Re. Amp advice needed XS2 or SN2

Good evening all!

Hoping to change amps within a month or so.  Before Xmas I had a brief demo of the XS2 and SN2, I ultimately liked the drive of the SN2 and also very much liked the slight richness of the XS2. My mind was made up to go for a SN2.

Due to budget, I've had to have a rethink and will consider looking at the S/H market.

I have no intention of changing speakers as they work perfectly within space or sources as I'm very happy there. I basically miss the Naim sound. Would the SN2 be a step too far with what I have?

Thanks

My current set up:

Rega RP8 & Ortofon Cadenza Red

Rega Aria

Rega Elex R 

Guru juniors

Vortexbox-Roon>Chord Mojo

Original Post

I think the Supernait would be a great amp for your system if your budget can stretch to it. Your vinyl source is certainly up to it. You may find that you need to reposition your speakers to get them to behave, but only trial and error will tell you that for sure. Try to get a home demo if you buy from a dealer - or if you buy a used one privately, be prepared to sell it on if it doesn't work for you, but I think the chances of that are small.

Are your speaker cables, equipment supports etc. up to scratch? As you climb the ladder, shortcomings in system setup are going to make themselves felt, so maybe give this some thought rather than only thinking of the next box upgrade. Good luck!

wenger2015 posted:

Another alternative is SN1, which is also a superb box, and pre-loved deals are extremely competitive 

Indeed. I have a SN1 and it is a most versatile box. Main difference with the SN2 is that the SN2 is more refined.

Given your sources, I would go for either the SN2, or the SN1 with hicap. I've auditioned my SN1 one-to-one with a SN2, and I could not tell the difference between the SN1 + Hicap DR and the SN2 (without Hicap DR).

If I had to decide now, I would go SN2 + nDac.

Artferg20 posted:
...

I have no intention of changing speakers as they work perfectly within space or sources as I'm very happy there. I basically miss the Naim sound. Would the SN2 be a step too far with what I have?

...

In my humble opinion, there is no too far regarding amps. Limitation of a system is seldomly in Speakers.

I've a set of mediocre B&W CM1's, but the Supernait is doing magic. It drives them to extremes.

Artferg20 posted:

Seeming quite difficult to find an S/H SN2 around my budget. Will keep looking tho! Would a S/H pre-power or XS2 & Flatcap bring me close to the performance as an SN2?

You could get a used  202/200 within your budget.  Just remember that you may need to budget for a service when it gets beyond 10 years old. Probably easier to find than a used Supernait 2.

Ardbeg10y posted:
wenger2015 posted:

Another alternative is SN1, which is also a superb box, and pre-loved deals are extremely competitive 

Indeed. I have a SN1 and it is a most versatile box. Main difference with the SN2 is that the SN2 is more refined.

Given your sources, I would go for either the SN2, or the SN1 with hicap. I've auditioned my SN1 one-to-one with a SN2, and I could not tell the difference between the SN1 + Hicap DR and the SN2 (without Hicap DR).

If I had to decide now, I would go SN2 + nDac.

I realize this is just an opinion, but I have a SN2 with a HiCap DR and I also have heard the SN1 extensively. I would disagree with the statement that the SN2 is a more refined sounding amp, There were some very substantial changes made to the SN2, a much larger transformer and a  better power supply,  it's technically a very much superior sounding amp, a more detailed, upfront and dynamic, transparent sounding amp, so I guess my opinion of it sounding more refined would differ from yours. Assuming I understand what  you mean by refined. 

I would say, based on my ears, that the two amps sounded very different, whereas the SN2 completely overshadowing the previous SN1 by quite  a big margin.

badlands posted:
Ardbeg10y posted:
wenger2015 posted:

Another alternative is SN1, which is also a superb box, and pre-loved deals are extremely competitive 

Indeed. I have a SN1 and it is a most versatile box. Main difference with the SN2 is that the SN2 is more refined.

Given your sources, I would go for either the SN2, or the SN1 with hicap. I've auditioned my SN1 one-to-one with a SN2, and I could not tell the difference between the SN1 + Hicap DR and the SN2 (without Hicap DR).

If I had to decide now, I would go SN2 + nDac.

I realize this is just an opinion, but I have a SN2 with a HiCap DR and I also have heard the SN1 extensively. I would disagree with the statement that the SN2 is a more refined sounding amp, There were some very substantial changes made to the SN2, a much larger transformer and a  better power supply,  it's technically a very much superior sounding amp, a more detailed, upfront and dynamic, transparent sounding amp, so I guess my opinion of it sounding more refined would differ from yours. Assuming I understand what  you mean by refined. 

I would say, based on my ears, that the two amps sounded very different, whereas the SN2 completely overshadowing the previous SN1 by quite  a big margin.

Badlands, I compared SN1 +  SN2 having Neat Iota Alpha's. I think that these speakers do not put a high load on the Amp. A difference in dynamicity could have been noticed by me when there were speakers which were more difficult to drive.

Regarding transparency, the Hicap DR does a great job to lower the noise of the SN1 and increases the transparency. To my ears and circumstances the SN1 + Hicap DR and SN2 without hicap are very close.

I'm not that long around in hifi. Maybe the word refined was chosen wrongly, but I think it translates best to transparency.

wenger2015 posted:

I've noticed a number of SN2 owners having hooked up a HCdr....don't like it...... and a number of SN1owners who have done likewise do like it...

If you own a SN2 it's got to be better ....?

Personally I think it's all about personal preference.. 

It can be about personal preference, but it can also be about which one is technically better in every area of sound reproduction.

The same can also be said about every part of the stereo system, like speakers, if you own Sopra 2's they have to be better...! Same principle.

