XS power supplies: XP5 on nDAC and Flatcap2 on Nait XS3 benefits?

With all the noise about the OC versus the NC ranges, I am curious about the more humble power supplies at the XS level, more specifically their benefits for the nDAC and Nait XS3:

  • Who uses the XP5 XS on their nDAC, instead of the usual bare, XPS or 555PS (non-DR)?

  • Also, who uses a Flatcap2 XS on their Nait XS3? Using the search function reveals combinations with the pre/power slimlines, with sources and with the original Nait XS and XS2 (only).

In today’s used market there are now some really good deals on these slimline XS power supplies, even for newer ones that are still comfortably away from a scheduled service.

I’m interested to hear any experiences/opinions whether these bargains are worth the extra box or not.

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Not a direct answer to your question - hopefully someone will have had the specific experience you’re after, but in case relevant I used an XP5XS on an ND5XS, and the difference was so marginal as to be a total waste of money - the only mistake I’ve made in my hifi journey. I quickly sold it and added an external DAC for less money and a far bigger step up in sound quality.

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I’m not surprised. I find the ND5XS to be an excellent streamer fronting my Nait5si / Emit M10s. I’ve never felt it needed any more Welly. Ok it’s at the Good end of the Good, Better, Best Naim scale but it doesn’t get the recognition these days. My opinion on the XP5XS and previously the Flatcap is that any SQ uplift falls somewhere between the component and the next component up (but closer to the original). Given the choice I’d rather sell the component and get the next one up to get a real uplift than add a modest external PS. I.e. in the OPs case, I’d rather move up to a Supernait 2 and an NDX2. At used prices they are a bargain. That’s just me of course :blush:

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My avatar tells you all you need to know :blush:

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would be good to hear from someone on this specifically, as ‘if not needing the extra volume of the Supernait’, the XS3 with the removed cascode filter/‘enhanced slew rate’ gained a LOT of ground towards the level of sound that is the SN2.

The XS3 with a modest power supply upgrade might ‘do wonders’. (as does most off board power supply circuitry for ‘delicate preamp stages’)

A flow on benefit for ‘another bit of kit’ is really just icing in this scenario, and quite likely the much better play.

(plus: better the devil you know- you know how you’ve used YOUR kit, a second hand piece might be from a smokers household/ or ‘by the ocean’, or in the sun for half of everyday etc…)

edit: otherwise I completely agree with the sentiment to go for the bigger/better piece of kit in default mode (and have option to upgrade IT ! wink.gif)

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Yes that has been the prevalent forum reaction, unless needed for a source component.

However, for any XS Nait (1,2,3) upgrade question the forum produces an automatic recommendation to a flavour of Supernait (1,2,3). Myself I prefer the voicing of the XS3 so for only a few hundred €£$ nowadays I wondered if anyone has real world experiences of the FlatCap2 XS on it.

Thanks to the unhappy ND5XS upgraders as above, there are also XP5 XS examples available for these same few hundred €£$ nowadays. I remember years ago hearing an uplift when it’s used on the nDAC rather than on a streamer, so also there I was wondering if anyone has used this longer time.

I like the look of a bunch slim line devices.

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From Naim’s Connections magazine, Winter 2009-2010

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Okay, another opinion, for what it’s worth…

Adding a psu to XS3…
Running a HC2 with our XS2 and find that to be very nice :+1:
At some future point, might be tempted to use our XS2 with a newer HCDR, (if or when the pre-loved prices drop to a certain level).

Just wasn’t convinced or even tempted by the FlatCap, when we did the audition.
Details previously posted here…

Adding psu to nDAC…
Lots of anecdotal posts, on this forum - over years - suggesting a similarly small gain, but an unimpressive step forward with XP5 on nDAC. Maybe you’ve already found these same comments ?

Having done own research and several listening tests too, own mind is already made up for at least XPS DR or maybe 555PS, in time. Personal experience is this gain is worth the funds required.

