Upgrade from DAC-V1 + NAP 100 + KEF LS50 - 4 grand UK (hopefully) to spend - suggestions please

I don't post here much, mainly because I don't upgrade very often - probably because I spend most of my disposable income on music (I post in the music room a fair amount).
 
The system is as per the subject line. The DAC-V1 is gets a digital signal up its USB port from a dedicated music server running Daphile. The boxes are on an Atacama rack and the speakers are on Atacama stands (ones with 3 pillars - one pillar is bigger diameter than the others and is full of the weight material). Speaker cable is Chord Odyssey (I think its called that), but I plan to get some NACA5.
 
I have no complaints about the current system, as I have no experience of anything better. But I do want to experience something better! I have been saving my pennies and I reckon in a few months I will have about £4000 to spend on an upgrade to move up the Naim upgrade path (if there are no unexpected bills or changes in circumstance).
 
Given all the above, I am looking for suggestions as to upgrades to test at a dealer if I get the bottle to drop that amount of cash.
 
I have an idea of what I might do, but I won't skew any suggestions by saying it quite yet. One thing I will say is that I would like to consider this upgrade a step to bigger things, so it hopefully won't be the end game and I will be happy with a mullet for a while.
 
I want to buy new, as I would rather be the first owner. Also I won't be doing any trade ins, as I hope to use the current system to make a second one in the office.
 
Thanks for any ideas
Original Post

You already have a terrific system that will be hard to beat. You're now in the territory of the laws of diminishing returns. 

My suggestion would be to demo some speakers, at home in your own room is a must. ATC SCM19 and SCM40 would be first on my list but you will need a more powerful amp such as NAP250 or ATC P1. I've listened to a lot of speakers over the last couple of years and imho ATC are in a league of their own for the money.

A 200 works well with the V1, and would use about half of your budget if you buy new. Remember, though, that the new 200DR would be a little wasted in that its DR power supply is for a Naim preamp, which at the moment, you don't have. A good used non-DR 200 would therefore be much better value.

An amp upgrade would also open the door to a much wider range of speakers. My only recommendation there is that you should only consider speakers that work in your room, and nobody on a forum can help you with that.

Sooner or later, you will no doubt want a source upgrade. An NDAC is the obvious Naim choice, but with your current setup, you would need to decide if that is practical, as it does not have the USB input of the V1. Plenty of non-Naim DACs to consider, too, or maybe a streamer?

 
 
I have an idea of what I might do, but I won't skew any suggestions by saying it quite yet. One thing I will say is that I would like to consider this upgrade a step to bigger things, so it hopefully won't be the end game and I will be happy with a mullet for a while.
 
 
Thanks for any ideas

So a Nova fits the bill ?

Thanks for all replies – most informative and some suggestions that were completely outside what I was thinking about, which has given food for thought (and was the reason I posted). Some specific replies:

 ATC speakers – never really heard of them before but a bit of research reveals they have a great reputation – definitely worth considering when I have a few more quid

 Very interesting remark about the odyssey cable and the NACA? Are they about as good as one another?

 Nova – interesting - I didnt know what it was so I had to look it up. Great reviews I see.

Like the comment about wicked LS50s - I am certainly happy with mine. Placement is a bit finicky but they can be refined and move a lot of air at the same time!

 As to end game – no idea what the end game is but I think a reasonable mid term aim is 272/250. At the moment I can only afford one of these so if I did this the other component would have to be what I have already – i.e. 272/100 or DAC V1/250. Hence the comment about mullet!

Thanks again - much appreciated

I don't think you can go wrong with a 250 power amp. Other than streaming capability, not sure how much better sound quality a 272 will give you over a V1 for digital music. Once you've saved your pennies you might want to upgrade your V1 for another DAC with build in preamp (volume control and remote control), such as 272, or even a third party product such as Chord Hugo 2 or Benchmark DAC 3. One thing to be aware of is that as you are going direct into a Naim power amp (250) you will be limited to Naim products only as Naim do not recommend connecting third party preamps directly into a Naim power amp. You have no need for a dedicated Naim preamp as you only have digital source/music.

I would guess a 272 mK2 is not that far around the corner.

A couple of years ago I was also looking to upgrade my DAC-V1, NAP 100, PMC twenty.23 system. I seriously considered switching to ATC's Active SCM40, the SCM40A. Ultimately they didn't deliver enough of the Naim sound. I explain my experience here

I ended up getting a NAP 250 DR. Which I've been happy with. My logic. The 250:

- has the power to drive a wide range of speakers;
- is a classic in Naim's lineup;
- can provide a good base on which to add additional Naim components like a streaming pre;
- holds it's value quite well.

I wanted to add a better Naim DAC or streaming pre but I wasn't convinced Naim's streaming platform was either robust or feature rich enough for my needs. I stuck with the DAC-V1 using the USB input for a Sonore microRendu and UpTone Audio UltraCap LPS-1 power supply to handle streaming and Roon.

