My first Naim system.
Rega P9 with Exact
SN3 with Highcap DR
Spendor A4 speakers
Isotek power and Isotek power cords
Would you consider the system balanced?
After 3 weeks it’s sounding very natural. Totally non-fatiguing. Very three dimensional sound stage.
Anything to consider in the future? Did I miss anything?
If you use your streamer a lot and there’s a decent second hand market where you live, you might want to consider adding a nDAC and using the ND5XS2 as transport.
Looks pretty balanced to me and it sounds like you are enjoying it, which is the main thing.
I’d see how you get on, and maybe concentrate future budget on the source you use the most. The amp and speakers are very capable and will see you through source upgrades, before becoming the weakest links.
If you haven’t done so already, look at a dedicated mains supply (lots of threads on the forum about this) - it’s a good foundation for the whole system, not too expensive to do and all future upgrades will benefit.
Sounds good so far. Enjoy what you have, there’s always something you could change, whether you should comes mostly down to budget!
I found a lot of enjoyment from adding the NDX2 to the SN3 as one example, whilst the ND5 XS2 is no slouch, there was a rewarding step up when going to the NDX2.
You already have a HiCap DR which helps to trim the preamp in the SN3, you don’t specify which source is used most and which is used least, you could explore different cartridge options on the Rega or even look at what a P8 or P10 could offer especially considering MC vs MM carts.
CD player source you could consolidate on to something like a Uniti Core server for example.
My advise is not to change too many things at once, give it time to settle, also don’t underestimate the benefits of cheap tweaks like speaker positioning or giving your system its own separate mains supply. Enjoy where you are, you’ve found a happy place
@Mr.M i use streaming the most. My preference would be phono with 2500 records. However my disabilities make that the hardest to use. CD and streaming are far easier. Of those two, streaming is by far the easiest.
Very balanced and great synergy. Enjoy your music.
@james_n A dedicated line is not possible. The construction of the apartment prevents that. Plaster and concrete and cinderblock materials.
I’m not going to comment on the system being balanced as I consider that to be more myth than fact, but your system is very capable indeed. I do agree with the suggestions of turning your attention to the sources if you desire to upgrade anything, but you should be getting lots of musical enjoyment the way it is right now, congrats on your system.
@llatpoh76 Over the years I have had lots of different electronics and lots of different speakers. Always looking for better. This is the most enjoyable and relaxed so far. Very realistic tonal balance and good low level detail. It seems to excel at delineating the acoustic space of the music. I am talking more about low level detail than imaging in the hifi sense.
I had not planned on a new system. However apartment renovation destroyed my former system. Glad I was able to bring music into our home again.
I am not sure we will do very much more. The NDX2 streamer strikes me as a possibility down the road.
The room (living room/dining area/ entrance foyer) presents real challenges to any extended upgrades beyond the streamer. If we had to choose between our NYC skyline view and the hifi, the view would win. This precludes acoustic treatment and a wider range of speaker choices.
I want to thank everyone for their support and guidance on my Naim journey.
If you have no space left for another boxes, a great upgrade would be a 222/250 NC. You would upgrade over SN3 / Hicap with Nd5xs2 . And 2 boxes instead of three.
But you can also stay with what you have, I find your system balanced.
Another possibility: get rid of the Cd5i and get a second hand Ndac which will very nicely enhance your Nd5xs2. And the sound will be clearly better vs the Cd5i.
Looks like you’ve got a great system. I’d spend at least six months listening to what you’ve got before considering any changes.
@frenchrooster Then how would we play more then 500 CDs we currently have?The thought of ripping all the CDs is not something we want to contemplate now.
Perfect! Listen and enjoy for a long time to come.
Innuos zen mini, around 500 euros second hand. Shoe box. It will rip and store all your cds, even downloads. And you can put this mini box elsewhere.
Honestly, unless you’re here for the conversation, I’d delete your forum id. That system is perfectly balanced and should last forever. Just get it serviced now and then.
You’ve reached the point as I did where the system doesn’t need fiddling.
Strictly speaking your system is not balanced at all! Naim equipment is designed and manufactured in groups which sit in a very clear hierarchy, with components from within the same range designed to work together.
You have a mixture of Naim boxes from three different ranges, which sit at different performance levels, and they are priced to reflect that performance. SI, XS and Classic are three different ranges, and you have a box from each.
Should you be concerned about this? Of course not, as long as you are enjoying things as they are now. This does, however, give you a clear indication of where improvements might best be made, especially since your sources sit lower down the range than your amp. (That’s with the exception of your turntable, of course, which I haven’t heard but I suspect is plenty good enough for your amp and speakers.)
If you have cash to spend, your amp is easily good enough to justify a Classic level source such as an NDX2. Likewise a CDX2 would be a great upgrade on your CD5si, although it is now only available second hand.
I would also say that your amp is capable of driving more demanding and revealing speakers than your A4s, although in my books speaker/room interaction is generally more important than amp/speaker matching, and again, if you are happy with what you’ve got, there’s really no need to change anything.
@Igel @ChrisSU Thanks for your comments. I used to have an LINN LP12. Given my disabilities, its design is too difficult for me to manage.
The NDX2 is something to consider. Prior to this system, we never streamed. Significant apartment renovation allowed us to hard wire from the streamer to the router. WiFi streaming was never viable, given the construction materials. If after a year we really like streaming and make use of it, I could see upgrading the streamer. I did not want to spend more on a streamer until we were sure about its use.
The A4s are really working well in my room. My room is on the bright side and holds on to bass, again b/c of the construction materials. We are also reluctant to consider any speakers that would compromise our skyline view. As the speakers break in I am liking them more. Their tonal balance suits our room.
Maybe I might consider the Spendor Classic Series down the road.
So far the upgrade that makes the most sense is the streamer. Assuming we really get into streaming.
Does that mean that if you replace a component with another from a higher hierarchy, let’s say you go from from 202/200 to 282/200, it won’t sound as good because balance has been lost?