source, pre or amp upgrade for pmc fact.8

dear naim folks,

so it's been almost a year when i upgraded my system and currently reside with my ndx/282/2x hcdr/250dr/pmc fact.8 (see my last thread where you guys helped me a great deal  https://forums.naimaudio.com/to...nd-soundstage?page=1 ). it sounds wonderful and even my wife said that she didn't notice much of a difference compared to a concert we've visited lately (and she really doesn't care about hifi at all)... 

so time has passed and my good old t+a cd player will move to my parents place. i only used it once within the last year so I don't see much need in it anymore and my father still got some 500+ cds sitting in his shelf being too lazy to rip and use on his nd5xs.

anyway this means I got another spare full width shelf in my living room to potentially go for another upgrade. so i'm ready to ask my dealer to do another home demo hopefully within the next 3 weeks. my question now is if my fact.8s could benefit from a 300dr in a similar way as when i made the jump from 200 to 250dr or if a xpsdr or hugo 2 on my ndx would be the better choice? many of you follow the principle "source first". a third choice would be to trade in my 2 hcdr and get a scdr instead... all upgrades seem tempting to me however a xpsdr would be the furthest financial stretch cuz i wouldnt' have anything to trade in. also I don't see another full width shelf space become available soon to accomodate a fifth box for further and later upgrades which leaves the scdr upgrade I think a bit aside cuz it opens up a greater upgrade path.

so to summarize - shall i go source first principle, or will my facts appreciate a 300dr even more, or is it suffice to say that a scdr is the way to go to keep things more balanced overall even though I would not be able to upgrade further in near future?

many thx for your advice in advance!

best m

 

Original Post

hmm didn't think of a 555ps yet... but thanks for throwing that into the equation.

my second hcdr actually is quite up to do some magic in my system and room, so i'd be hard pressed to give up on that. anyway i would need to give that a try during my home audition.

A power supply upgrade on the NDX is a significant improvement as demonstrated by my dealer last year whilst listening to various system combinations prior to purchasing a new black box set up the NDX was being used in an Olive system at the time.

I did upgrade from a 250dr to a 300dr earlier this year and this was quite a staggering upgrade but  upgraded to s S/L interconnect and S/L speaker cables prior to the 300dr upgrade these in there self were a major improvement but a lot is down to personal preferences and what works in your system and environment.    

I would strongly advise you take time to listen at your dealer at various options to  decide what suits you best then confirm  with a home demo just take your time.

so what was the more significant improvement to you, the ndx ps upgrade or the switch to your 300dr?

i can see from your profile that you already have a 252 so I'd be wondering if my current  setup would be a big handbreak for a 300dr? I have once read in this forum that for a great source and pre to really shine you'd need at least the corresponding if not a better power amp from the same range... not sure how to read that since most people are going for "source first" approach.

MEGGE, The 300dr upgrade was probably the most significant individual change but a how much that was helped by having the XPSdr and S/L cables prior too is hard to judge hence my comment on taking your time at the dealer to listen at the various options its a case of system balance and synergy.

 

 

I think HH is spot on ..... buy a sh 555ps for around 2.4k it will make a fabulous upgrade ..... when I added one to my 272 I thought it an amazing improvement......you will then be in a position to one day get an NDS ....... you will not be disappointed with the NDX/555ps combo.

gentlemen,

thanks a lot for your valuable input. Today I have been to my dealer's place and listened to the XPS and nDAC in various combinations with the NDX. The system I was listening to was 202/SCDR/Ophidian Prophet P2.  I was listening to soundtracks (Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings), Michael Buble  ("I believe in you") and some tracks by Imagine Dragons who have some unsusal track mixings in place that can reveal lesser systems to sound broken.

At first the NDX as I know it gives a well performance on its own. It does have its usual flaws being a bit edgy in the mids and slightly harsh in its highs but personally for me that's whining on high level. In any case I liked what I heard but this was to be expected.

Next was the NDX as a pure transport hooked into the nDAC. This setup certainly revealed more details from the big orchestra soundtracks. Also the spacing and clarity was prudent to an extent I have not yet heard. However tracks by Michael Buble somehow didn't sound as cohesive due to the added details and clarity from the nDAC. It was interesting to hear that some of the coherence couldn't be held together. Imagine Dragons (Thunder) instead played very nicley, easy going - the added details and clarity suited this song very well, especially the drums could be discenered very well which can be a very difficult task.

The last setup was the NDX with the XPS hooked up. This vastly improved the overall coherence of the demo tracks I heard. This slight edgyness nearly vanished and the soundstage expanded. I didn't hear and feel the harshness in the highs anymore so I comfortably turned up the volume. Michael Buble was back in the picture as I'm used to hear and like but with much more feeling involved even though the last bits and pieces of what the nDAC does was missing.

So in the end I left the demo audition with the feeling that the XPS was the better performer overall. However the price tag is significantly higher than for the nDAC. At the same time there is a great s/h offer on the market for a 300DR. My dealer said that in the context of my system a 300DR will bring less improvements than the XPS since the NDX is the bottleneck. So he suggested to go with the XPS first, eventually upgrade to an NDS and then go for the 300DR. Maybe I will ask him if we could demo a 300DR at my place before I will finally decide. I read much about the Hugo and 2Qute but I cannot demo this easily if at all so I'm hesitating if I would put that down as a potential option. In any case I will report back.

Max

 

Max,

stick with your dealer as he offers excellent advice and will do decent demonstrations too. This forum with provide all sorts of good, bad and indifferent advice, so trust your good dealer and your own ears.