In the next year or two I'd like a Naim streaming pre with an asynchronous USB input like the DAC-V1. I would also consider a second generation NAC-N 272. It's clearly been a difficult birth, but to their credit Naim now have a very competitive streaming platform, one that matches their great audio quality.

I was deeply impressed with ATC's Active SCM40 and my DAC-V1. Unfortunately it didn't quite have the Naim sound I love. So what I'd really love is a Naim integrated Pre/DAC/Streamer and two Naim active speakers! With Naim's history, I think they could do a great job

Halloween Man posted:

I don't think you can go wrong with a 250 power amp. Other than streaming capability, not sure how much better sound quality a 272 will give you over a V1 for digital music. Once you've saved your pennies you might want to upgrade your V1 for another DAC with build in preamp (volume control and remote control), such as 272, or even a third party product such as Chord Hugo 2 or Benchmark DAC 3. One thing to be aware of is that as you are going direct into a Naim power amp (250) you will be limited to Naim products only as Naim do not recommend connecting third party preamps directly into a Naim power amp. You have no need for a dedicated Naim preamp as you only have digital source/music.

I would guess a 272 mK2 is not that far around the corner.

Much obliged for this and the earlier reply. Re ATC, I found a video on youtube about ATC and it shows they really know their stuff and pay real attention to detail (you can find it if you search for "ATC factory tour" on youtube - I thought it was very interesting).

I have actually got a chord hugo 1 that I use for portable - commuting and at work etc. (I was playing it today at work and there was a fire drill and I didn't hear it because I had the music on!) I haven't tried it into the NAP 100 but as you say there needs to be a preamp in the middle.

I think it might be a toss up between 250 or 272. All other things being equal my thinking at the moment is 250 first because in the interim while I save up some more an updated 272 might come out - it is more likely to be updated due to the type of its technology.

All this said, I am still saving up for the first upgrade and then I have to summon up the courage to spend the money!

GregW posted:

A couple of years ago I was also looking to upgrade my DAC-V1, NAP 100, PMC twenty.23 system. I seriously considered switching to ATC's Active SCM40, the SCM40A. Ultimately they didn't deliver enough of the Naim sound. I explain my experience here

I ended up getting a NAP 250 DR. Which I've been happy with. My logic. The 250:

- has the power to drive a wide range of speakers;
- is a classic in Naim's lineup;
- can provide a good base on which to add additional Naim components like a streaming pre;
- holds it's value quite well.

I wanted to add a better Naim DAC or streaming pre but I wasn't convinced Naim's streaming platform was either robust or feature rich enough for my needs. I stuck with the DAC-V1 using the USB input for a Sonore microRendu and UpTone Audio UltraCap LPS-1 power supply to handle streaming and Roon.

In the next year or two I'd like a Naim streaming pre with an asynchronous USB input like the DAC-V1. I would also consider a second generation NAC-N 272. It's clearly been a difficult birth, but to their credit Naim now have a very competitive streaming platform, one that matches their great audio quality.

I was deeply impressed with ATC's Active SCM40 and my DAC-V1. Unfortunately it didn't quite have the Naim sound I love. So what I'd really love is a Naim integrated Pre/DAC/Streamer and two Naim active speakers! With Naim's history, I think they could do a great job

Very interesting - much appreciated. Good to hear from someone who has gone through a similar process, and it is encouraging that you are happy with DAC V1 + 250. Re an updated 272 - I would add one analogue input to the list of requirements, but deffo a USB input.

Active is interesting and I get all the benefits completely - no phase problems etc. I wonder if DAC V1 -> hicap -> SNAXO -> 2x NAP 100 would work?! That would just about be within budget. Then all I would have to do is butcher my speakers to take the crossover out! This is just a flight of fancy from the half bakery but it would be interesting to know if it works...

sjt posted:

Much obliged for this and the earlier reply. Re ATC, I found a video on youtube about ATC and it shows they really know their stuff and pay real attention to detail (you can find it if you search for "ATC factory tour" on youtube - I thought it was very interesting).

I have actually got a chord hugo 1 that I use for portable - commuting and at work etc. (I was playing it today at work and there was a fire drill and I didn't hear it because I had the music on!) I haven't tried it into the NAP 100 but as you say there needs to be a preamp in the middle.

I think it might be a toss up between 250 or 272. All other things being equal my thinking at the moment is 250 first because in the interim while I save up some more an updated 272 might come out - it is more likely to be updated due to the type of its technology.

All this said, I am still saving up for the first upgrade and then I have to summon up the courage to spend the money!

Thanks for the ATC video heads up, I enjoyed watching it. I can testify ATC's in-house 75mm mid driver and tweeter are pretty special. The tweeter is a unique design in that is it a dual suspension design rather than the usual ferrofluid cooled that dries and loses performance with time. ATC's tweeter is modelled on their own 75mm mid driver. The proof of the pudding though is in the sound quality. For me, that's where ATC excel.

The 250 will allow you to drive a greater range of speakers so I'm sure will be a good move for the future, if not provide a big leap in sound quality over what you already have. I wonder if a 250 could drive ATC SCM40 speakers?!

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