Next step

Hi,

My current set up is:

Rega Rp8 / Apheta 2

Rega Aria

Naim Uniti 2 (2013)

Uniti Serve (2013)

NAP 200 (2005)

Kudos X2 

Chord Epic Twin

All on hifi racks support with isolation platforms.

It all sounds pretty good (particularly the RP8) but I'm thinking what the next step might be. Would be interested to hear opinions as to whether I may have created an unbalanced system here (I originally planned to have a simple streaming solution hence purchasing the US and U2) but it has expanded! If so what might be good options to improve it (using an upgrade budget of £2k after trade in / sale values).

Many thanks in advance 

 


 

Original Post

The easy solution would be to swap the Uniti for a 172 or 272, depending on budget. If you think you'll want to continue to climb the upgrade ladder in future, a better alternative might be to invest in a preamp now, then add a streamer later.

By the way, has your 200 been serviced?

Many thanks all. Really helpful. I was thinking that a 272 would be logical to replace the U2. TBH I  never use its CDP as I have the US and its power amp is redundant due to the NAP 200. I'd like to retain streaming capability along with vinyl. 

Thr NAP 200 has not been serviced and I've been aware that I may need to do that. 

The observation on the NAC A5 is also interesting. I bought 2 x 1.5m lengths of the epic to go with the U2 but its always worried me that the NAP 200 might not be so comfortable with it.

Would the 200 and the Kudos x2 do justice to a 272? 

I had exactly the same system as you (well the Naim bits anyway) when the upgrade bug bit. I chose to substitute the Uniti 2 with an NDX and a 202, later adding a HiCap. This was a major step up and I lived with it happily for a few years.

But that was before we had the 272, which is where I suggest you head. Of course with the usual advice of 'try (at home) before you buy' to see if this change gives you what you are looking for in SQ terms. At the same time try some NACA5 speaker cables (min 3.5m lengths) in place of your rather short Chord Epics.

And yes, your 200 and Kudos X2s will do the 272 justice.

The Strat (Fender) posted:

Hi,

i immediately see the Uniti as the weak link.  I would suggest either a 272 or perhaps a ND5XS and NAC 202. 

Regards,

Lindsay

I have just purchased an ND5xs and a 202 powering a nap 200 and i love the sound its bloody awesome

S3 posted:

Many thanks all. Really helpful. I was thinking that a 272 would be logical to replace the U2. TBH I  never use its CDP as I have the US and its power amp is redundant due to the NAP 200. I'd like to retain streaming capability along with vinyl. 

Thr NAP 200 has not been serviced and I've been aware that I may need to do that. 

The observation on the NAC A5 is also interesting. I bought 2 x 1.5m lengths of the epic to go with the U2 but its always worried me that the NAP 200 might not be so comfortable with it.

Would the 200 and the Kudos x2 do justice to a 272? 

I too use chord wpic with the 200 to pmc speakers Nd its wonderful imo highly regarded cable the epic with good reason

No it doesn't sound broken Adam. It's sounds very good but I think it could be improved and I'm simply looking for considered advice as to what potential upgrade options might be. I suspect you and many other enthusiasts have gone through similar upgrade considerations over time and that is a compelling aspect of the Naim journey.

I may change something or I may not. I'll do some auditioning, take my time and decide whether it makes sense.

I believe the Unitiserve offers a rendered digital audio output, for connection direct to a DAC. I have no idea how it compares with other renderers, such as that from ND5XS, NDX, or the new Core, but if it is good then an option would be a separate DAC, retaining the US. Options there are the Naim DACs, but also the Chord range, most of those who have tried Hugo preferring it to the Naim options - and there is the even better Hugo TT, and the sublime Dave.

Mention has been made of ND5XS. I would suggest careful auditioning of the aforementioned option using the US digital output, or compare with, say, the new Core, before deciding. Having started my streaming experience with ND5XS, then added an XP5XS power supply, I later found I could achieve better sound quality for less cost with the Hugo and a non-Naim music store/renderer, but the US or Core might achieve the same.

ok heres my view

go buy a decent simple 2 channel digital recorder. Plenty to choose from, 96k 24bit will be fine.

