Advice on ‘’pre-amp’’ upgrade

So after a long time selling and buying my stuff I got the funds to buy something nice. Just by luck I got interested in a UnitiLite bt I saw in the showroom of the dealer I’ve visited. The classic look with the green informative screen got my attention so I asked what it was. The salesman told me the whole story and demoed the UnitiLite with his iPad and his music collection he had stored on a server somewhere in the showroom. I felt in love and I wanted to buy it so I did. 

Now one and a half year later I am still enjoying every bit of my UnitiLite, but with a different set of speakers and a NAP 200DR connected to it. Everything tells me this is the end of my Hi-Fi journey as I love the looks, the sound and the functionality of my system. 

Yet there is a small voice in my head to go further up the ladder and as I am browsing through the second hand market app, my eyes saw the NAC N-272. With a bit of luck I can get enough money back for my UnitiLite so I have sufficient funds to get the N-272. There isn’t really a direct comparison between the UnitiLite and the N-272 and on the first sight they look very similar. Though with a bith of research I came to the understanding the N-272 is certainly further up the Naim ladder. 

My system consists of the UnitiLite bt, NAP 200DR and Dynaudio Excite X18. It is used on a daily basis with streaming Tidal, listening to vTuner internet radio (>256Kbps) and watching series and movies. 

What is your opinion as a Naim expert on my story? Should I upgrade and enjoy even more of my system (and stay there for a couple of years) or isn’t this a very good upgrade?

I am curious...

Original Post

I’d say, having heard a Unitlite and having owned a 272, that yes, you should go for it. The sound you will get from the 272 connected to your 200 will be much, much better. The fact that you can get your money back on the UnitiLite is great, and means you won’t have lost anything. The 272/200 is a lovely, simple setup that sounds excellent. 

T38.45 posted:

My 2 cent: don‘t buy a pre-amp with digital section. The digital world changes too fast and soon you have an old pre. I did this once with McIntosh, big error! It ended up by buying a seperate DAC on top of a pre with digital inputs...

This ∆∆

Get any ordinary Naim preamp you can afford and separate stream and dac devices

The 272 will soon be old hat here

Perol posted:
T38.45 posted:

My 2 cent: don‘t buy a pre-amp with digital section. The digital world changes too fast and soon you have an old pre. I did this once with McIntosh, big error! It ended up by buying a seperate DAC on top of a pre with digital inputs...

This ∆∆

Get any ordinary Naim preamp you can afford and separate stream and dac devices

The 272 will soon be old hat here

No more so than the NDS, NDX or ND5XS. Just because something is superseded doesn’t make it worse than it is now. 

Not everybody wants loads of boxes - the 272/200 is a great solution. 

Hungryhalibut posted:
Perol posted:
T38.45 posted:

My 2 cent: don‘t buy a pre-amp with digital section. The digital world changes too fast and soon you have an old pre. I did this once with McIntosh, big error! It ended up by buying a seperate DAC on top of a pre with digital inputs...

This ∆∆

Get any ordinary Naim preamp you can afford and separate stream and dac devices

The 272 will soon be old hat here

No more so than the NDS, NDX or ND5XS. Just because something is superseded doesn’t make it worse than it is now. 

Not everybody wants loads of boxes - the 272/200 is a great solution. 

yes but you can’t after keep the preamp and sell the streamer.....    signed the French letter

if you are not constant upgrade guy Pre with dac/streamer is a good deal...

but the streaming and dacs are getting better .... some expensive some very good Value....

so after enjoying immensly my 272 i went for a separete pre road, where there is no need to upgrade önce find your sweet spot...

Mqa, roon, Qobuz streaming hd are interesting developments..

Hungryhalibut posted:
Perol posted:
T38.45 posted:

My 2 cent: don‘t buy a pre-amp with digital section. The digital world changes too fast and soon you have an old pre. I did this once with McIntosh, big error! It ended up by buying a seperate DAC on top of a pre with digital inputs...

This ∆∆

Get any ordinary Naim preamp you can afford and separate stream and dac devices

The 272 will soon be old hat here

No more so than the NDS, NDX or ND5XS. Just because something is superseded doesn’t make it worse than it is now. 

