Nait XS 2 better than SuperNait 2?

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October 15, 2013 9:30 AM

Over the weekend I auditioned both the Nait XS 2 and the SuperNait 2 at a Naim dealer.

 

First I heard the XS 2. I was blown away by how rich the sound was. The midrange was just so smooth and valve like warm. The dynamics were also top notch. It was very enjoyable listening to it.

 

Then I heard the SuperNait 2. This had the same Naim sonic signature but the resolution was higher. There was clearly more details to be heard. The bass was also much more defined and tighter.

 

But to my great surprise the midrange though still beautifully smooth and Naim like, was no way near as rich and warm sounding like the XS 2. In comparison the SuperNait 2 sounded boring and analytical or “digital”, while the XS 2 was just so enjoyable and “musical” to listen to.

 

At first I thought the SuperNait 2 wasn’t fully broken in but I was told right way that both units were throughly broken in and if anything the XS 2 was the newer arrival at their shop.

 

So why does the XS 2 have a much better midrange than the SuperNait 2? I was expecting this to be a no contest between the two. Now this is so confusing as I don’t know which one to get. I love the bass and resolution of the SuperNait 2 but the XS 2’s sound was so seductive!

 

I would love to hear advice and comments. Thank you.

 

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 9:55 AM

Originally Posted by Biggus:

So why does the XS 2 have a much better midrange than the SuperNait 2? ... Now this is so confusing as I don’t know which one to get. I love the bass and resolution of the SuperNait 2 but the XS 2’s sound was so seductive!

 

I would love to hear advice and comments. Thank you.

 

Hi Biggus, it's great when our expectations are confounded!

Most likely the difference between the two amps. is caused by your preferred choice of presentation, NOT any objective better/worse judgement. For instance in some ways I prefer listening to my Qute2 over my SuperUniti at night (warmer/intimate) but in reality it is just the way I want my music delivered TO me that varies, not the quality of the system, and the SU is far superior. I can play the same music at the same time and there is no doubt about it.

 

It is likely you may buy the XS2 then move on at a later date because you desire a charectaristic in sound you do not get from the chosen amp, very normal! It would be a mistake to buy the amp. you 'feel' you should based on a hierarchy within a product range, always buy the one that gives you what you are looking for right now. 

 
Last edited by hafler3o October 15, 2013 10:05 AM
 
 
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October 15, 2013 10:01 AM

(doublepost)

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 10:33 AM

Biggus, if it sounds better, it is better, for you. Nothing i heard of the SN2 would make me change my original XS.

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 10:38 AM

Biggus,

 

maybe a home dem would be the best answer. (?)

 

best,

oz

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 10:53 AM

Originally Posted by Biggus:

In comparison the SuperNait 2 sounded boring and analytical or “digital”, while the XS 2 was just so enjoyable and “musical” to listen to. 

I still don't understand what do people mean by "digital" when characterising the sonic qualities of amplifier.

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 1:02 PM

FWIW - I liked the previous XS model far better than the previous supernait, and therefore got the XS. The flatcap also adds a lot to the XS if you are "under budget"

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 1:40 PM

Originally Posted by mutterback:

       

FWIW - I liked the previous XS model far better than the previous supernait, and therefore got the XS. The flatcap also adds a lot to the XS if you are "under budget"


       


+1 on both counts.
 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 3:11 PM

Thank you so much for your replies. You are nice people!

 

I feel so normal now that I am not the only one that enjoyed the cheaper XS 2 more than the SuperNait 2.

 

My brain says get the SuperNait 2, but my heart says get the XS 2...

 

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 3:11 PM

Originally Posted by mutterback:

FWIW - I liked the previous XS model far better than the previous supernait, and therefore got the XS. The flatcap also adds a lot to the XS if you are "under budget"

 

What does the "flatcap" add to the sound of the XS? Better bass and resolution? And sorry if this is a dumb question but what exactly is a "flatcap"? What does it do and how much does it cost?

 

Thanks!

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 3:31 PM

Originally Posted by Biggus:
Originally Posted by mutterback:

FWIW - I liked the previous XS model far better than the previous supernait, and therefore got the XS. The flatcap also adds a lot to the XS if you are "under budget"

 

What does the "flatcap" add to the sound of the XS? Better bass and resolution? And sorry if this is a dumb question but what exactly is a "flatcap"? What does it do and how much does it cost?

