Upgrade System - Uniti/Nap 250/Vertere Pulse X-Mini/Wilson Audio Sabrina

Hi All,

I've recently upgraded from a Uniti 1 and Monitor Audio RX6 Speakers to Uniti/Nap 250/Vertere Pulse X-Mini/Wilson Audio Sabrina. Overall i'm very happy but would like to brighten the sound a little more, for example the piano in many tracks is quite subdued compared to what im used too, what would you recommend in terms of improving the setup?

Thanks 

Shaun

Original Post

By upgrading to the Sabrinas, which are by all accounts excellent speakers, you have ended up with a system that would have a good chance of winning mullet of the year. The electronics are being shown up by the speakers. In terms of Naim systems I’d have thought that the bare minimum would be the 272/300 and that the NDS, 552 and 500 would be ideal. What can you afford to spend in order to balance the system? Are you committed to the Sabrinas? If not you’d very likely me more successful with a balanced system for the same price. 

As HH says, that's a lot of speaker hanging off the end of a rather modest source. However, Wilson have shown off their entry level floor standers with even the little NAIT 5i (their minimum amp requirement IIRC) , so with an appropriate level source - i.e. much better than the Uniti - you may well improve matters markedly.

Just to fill in the complete picture, what type of NAP250 are we looking at here?  A recent 250DR, 250.2 or an earlier classic 250? If one of the latter two, when was it serviced?

Hungryhalibut posted:

By upgrading to the Sabrinas, which are by all accounts excellent speakers, you have ended up with a system that would have a good chance of winning mullet of the year. The electronics are being shown up by the speakers. In terms of Naim systems I’d have thought that the bare minimum would be the 272/300 and that the NDS, 552 and 500 would be ideal. What can you afford to spend in order to balance the system? Are you committed to the Sabrinas? If not you’d very likely me more successful with a balanced system for the same price. 

My thoughts are to upgrade to a 300 DR and suitable pre-amp. I play most of my music from Tidal via an optical input from my television to the Uniti. I tried Focal Kanta and Sonus Faber Venere S, neither of which i liked as much. Living in UAE there isn't much choice in terms of auditioning. 7000 GBP would be my max budget., i'm keeping an eye on ebay just not sure which way to go yet.

Richard Dane posted:

As HH says, that's a lot of speaker hanging off the end of a rather modest source. However, Wilson have shown off their entry level floor standers with even the little NAIT 5i (their minimum amp requirement IIRC) , so with an appropriate level source - i.e. much better than the Uniti - you may well improve matters markedly.

Just to fill in the complete picture, what type of NAP250 are we looking at here?  A recent 250DR, 250.2 or an earlier classic 250? If one of the latter two, when was it serviced?

its a 250.2 that's 4 years old, never serviced

Hungryhalibut posted:

For £7,000 I’d look for a used 272 and CD 555 PS DR. That would really up the source. Then you can switch to a 300 in due course. Do bear in mind that with Tidal you  will not get anything like the full potential of your equipment. 

Appreciate the advice, how about the NDX + 282 route? I have found a 282 and CD 555 (non DR) locally for sale. What source would you recommend other than Spotify/Tidal HiFi? I use it for convenience. 

Yes, an NDX and 282 would be a fine alternative; a lot depends on how many boxes you want. In terms of sources you will find that locally streamed (i.e. from a nas) music will sound considerably better. Certainly, if I owned £19,000 speakers, I’d want to hear the best from them. And if I owned £500 speakers I’d still want the same. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Yes, an NDX and 282 would be a fine alternative; a lot depends on how many boxes you want. In terms of sources you will find that locally streamed (i.e. from a nas) music will sound considerably better. Certainly, if I owned £19,000 speakers, I’d want to hear the best from them. And if I owned £500 speakers I’d still want the same. 

I think a NAS is one for the future, i have 100s of albums and playlists, would have to be pretty committed! To be honest my budget was 5000 GBP but after trying several different speakers I was blown away by the Sabrinas. I got a great deal on a lightly used pair and as i live in UAE the market is smaller, i was able to get them around half the UK retail price, still nearly double my original budget though! i'll build my system around them just need to know the best way to go whilst getting value for money. I'm happy to buy used as long as it's in perfect condition..

some counterpoints: i don't hear much, if any, difference between locally-stored rips and the same files streamed via Tidal -- such that i stopped ripping my CDs. as for your speaker cables, i also use the Vertere stuff with a 250.2 and it's fine. 

i agree that your budget should go toward improving your source. you can do a lot with £7,000! for starters, i recommend getting a dedicated streamer/DAC setup to deliver Tidal, rather than running it via optical from your TV. there are many, many options to choose from and you don't have to spend a fortune on the streamer side of the equation to get good quality. 

so, let's say you get that secondhand 282 and a Hicap. you could then partner a Chord Hugo DAC with an Allo Digione (circa £150), Sonore microRendu, SOTM SMS-200, or any of dozens of other good choices -- using a PC, Mac, or NUC to do the processing/file storage if need be.

or you could just get a NDX/282 or 272/XPS and job done.

