Integrated amp choice - help needed

mikeinthemidlanda

Novice Member
Hi there

I’m considering a Naim integrated XS2. I currently have:

Rega RP6 TT with Exact cartridge;
Neat Motive SX3 speakers on brackets close to the wall and ports plugged;
Tellurium Black MK2 speaker cables;
Rega Elex R amp.

The amp I have is on demo. I like this amp having listened to the Brio, Arcam SA20, Elicit, Audiolab 8300.

I’ve heard great things about Naim and Neat as a pairing. I’d like the same entertaining sound as the Elex but maybe a bit more vocal and more control to the bass as I have the speakers on brackets v close to the wall out of necessity.

I want to buy 2nd hand or ex demo to the best amp I can go make the speakers sing!

Would the XS2 be an upgrade from the Elex?


I listen at moderate volume 65-70db and value SQ over volume. I have up to £1,500 to spend to get the best amp for this system. It might be the Elex R but I want to explore all options.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Apollo83

Active Member
I’d like the same entertaining sound as the Elex but maybe a bit more vocal and more control to the bass as I have the speakers on brackets v close to the wall out of necessity.

I apologise as I don't know anything about the NAIM XS2, but when has that ever stopped forum members from opining :)

The first thing that struck me about your post is your symptoms speak to vocal (maybe low mid) and bass issues.
From what I've read about the Neats they are compact rear-ported stand mounters which excel in the mid and treble...

Bunging the ports is undoubtedly helping with bass resonance off the wall, but maybe at the expense of volume and responsiveness of the bass...

My first action would be to experiment by taking the Neats off the wall bracket into the room in an equilateral triangle with your listening position and opening up the ports.
Does that fix your sound?

If it does, you have 4 options:
1) reposition and unbung your Neats (which you say is tricky in your room)
2) Buy an Equaliser (whether room correction or old school) and insert it in your signal path to boost the bass and lower mid
3) Buy new speakers that are front ported, can be placed close to wall and have the tone curve you like
4) Buy an amp that colours the tone to boost and maybe better control the bass...

Your current path of option 4 is probably the last thing I would try...
I'm not convinced your amp is the problem...

I hate the way rooms interfere with our listening!
Maybe building regulations should stipulate at least 1 anechoic chamber in all new builds? :)

In any case, best of luck with it.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Would the XS2 be an upgrade from the Elex?
The XS2 should be pitched more at the Elicit-R rather than the Elex. If you are having bass issues then the XS2 does suffer in that department which I found in auditioning the XS2 against the Elicit. The Naim had poor bass control whereas the Elicit was fast and sharp.
 

mikeinthemidlanda

Novice Member
Thanks for the replies.

I spoke with Neat and they’re posting some acoustic bungs to try out.

in the meantime I’ve finished my demo of the Elex R and I’m going to try the XS3. Any thoughts on how this compares and whether it will be a step up?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Costing along a grand more than the Elex it should sound better. As I said previously it's the Elicit-R that you should audition to compare to the XS3. The Elicit is a better amp than both the Elex and the XS3.

If you're looking at that price point there is a Rega Aethos for sale in our classifieds and is to my mind an absolute steal for what the member is asking for it.

 

mikeinthemidlanda

Novice Member
Thanks Gibbsy

I did demo the Elicit with my speakers and for some reason I thought the Elex sounded much better. This may be different if I had tried it at home.

Re the Aethos, might this be too much amp for the source and speakers. I wonder whether a better TT and Elex would outperform the current TT and an Aethos or Elicit and my RP6 TT.
 

LampPost

Banned
Rega amps are OK but the bass can be uncontrolled and flabby at times in my experience. Naim's offer a more dynamic sound and better bass control, try and get a home demo of an XS3. Any good dealer will do this for you in these difficult times.

Personally I would drop those speakers and demo some other models, what's your budget?
 

