Used Supernait or new XS2

I am thinking of trying a Naim amp again and I can buy a good used and serviced Supernait at a reasonable price or I could buy a new or lightly used XS2

I only use cd so the inbuilt Dac in the Supernait might come in handy

Do the two amps sound much the same?

Thanks for any help

 

 

CD5XS via Black Cat Silverstar 75 Digi Cable to Naim Dac via Grey 5 Pin to Supernait 2 via NACA5 to Living Voice Auditorium or Rega RS3's or Magneplanar MG1's

Original Post

XS2 could be well, but the SN is the amp which is able to drive more difficult speakers. We saw converting XS2 to SN owners on this forum recently. Mostly because of the extra dynamics and ability to drive more difficult speakers.

Regarding the Dac: I see it as a convenience feature. It is ok, but not great. There are some folks who pair the SN with a decently priced Chord Mojo and are very happy. I use the internal Dac almost every day, but I know its limitations.

When you add a Hicap Dr to the SN, it gets much, much better - also the Dac section.

If I had to choose without an addition, I would go for the SN. Best to audition at home with your own speakers.

Might depend on how it's installed. Both amps respond well to looked after houseduties, but the larger model will be more fussy on where it's sitting, cables used, what it's being fed and what it's driving.

Although I got great results by REALLY looking after my XS2, which suited my room at the time.

I thought you'd previously tried an XS 2 with LS3/5as and was "not impressed".

Try the SN by all means, but there are significant similarities to the two amps (there are also significant differences, which is why it's worth trying).

Which version of the LS3/5a do you have as there are significant differences in the various versions?

What are you trying to achieve from the sound (i.e. what is your current set-up and what are you trying to achieve?).

Hi Nina

Some years ago I made the change you are contemplating.  At the time I was listening to mostly classical and in particular a lot of choral music and found the Supernait a big improvement over the XS2.  For example, I found the SN created a sense of the acoustic space, often a cathedral or college chapel, much more effectively than the XS2.  I kept the SN until my relatively recent move up the Naim ladder to a 272 based system.  My assessment of various contributions to threads around the time I changed was that most folk preferred the SN but with a few dissenters.  However, all this depends on the rest of the system and you do not specify your CD player.  You need to be careful of getting into mullet territory where your amp is not performing at its full potential because it is held back by the CD player.  At the time I made the change I was using a CD5XS as transport into an NDAC which to my ears mated well with the SN.  I also purchased a HiCap (subsequently DR'd) at the same time which made the SN a serious competitor to the 202/200.

Based on my experience, I would recommend that, if possible, you audition the possibilities, preferably at home.  If this is not feasible, I doubt if you would regret going for the SN but bear in mind you might need to think about upgrading your source.  And, start saving for a HiCapDR which really does take the SN1 to another level.

Roger

Thanks for the replies

I did indeed demo an XS2 at home with my LS3/5a's and at the time was not impressed however I have long since sold the speakers and was thinking again about a Naim amp

My current system is all valve but as I want to try other speakers my valve amps just won't drive them properly

I am tempted by the Supernait 1 mainly because it has a balance control and I listen a lot at low volumes and the demo XS2 had an imbalance at low levels.  It might be that the particular XS2 I tried was just a bad one

While I love my valve setup it is tempting to try the Supernait just for something completely different; you know what this hifi lark is all about ; )

I guess my only concern is if the latest XS2 has outstripped the older SN1 performance wise

Thanks for explaining.

I don't have much experience of the SN. But I loved my XS which I believe had a more lithe, agile sound. From what you say, the SN's muscle will suit you more, depending on your room size and how loud you listen.

I'm trying to say the two amps are qualitatively different, it's not just about Watts.

Chris

Nina posted:

 

I guess my only concern is if the latest XS2 has outstripped the older SN1 performance wise

Nina

As I posted above, I went from an XS2 to an SN1 and much preferred the latter.  As far as I know the current model XS2 is not significantly different from mine so I think it would be worthwhile trying the SN.  I got a good price for mine (in the UK) when I sold it, so if you didn't like it and ended up selling it on, you'd probably not lose much.

