit of leeway so you don’t need to be a precision engineer. They sound just as good on the £30 wall mounts as they did on the proper stands.

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G’day JR,

No, I am only musing the idea of what I may be able to afford after the sale of the Harley in six years time, unless I can find employment in that time. It has been a journey of myself feeling happy where I am for the moment. It was only the Naim Dealer whom recommended that I upgrade to a 202/200DR and this has opened the genies bottle of where I should look and where I might be happy to stay.

Shelley has not missed out as the concrete for her spa is being poured today, Tuesday Australian time. The fact Shelley has quite a few Australian rock and pop artist bands from the 70’s and 80’s is what led me down this path to validate a turntable purchase and also all the fine articles and posts on this forum. I should also point out when I listened to Cat Stevens album Tea for The Tiller Man is were my ears opened to vinyl in way that I had never heard or appreciated before.

I have purchased few LPs of my own over the last couple of years in the event of purchasing a turntable and now Shelley has placed a ban on my purchasing any more vinyl. Well at least for the present.

I think I was reassuring myself and with hope of possibly helping others where the point to step off the ladder or which rung to climb to where one would be able to validate with their respective budgets.

As has been pointed out that I should look at new speakers, though in reality I may only have the opportunity for one album or one CD at best per day. Hence the requirement for headphones being a priority. By the way the headphones are the B&W P9. I know there are better ones. Though this is what I settled on and could afford at the time. They are extremely comfortable and I can listen for hours with them on, with a cold beer or glass of wine.

Can I validate the purchase of a 202/200DR and Headline 2 headphone amplifier where I will be mostly listening via headphones.?

Do I push on to a 282/250DR with a Headline 2? Where the physical technology changes.

Is there a point in upgrading the speakers if I am unable to listen to them very often?

Do I stay where I am?

Is the Nait XS 2 an amplifier that that is worthy of a Linn LP12 Akurate?

And around in circles I go.

As has been pointed out, speakers first, then think about the electronics.

In reality and budget wise a 202/200DR plus speakers and Headline 2 is achievable. The 282/250DR is not quite pie in the sky, though no speakers. A SN5 with HiCap and new speakers a possibility as well :upside_down_face:

This is all conjecture, though I think it has been a worthy exercise for myself and hopefully others to find their own entry or step off points.

Thank you for your time and replies. They have been gratefully appreciated.

Warm regards,



Six years is a long time. You may be dead by then. Just enjoy the present and worry about hifi in six years time.