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12-19-2012, 06:19 PM
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Allow me to borrow liberally from my Audiogon ad
This unit likely needs very little introduction. For most looking at this ad, they know exactly what Naim is all about...and exactly what they're getting in the highly-regarded XS-2. If that's the case...I'll simply say this one is in great shape. Check perfect and long-standing feedback for proof that I try to under-promise and over-deliver. I am only the second owner, and the first...said he bought it new 3 months ago (so that would have been around September of this year!) As such, it is probably a solid 9/10; but I'll continue to be (ultra)-conservative...and go 8/10 for this unit, based on being the second owner only.
If you don't know Naim; or know them only by reputation...what can I say? It's all true! For years, I was a devout separates man. Even so, I heard several of the guys in the Dynaudio-speaker forum just rave about Naim Integrateds. I was always a bit of skeptic, because I was a big power guy...and Naim's modest numbers suggested, while it might sound very nice; it certainly couldn't push my speakers around the same way a big power-amp could.
However...a little, Office system kind of opened my eyes to the idea of re-connecting to the music, and putting together a system where the gear got out of the way and let the music shine through. That sea-change led me to sell-off my big, powerful separates...and try 3 IAs that had always been on my "to try" list.
I didn't blindly pick, 3 random units; lol. I kind of did like Stereophile does; I decided to audition what I'd already heard and suspected was very good. In more or less, the same price bracket...I auditioned the Rega Elicit, no slouch itself...and the XS-2. I'm a Conrad-Johnson fan...so at nearly double the price, retail...I also tried the CA-200.
That's the one I'm keeping...but with 3 IAs of this quality, it was really just a matter of the pairing with my speakers, the rest of my system, and personal preference. The Naim was a close 2nd in my book, and with different speakers...might have been the keeper. The Naim...in my estimation...has this big, full, round, rich sound; that those who love Naim (and it's a cult-like following) just love. It's easy to see why; it really does draw you in, and as I said earlier...puts the music, not the kit, front and center and is just infinitely easy to listen to and musical.
However, part of my change in approach to the hobby, was also to sell off the Dynaudios (fantastic speakers in their way) for Harbeths. While Naim and Harbeth sounds like a match made in heaven on paper...and for some, it is likely cozy as a warm blanket, lol...it was a tad too warm for my tastes only. If I had more neutral, or certainly "bright-ish" speakers...that were otherwise outstanding; and was looking to tame them ever so slightly...I can think of no better match for them than Naim kit.
As for the XS-2; well...the -2 signifies it's the latest and greatest. And I can tell ya; I'm new to Naim myself...so I was going to wade-in with a 5i, instead of going up the ladder to the XS-2. Don't ask me why...it's their opinion, not mine; but the Naim guys that I consulted, insisted the extra dough would pay massive dividends. That the XS-2 was clearly superior to the entry-level 5i. Of course, I never heard the 5i for myself; but based on the sound of this unit, it would be hard to argue it wasn't extra money well spent.
I have the remote, original box, very thick manual; everything that comes with it as I new, I have to imagine. Buyer to pay only actual s&h, and please include customary 3% for PayPal. Feel free to email if you have questions about this unit, and how it might fit in your system; I never mind talking a little shop with fellow enthusiasts. For the record, were I keeping this unit...I would definitely look to kick up its performance even more, with an external power supply. The units from Naim aren't cheap; and for what it's worth, I hear very good things about the units from Teddy Pardo...which are a bit less expensive...often called TeddyCaps, lol
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