Upgrade path for NDx+SN2

Hello dear Naimees,

 

I am contemplating my future (hopefully soon enough) upgrade possibilities, and searching the forum and the Naim pricelist I've come up with the following options; appreciate your valued opinions as I have previously greatly benefited all along the way...

1- NAP 250 DR

2- NAC 282

3- XPS

My current system consists of:

NAS drive > NDX > SN2 > HCDR > S400 ( with Fraim, Hiline, NACA5)

Please note that I am not in a financial position to fund two upgrades at once, though I would like my purchase to be future proof. I am also not planning on changing my speakers as they have a well rounded, natural sound, or lack of any color to those ears at least. Minimal number of boxes is a critical criteria for me.

Cables, Powerlines and such could always be added, so no need to mention those unless your experience significantly challenges this.

Thank you for sharing your wisdom

NDX > SN-2 > NAC A5 > Ovator S400
Original Post

My main system is NDS/555PS/SN2/HC2.  There is no current upgrade path other than separates, and I'm a low box count person.  

You could go all the way to the NDS . . . or turn the 1 1/2 box SN2/HC2 into a 4-box pre/NAPSC/powersupply/250DR.

You say you aren't in a financial position to fund more than one upgrade, but unfortunately you don't state a budget, so options may or may not be affordable. Nevertherless:

1) Sell NAS and NDX, get Mac Mini with Audirvana renderer, into Chord Hugo TT (2 boxes). (Practicality is keep NAS until everything transferred to MM, when consider keeping still as a backup)

2)  less costly but still an upgrade would be same but Chord Hugo instead of TT, however will need a third box, Gustard U12 to remove RF interference (but the Hugo and Gustard are very small).

3)  Sell NAS and NDX, get Melco into Chord Hugo. (2 boxes, similar SQ to 2 above,  more expensive than 2 but simpler)

4) As 3 but Hugo TT (more expensive than 1, but simpler)

I believe all the above will upgrade sound quality . Next one may do, but I have no experience of it (but there are a couple of threads running at present):

5) Keep NAS, add microRendu, into Hugo or TT, and a power supply is needed for mR. More box count (though physically small), some setting up needed, but others are saying SQ is excellent.

 

 

My dealer's view is that going for a separate pre/power amp is more beneficial than adding an XPS to your NDX, although there are those on this forum who would disagree. Whichever you do, you add one more box. There is, of course, a much smaller box you could consider adding to your NDX.....

Tariq

I run a very similar set up to yours (minus the Fraim).

The biggest impact my system had, was by adding an nDAC. So essenitally take a digital putput from your NDX, via DC1 to nDAC and then analogue out to SN2. Even if you run an FM/DAB module, the signal will be passed through the nDAC.

Adding an XPS to NDX: OK, but nothing that special. It refines the player in a subtle way.

As to NAC 282 and or NAP 250 - those best go together. So unless you can sell your SN2 and get them both on-board, I would stick with your SuperNait2.

Adam

I agree with Chrissu the above, the NDX into the Hugo using the SPDIF connection can be incredibly effective and you don't need to worry with all this USB isolation. The NDX SPDIF output appears isolated, and you get all the benefits of the Naim app, Naim web radio... as well as the extra NDX digital inputs and precision NDX SHARC DSP controller generated transport stream.. which the Hugo takes full of advantage of. Should make the rest of your system shine.

Simon

ChrisSU posted:

My dealer's view is that going for a separate pre/power amp is more beneficial than adding an XPS to your NDX, although there are those on this forum who would disagree. Whichever you do, you add one more box. There is, of course, a much smaller box you could consider adding to your NDX.....

Dealer's right there.

since OP has already NDX , 202/NAPSC/ HC/200 would be the very way to go.

You can't follow minimal count box criteria there,unless you would have done 272/200 which is a good but much poorer choice I reckon.

First of all appreciate the administrator for reopening this topic.

Thanks to all who have shared their advice on my question and apologies for the late response...

As much as I would prefer having minimal number of boxes it seems I will not be able to do so if I am to further improve on the SQ. 

There has been suggestions to replace the SN2 with NAC202/NAP200, it does not make much sense to me as I suspect it wont be much of a step upwards but rather a tiny step forwards, hence my initial statement that I am looking to upgrade to a 282/250 system. Alternatively I believe a 272 would not be the best option either as my NDX should be better as it has less functions yet is more expensive, besides I'm happy with this source.

