You are both absolutely right. I think the only time I experienced this type of separation live was at The Sage in Gateshead watching Van Morrison. It is a fantastic venue and worth a visit.
As I stated in previous replies I am not looking for an ultimately resolving system but just improvements to these areas. The variety of recording quality and styles only makes things more interesting and makes me listen to music differently.
After much demoing and evaluation I think I have worked out what has been going on. Since moving house and with a new room I am now listening more near field - approx 2.5m from speakers. Previously I would listen at 4.5m and obviously room acoustics were different, larger room etc. To get a good bass response from the motive 2's I could turn the volume up to a reasonable level. This did cause some hardening of the treble but seemed manageable in that room. I have been struggling with this in the new room.
Introducing the Motive 1sx has improved bass considerably and the treble is much more refined. I seem to be able to listen at a range of volumes and variety of recordings much more comfortably. Incremental improvements gained in required three areas.
I have had the chance to evaluate these speakers with three amplifier configurations. 202/200, Supernait 2 and my current xs separates. My findings in this room are as follows
1. 202/200DR NAPSC - extended bass with texture. Slightly laid back presentation ie not too forward or exuberant with refined treble.
2. Supernait 2 much more forward presentation more dynamic and maybe bass less detailed. This seemed to a bit too much for near field listening but in a bigger room with more demanding speakers I can appreciate it's strengths.
3. Xs separates - basically seems to sit between the two. For the money it really is a great combination. Doesn't get many plaudits on this forum. Maybe bass not as good as 200 but I can't find much difference compared to SN2 in the bass.
I now have to make some decisions. I think I will keep the speakers as this has solved the most pressing problems of treble and bass. Separation also is marginally improved.
In terms of amplification I could happily stick with what I have and purchase a purpose rack and maybe looked at room treatments? Alternatives could be a psu for the dac. I have also considered adding a 200 as this did improve things with the 152. I know 202 should come first but I am not in any rush and would be happy to wait and save for the next wave of preamps even if this is still some time away. If not 202 always an option.
I do feel a pang of disloyalty as my dealer has been great in terms of demos etc but doesn't stock Neats. I am sure in the not too distant future there will be further upgrades in electronics which will compensate.
It's not easy this upgrade malarkey - but then it wouldn't be a very interesting hobby if it was.