 

joe9407 posted:

some counterpoints: i don't hear much, if any, difference between locally-stored rips and the same files streamed via Tidal -- such that i stopped ripping my CDs. as for your speaker cables, i also use the Vertere stuff with a 250.2 and it's fine. 

i agree that your budget should go toward improving your source. you can do a lot with £7,000! for starters, i recommend getting a dedicated streamer/DAC setup to deliver Tidal, rather than running it via optical from your TV. there are many, many options to choose from and you don't have to spend a fortune on the streamer side of the equation to get good quality. 

so, let's say you get that secondhand 282 and a Hicap. you could then partner a Chord Hugo DAC with an Allo Digione (circa £150), Sonore microRendu, SOTM SMS-200, or any of dozens of other good choices -- using a PC, Mac, or NUC to do the processing/file storage if need be.

or you could just get a NDX/282 or 272/XPS and job done.

 

Thanks Joe. i used my Mac in the past but now feed from the tv for functionality and to keep things tidy. i'm leaning towards an (all ex demo) NDX and possibly 252 (from what i'm reading, for an extra 1000 GPB it seems to be the way to go). That just leaves the power supply, the Supercap would bring me in budget - once i sell the Uniti.. after all that it best sound bloody amazing 

The first question is all Naim or not?  If you decide all Naim then for £7,000 I'd go for a second hand NDX/XPS/282/HCDR keeping the 250-2 for now.  Non Naim you have a lot more choice of course and you could get a used Auralic Mini/Chord Hugo 1 for under £1,000 on the used market or Auralic Mini/Ndac for £1,500 leaving you £6,000 or £5,500 to spend on either 282/HCDR/250DR or 282/HCDR/300 personally I would choose non DR 300 over a 250DR but it is your choice.

Whatever you decide it will be a fine system and will give you that finer detail you are looking for.

SDeegs posted:

Hi All,

I've recently upgraded from a Uniti 1 and Monitor Audio RX6 Speakers to Uniti/Nap 250/Vertere Pulse X-Mini/Wilson Audio Sabrina. Overall i'm very happy but would like to brighten the sound a little more, for example the piano in many tracks is quite subdued compared to what im used too, what would you recommend in terms of improving the setup?

Thanks 

Shaun

It is interesting that the sound of piano is more subdued with the Wilson Audio Sabrina although it should be a more revealing and transparent speaker than the Monitor Audio RX6. As usual, a good balance is important so most of the suggestions of a NAC N272 or NAC 282 to replace the Uniti are the best way forward. 

FWIW I listen to a lot of piano too and cannot tolerate dullness with the notes of the piano. In my limited experience the front-end (source/DAC and preamp) will largely contribute to the energy and liveliness of piano notes.

yeti42 posted:

That speaker cable doesn’t look very friendly to a Naim amp. Multi conductor construction tends to lead to high capacitance which would make the amp unstable. Do you have the specs for it?

Sorry, but I have had Vertere Pulse X mini as speaker cable and it was excellent, with a full, organic, musical and natural sounding range. Since it has a more deep and articulated bottom end than NAC A5, and is smooth with tons of detail, it should complement the Sabrinas very well. For the rest, I totally agree with Richard and HH.

Max

Hi good move with 272 ........ HH is right 555psdr next ........ then ultimately the amp NAP300dr would be nice. Ultimately ..... there would be room for further improvement at the front end ...... but that's a whole new ball game involving preamps etc ... etc.  I would invest in a really good rack, and powerlines etc .... the 272 is very sensitive to vibration. 

Max_B posted:
yeti42 posted:

That speaker cable doesn’t look very friendly to a Naim amp. Multi conductor construction tends to lead to high capacitance which would make the amp unstable. Do you have the specs for it?

Sorry, but I have had Vertere Pulse X mini as speaker cable and it was excellent, with a full, organic, musical and natural sounding range. Since it has a more deep and articulated bottom end than NAC A5, and is smooth with tons of detail, it should complement the Sabrinas very well. For the rest, I totally agree with Richard and HH.

Max

I suggested it as a possible cause but only based on what I could see on Vertere's web site of the cables construction and Naims stated cable requirements coupled with the OP having issues with his system, if you say it works well I'm not going to argue and the OP later said he'd compared it with A5 using his Wilsons (I assume) and it sounded duller with the A5. I haven't found LC data for X mini. A question though for anyone that might have a clue.

I gather that the LC values for the speaker cable effect a Classic Naim amps stability, that a certain of inductance is required and that capacitance shouldn't be too high, L and C are linked through the cables characteristic impedence so that C increases as L decreases for a given length as the wires get closer spaced or parallelled up. But you have a loudspeaker hanging off the end of that cable, how does the speaker's reactance effect stability on the end of alternative cables? Will a nice easy load allow more choice in cable selection than something with a high phase angle/low impedence coincedent at a point or two in it's impedence curve.