Not everybody wants loads of boxes - the 272/200 is a great solution

Sure it is

I agree with your sentiments on NDS etc.. allready discontinued old hat and lost value due to new range coming in soon, not long before we can say goodbye to 272 with lots of people loosing mega bucks or left with old tech

Thats how it is, not just with Naim, other brands as well hence my recommendation buy separated items

FWIW, I started my Naim journey in October 2015 with a Unitilite. Then in October 2017 I added a used NAP200 non DR.

December 2017 I switched the Unitilite for a 272 and I agree with HH it is a very simple setup that to my ears sounds great.

January 2018 added a Fraimlite and March 2018 added a ex demo Uniti Core.

 I don't care if the 272 is old hat it doesn't matter to me, it isn't going to sound like c**p when the new streamers are released. It will sound exactly the same as it does right now. Which is fine by me.

I have plenty of future upgrade possibilities including TT, PS, speakers, NAP300, dedicated mains, SL cables I could go on, just don't tell SWMBO.

I cannot comment on 282 and separate streamer combo as that is not the journey I have taken but I have no doubt that they sound great as well and I'm sure the new streamers will be better again, but probably not for me.

Sounds to me as if going to a 272 would be a good and relatively easy upgrade. As far as it (possibly) becoming old technology, You are more likely to have "old" ears if you wait to get the latest and greatest new box. The time to enjoy your system and music is now (if you can). Upgrade-itis can lead to freezing in place with uncertainty,or a constant need for new - despite being happy with the current sound. 

As you already have a 200dr a low risk move might be initially to get a second hand 202pre which can be had for a real bargain now and removes concerns over digital obsolescence. You benefit from the dr power supply in the power amp and this should give a big overall uplift in sound to the unitilite pre. The 272 will likely be better overall but at a cost.

All valid sentiments re. streaming preamps with DAC getting obsolete sooner than you think. I don't comment too much on these things these days since I am aware there are many 272 owners here. It's not particularly directed to the 272 but other preamps which come with a digital section. Although the internal DAC of the preamp may be quite stellar today and sound great through the years, no matter how small the improvements are with digital there will still be improvements, contrary to amplification whereby technology with power amplifiers particularly class AB has reached a plateau. Similarly with Naim preamps each and every preamp ie. 202, 282, 252, 552 etc. are tailored to take on a specific sound signature. Hence, I believe we won't see any advancement with these preamps in terms of sound quality as they are deliberately designed to take on a specific sound signature with one sounding different/superior than the other. If the preamps are replaced, it would be more toward features or aesthetics rather than sound quality, IMO. 

There would still be people who really don't care about stuff getting obsolete and would still consider old gear, more specifically old DAC with outdated technology. It doesn't matter too much if the gear still sounds great with the obsolete hardware. One example with Naim is the Supernait 1 which comes with a built-in DAC. Nevertheless, there would be folks who want to have the latest updated gear to enjoy the benefits of the supposedly superior sound quality, folks who avoid gear which have a potential of getting obsolete quicker than you expected.

One advantage of outdated gear particularly with digital is they can be bought at a significantly lower price when compared to amplifiers and/or speakers. It would be a bonus if that outdated gear is able to match the current gear in sound quality. 

A not-too-old digital may still sound great 5 years from now with little difference between it and a current equivalent model. However, I would expect a noticeably improved digital in say 8 to 10 years time comfortably outperforming the older gear. 

In the end it really boils down to the priorities of the user. 

OK, so a lot of folks are for separate pre and streamer/dac instead of the all-in-one.

I do have the space to have two extra boxes in place but I would like to keep the two boxes as the quantity. Other sidenote with the separates are that I need to buy a pre-amp and streamer/dac at once as I need Tidal streaming and digital inputs directly. And that would result in needing more funds than when I just buy a second hand N272. I found a NAC 202 and a NDX and they are both significantly more expensive than the N272. Also the NACs are most of the time more than 10 years old, I am not sure if that's a good idea. I read about servicing your unit after 10 - 15 years so that is also an extra investment when I buy the old NACs. I don't think this is a very good option for me.

Also I don't think I would mind buying ''old'' tech as Tidal streaming and digital inputs are all what I need. And if the N272 is a better pre-amp/dac than my UnitiLite, I would be more than happy to upgrade. 