Good luck with this aspect of your journey.
It’s all good. We all make different decisions, based on a bunch of both objective and personal factors.
Interesting to see which direction you choose. So, following with interest. :+1:

Good luck.
R

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I do like the slimline Naims, indeed my 2nd system is one. I have a spare XPS2 at the moment and was considering trying it on the ND5XS. I’ve decided not to bother for two reasons. 1) It won’t match the slims and 2) I’d rather have the £1k plus in my pocket. I have no doubt that it would provide some uplift in SQ but I really don’t need it.

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The xp5xs is pretty good imo, it’s a definite improvement over a bare ndac, I would say it adds a more dynamic nature to the music and brings the quieter passages a little closer. I got an immaculate example which serves me well.

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I never considered the XP5 when I had my nDAC. Forum wisdom was that it wasn’t particularly good VFM and coming across an ex-demo XPS at a good price, that was what I went for. I later had it upgraded to DR and thought just about worthwhile it wasn’t quite as big a step up as I’d expected. Rather than an XP5 I’d be inclined to see if a non-DR XPS at a good price could be located.

As for a FlatCap, I did get a FCXS when I had a a Nait XS and felt this gave a nice but subtle uplift to SQ without changing the fundamental nature of the XS setup. Worth it? Yes if it can be got for a reasonable price. I also tried a HiCap on the Nait XS and didn’t like the effect at all — exaggerated and unrealistic is how I’d put it, but I guess we all hear things differently. And it was a Nait XS 1.

Roger

Thank you @WRivers1987 the first reply with actual experience with the XP5 XS on the nDAC!

Now still hoping to also find a forum member, if any, who uses the FlatCap2 XS on a Nait XS3.

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On nDAC I would go XPS2 if on budget or if you can 555PS non DR. With XS3 I would go HiCap DR or leave it alone. You’re better off putting the power supply on the source. An XP5XS power supply won’t add nearly as much as an XPS2. And prices should be broadly similar.

I would agree and also suggest that trying a supecap DR (like I did once) was ridiculous the Nait XS2 became overblown. Personally if the room system needs it than a flatcap XS is the best addition.

I was offered a mint older XP5 SX for €1000 likely a newer cheaper one will come up at some point. A XPS2 here goes for around €2500-3000. I was also offered a mint 2017 FlatCap2 XS for only €500, a HiCap DR is about €1500 nowadays.

Now I totally understand that a SN3 & HiCap DR or full NDX2 & XPS2 will be quite a few levels up. But that “upgrade” will cost more than my whole system did so far, whereas said FlatCap would be less than new cartridge money, to keep things in perspective.

Many of my recent posts are within a financial context and in this case we’re talking bargain add-ons. The problem with these bargains is when you buy you can’t really sell them off again, as they are bargains from lack of interest to begin with.

Some real-world experience feedback helps to make the judgement call. So far I’ve found one forum member with a XP5 XS on a nDAC (who was happy), and none with a FlatCap2 XS on a Nait XS3, to live and tell the tale. That is enlightening and gives me food for thought, so a useful topic.

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An XP5XS is not really going to do much. You’re better of doing nothing with the nDAC. I don’t think the Flatcap will do much either. You are better off leaving the nDAC or getting a decent power supply as advised. Likewise your XS3 won’t benefit too much from the Flatcap. You are better off with the HiCap DR. Regardless of price, sometimes a small upgrade won’t be an upgrade at all.

Spend your minely wisely on proper upgrades, rather than a minimal if any improvement.

Your choices of course. Noone really goes for these two upgrades very often as the XPS variants and HiCap variants are much better.

In UK an XPS2 costs around £1200, a HiCap DR around £800.

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Thank you @Dan_M yes I see your point.

Am not actively pursuing upgrades, as I’m happy already, but just curious in this instance.

Your second hand Naim market is heaven with these prices!

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Tbh with XS3 you may find it sounds better without any power supply. Some have found HiCap DR makes it sound worse and looses it’s fun.

If it was me I would probably just do the XPS2 or XPSDR on nDAC or just leave it. You have a source with the ND5XS2 and nDAC which is good enough for your XS3. It needs to sound right. If you make it too good it will throw system out of balance!

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Sometimes keeping things simple is better and adding power supplies can create a system imbalance. And then you will want to upgrade XS3 and so on and so on.

If it sounds great, focus on the LP12 maybe as that’s your favourite source.

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