Apollo83

Active Member
This Hi-Fi news article does a group test with both the XS2 and Elicit where both are highly commended.
XS2 seeming to be bright, detailed with good soundtsage (careful speaker partnering)
Elicit being musical and engaging.
But both being beaten by the Exposure 3010S2 for that reviewer.

 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Rega amps are OK but the bass can be uncontrolled and flabby at times in my experience. Naim's offer a more dynamic sound and better bass control, try and get a home demo of an XS3. Any good dealer will do this for you in these difficult times.

Personally I would drop those speakers and demo some other models, what's your budget?
I can't agree with that. The bass i get from my rega is excellent and certainty not "flabby".
 

Apollo83

Active Member
Personally I would drop those speakers and demo some other models, what's your budget?

I have to agree with Lamppost, that getting a XS2 is not going to fix your bass/lower mid as much as speakers with a different character (or repositioning/unbunging or equaliser - see previouis post)

Can you clarify - do you own ANY amplifier currently or are you just demoing?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Rega amps are OK but the bass can be uncontrolled and flabby at times in my experience. Naim's offer a more dynamic sound and better bass control, try and get a home demo of an XS3. Any good dealer will do this for you in these difficult times.

Personally I would drop those speakers and demo some other models, what's your budget?
That's exactly the opposite of what I found when auditioning the XS2 against the Elicit-R. The Naim just couldn't control the bass on the connected KEF R300 speakers which was really disappointing as on paper it was my amp of choice. Bought the Elicit in the end and KEF and Rega make great partners. It was such a difference that I swallowed the additional cost of a standalone headphone amp because the Elicit lacks one making it a more expensive purchase than the XS2.
 

mikeinthemidlanda

Novice Member
I don’t have an amp at the moment no as this is a new system for me.

I need an amp. The speaker placement is a smaller, separate issue that I think I’ve fixed now with the bungs.

I’m a bit confused now re amps. I’d prefer to buy something ex dem to get a better amp for the money (ideally £1,500 or less). I value a smooth sound with tight bass but clear vocals. I want to keep the speakers otherwise there are too many variables changing at once.

I can get an XS2 ex demo for £1,300 and pick up a phono stage separately and this is in budget. I would think this would work well with my speakers and probably be better than the Elex R?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
You'll certainly get musicality with the XS2 and good voicing, that didn't disappoint with the Naim. It may suit the Neats better than it does KEF as they don't dig as deep. Can you get them on home demo first as that would be the best way to tell.
 

LampPost

Banned
I don’t have an amp at the moment no as this is a new system for me.

I need an amp. The speaker placement is a smaller, separate issue that I think I’ve fixed now with the bungs.

I’m a bit confused now re amps. I’d prefer to buy something ex dem to get a better amp for the money (ideally £1,500 or less). I value a smooth sound with tight bass but clear vocals. I want to keep the speakers otherwise there are too many variables changing at once.

I can get an XS2 ex demo for £1,300 and pick up a phono stage separately and this is in budget. I would think this would work well with my speakers and probably be better than the Elex R?

The XS2 is certainty better then the Elex R, do have a listen and make your own mind up.

Used circa 2018 XS2's can be found for around £900 second hand, partner that with a used Trichord Dino phono stage and you will have a nice system for very little money. Naim amps have a great synergy with Neat speakers.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
The xs2 should be a better amp than the elex-r, given the price difference, however the rega's still an incredibly good amp and more than good enough for the neat sx3. I'm not saying that there wouldn't be an improvement, but if there was i'd guess it would be minimal. Far less than would be got from either room correction or speaker upgrade for me. Hopefully the port bungs will do you.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
I love my rega/neat combo. I'd stick. You have an awkward speaker position, so unless you're getting something with room correction, you're probably at best now anyway. Just my opinion of course.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
If you are going to still have the Elex there when the Naim arrives then pick the one that puts the biggest smile on your face.
 

mikeinthemidlanda

Novice Member
I’ve now got the XS3 on demo. Can’t set it up until tomorrow as my speaker cables are spades and the Naim only accepts banana plugs! I’ve ordered some adaptors off Amazon 😂
 

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