But if I do mind and I would like ''new'' tech, what about buying an Uniti Atom as a pre/streamer/dac? It's newer than the N272 but how does it compare in the pre/dac section? The atom does have new technologies streaming-wise but I don't think the pre/dac section would be better than the N272. And also, how does it compare with my UnitiLite? 

For a 2 box system, your options from the current/old range is NDX/Supernait or 272/200 (or 250). I have a preference for the NDX/Supernait, but both are good, and you already have a 200. All of these streamers run the same platform as your Uniti, so the functionality will be essentially the same. 

If you want a wider range of web streaming options, the new streamers will give you this. Not so important if you stream your own music from a hard drive, but as you use web streaming, this may be a consideration for you. So you could consider a Star or a Nova. You may then decide that you don’t need your 200, especially with the Nova. 

It’s helpful that people point out the increased flexibility of a separate streamer and preamp. Clearly it is easier to swap the streamer for a newer one if something better comes along. Whether a 272 is right for you will depend partly on how important that is to you. 

As for a power supply being ‘needed’ to ‘rescue’ the preamp, it’s no different to adding a Supercap to a 282 rather than running it powered by a 200. Both the 272 and 282 sound better with bigger power supplies, as is the way with Naim. But in neither case is the big power supply essential. 

Altough I didn’t get the answer I was hoping to hear (‘’yes, the N272 is a great improvement over your UnitiLite!’’), I’ve soaked up all of your advice and I can conclude that all the advice you have given me so far has been very helpful. Thanks for that!

Today I’ve contacted a dealer about trading in my UnitiLite for a N272 and he gave me a nice deal on which I decided to continue upon. 

So from next week I will be the (happy?) owner of a NAC N272 in combination with a NAP 200DR and Dynaudio Excite X18, I am very Excited!

Revoliño posted:

Altough I didn’t get the answer I was hoping to hear (‘’yes, the N272 is a great improvement over your UnitiLite!’’),.....

Well I think you will be very happy with the improvement you get from the 272! Even though I chose a different route, it’s still a very nice system. 

Revoliño posted:

Altough I didn’t get the answer I was hoping to hear (‘’yes, the N272 is a great improvement over your UnitiLite!’’), I’ve soaked up all of your advice and I can conclude that all the advice you have given me so far has been very helpful. Thanks for that!

Today I’ve contacted a dealer about trading in my UnitiLite for a N272 and he gave me a nice deal on which I decided to continue upon. 

So from next week I will be the (happy?) owner of a NAC N272 in combination with a NAP 200DR and Dynaudio Excite X18, I am very Excited!

Actually, that’s pretty much exactly what I said, in the third post on this thread. The 272 is great, and will be just super with your 200DR. I’m sure you’ll love it. 

Revoliño posted:

Altough I didn’t get the answer I was hoping to hear (‘’yes, the N272 is a great improvement over your UnitiLite!’’), I’ve soaked up all of your advice and I can conclude that all the advice you have given me so far has been very helpful. Thanks for that!

Today I’ve contacted a dealer about trading in my UnitiLite for a N272 and he gave me a nice deal on which I decided to continue upon. 

So from next week I will be the (happy?) owner of a NAC N272 in combination with a NAP 200DR and Dynaudio Excite X18, I am very Excited!

Good choice

i own a 272/250DR,and now have an XPSDR with it,but I did run it for a while without the XPS.I also own Dynaudio excite 12s,which I have played many times with just the 272/250,and it is a fabulous combo.I ended up adding Special 40s,now Sopra 1s,but the point is,you have a very good foundation,with many paths to upgrade as funds allow,enjoy it,and don’t worry about new technologies,the 272 is all most people would ever need.

Just wanted to give an update about the situation.

Since yesterday I’ve got a brand new NAC-N 272 (spotless demo) and I’ve already thrown a lot of sounds to it. Man, what a super upgrade! I am very happy with the increase in SQ and I love the fatter exterior of it.

The sound seems more full, more wide, not only with HQ music but also with sounds from series/movies, it’s awesome!

Hm I've tried adding a picture of both my NAC-N 272 and NAP 200DR from Flickr but I can't get it to work.

Picture of both pre- and poweramp

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