Roger

Nina posted:

Hi Christopher

I have two pairs of speakers which are 89dB and 94dB but I have an urge to try some speakers that are nowhere near that rating hence maybe the Supernait

The Supernait loves to work (I call it my slavedriver / streetfighter) and I doubt you can get further away from tubes than this. I would say that the XS is more tube-like than the SN.

I have my SN paired currently with 84db rated loudspeakers - BW CM1's.

Be aware that the SN has - like the XS - a slight inbalance. As written, it loves to work. Its 'sweetspot' is around 10 and on low volume listening, the music gets out of balance. I don't know if this is because of the inefficiency of my loudspeakers - it might be that this is only cured at 250DR level or higher.

Thanks for all the replies, very interesting

I've been giving the amps a lot of thought... and to throw a spanner into the works how does the Supernait 2 compare with the XS2 or Supernait 1? 

I am really sorry for all the questions but I am ready to buy and as I am not able to listen I will be buying blind, however I am quite sure if I don't like what I buy I can easily re-sell it as it seems there is a 'ready' market for anything Naim

 

I have never made a direct comparison between an XS2 and SN2, i.e with the same source and speakers, but I run a DAC-V1 - SN2 - Kudos X3s, and a friend runs a DAC-V1 - XS2 - PMC Twenty.21s.  When playing favourite tracks on my friend's system, it all sounds very familiar, and I feel quite at home.  There is extra detail resolution with SN2 for sure, but it's basically a more controlled and detailed XS2 to my ears.  The SN2 has a more un-flustered delivery, and everything sounds very solidly placed and separated, even when playing loud and with complex music.  To me it's like an XS2, but x1.5.  The have a similar sonic character.

Nina posted:

I am thinking of trying a Naim amp again and I can buy a good used and serviced Supernait at a reasonable price or I could buy a new or lightly used XS2

I only use cd so the inbuilt Dac in the Supernait might come in handy

Do the two amps sound much the same?

Thanks for any help

 

 

I have not compared the Nait XS2 to the Supernait 2 but have compared the Nait XS to the Rega Elicit Mk2 in my system. Both Nait XS and Rega Elicit sounded almost the same with minor differences when played through my Harbeth SHL5 speakers. Personally I feel the Nait XS / XS2 although a good amp sounds like most common mainstream amps out there. A nice amp but nothing much to shout about in its performance.

I do not have experience with the Supernait 2 but personally own the 202/200 and 282/250. In my experience and opinion, you get some of the "special" Naim qualities starting from the 202/200 onwards. The qualities that separate the Naim from other competitors. The only question is whether you like the "Naim sound".

 

ryder. posted:

I have not compared the Nait XS2 to the Supernait 2 but have compared the Nait XS to the Rega Elicit Mk2 in my system. Both Nait XS and Rega Elicit sounded almost the same with minor differences when played through my Harbeth SHL5 speakers. Personally I feel the Nait XS / XS2 although a good amp sounds like most common mainstream amps out there. A nice amp but nothing much to shout about in its performance.

I do not have experience with the Supernait 2 but personally own the 202/200 and 282/250. In my experience and opinion, you get some of the "special" Naim qualities starting from the 202/200 onwards. The qualities that separate the Naim from other competitors. The only question is whether you like the "Naim sound".

I rather disagree with Ryder -- sorry. I currently have an XS2 but I am looking into upgrading. So I did compare the XS2 with the SN2. To my cloth ears, they are rather similar. With the SN2 you get more of the same in my view. So I am basically with Songstream, though I am not sure whether I would apply a multiplier of 1.5  -- probably not. No doubt the SN2 is better, but we didn't have a hallelujah moment .

