NAC-N 172 XS

Hi – I am looking for some advice regarding upgrading from an already good system (to my ears) in order to incorporate a far better level of streaming. My amp is a Rega Elicit-r and speakers PMC Twenty.23's; turntable is a Rega P25/Creek phono stage. I no longer have a CD player in my main system. Currently I stream from a NAS and access internet sources via a Raumfeld Connector - this seems to produce good results via ethernet connection but I am sure that my carefully archived (to 24 bit flac files) vast collection of LPs and also many CDs could sound a lot better. I am drawn to the Naim NAC-N 172 XS for it's streaming facilities and flexibility of inputs/well sorted app. but unsure whether a Naim NAP 155 XS - which appears to be the natural partner - is the best choice for power. Would moving up to NAP 200 DR (or at a push) a 250 DR give me tangible benefits? My Rega amp is fast, musical and powerful with detail that I love from all sources and I do not want to lose these attributes.

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

Original Post

The 172 sometimes gets a bad press, but actually it's great.  Especially if the likes of the 272 are out of your budget (as they are mine for the time being).  I've not heard the PMC's, but a number of folk on the forum have reported good results pairing them with Naim gear.  It'd be worth considering a second hand pre-DR 200, as you wouldn't be using the DR bit with a 172, and they're comparatively cheap.  So that might be a better value proposition than a 155.  And yes, 172s can go just fine with 250-level power amps, though some on here would probably suggest otherwise.  One experienced member here sometimes mentions in glowing terms his experience of hearing a 172 with a 300, in fact.

Whether any of that lot would actually make you happier than what you've already got, or than simply adding a streamer as Brubacca suggests, is rather down to you, though, and only an audition can really do the trick.  I suspect an all-Naim setup including any of the above would sound better than just a Naim source into a c.£1500 integrated, but only you can know if it suits what you want.

Powderfinger,

Despite the system details you're pondering, I see the grand question for you being whether you want to change from Rega's sound to Naim's. Also, as far as I read your system, you're streaming via a $200 DAC.

Powderfinger posted:

 My Rega amp is fast, musical and powerful with detail that I love from all sources and I do not want to lose these attributes 

Naim does all the attributes you've identified above but with a different tonal balance and overall delivery. One possibility might be to get a Nait XS2 home for demo and plug it into your existing system. See what you think of the Rega versus Naim sound and go from there.

Powderfinger posted:

Hi – I am looking for some advice regarding upgrading from an already good system (to my ears) in order to incorporate a far better level of streaming. My amp is a Rega Elicit-r and speakers PMC Twenty.23's; turntable is a Rega P25/Creek phono stage. I no longer have a CD player in my main system. Currently I stream from a NAS and access internet sources via a Raumfeld Connector - this seems to produce good results via ethernet connection but I am sure that my carefully archived (to 24 bit flac files) vast collection of LPs and also many CDs could sound a lot better. I am drawn to the Naim NAC-N 172 XS for it's streaming facilities and flexibility of inputs/well sorted app. but unsure whether a Naim NAP 155 XS - which appears to be the natural partner - is the best choice for power. Would moving up to NAP 200 DR (or at a push) a 250 DR give me tangible benefits? My Rega amp is fast, musical and powerful with detail that I love from all sources and I do not want to lose these attributes.

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

The strongest part of the 172 is the preamp section. It hits way above its weight.  I was comparing to the ND5XS and while the ND5XS is the more competent streamer  I was shocked at how much better my Rp6 sounded through the 172 than my  Nait5i2.

Layers and layers more detail, instruments had better more distinguished tones, timing was more natural (everything on the 5i2 was the same speed). Needless to say I chose the 172.

As far as the amp, I would lean toward the 200 or 250. Not sure how power hungry the PMC's are.

I have a 172xs and it's excellent. And ideal, IMHO, for someone used to the Rega sound, as it has a smooth and unruffled presentation, while still having all the Naim characteristics. I had it initially with a Nap100 and listened to a 155 instead, but it didn't seem a big step up. The 200 was far better - it's a serious amp. I got one second hand for just over a grand. Sounds heavenly. 

I have a 172XS, non DR NAP200, and PMC GB1is.  It is a well balanced, sublime sounding system in my opinion.

Naim's clever use of angst control in this particular design is especially noteworthy. Upgrade options are closed by the lack of provision for external power. That makes a even minor tweaking prohibitively expensive and easy put to the back of your mind. All that's left to worry about is finding more time to listen to more music.

 

steve95775 posted:

I have a NAC N 172/NAP 200 combo driving Ovator S400s. I only stream. Sounds great. Sure a 272/250 would be nice but nothing wrong with the current system. Just play the music

Pretty much my setup too, I also have the CD5 XS and I love mine.

I was a happy user of 172XS + 250, and have now upgraded to 272+250. Both are great. Probably the 172/200 is more in balance, but during my auditioning I noticed the improvement when moving from 172/200 to 172/250.

Get yourself a helpful dealer, trust your ears and make up your mind!

hi - thanks for all the replies and advice (sorry, I have been away for a while due to family/personal circumstances).  I was almost ready to dive in with 172XS and 200 when I caught up with the news of Naim's new Uniti series: the idea of a top quality streamer and amp (with dac) in one box, controllable via an app and able to be upgraded by the user over the air is really attractive.  If the top version (Nova?) is as good as suggested then it should easily out perform my Elicit and still additionally provide enormous flexibility with a nas and also internet radio; the feature set seems unbelievable.  

Whilst I am sure that currently available Naim separates will still be superior, it seems to me that the time, energy and money spent on researching and totally rebuilding the Unitis from the ground up will eventually lead to a trickle-on impact of the technology (such as the better app., proximity wake-up, colour screen and OTA updates).  The absence of numerous boxes is also a definite positive.  

The only questions are: can I wait until at least mid 2017? when/where can I audition? and would the Star be good enough? as the ability to directly rip to sd cards is a marvellous concept...

Any thoughts on this dilemma would be extremely welcome

thanks

I'm not a separates guy, so cannot help with your principal dilemma... But im anticipating an upgrade from SuperUniti to Nova when it lands. The SU has all the wondrous features you cite, and is really amazing to me. I'm hoping the Nova will be "more" and "more modern" as well. A great one box solution really fits the bill in my case. I started with the Qute and a NAS and was hooked right away. Features added in firmware (Spotify and Tidal) have opened new avenues. Features to be introduced in the new line (Airplay and Chromecast, plus OTA upgrades) will greatly enhance convenience from my point of view. Reports from folks who have heard them in demos are generally positive and they seem to be improved over the original Uniti counterparts...which are already really good imho. Not at the Classic separates level, but also not at the Classic price point, so fair market differentiation.

To add to your list of thoughts, the Nova can also rip from an external CD-ROM drive and store on an external USB drive. It also has an SD card slot (although I can't confirm it will rip to that directly, have not found that in the Naim literature); this capability mimics the Star as you mention but using an external rather than internal CD drive. 

Best wishes with your journey!

Regards alan

 

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