XS3 vs SuperNait 3 (or alternatives): new amp needed

How about the Nait 50 and use hi-line connection from speakers to subs? Not heard it myself but from the dedicated thread on forum most seem very pleased with SQ to extent some are considering/question the need for many Naim black boxes! All Naim amplifiers mentioned are quality options so perhaps just go with best vfm deal for you.


I hadn’t even thought of that option. Are there still any Nait 50s left?

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According to my dealer Doug Brady’s website they have 3 in stock. Good luck :+1: with whatever you decide.

I’d suggest you solve all your weak links now your into spending.

If you can accept external phonostage then SN2 (or a Rega Aethos) might be half price s/h of SN3, leaving room for upgrade CD source (not on level with Supernait) and your speakerwire.
Kudos KS1 is likely a much better solution than K20, I’d not go below 3-4m as it sound better than 2m.

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I appreciate what you are saying ref the SN2 vs SN3 in terms of price. The reviews that I have read suggest that both the XS3 and the SN3 have more air and space than their predecessors. That is something I value: it was a good point of the A28 and it is a key area where the CD5si falls down against the D33 as a source.

I think the thing is to get the best (most suitable) amp I can afford and then worry about auxiliary upgrades later. At the moment the A28 kaput.


I had an XS2 and upgraded with a Hicap Dr power supply. Later replaced the XS2 with the SN3 and kept the Hicap dr.

Both amps, either with or without Hicap Dr were super capable.

They all had the Naim family sound, so you will be safe whichever way you go and whilst there are incremental gains to be had you’ll never feel short changed. My XS2 was a cracking amp and never short of realism or air.


The higher than (now) normal input capacitance of the SN3 will simply mean you need to be careful with your choice of cartridge. Grados, some Ortofons, older Shures should work fine. Newer Shures and Audio Technicas will not be optimal.


I had the SN3 for 5 years and would highly recommend it. It is very capable and well worth the money, new or PL. The headphone amplifier is really quite capable as well. A lovely one box solution in my opinion.


Indeed so, also Nagaoka MP works wonderfully, the Rega Exact, OM/OMsuper/VM series Ortofon, several HOMCs, just not anything that likes low 100-ish upf capacitance (like AT).


Not in my experience Christopher. Although I stream most of the time I never fail to be impressed with the cd5si when I use it. I would replace it tomorrow if it were otherwise.


I recently upgraded my Arcam integrated and power amps to a SN3 and NAP250DR, whilst keeping my D33.

As my dealer remarked “that’s quite an upgrade in amplification” - and it certainly was.

Even though the D33 had served me well and is indeed a good DAC I decided to swap it out for a NDX2.

I’ve never looked back. My Naim system is simply in a different league to my old Arcam one.

Buy with confidence :wink: and enjoy.


Fair enough. When the Supernait was current, my dealer demmed a CD5i into a SN, and a CDX2 into a Nait 5i. I preferred the latter. But we are all different.

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A Cd5i is much different from a cd5si. The cd5si sounds much more fluid compared to the dry sounding Cd5i.


Nothing to see here, the OP dismissed my original comment. We are firmly into ‘how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?’ territory :slight_smile:

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@Ardbeg10y That’s good to know about the CD5Si as I’ve not heard a CD player in years. I do remember that one time I was seriously unimpressed with the predecessor CD5i vs the CD5 XS (with or without a Flatcap) demoed into a Nait 2. Players on a very different level (well audible with the Nait 2 which generally likes the better sources to shine) .

@Christopher_M I believe a member on the old forum had exactly that combination of CDX2 with Nait 5i, leading to several interesting source-first discussions that also shaped my preferences.

Many thanks. Very useful information to know and I’m pleased that you are enjoying your system. Do you run your system biamped or with the SN3 as a pre?

Also, which Arcam amplifiers did you use? Knowing this will give me an indication of their relative quality.

One day I might strive for a Naim streaming source to match the SN3 but that will be a long while off - buying an SN3 will be a ‘distress’ purchase as, thanks to the A28’s failure, I’m an amp down.

Ultimately I feel the SN3 will get the best out of any permutation of my current system. It has the current delivery to control any of my speaker pairs (according to a test the Piegas can dip to 2.5 ohms) and the transparency to reveal what the D33 is capable of. It will also be future proof and support any source or speaker ‘upgrades’ that I might make in the future.

I didn’t mean to be dismissive. Most of my listening is via the D33 DAC as, compared with the CD5si it has significantly greater clarity, air, top end extension and produces a bigger, wider soundstage - it is more ‘HiFi’ but, being an Arcam, never descends into stridency.

In comparison the CDsi sounds more shut in and needs to be powered on for a long time before it sounds its best. However, it has a thicker, more palpable sound which works very well with particular music (rock etc.) and is a very enjoyable listen. I bought it new and don’t want to sell it. Ultimately, if it had a digital out it would make a fantastic CD transport into the D33 or similar.

I had an A32 and P35 bi-amping my 702S2’s. Like the D33 they gave excellent service and I was very happy with them - right up to the point I borrowed the SN3 and NAP250 from my dealer :laughing:

I’m still bi-amping, but now have a nice upgrade path, swapping the SN3 for a NAC282 and another NAP250 and adding a SNAXO. Now more affordable with the advent of the new classic range :grin:


I’ve had many chances to directly compare SN3 and XS3. I’d take the SN3 any moment.
The XS3 is a bit more fun and cheerful but also more forward and less balanced. The SN3 is clearly built to address different sonic needs than the XS3.
On the other hand, if you want some more colour in what comes out of the speakers and you don’t care too much about long, relaxed listening sessions, an XS3 might bring that teenage something to the party.
My opinion only.


I thought that was a fair synopsis :+1:
Eloquently expressed too.