As per your suggestion of adding a DAC, I may go that route; rather than the Hugo, which has features I will never use, 2Qute seems to be the more appropriate choice for me; any experience with this little device? Besides it looks quite nice to these eyes, as opposed to the Hugo.

Regarding my initial question of which amp I should go with first, what would be your recommendation, 282 or 250 (with SN2).

Important note: its not easy to demo and exchange hifi here

Thanks

a few weeks ago, i upgraded from a Supernait 1 to a 282/250 and am really happy i did. i agree with HH that the 282 is a logical first step.

i also have a 2Qute -- but with a microRendu rather than an NDX for rendering duties. a few of our fellow travelers on the forum have said that the 2Qute sounds unrefined compared to the Hugo. i'm not hearing any rough edges here, but maybe that's just me. in fairness, others have said that the Hugo's adjustable gain works better with the 282, and i can see their point. with the 2Qute and 282, things get very loud very quickly.

perhaps the more relevant question is: do you need a headphone amp? if so, the Hugo's the way to go. (the DACs' designer says the guts of the devices are essentially the same.)

joe9407 posted:

a few weeks ago, i upgraded from a Supernait 1 to a 282/250 and am really happy i did. i agree with HH that the 282 is a logical first step.

i also have a 2Qute -- but with a microRendu rather than an NDX for rendering duties. a few of our fellow travelers on the forum have said that the 2Qute sounds unrefined compared to the Hugo. i'm not hearing any rough edges here, but maybe that's just me. in fairness, others have said that the Hugo's adjustable gain works better with the 282, and i can see their point. with the 2Qute and 282, things get very loud very quickly.

perhaps the more relevant question is: do you need a headphone amp? if so, the Hugo's the way to go. (the DACs' designer says the guts of the devices are essentially the same.)

Not clear from this if you've heard both? I haven't, but simply relaying what others have said about the sound. Although 2Qute is indeed the same as the Hugo at heart, the output stage is different (because it doubles as a headphone output).

To the OP, if you have the opportunity best compare P, though I don't know if that is an option where you are (there is at least one online supplier in the UK that will supply the Chord DACs for home demo by mail order, subject to full pre-payment, refunded on return, though I don't know if they will do that to your location.

I use a 282/HCDR/250DR and consider it to be one of the Classic range sweet spots. However I have a very high end analogue source. When using a CDX2 I can tell the source is a little light for the amp, that there is more to give but the source is maxed out. So I believe the correct way forward is to improve the source, not the amp.

Now, the way to improve the NDX is either simply with an XPSDR, or to add a DAC. In my view, it's more difficult to choose between because you get differences in presentation style if going to something like the Hugo. I think the Hugo is brilliant but have not actually bought one. I don't know why. Oh, forget the 2Qute, nowhere near as good, particularly in a quality system context.

If considering the choice between Naim DAC and XPSDR, I think I would go for the latter. It gives the NDX much improved PR&T, makes it more organic and cohesive, as well as improving resolution (though not to the extent of the DAC or Hugo). 

It really would be best to hear the options, but I suspect this is not possible where you are...

Finally, this is assuming that 1) you have a HiLine (absolutely necessary in my view), 2) you're using NACA5 (ditto), 3) the room isn't huge (40sqm or less).

Frank.

GraemeH posted:

Do you need a preamplifier? If not an NDX/Hugo TT direct to 250DR & S400''s is astonishingly good and a big step-up from NDX SN2...& 282/250.2 ime.

Give it a few weeks to bed in from fresh and enjoy!

G

Don't I need a preamplifier if I sold the SN?

Tariqv posted:
GraemeH posted:

Do you need a preamplifier? If not an NDX/Hugo TT direct to 250DR & S400''s is astonishingly good and a big step-up from NDX SN2...& 282/250.2 ime.

Give it a few weeks to bed in from fresh and enjoy!

G

Don't I need a preamplifier if I sold the SN?

Not if you have streaming as a sole source. The TT has digital volume control.

G

Hugo, hugo Tt and Dave all work well direct i to power amps (limitation with Hugo is if source into its usb input is electrically noisy, when an isolator is needed).

But you aren't limited to streaming this way, any other digital source with output to match the DAC can be used, limited only by the number and types of inputs to the DAC.

 

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