 

Thanks!

The FlatCap is a NAIM power supply. But it does not feature the DR circuit. I think it costs around $1500 USD.

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 8:53 PM

The FlatCap XS costs £775 here in England. So I assume that is what people are referring to. It is an external power supply that powers only the pre-amp section. Interesting...

 

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 8:56 PM

The pre-amp is the more critical half of an integrated or pre/power amplifier.  Improving the power supply - effectively trying to minimise noise and maximise signal integrity - brings big gains in performance.

 
 
 
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October 15, 2013 10:58 PM

I just switched to an XS-2. I'm quite happy with it as well, especially when I consider the money I saved vs the SN2.

 

Moderated Post: I have removed part of this post.  Please ensure you are familiar with forum rules, particularly with regard to discussion of modifications to Naim equipment, including use of non-Naim PSUs, which is not allowed here.

 
Last edited by Richard Dane October 15, 2013 10:58 PM
 
 
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October 16, 2013 6:07 AM

Here is my personal take on digital sound.  Digital = wall of sound.
 
Originally Posted by AMA:
Originally Posted by Biggus:

In comparison the SuperNait 2 sounded boring and analytical or “digital”, while the XS 2 was just so enjoyable and “musical” to listen to. 

I still don't understand what do people mean by "digital" when characterising the sonic qualities of amplifier.

 

 
 
 
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October 16, 2013 9:31 AM

Originally Posted by gary yeowell:

Biggus, if it sounds better, it is better, for you. Nothing i heard of the SN2 would make me change my original XS.

There's the sort of post I like!

 

Chris

 
 
 
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October 16, 2013 4:45 PM

I would say that a sound described as 'digital', would mean that it is a more clinical, colder, sharper and less warm or analogue sounding.

 My XS 2 arrived at the dealers yesterday, I have yet to collect it, but having had one on home demo, I agree that it is a fantastic sounding amplifier. In fact, the best amp I have heard recently by a country mile.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 1:28 AM

Originally Posted by vic575:

...I agree that it is a fantastic sounding amplifier. In fact, the best amp I have heard recently by a country mile.

Nice to know but the best amp in what price range? Which ones did it beat in the comparison?

 

Thanks.

 

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 5:05 AM

I liked the xs way better than the sn1 myself - but struggled to live with it. The SN2 is probably a better long term bet then the xs2 - haven't heard it though - so they might have fixed the annoying aspects of the original.
 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 6:13 AM

Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:
I liked the xs way better than the sn1 myself - but struggled to live with it. The SN2 is probably a better long term bet then the xs2 - haven't heard it though - so they might have fixed the annoying aspects of the original.

Why did you struggle to live with it? What were the annoying aspects?

 

Thanks.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 8:21 AM

Biggus.......don't get him started!.........

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 1:14 PM

Originally Posted by Biggus:
Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:
I liked the xs way better than the sn1 myself - but struggled to live with it. The SN2 is probably a better long term bet then the xs2 - haven't heard it though - so they might have fixed the annoying aspects of the original.

Why did you struggle to live with it? What were the annoying aspects?

 

Thanks.

Biggus if you found the Naim XS2 more enjoyable go for it. Fallow you're heart best advise i can give you. I had a Leema Tucana 2 before switching to my naim nait XS-2 (older model) and i can assure you that at the end of the day it's the music enjoyment more than the feature that count.

 

Etienne 

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 2:54 PM

Our experience at home is that the Supernait 2 brought a large improvement over the previous version of the Nait XS for us.

 

I have all but given up on the utility of listening at my dealer's as relevant to what I'll hear at home.  The rooms are SO different.  The dealer's room is very large, with extensive treatments to render it almost an anechoic chamber.  It is likely an "ideal" room environment, but wholly different than my living room.

 

I would be surprised if the SN2 does midrange less well than the XS2 across the range of speakers and room environments.  My original XS did midrange exceedingly well in my home, and the SN2 is even better, but with the added positive of punchier and better-controlled bass.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 2:59 PM

The XS is an amp on SPEED. The SN2 is the same amp the next day. I guess the XS is fun, but when you're a little older, there's only so much foot tapping you can take before you want a little more balance.

 

Having said that, in the 282/250/HICap combination, I have found the Nait XS's speed and the Supernait's authority.

