Would you downsize?

I went from 6 Naim boxes to Melco/TT2/MScaler/Cor a couple of years ago. I would actually like to reduce the box count further, but am not prepared to sacrifice sound quality. Not sure where to go next?

Active speakers? E.g. ATC SCM 40A, 50A, 100A, 150A… i don’t know what they sound like, other than that the dome midrange driver they all share is one of the very best midrange units there is (and I have it in my speakers) - but many people who have tried them love them.

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When I chose the 282/250 it was supposed to be a long term move, and I was certainly happy with it apart from the box count. It was only when I stumbled on a great deal on a Dave to replace my Hugo that I then decided to try it without the 282, originally direct into the 250. It still sounded good to me, and losing a £6.5k preamp I didn’t really need made the unplanned Dave purchase much easier to justify.
The Étude was developed to partner Dave, so it seemed like the obvious choice, and I managed to get one on demo from my dealer. It didn’t take long to realise that it was a better fit in my system than the 250.

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Replaced my CDX2/XPS2 with an Innuos Zenith and a TT2. The 4 boxes and mess of cables which currently make-up my Naim amplifucattkn will be replaced by one box with only one input and two sources going into the DAC.

Sounds good

Once the money has been saved I’m making a final move away from Naim in terms of amplification. I think, for me, it remains the case that Naim single boxes and integrated stuff are great but the power supplies and Burndys etc. started to subtract from the enjoyment.


This is a very interesting thread, albeit not the first along these lines. seems to me that Naim could learn much if they monitor this and some of the other threads on the forum. Perhaps that is why they are happy to give pretty free reign to discussions that many other manufacturers would block: a shrewd way of getting to understand what your customer base - or potential customer base - wants and appreciates, that no amount of traditional market research would reveal.

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No, I would not, given that I have LPs, cassettes, CDs and use streaming as well as headphones occasionally.

What I would certainly consider is a preamp/dac with balanced outputs for using active speakers, but I would still have all the other boxes.

Having the equivalent of one of those nifty 1970s-style all in one music centres would not be a good idea, I feel.

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Notice Q Accoustics have just launched a pair of floor standing speakers with 400w built in amplifiers and a streamer

Technically thats no boxes, just a pair of speakers! Imagine how much space (and plug sockets) that would liberate!

Wander how they sound😁

You still need a source unless they’ve got that built in. And if they don’t have volume controls , or not high enough sensitivity for your source (e.g. vinyl) you’d need need a preamp. Much like the other active speakers previously mentioned.

To answer the OP’s original question, I’d have thought the only reason not to go for the smaller box count with the same SQ would be to display lots of boxes to oneself or friends. Otherwise, it’s a no-brainer.

Actually, I moved from 3 boxes and passive speakers, to 1 box and actives. Not sure if that counts as box reduction, but to my ears the SQ was better and the price smaller.



I always wonder what the point of these threads is. Multiple boxes is the price we pay for decent sound. There are plenty of single box music systems but they don’t sound like a full separates system.
In fantasy land a small single box would sound as good but I’ve not yet spent any time there…


That’s what I used to think. But no longer.



That might hold true re deciding on one or the other, if same sound quality to the buyer’s ears, and at same cost (or the lesser box count at lower cost), though only IF the buyer hears both before buying. But downsizing to the lesser box system may be quite a different matter, as the cost and process of change are also factors.

I retire in a year to part time work and then fully retire 18 mons later. If we downsize to a smaller house I’ve thought I would sell my seven box system and two Fraim stacks and get a 2- or 3-box Boulder integrated amp system. From what I have heard of Boulder so far I don’t think it will sound worse and it will drive my speakers just fine.

The assertion that you cannot match the quality of multiple boxes with a single box currently holds true in most cases. However, there are starting to be exceptions to that.

Any assertion that downsizing in general cannot match multiple boxes is just ignorant dogma.

With Naim systems you are right, increased box count is part of the deal. There are other ways to build a system which doesn’t require nearly as many separate boxes, don’t use big separate toroidal PSUs, or put power amps (and more) inside the speaker cabinets. There is no right or wrong approach, just different ones.

I have downsized, and it has meant moving away from Naim in part. I have to say I am delighted with my new system … and to my ears it’s the best it has ever sounded… not particularly cheap, but certainly smaller.
The areas of interesting development include amplification currently… quite a lot of interesting innovation out there with various architectures and approaches including dual feed forward error correction topologies and high speed digital power supply design and we are all potentially benefitting with major strides in performance in smaller footprints… certainly in my opinion some of the newer higher end DAC preamps with fast transient responses require suitably matched amplification for a good overall system performance and transparency.
When you start to move away from big transformers it does open things up… and allows major size reduction without the significant issues of electromagnetic field interference and coupling.


Do mind me asking what you currently have? Always interesting to see what others done.

ATC SCM 19, Chord Etude, Chord Dave(mscalar), Naim NDX2, Naim CDX2.