Then buy a pair of proper microphones. Rode are a damn good make, offering very high quality at surprisingly low prices.

Get some mic stands, cable etc. 

Then go record things.

Nothing, but nothing, will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of music playback than a thorough understanding of music *recording*.

until you can hear and appreciate the differences between crossed fig 8s versus spaced omnis versus etc... and actually have hands on experience of the process, then you are just groping in the dark.

Its like food. Good restaurant reviewers are great writers and often know a worrying little about food, cooking, kitchens etc. Learn how to cook, to explore food flavours etc, then you will have enhanced and *educated* your tastebuds (ears). 

S3 posted:

No it doesn't sound broken Adam. It's sounds very good but I think it could be improved and I'm simply looking for considered advice as to what potential upgrade options might be. I suspect you and many other enthusiasts have gone through similar upgrade considerations over time and that is a compelling aspect of the Naim journey.

I may change something or I may not. I'll do some auditioning, take my time and decide whether it makes sense.

All clear.

At some stage you may be tempted to go down either of the two routes:

1. Streaming pre-amp e.g. N272

2. Separate streamer and pre-amp: e.g. NDX and 202 or 282.

Either of the above should offer an improvement over your Uniti. As to how much of an improvement only you can decide by demoing, preferably at home.

Adam

jon honeyball posted:

ok heres my view

go buy a decent simple 2 channel digital recorder. Plenty to choose from, 96k 24bit will be fine.

Then buy a pair of proper microphones. Rode are a damn good make, offering very high quality at surprisingly low prices.

Get some mic stands, cable etc. 

Then go record things.

Nothing, but nothing, will enhance your enjoyment and understanding of music playback than a thorough understanding of music *recording*.

until you can hear and appreciate the differences between crossed fig 8s versus spaced omnis versus etc... and actually have hands on experience of the process, then you are just groping in the dark.

Its like food. Good restaurant reviewers are great writers and often know a worrying little about food, cooking, kitchens etc. Learn how to cook, to explore food flavours etc, then you will have enhanced and *educated* your tastebuds (ears). 

Jon makes an i tersting point here - recording / playing live music and listening to it are different experiences.

Not much will replicate a feeling of hearing a live band or sitting in a mixing room, behind a console. Hearing those one realises how much Hi-Fi playback is compromised. Partially by the way music is mastered to common tastes (sic!) and partially by equipment limitations is our domestic environments. Naim is particularly good and offering a good solution to the second 'problem'  

It never ceases to amaze me how rough raw recordings sound. Mixing and processing is a way of making it 'acdeptable' to the general public. Does it make it siound better? That is a subject for a different debate

i just think that once you have got to a minimal level of equipment which works well, then the next thing you need to improve is the ear/brain interface. 

Just sticking on more 555PS's seems to be an exercise in financial self mutilation, if you are not careful. Anyone armed with sufficient credit card can make lots and lots of changes. And in the case of Naim equipment, be prepared to wait months for it to come "on song". 

Is there any surprise that both Linn (with my good friend Phil Hobbs running Linn Records) and Naim (the chap in Chicago in JVs time, plus all the Naim Label stuff since) both have deep rooted interested in *recording*. And comparison of what it really genuinely was like live versus the reproduced sound? Is there any surprise that the first Blue Nile album came about because Linn were trying to work out how things really sounded?

Food for thought

To a point - there are lots of mastering engineers out there who are extremely good at their job - just look at the extended credits of CDs you like and look them up - they will aim to capture the essence of the band or the music in the way the track is mastered. There is a lot more to  mastering than simply process mastering for car radio, mp3/AAC  or vinyl.