 

The SN2 is interesting - Bare, it's got the same earthy character that I heard in a 500 series system. Doesn't do speed as well, just yet, but maybe it's a running in thing.

 

It really comes down to source - the amp can't output what the source doesn't give it. So most discussions like these are silly without talking about the accompanying source - and really the speaker in question.

 

If you have a XS level source, I would stick with the NaitXS. With the NDX level source, I would go for the SN2. I tried the NDX with a NaitXS for a long time - didn't work for me.

 

I suspect the XS series is special - and you're best to stay within the XS range. The ND5XS/Nait5i-2 was excellent, but a little fatiguing - too much PRAT. :-)

 

Bart runs the Devores. I spoke to the designer of the speakers once, and he highly recommended the Supernait-1 to go with his speakers - this was many years ago. So something of a question of synergy too.

 
Last edited by MangoMonkey October 17, 2013 3:08 PM
 
 
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October 17, 2013 3:24 PM

Well Mango, that is of course your opinion and you are entitled to it. I don't hear it that way at all, with my CDS3 into NaitXS/Flatcap2X actually the character is less upfront and fast than the Supernait2. What the XS does do however is engage the listener in a more lyrical and intense way as opposed to the rather bigger, fuller and less emotional way of of the SN2.

I have long gone away from putting value in more so called grown up products if the spirit is dumbed down as a consequence.
 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 3:53 PM

Originally Posted by gary yeowell:
What the XS does do however is engage the listener in a more lyrical and intense way as opposed to the rather bigger, fuller and less emotional way of of the SN2.

Agree but it was compare to a leema tucana 2 for me!

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 4:04 PM

Strange thing is that some find the XS1 not so Naimies than the Nait 5i or SN1. Warm and a bit laidback. That is not my experience though. 

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 4:16 PM

MM, I'm confused by your posts.  11 hours ago on this very thread you say you haven't heard the Supernait 2 and that you hope "they might have fixed the annoying aspects of the original"  and yet today you feel that you can give a learned opinion it as per your post above.  Now it's possible that you may have had a demo within the last few hours or overnight, which I assume explains the apparent inconsistency, but I hardly think that's anywhere near enough time to form a definitive opinion.  You need to let it run for a few days at least before making any judgement.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 4:48 PM

Why expecting consistency of judgement from someone who's changing system every other day? not surprising to me...

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 5:31 PM

Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:
I liked the xs way better than the sn1 myself - but struggled to live with it. The SN2 is probably a better long term bet then the xs2 - haven't heard it though - so they might have fixed the annoying aspects of the original.

@Richard:

 

To be clear - it is the XS-2 I haven't heard. And now I'm really tempted to go hear it.

 

The sn2 I have at home since a few weeks now (since the they nailed it post). I wouldn't be surprised if it is right there with the 282/250 once it's run in nicely.

 

Originally Posted by matpip:

Why expecting consistency of judgement from someone who's changing system every other day? not surprising to me...

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." -- Waldo

In all honesty, I have no clue who that dude was. :-)

 

In any case, nothing new here - we had the same endless debates when the original SN2 and NaitXS came out.

 
Last edited by MangoMonkey October 17, 2013 5:43 PM
 
 
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October 17, 2013 5:53 PM

Originally Posted by JoexNaim:

Biggus.......don't get him started!.........


Well, he asked for it.

 

Wrote up a big post, but deleted it. It got pretty absurd. Suffice it to say, I did struggle to live with the XS, but it was all my fault. :-)

 

I can only think that If I had got a ND5XS/NaitXS and different speakers, things would have been different. Towards the end,  In my study, where I tried to run the NaitXS with the Harbeth P3ESR, the rich midrange got too much for me. It didn't help that I could only run it at low volumes - in the study - it might have been better at higher volumes. No idea.

 

@Biggus what source and speakers were in use for the demo? That could explain it.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 5:55 PM

Originally Posted by gary yeowell:
Well Mango, that is of course your opinion and you are entitled to it. I don't hear it that way at all, with my CDS3 into NaitXS/Flatcap2X actually the character is less upfront and fast than the Supernait2. What the XS does do however is engage the listener in a more lyrical and intense way as opposed to the rather bigger, fuller and less emotional way of of the SN2.

I have long gone away from putting value in more so called grown up products if the spirit is dumbed down as a consequence.