In fact, I wonder whether I should first upgrade our source (an ND5XS) with an external DAC. Unfortunately, the dealer didn't have the new Hugo 2 around, but the old model. We put the old Hugo into the mix, and I felt that the Hugo brought more improvement than the better amplification. Source first!? (At home we have PMC 25.23, but at the dealer we used ProAc D20.)

Before buying my current XS2, we also tried different amplifiers, including Rega. I cannot recall details but we felt Rega was rather different to Naim... We ruled out Rega fairly quickly...

Timo posted:

I rather disagree with Ryder -- sorry. I currently have an XS2 but I am looking into upgrading. So I did compare the XS2 with the SN2. To my cloth ears, they are rather similar. With the SN2 you get more of the same in my view. So I am basically with Songstream, though I am not sure whether I would apply a multiplier of 1.5  -- probably not. No doubt the SN2 is better, but we didn't have a hallelujah moment .

In fact, I wonder whether I should first upgrade our source (an ND5XS) with an external DAC. Unfortunately, the dealer didn't have the new Hugo 2 around, but the old model. We put the old Hugo into the mix, and I felt that the Hugo brought more improvement than the better amplification. Source first!? (At home we have PMC 25.23, but at the dealer we used ProAc D20.)

Before buying my current XS2, we also tried different amplifiers, including Rega. I cannot recall details but we felt Rega was rather different to Naim... We ruled out Rega fairly quickly...

There isn't any need to apologise Tmo, as we all have our own opinions and experiences. We can only share our experiences here and eventually the OP will have to try and figure it out himself.

Our experiences are different as we are not using the same speakers. Also, you did not mention the model of Rega ampliflier that was compared to your Nait XS2. FWIW when I compared the Nait XS and Rega Elicit MK2, the owner of the Nait XS who happens to be a friend joined the listening session as well. When we played a few tracks, we were looking at each other's faces before we came to the same conclusion about the minute differences between the Nait XS and Rega Elicit.

Interesting that you found the Supernait 2 to sound almost the same as the Nait XS2 when others reported a significant difference. If that's the case, I suppose I wouldn't like the Supernait 2 as I find the 202/200 to be a much poised and refined communicator than the Nait XS, in my system and to my ears.

ryder. posted:
Timo posted:

I rather disagree with Ryder -- sorry. I currently have an XS2 but I am looking into upgrading. So I did compare the XS2 with the SN2. To my cloth ears, they are rather similar. With the SN2 you get more of the same in my view. So I am basically with Songstream, though I am not sure whether I would apply a multiplier of 1.5  -- probably not. No doubt the SN2 is better, but we didn't have a hallelujah moment .

In fact, I wonder whether I should first upgrade our source (an ND5XS) with an external DAC. Unfortunately, the dealer didn't have the new Hugo 2 around, but the old model. We put the old Hugo into the mix, and I felt that the Hugo brought more improvement than the better amplification. Source first!? (At home we have PMC 25.23, but at the dealer we used ProAc D20.)

Before buying my current XS2, we also tried different amplifiers, including Rega. I cannot recall details but we felt Rega was rather different to Naim... We ruled out Rega fairly quickly...

There isn't any need to apologise Tmo, as we all have our own opinions and experiences. We can only share our experiences here and eventually the OP will have to try and figure it out himself.

Our experiences are different as we are not using the same speakers. Also, you did not mention the model of Rega ampliflier that was compared to your Nait XS2. FWIW when I compared the Nait XS and Rega Elicit MK2, the owner of the Nait XS who happens to be a friend joined the listening session as well. When we played a few tracks, we were looking at each other's faces before we came to the same conclusion about the minute differences between the Nait XS and Rega Elicit.

I can't remember how the Rega was called but it was the equivalent model to the Naim. I wonder whether the difference in our observation is due to the difference between XS and XS2.

ryder. posted:

Interesting that you found the Supernait 2 to sound almost the same as the Nait XS2 when others reported a significant difference. If that's the case, I suppose I wouldn't like the Supernait 2 as I find the 202/200 to be a much poised and refined communicator than the Nait XS, in my system and to my ears.