Yeti,

the L and C value are, for what I know (not much) also a direct function of the cable's geometry, and the SuperLumina are extremely similar in design to the Verteres... Yet no one has had any problems in using them with non-Statement gear so far.

But I only reported my own experience. For sure, the Pulse X mini gifted my then N-Sats with body, organicity and a full half octave of real bass more.

Max

yeti42 posted:
... But you have a loudspeaker hanging off the end of that cable, how does the speaker's reactance effect stability on the end of alternative cables? Will a nice easy load allow more choice in cable selection than something with a high phase angle/low impedence coincedent at a point or two in it's impedence curve.

interesting point... for years now my distributor sells (and demos) NAIM with Nordost (despite the low iwhose inductance is too low for NAIM amps) - the argument I hear is the loudspeaker crossover may well have sufficient inductance to compensate... no idea if this is correct or not... 

Have been running the 272 for a week now and am very happy with the step forward, the system now sounds like the ones you hear in the audio store and think wow! The control, clarity and detail are massively improved. NAP 300 or 555PS next ...?! 

Yeti - you lost me a little with the cable talk, i'm running 3m lengths.  A5 was with my previous speakers/setup, I would be interested to compare on the Wilsons

SDEEGS,

Great news!  Keep the 250DR, as it's a super amplifier.  If it were me, I'd put the external power supply on the 272, then be prepared to be amazed at how good music sounds.  The 300DR is a truly great amplifier but to me the external power supply on the 272 has a greater impact than 250DR to 300DR.

In the meantime, do enjoy what you already have!

Best regards, FT

Back again gents, have been looking at the power supplies, either the 555 PS or I can pick up an XPS DR for around 1/3 of the price. In terms of value the XPS makes a lot more sense but... will I regret it later?! Is the difference really that huge? It’s not possible to compare here in the UAE hence my indecisiveness! 

Deegs posted:

Back again gents, have been looking at the power supplies, either the 555 PS or I can pick up an XPS DR for around 1/3 of the price. In terms of value the XPS makes a lot more sense but... will I regret it later?! Is the difference really that huge? It’s not possible to compare here in the UAE hence my indecisiveness! 

In the context of your system, and especially given the speakers, the 555PSDR is the one to be looking at. The 555 is much, much better and will raise the 272 to a level you didn’t think possible. It ensures that the source and preamp are maximised, which will be particularly relevant should you move to a 300. I do not agree that the XPS provides better synergy, based on my experience of long term ownership of both of the power supplies. 

Hungryhalibut posted:
Deegs posted:

Back again gents, have been looking at the power supplies, either the 555 PS or I can pick up an XPS DR for around 1/3 of the price. In terms of value the XPS makes a lot more sense but... will I regret it later?! Is the difference really that huge? It’s not possible to compare here in the UAE hence my indecisiveness! 

In the context of your system, and especially given the speakers, the 555PSDR is the one to be looking at. The 555 is much, much better and will raise the 272 to a level you didn’t think possible. It ensures that the source and preamp are maximised, which will be particularly relevant should you move to a 300. I do not agree that the XPS provides better synergy, based on my experience of long term ownership of both of the power supplies. 

ok it looks like i'm going to have to bite the bullet and go for the 555 or i'll be forever wondering what i could've had! i've found a nice 2009 for around 2600GBP or 2017 555 DS for 5000 GBP, is the later model really that much better? 

 

Sdeegs, dull piano... how much have you experimented with position of the speakers? Moving them out from back wall might do big changes to the presentation. Also make sure the feet are absolutly wobbel free. 

Regarding non dr or dr, what is the service status of the non dr? If not serviced that cost should be factored in.

Go for the 555DR. It is quite incredible what it does for the 272. For an extra £2400 over the non DR it is well worth it when you consider how much you’ll save in not having to spend an additional £4K+ getting it DRd in a few months time! And you will want to do that, believe me....

Joppe posted:

Sdeegs, dull piano... how much have you experimented with position of the speakers? Moving them out from back wall might do big changes to the presentation. Also make sure the feet are absolutly wobbel free. 

Regarding non dr or dr, what is the service status of the non dr? If not serviced that cost should be factored in.

The dull piano was more related to the Uniti i had as the source, the recent purchase of the NAC 272 has completely resolved that issue.. 

Yes once thats factored in it makes sense to go for the newer unit, for 5K it better blow me away!

I personally woul not upgrade your 250 until you get a power supply for the 272. I run the 250DR with the larger Wilson Yvette’s and I don’t feel like it’s missing much when compared to a 300. 

If you’re happy with 272 then that is great! But I found that the linn streamers were a step up. Give them a demo if you can. If not I would hold out for the new naim streamers coming out. 

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