Why separates? Revelation of a NAC282

Dear forum,

Some of you have read my previous posts and how I am transitioning from a CD5X, Flatcap 2x, 122x, Nap 150 to a higher level system (NDX2, XPS DR, 282, hi cap, nap 300 DR).

The first of the new boxes was the bare NDX2 and I did share my thought about adding it to the system. Today I received the 282 and I feel that I had an awakening or revelation moment.

Plugging in the 282 and running it ice cold the sound is immediately better in every way but in no specific way that I can put my finger on. It is not the usual “bass is deeper” or “instruments are better separated”. If I would try to describe it I would say it is “just right”. I am sure with a bit of burn in the 282 will come on song and I will be able to “dissect” it better in sonic terms but am so pleased as is. However, I found myself thinking “This is what my system should have sounded like when I started my Naim journey 12 years ago”.

To put things into context I started with a Nait5i and a CD5i and that was unimpressive. Dry and clinical. So I thought that integrated amps are not worth the effort and I should go into separates for good sound quality and went for the 122x/150x which was all I could afford at the time. They were better than the Nait 5i but the sound was still lacking in weight, depth tone and resolution. the CD5i was sold and a CD5x came in along with a flatcap 2x and the Jamo speakers then got switched to SF toy speakers and that was the first time I thought that the system was performing acceptably.

With some music it sounded very pleasant but with about half of my CD collection it sounded analytical, sharp or disengaging. At times I blamed the Naim sound signature and some other times I blamed the quality of the recordings themselves. Having no local dealer to listen and compare brands or potential upgrades I made peace with my gear and enjoyed it for what it was.

Today for the first time, the 282 made the music sound right. I was no longer analyzing sonic components but just listening to the music not distracted by a boomy upper bass or thin vocals. The 122x sounded broken in comparison.

The “Awakening” I mentioned earlier in the post is that do we need separates at the bottom of the naim ladder? Would I have had nicer and more pleasant sound with a supernait from the beginning? On youtube there is a video for Jason from Naim explaining the upgrade paths and he compares I believe a supernait 2 or 3 and says that going to a 202/200 is a side step rather than an upgrade and for a true upgrade you should go for a 282/250. should Naim just offer integrated amps for say under 7K pounds and the the separates start above that price point with the 282/250 being the entry level separates?

All I know is that I have no regrets for the time and money spent on my older Naim boxes as the journey is just as important as the destination. I also look forward to the arrival of the rest of the gear and will update you all on how things go.

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I feel very exited for you. My upgrade from 102/HiCap/140 to 82/HiCap/140 was the biggest sounding upgrade I have done so far. Tomorrow I am expecting a XPS DR, so exited for that, and then at the weekend, I’m hoping to get my dedicated mains in, which has been delayed many times by the electrician, so fingers crossed. I’d rather a bigger gap between upgrades - but then again - bring it on.

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The 282 is a serious preamp. I remember my first wow moment when I first got mine.

I still have it along with a SCdr in storage somewhere. One day I may even bring it out again for a listen.

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If you look at the new price list you’ll see that the 202 and 200 have gone, maybe temporarily or maybe permanently, so the separates do now start with the 282 and 250. As I understand it sales of the 202 and 200 were very low anyway.

If you are set on getting a 300 rather than 250, you’d be well advised to get a 555DR for the NDX2, rather than the XPS, in order to retain balance. A Supercap rather than Hicap would also be a better fit.

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Yes 282 is a serious preamp and as far as I’m concerned- end game

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:sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: :point_up_2: :point_up_2: :point_up_2:

I’ve owned it for a few years now… I got no wish or plans to upgrade. It helps that I got no extra budget for hi fi either :joy:

Jokes aside I say this in all seriousness heard the 552/500 dr and statement quite a few times and played the same songs when I came home

I felt no real need to upgrade ( for how I listen to music…)

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Many congrats!

How fondly I remember my NAC282/NAP200.

Looking forwards to hearing of the rest of your journey.

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I agree with you. Anytime I heard 282 I was more than satisfied. For sure every upgrade is an upgrade, but to me as well, considering my room, 282 (better with a supercap) is the end of the game

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I do believe that 282/250Dr is the sweet spot with diminishing returns going any higher up the ladder.

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let us know how the XPS DR is as mine is due to arrive in Jan 2022

HH,
The 300 has been ordered. No doubt the XPS555 and SC would be better but due to budget limitations I think I am stopping here for now. Don’t forget I have to buy 3 new speakers as well

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Congratulations. I am on the same path having ordered very recently a NAP 250-DR and NAC 282. I am awaiting arrival of the NAC 282, which is now expected by end of week or early next week. Thanks for your timely impressions. It makes me think I made the right decision.

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The 282 is a mighty fine pre-amp. I enjoyed one for many years. Of course, the performance can be significantly improved by upping the power supply to a SupercapDR, but that is an expensive proposition. A much less expensive way of enhancing the 282’s performance is to try a PowerLine on the NAPSC. I know it sounds counter-intuitive but at my dealer’s suggestion I tried it one evening (he brought it round) and we were both stunned at the difference it made. That was the only PL I had in my system for a while.

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Well done, for me the 282 was a paradigm shift, had it for 14 years, no intention of changing unless a 552 was available at a really bargain price.

Regards,

Lindsay

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My dealer is bringing a new 282 tomorrow. I am beyond excited, although I’m really trying not to build expectations too high.

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That sounds so amazing… The NAPSC only supplies 18V for the lights and controls of the 282. No signal handling whatsoever afaik. How can a power-line (or a power cord) bring improvement in this context? :flushed:

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I have wonder this myself. Even naim only give you a kettle lead to feed it.

I’ve never tried but it’s been reported more than once that putting a PL on the NAPSC adds to the performance.

my 282 came with a powerline light