@Gary - could be a source issue. :-)

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 6:07 PM

OK thanks MM, it read a little ambiguously but makes more sense now.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 7:49 PM

Originally Posted by Biggus:
Originally Posted by vic575:

...I agree that it is a fantastic sounding amplifier. In fact, the best amp I have heard recently by a country mile.

Nice to know but the best amp in what price range? Which ones did it beat in the comparison?

 

Thanks.

 

I have auditioned many amps recently, to be fair some were cheaper than the xs 2, but some were more money.

They include :-

Musical Fidelity M6i Integrated 

Cyrus 8XPd

Cyrus 6a

Cyrus 8pre/power

Nait 5i

Nait 5si

EMIS AUDIO HVA1 valve amp

Creek Audio Evolution 50A 

It wasn't until I heard the XS 2 that it all fell into place. I have to say though, that having had the 5si on loan for the last two weeks, it is also very, very good. Had I not already heard the XS 2, I would have bought the 5si.

 
 
 
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October 17, 2013 8:03 PM

i find many of these kind of posts really meaningless. I mean the XS is a fine amp, so I don't quite get why anyone would struggle to live with it ? we are lucky that they were invented in the first place ! I still miss mine and could happily go back to it.

 

on my 202/200/HCDR with a project debut carbon TT

 

the police synchronicity vinyl is magical

some other albums are really unimpressive. I just purchased on Vinyl the verve - urban hyms - and it sounds quite poor. I was really expecting a magical performance on vinyl. 

 

when a recording can change the sound of a system, there is just too much subjectivity.

 

whether nait xs is better than SN2 - I really doubt that it is, given that the SN2 has the DR regulators - so it boils down to cost and speaker load. I haven't heard both, but in the naim world, paying more gets you more.

 

in any case - personally as a sweet spot - maybe the XS2 is the better buy financially, since it can be upgraded by HCDR and get the benefit of the improved regulator.

 

Maybe the combo of XS2/HCDR would sound maybe even better than SN2?

 

 

 
Last edited by analogmusic October 17, 2013 8:14 PM
 
 
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October 17, 2013 11:54 PM

Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:
Originally Posted by gary yeowell:
Well Mango, that is of course your opinion and you are entitled to it. I don't hear it that way at all, with my CDS3 into NaitXS/Flatcap2X actually the character is less upfront and fast than the Supernait2. What the XS does do however is engage the listener in a more lyrical and intense way as opposed to the rather bigger, fuller and less emotional way of of the SN2.

I have long gone away from putting value in more so called grown up products if the spirit is dumbed down as a consequence.

@Gary - could be a source issue. :-)

Can't possibly think why it would be a source 'issue' Mango. In digital terms i have yet to hear a source that betters the CDS3, except for the 555, and then not with all material. My yardstick in terms of the CDS3 has been constant for the last 6 years and in that time i have put several amp combinations in front of it. Because of this, i am acutely aware of what each combination is doing to the signal, even more so in the last near 3 years since the Ovators went in as they have never been moved nor adjusted. Rest of the system has also stayed constant with Fraim, Powerlines and Hiline.

 
Last edited by gary yeowell October 18, 2013 12:15 AM
 
 
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October 18, 2013 12:27 AM

I  meant 'source issue' in a positive way.

 
 
 
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October 18, 2013 12:29 AM

Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:

I  meant 'source issue' in a positive way.

Gotcha.... Sorry my misunderstanding  

 
 
 
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October 18, 2013 1:02 AM

Originally Posted by gary yeowell:
Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:

I  meant 'source issue' in a positive way.

Gotcha.... Sorry my misunderstanding  

Gary, for my information, why are you using a 282/SC2 with you're nait xs??? I post a message on you're wall about this!

 
 
 
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October 18, 2013 1:10 AM

Originally Posted by Kalius666:
Originally Posted by gary yeowell:
Originally Posted by MangoMonkey:

I  meant 'source issue' in a positive way.

Gotcha.... Sorry my misunderstanding  

Gary, for my information, why are you using a 282/SC2 with you're nait xs??? I post a message on you're wall about this!

Actually i was using a 252/SC2 with the NaitXS as i found i preferred the amp section of the Nait to either the 155XS or 200. I am now back to using the XS/FC2X for reasons that are a little complicated, but partly due to selling a sub par Linn LP12, and no longer requiring the 252's wonderful Aux 2 to power my Prefix.

 
Last edited by gary yeowell October 18, 2013 1:17 AM
 
 
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