Well, I was somewhat disappointed -- hoped for more... Especially, considering how the SN2 is praised here. After the demo, however, I thought my XS2 isn't too bad... 

Maybe I should try the SN2 with Hicap, and with my PMC speakers at home. Give the SN2 more time. When I compared PMC and ProAc, I found the PMC more revealing. So I wonder whether the PMC would display more difference. In any case, I have learned to take the euphoria in the Forum with a pinch of salt -- the talk about "day-and-night" difference... Or maybe my ears lack sophistication...

However, when the dealer put the 282/250DR on, I thought that was rather different -- including the price difference of course. The wife, who was with me, was less amused... 

As a side note, the dealer was quite relaxed about set-up -- boxes on top of each other, cable mess etc. Maybe that comprised the performance...

I pretty much agree with what Timo has written above, and the benefit of an SN2 over XS2 in this case, depends on what the OP hopes achieve.  If hoping to change the balance of the sound, or the overall presentation, there will not be a 'night and day' difference by any means IMO.  That said, if the OP adores the overall sound and seeks better imaging, detail and control, and the rest of the system is up to it, I can imagine a wallet being opened quite easily.  One other consideration is how loud you like to play music, as I believe the difference between the two is much more notable when you're starting to work them.  I've come to the conclusion that my typical listening volume, and that of my friend previously mentioned, is higher than many.  Therefore, we both work the amps quite hard, and naturally the SN2 has quite a bit more grunt to deal with it.  This may be why I perceive a bigger difference than some, and why other also report a big difference between the two. 

 

Good point about the volume. We didn't listen at high volume. Grannie wasn't available so we had our young son with us, and we didn't want to expose him to too loud music. Though his little ears were somewhat protected by his Tinyphones. He loves to takes his headphones and the ipad when I go to audio shops... 

And at home, we are contrained by the neighbours. So no terribly loud music either..

I am curious to try the SN2 with Hicap to learn what the PSU does to the preamp section.

T

Timo posted:

Well, I was somewhat disappointed -- hoped for more... Especially, considering how the SN2 is praised here. After the demo, however, I thought my XS2 isn't too bad... 

Maybe I should try the SN2 with Hicap, and with my PMC speakers at home. Give the SN2 more time. When I compared PMC and ProAc, I found the PMC more revealing. So I wonder whether the PMC would display more difference. In any case, I have learned to take the euphoria in the Forum with a pinch of salt -- the talk about "day-and-night" difference... Or maybe my ears lack sophistication...

However, when the dealer put the 282/250DR on, I thought that was rather different -- including the price difference of course. The wife, who was with me, was less amused... 

As a side note, the dealer was quite relaxed about set-up -- boxes on top of each other, cable mess etc. Maybe that comprised the performance...

I'm not surprised at all. Perhaps you are one of the few who preferred the Nait XS2 to the Supernait 2, just like some who preferred their Nait XS to the 202/200.

I also agree that differences between amplifiers can sometimes be blown out of proportion. Although there are differences, they may not be as significant as some might have suggested. People sometimes get a little enthusiastic as differences are often exaggerated.

While I am very tempted by the SN2 it might be that the XS2 will be enough for me as I don't listen at high volumes, in fact most of the time I listen at quite low volumes

My only worry with the XS2 is the slight imbalnce of the left & right channels at lower volumes whereas the SN2, of course, has the balance control

 

Imo, the SN1 is defo better than the XS2. Also, in regard to the SN2 comparison, the XS2 can sometimes sound harsh - the SN2 never does.

If you wanna stick to valves, Jadis Orchestra sounds really, really good.

Also, I think something with Nap200 sounds better than all of the Naits.

I changed from a XS to a SN1, and the improvement was no contest. I added a HC (non-DR) and it was better still.