With the right source, a 250DR is more than sufficient for your Fact 8. Sure the 300DR is even more capable, but your NDX is the limiting element in your system. XPSDR or a used 555PS should be the way to go.

enjoy the journey! FT

So I have been progressing on my musical journey and listened to a Bryston BDA-2 DAC flanked by a NDX/202/200/PMC twenty5.24... and I have to say that I was surprisingly impressed. Not only that the Bryston DAC added a lot of details and dimensional space to the musical stage but most importantly kept that coherence of a song rather than pulling it just apart into pieces that won't play together nicely. In any case I was so overwhelmed what the NDX as a pure transport and together with the Bryston DAC forming some amazing source were able to produce I took the chance again on a great demo offer. I have heard Bryston/PMC arrangements before and was very impressed but for my taste it was in general a bit on the clincal and bright side.

Now comparing a NDX/BDA-2 to a NDX/XPS as far as I recall I'd say that the NDX/XPS is lacking a bit of detail but maintaining its typical PRaT, however excellent involvement and coherence is given which I'm used to these days. With the NDX/BDA-2 I got that sparkle of detail added especially in the mids and much more contour in the lower frequencies. This has been very evident when listening to the soundtrack of Pirates of the Caribbean as well as "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons. All in all the overall coherence dropped by a very small margin but the added details were very favorable to my ears which I enjoyed a lot. So in the end I could only imagine what the Bryston BDA-2 would do in my system but I believe and hope that it will sound great. If all else fails I still have the chance to return the Bryston so without any risk there. Should either get it this upcoming or next week since I want to change the faceplate to black.

So while waiting for my Bryston DAC to arrive at home my dealer has made me a great offer for a SCDR in return for my two HCDRs. This offer is very hard to resist but would want to wait until the Bryston has settled in in my system so I can make a proper home demo with the SCDR. I have already put aside my thoughts about the 300DR since I realised that my 250DR is super capable of what I really want to "hear" and that the financial layout is far beyond of what I want to go for now.

Will keep you posted on what the new DAC and the follow up session with the SCDR will bring to my system.

Cheers Max

Maybe a bit of the track  , but you should try a tube amp (with some power, eg. KT120 tubes or so) with the fact.8. They really blossom with nice tubes. I myself tried a primaluna dialogue premium hp with my previous fact.8 and it sounded amazing! I just couldn’t fit the amp in in my every day use of the set (the heat that ccape of that thing was quite impressive as well).

Jumping Jack posted:

Maybe a bit of the track  , but you should try a tube amp (with some power, eg. KT120 tubes or so) with the fact.8. They really blossom with nice tubes. I myself tried a primaluna dialogue premium hp with my previous fact.8 and it sounded amazing! I just couldn’t fit the amp in in my every day use of the set (the heat that ccape of that thing was quite impressive as well).

Jack, thanks for some food for thought there - unfortunately I am in the same position as you to fit a tube amp into my every day use habits of using my audio gear properly.

so the bryston bda-2 should be there next week, hopefully.... very looking forward to this. my expectation for now would be that it would raise my ndx as a source component to a another level adding the clarity and details of a ndac and at the same time improve musical coherence such as a xpsdr does on a bare ndx. anyway let's see...

meanwhile I'm also thinking about some unforseen dealer's trade-in offer returning my two hicaps and get a new scdr instead. an alternative he said would also be to think about super lumina speaker cables if i want to stay with my 282 and not succumb the 252 upgrade temptation when having a scdr in the rack. I have read good stuff about the sl speaker cables but cannot easily audition a comparison between scdr and cable. in fact i'd be very surprised if the sl speaker cable upgrade would even be close in musical performance lift such as a scdr on a 282, even if i'd go sl full loom. has anyone ever made experience with this type of comparison (power supply vs sl cable upgrade)?

Sorry for the delay here but I finally got my Bryston BDA-2 three weeks ago, hooked it up in my system and let it run in for a day or two heading towards the weekend even though it was a demo unit which should have been well run in anyway. So over that weekend I started listening to my usual tracks for critical listening... long story short it was very, very difficult to discern any differences. Only difference I found was that the Bryston revealed the soundstage a little bit more closed in and less foundation in the lower frequencies. Mids and highs seemed on par with the NDX’s DAC section. Also the sparkle and details I heard during my demo was not present in any way. I have to say I was underwhelmed. My initial feeling when I heard the Bryston DAC in the demo system (NDX/202/200/PMC twenty5.24) did not grab me in any way at home L.

Being rather pissed at myself not auditioning the Bryston DAC at home I will be ditching it again. Besides that it also clearly showed to me what the NDX and its DAC section is really capable of. I didn’t do the head-to-head comparison during the demo between the NDX/Bryston DAC and bare NDX so it seems that I was really fooled by my brain excitement. Another lesson learned…

 

Anyway I will go back to my dealer and have a listen to a XPS + NDX as well as the nDAC + NDX combo. Still unsure whether the XPS still has the lead in front of the nDAC for my taste so I will listen to it again.

Hi Megge,

At this level mistakes are expensive. Bryson and valve amp suggestions for a Naimee is a bit odd. Are you sure Naim are the way to go. In your shoes I would spend a year listening to loads of different kit without buying any. Valves, American muscle amps, you name it.

If at the end Naim makes sense then the upgrade path can be followed with confidence. Some Naimees seem to be selling very high end systems and going the Devialet route for example. Expensive mistakes IMHO. I decided a long time ago that Naim was for me. I accept that there might be better out there but I really couldn’t afford to change now. But I had a plan and I am very happy with where I am.

Proceed with caution and have fun along the way.

Stu

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