And as far as live music - the most powerful experiences for me are acoustic concerts or recitals or even floor singing at folk gigs - no amplification or electronics used at all - awesome

S

most mastering appears to be "Take something and remove all dynamic range from it". If I hear another well recorded track ruined by limiters slapped on the final stereo mix, such that the mid wobbles like a jelly in an earthquake every time the bass thumps, I will scream.

jon honeyball posted:
 Is there any surprise that the first Blue Nile album came about because Linn were trying to work out how things really sounded?

 

And what an album! Hats wasn't bad either. A great demo piece, then and now.

If you're interested in people's take on the connections between listening and recording/experience of live music see a thread I started a couple of years ago entitled 'Do you play a musical instrument?' https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...al-instrument?page=1

I didn't. But I do have Christmas decorations made from music with Yehudi Menhuin's handwritten notes as unwittingly placed in the music library's 'surplus' box and ingeniously (but unwittingly) transformed by my pupils!

Credentials apart, do you think it has helped or hindered your career/ hobby in HiFi? 

Helped hugely. Playing in a full size orchestra at a number of prom concerts gives a certain view on scale. Which is why I have ended up with six pack dbls. If a system can't sound like my Steinway then it is considerably compromised. 

Couldn't agree with you more! My HiFi quest was largely spurred on by the fact that my mono portable 'carousel' cassette player didn't do justice to Motorhead's Ace of Spades. I needed something bigger.

Seriously, though, playing piano, bass and six string and being immersed in live music daily has given me very clear auditory memory reference points when auditioning equipment.

jon honeyball posted:

Helped hugely. Playing in a full size orchestra at a number of prom concerts gives a certain view on scale. Which is why I have ended up with six pack dbls. If a system can't sound like my Steinway then it is considerably compromised. 

When I first bought a keyboard with sampled real instrument sounds, Playing through my hifi system, I was very pleased to find the piano sounds were incredibly natural sounding, in a way  (though not with the experience of being a concert pianist!) that had usually been the case with recorded piano music, but more variables involved with that. If I didn't know already, that would have convinced me of the naturalness of reproduction of my speakers (then IMF referrence standard prof monitors). And the same holds true now with my PMCs.

Update- I managed to pick up a powerline on a well known auction site for a good price. Looking forward to trying it out. 

What are views on where best to deploy it? It's either on the U2 or on the NAP 200. I think NAP 200 makes sense but would welcome views as to other's experience.

Many thanks 

S3 posted:

Update- I managed to pick up a powerline on a well known auction site for a good price. Looking forward to trying it out. 

What are views on where best to deploy it? It's either on the U2 or on the NAP 200. I think NAP 200 makes sense but would welcome views as to other's experience.

Many thanks 

Well - you only have two choices - just try them both If you do decide to try, resist a temptation to swap every few minutes. Let it run for a few days and only then change.

I would start with a source first - so UnitiQute.

Loki posted:
jon honeyball posted:
 Is there any surprise that the first Blue Nile album came about because Linn were trying to work out how things really sounded?

 

And what an album! Hats wasn't bad either. A great demo piece, then and now.

If you're interested in people's take on the connections between listening and recording/experience of live music see a thread I started a couple of years ago entitled 'Do you play a musical instrument?' https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...al-instrument?page=1

Loki, that was a cracking thread.

Dave

Bodger posted:
Loki posted:
jon honeyball posted:
 Is there any surprise that the first Blue Nile album came about because Linn were trying to work out how things really sounded?

 

And what an album! Hats wasn't bad either. A great demo piece, then and now.

If you're interested in people's take on the connections between listening and recording/experience of live music see a thread I started a couple of years ago entitled 'Do you play a musical instrument?' https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...al-instrument?page=1

Loki, that was a cracking thread.

Dave

Indeed it was - and as I wasn'r a forum member at the time I'm glad it has been brought to my attention now.

I put the Powerline on the Uniti 2. Significantly improved detail in high frequency and tighter bass. John Martyn's Solid Air (first press) sounded absolutely sublime on the RP8. I'll leave it there for a few days and may then try it on the NAP 200. Thanks for inputs.

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