The XS is a fine amp, but the SN1 was better in all ways. More power, grip, and control. Made the XS seem kind of meek by comparison. Even made my KEF iQ3 speakers  ($250) sound much better than they had before and since, on lesser electronics. (At the time I was in a temporary living situation, and just used a cheap Philips DVD player, the SN1 with no PSU, and the KEFs.)

And I really enjoyed the built-in DAC...made my SBT a much more useful and better source than using the SBT DAC...I thought it was a great little extra feature.

Timo posted:

I can't remember how the Rega was called but it was the equivalent model to the Naim. I wonder whether the difference in our observation is due to the difference between XS and XS2.

Sorry, missed this post. Yes, the difference between the XS and XS2 may be one of the possibilities to our differing experiences on the comparison between Rega and Naim Nait XS/XS2, or the Nait XS2 vs Supernait 2.

DrMark posted:

I changed from a XS to a SN1, and the improvement was no contest. I added a HC (non-DR) and it was better still.

The XS is a fine amp, but the SN1 was better in all ways. More power, grip, and control. Made the XS seem kind of meek by comparison. Even made my KEF iQ3 speakers  ($250) sound much better than they had before and since, on lesser electronics. (At the time I was in a temporary living situation, and just used a cheap Philips DVD player, the SN1 with no PSU, and the KEFs.)

And I really enjoyed the built-in DAC...made my SBT a much more useful and better source than using the SBT DAC...I thought it was a great little extra feature.

That's my experience with the Nait XS too (not the XS2). It is a fine amp but just like the Rega Elicit Mk2 sounds a little flat when compared to the 202/200 which gives more detail and portrays finer nuances in music in a more convincing manner. I think the keywords "more power, grip and control" pretty much define the differences or changes in sound when going up the Naim ladder.

DrMark posted:

I changed from a XS to a SN1, and the improvement was no contest. I added a HC (non-DR) and it was better still.

The XS is a fine amp, but the SN1 was better in all ways. More power, grip, and control. Made the XS seem kind of meek by comparison. Even made my KEF iQ3 speakers  ($250) sound much better than they had before and since, on lesser electronics. (At the time I was in a temporary living situation, and just used a cheap Philips DVD player, the SN1 with no PSU, and the KEFs.)

And I really enjoyed the built-in DAC...made my SBT a much more useful and better source than using the SBT DAC...I thought it was a great little extra feature.

We use the built-in DAC in our SN1 for all our audio. It's a great feature.

When I get the XS2 I will run it with either a pair of Rega RS3 or Living Voice Auditorium speakers, I have no idea if the Naim will like either of these.  They are 89dB and 94dB respectfully so I know the XS2 will have no trouble driving them but I wonder what they will sound like... how exiting  to try them both...

I only use cd as my front end, which comprises of a Pioneer PD-S505 Precision (the Tom Evans modified one) used as a transport into an Audio Note DAC One 1X Signature

 

Will be interesting to read your findings with the Living Voice Auditorium speakers and the XS2.

Auditorium have been said to be a revealing speaker but not to be ruthlessly so. Easy for low powered valve amps to drive but respond well to solid state watts. A speaker that you would struggle to get a bad sound out of, but also a speaker that is easier to get a great sound out of it.

I had an XS original and used it with R3 and R7 speakers. It worked beautifully with both, so I think an XS2 and the newer RS3 speakers would be a great match. The R3 speakers really came to life with the XS driving them as loud as you could want, but with great subtlety and control.

As soon as I have the XS2 in my system I will give it a little while and then report back.  As the Living Voice are in position at the moment I will try those first

I am currently using reasonably expensive speaker cable and interconnects and don't know whether the Naim will like them.  I use TQ Ultra Black speaker cable, with TQ UB jumpers, a SLIC Innovations Digital Cable between transport and Dac and a SLIC Innovations Eclipse C Interconnect between Dac and amp;  all together they are worth way more than the XS2 !   

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