I have the same turntable although with a different cartridge and have previously owned the same speakers.  I own a SN2 and can say that the turntable works really well with it as do the Gurus.  I've also used the Rega Aria, although I own a Stageline, and again that works very well.   I doubt very much if you would be disappointed with the SN2 with the rest of your system and I would guess you would have  a chance of picking one up for perhaps slightly more than £2k used.  Unlike others I love the Hicap DR on my SN2 - think it makes a good amp great but I could happy live with the SN2 by itself - it's a fantastic integrated amp

badlands posted:
wenger2015 posted:

I've noticed a number of SN2 owners having hooked up a HCdr....don't like it...... and a number of SN1owners who have done likewise do like it...

If you own a SN2 it's got to be better ....?

Personally I think it's all about personal preference.. 

It can be about personal preference, but it can also be about which one is technically better in every area of sound reproduction.

The same can also be said about every part of the stereo system, like speakers, if you own Sopra 2's they have to be better...! Same principle.

It's all about personal preference, do you like 282 or 252, the 252 on paper should be better? 

Same with SN1 or SN2 with or without HCdr?

If it's music to your ears that's all that matters... 

wenger2015 posted:
badlands posted:
wenger2015 posted:

I've noticed a number of SN2 owners having hooked up a HCdr....don't like it...... and a number of SN1owners who have done likewise do like it...

If you own a SN2 it's got to be better ....?

Personally I think it's all about personal preference.. 

It can be about personal preference, but it can also be about which one is technically better in every area of sound reproduction.

The same can also be said about every part of the stereo system, like speakers, if you own Sopra 2's they have to be better...! Same principle.

It's all about personal preference, do you like 282 or 252, the 252 on paper should be better? 

Same with SN1 or SN2 with or without HCdr?

If it's music to your ears that's all that matters... 

I can guarantee that purchases are not only made because of personal preferences.

badlands posted:
wenger2015 posted:
badlands posted:
wenger2015 posted:

I've noticed a number of SN2 owners having hooked up a HCdr....don't like it...... and a number of SN1owners who have done likewise do like it...

If you own a SN2 it's got to be better ....?

Personally I think it's all about personal preference.. 

It can be about personal preference, but it can also be about which one is technically better in every area of sound reproduction.

The same can also be said about every part of the stereo system, like speakers, if you own Sopra 2's they have to be better...! Same principle.

It's all about personal preference, do you like 282 or 252, the 252 on paper should be better? 

Same with SN1 or SN2 with or without HCdr?

If it's music to your ears that's all that matters... 

I can guarantee that purchases are not only made because of personal preferences.

Indeed. My personal preference would be the SN2 + nDac + PS. However, the single box solution of the SN1 just works fine given my private (wife / finance) and domestic situation.

The beauty of the Naits is that one can reach a certain quality level having a single box. Its good in itself.

I'll keep my SN in the living, but plan currently for a Naim setup in my study.

I've managed to track an ex-demo SN2 from a dealer local to me. It's a little over my budget but feel it will be worth it in the end.

Will be able to collect it in a couple of weeks. I'm currently using Van den hul Clearwater speaker cables. Is it imperative to use NAC A5 cables?

Thanks

Artferg20 posted:

I've managed to track an ex-demo SN2 from a dealer local to me. It's a little over my budget but feel it will be worth it in the end.

Will be able to collect it in a couple of weeks. I'm currently using Van den hul Clearwater speaker cables. Is it imperative to use NAC A5 cables?

Thanks

I tried many different speaker cables with my SN2... Naim's own sounded the best match to my ears.

Adam Zielinski posted:
Artferg20 posted:

I've managed to track an ex-demo SN2 from a dealer local to me. It's a little over my budget but feel it will be worth it in the end.

Will be able to collect it in a couple of weeks. I'm currently using Van den hul Clearwater speaker cables. Is it imperative to use NAC A5 cables?

Thanks

I tried many different speaker cables with my SN2... Naim's own sounded the best match to my ears.

Would also suggest nac a5 or TQ blacks are extremely good....if your dealer has some demo pairs available it would certainly be worth giving them a try...

wenger2015 posted:
Adam Zielinski posted:
Artferg20 posted:

I've managed to track an ex-demo SN2 from a dealer local to me. It's a little over my budget but feel it will be worth it in the end.

Will be able to collect it in a couple of weeks. I'm currently using Van den hul Clearwater speaker cables. Is it imperative to use NAC A5 cables?

Thanks

I tried many different speaker cables with my SN2... Naim's own sounded the best match to my ears.

Would also suggest nac a5 or TQ blacks are extremely good....if your dealer has some demo pairs available it would certainly be worth giving them a try...

Indeed - TQ are also very good. I liked Black and Ultra Balck a lot

I've had the SN1+hicapdr+nDAC for years. No desire to upgrade.

I swapped and upgraded to the SN2 with my dealer later. But that's because I didn't want to recap the ageing SN1.

I can live with either amps. On my set up, the SN1 gave a nice fun bouncy bass that I liked. The SN2 is more refined, having a noticeable lower noise floor, dynamic range, tighter bass and better clarity/soundstage.

I don't use words such as huge, much better or large margins to describe the differences. I could have lived with the SN1+hicapdr combo.

I would suggest that you keep your existing speaker cables for perhaps a couple of months, while you get used to the sound of the new amp. Then see if you can try out some other cables if you feel the urge. (You might not!) If you introduce two or more changes to your system at the same time, it's difficult to assess the benefits of each change, so for me, taking it nice and slow is the best way. Then try some NAC A5, as this could be seen as a 'reference' cable for Naim systems, so it kind of makes sense to judge any other cables against it.  

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