Would you downsize?

If it ever became possible to get the same sonic performance from a single, small unit, that cost exactly the same as the multi shelf, multi box systems we have today. Would you swap?

Most definitely – I like minimalism. More floor space without the boxes/stands and no more wire spaghetti behind the HiFi.

Good question and probably yes, BUT there is something satisfying about a full fat multibox system sitting on its furniture.

Yes I would, although my limited appetite for multiple boxes has always constrained my freedom to climb the Naim ladder.
I recently made what I see as a significant step in this direction by replacing my 282/NAPSC/Hicap/250DR with a Chord Étude. One smallish box that costs a bit less than a 250, and in my system sounds significantly better that the 4-box Naim amp. Of course, it wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t already have a rather expensive Chord Dave DAC working as a preamp.

Ultimately Naim systems still require loads of boxes. If you don’t like it you need to look elsewhere, although it will be very interesting to see if this changes as Naim continue to develop new products.

Whatever happens I want to have good sound (at least for as long as I can hear), and never wish to compromise that. It inevitably means big speakers and an amp capable of driving them. I could never downsize to a boombox, even a good one like Muso, but if, as the OP suggests, a one box source and amplification were to be as good than the combination of units I have now, and the cost of change negligible, or if the one-box were to be better, no more than I would pay for an upgrade in the separates system, then as it stands now absolutely go for it. But if I was lower down the upgrade route and the cost question would be more significant. Regarding speakers, I would consider hearing satellites and subs, possibly being smaller.

In summary, number of boxes is of no relevance whatsoever - if I can get (and afford) the same or better sound quality with fewer boxes then that would be good if only for simplicity, space, and to help others if I ever lose my marbles! Meanwhile I concede that if I became so limited in capability as to have to move into a ‘home’, I may have to go to headphones (ones capable of adequate sound quality) - but that is not a voluntary move. If I came into hard times the hifi would be the last thing to go (and there was once a time when lots of things did have to go but indeed the hifi remained a constant.

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Well, that’s a MASSIVE “if” … but
… yes :sunglasses:

I presume you are talking about a swap of “old” for “new” with zero added funding ?

I’m in the process of moving from 8 boxes down to 3. I’m 2/3 of the way there and so far the sound has improved. Ridiculously so. So, yeah.

Asa young man I aspired first to separated and then to move from stand mount to floor standing speakers; integrated amp to pre/power etc. I’ve come to realise that multiple boxes = cable issue; location issues; space issues and tips the ratio of listening to music versus fixing things in the wrong direction.



I guess that I already have fulfilled my needs by reducing box count whilst upgrading sound when I bought my Nova.

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Good Morning All,

Having come back into hi-fi after a 20yr hiatus I kind of raced headlong in to where I thought I wanted to be.

After sitting back and listening and absorbing information from various forums I am in the midst of ‘downsizing’.

The Karik/ Numerik have already gone and all CD’s ripped. Two boxes gone.

The NAC52/ Supercap has very recently gone. Another two boxes gone.

It is still the plan to replace the SNAXO 3-6/ Supercap with an Exactbox. Another box gone.

The LP12 is only on a ‘stay of execution’ having made the decision I will be selling it. Another ‘box’ gone.

That will be 13 down to 7.

I’ll then be able to sell some of the ‘spare’ Quadraspire shelving…



If the single small unit was modular similar to linn’s approach. One benefit of being multibox is you can swap out components as tech improves rather than having to replace the whole system. If you have a turntable in your system, thats still going to occupy the same floor space though regardless of the ancillary kit but it would have less of a visual presence.

I already have! I went from top end olive (52/135s/SC/CDS2/XPS) to Unitis and am now very happy with my Nova with N-Sats and sub.
Streaming has transformed the way I listen to music. Rather than repeatedly listening to the same limited repertoire I love exploring new music and listening to artists that would have been too much of a risk to purchase. I have found some gems in the process. This means I listen to the music more than the hifi and don’t obsess about the cymbal decay 75 seconds into track 3 of whatever.
Of course I do also listen a lot to old favourites (looking at you Grateful Dead!) but I find that my current set up is plenty good enough to give me pleasure and I really don’t feel I am missing much at all. Basically I listen at home not in a dem room and find environment and mood more significant that the last nuance of sound quality. Have you ever gone to a friend’s house where there is a much “inferior” system and been surprised how much you enjoyed it?
I’m not saying my Nova is as good as a multi box system and it may be that others put a higher value on hyper critical listening. I was in the Naim dem room when they played a Nova against a 272/250 through massive (and massively ugly!) Focals - Magisters? The 272/250 was certainly better but not enough to justify the extra cost and hassle (racks, cables etc.). Others at the dem had different opinions.
Having said that, I would go for a Statement system if I could. It is transformational in a way that 500 level systems just aren’t to my ears.


I am currently trying to reduce the number of boxes in my system. There will be more than one, simply because my turntable and its external power supply will stay. Out of my own experiences I can say that there is no absolute correlation between the number of boxes and the resulting sound quality. I had both complex systems sounding better than their simpler predecessors and simpler systems sounding better than their complex predecessors.

I would swop. I live in a small bungalow the Naim cd player takes up very little room. That is why
Went for this product. But it is rather expensive i was fortunate to get a good discount.

I would, if all of the SQ in six boxes could be extracted from just one, even if the cost were about the same. The issue I suspect would be that most of us get there gradually, part-exing boxes along the way and picking up good deals as they appear at the right time in the upgrade cycle. If it were an all or nothing option I doubt if quite so many would be prepared to make that leap from a standing start.

Or could afford to, unless they went without music for a couple of decades while saving up!


What speakers are you running? And any other upgrades with it? Power line?

The problem is that some technology is still evolving. While the amplifier part (at least class A/B) has reached its status of maturity, you don t know where DAC and streamers will go. I would always try to separate the digital source from the other components, but a high end 2 box system could be made with this reasoning easily. I was not into DAC’s back then but the general consensus is that today’s 1000$ DAC beat a 10000$ DAC from 10 years ago. Who really want to have spent 20.000$ on an All-in-One and know in 10 years that some things inside are obsolete? I surely don’t and that is why i ended up on a relatively small separates System instead of the Uniti Star i had before.

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Shahinian Arc2s. The 250DR did a a decent enough job of driving them, but the Étude has more grip over them.

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A very interesting change of set up and one that appeals to me on two counts. Firstly I have “fallen in love” with sound of Chord DACs (initially I had a MoJo then upgraded to a Hugo2). A DAVE will probably be next. Secondly, I would like to downsize the box count of pre/power and their respective power supplies, plus the cable spaghetti! A sound quality check seems the next step for me … when funds allow!!