Separates vs (Naim) all-in-ones: the big thread

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New member
Jul 6, 2009

I’ve recently been through a similar process.

Although I’ve been largely streaming my music for sometime off a QNAP NAS which offers an inbuilt iTunes server and relatively neat app for iPhone/iPad – the destination equipment had been relatively lo-fi (aging Denon receiver and Kef Cresta 3 speakers (still going well though after 12 years use).

However a move to a new house last year finally gave me the space and impetus to look at a better quality set up for enjoying my music. I tend to listen to 'modern' progressive rock (Marillion, Porcupine Tree, Gazpacho). I too was split between the one box option (largely the Naim Unitiqute) and a separate amp + dac fed via airport express or apple TV unit.

My final auditions centred on:

Naim Unitiqute + Rega RS3 (undoubtedly a great piece of kit but lacked the oomph. Would happily have one in the kitchen or office though!)

Rega Brio-R + Rega Dac + Rega RS3 (a brilliant system – really cohesive, natural and musical)

Naim Nait 5i + Rega Dac + Rega RS3 (offered that little bit more punch and bite but worked well with the Rega kit)

In the end I’ve opted for the Naim Nait 5i and Rega RS3. Budget limitations meant I’ve had to hold off on the Rega DAC for the time being but am currently using an Arcam rLink that I already owned.

I guess I feel the sum of the parts outweighed the convenience but ultimately compromise of the one box solution. At the end of the day, given the discreetness of the airport express and arcam rLink, I’m only looking at one box anyway. I also think now I have the space I'm likely to indulge a little more in the hobby so can well imagine I'll look to complement or replace bit over the coming years.

The iPad/iPhone pretty much acts as the perfect interface and does what I need it do either directly from the QNAP application, ALAC happily via the Apple Remote app or Spotify.

As everybody says, it all comes down to what sounds good to your ears and fits your particular lifestyle.

Good luck with your search and coming to a decision.


stevebrock said:
not much between the Nait 5i and Brio R by the sounds of it - all down to personal choice!

And, to be fair, speakers. WHFI openly admitted: "This Rega is a clear level better than the best of the budget amplifiers, and good enough to worry the likes of Roksan’s Kandy K2 and Naim’s Nait 5i in some respects. That makes it a terrific buy."

I would suggest, having heard the Nait 5i and XS numerous times, the gap maybe a little extended if the Nait 5i is powering PMC or Neat speakers...

From personal experience of Rega turntables and, more recently, the Apollo CDP, they are seriously good but I would like to hear your findings by changing the speakers around to the aforementioned makes.


New member
Nov 13, 2009
I would love to try all the Rega/Naim/Neat/PMC set ups........

They would all sound great though and choice would purely be on presentation!


brandmartyr said:
In the end I’ve opted for the Naim Nait 5i and Rega RS3. Budget limitations meant I’ve had to hold off on the Rega DAC for the time being but am currently using an Arcam rLink that I already owned.

Leaning towards something v similar, except Neat Motives 3, not Rega speakers. And the Nait 5i would be ex-demo and, yes, it would be three or so boxes, big and small, rather than on. Thoughts?

Juzzie Wuzzie

Well-known member
Sep 18, 2007
Simon - I fell in love with a Cyrus set up at the one and only What HiFI show I went to at Hammersmith a number of years ago. It was a a/v set up, but sounded like the dog's blx. On an individual basis, I don't know the Cyrus products at all and as for 'expansion' or 'flexibility' I'm not too fussed as I'm effectively just using one source to the 5i - streaming. My thought process on the purchase (2nd hand) was that it was setting me back £500 to give it a go. If I didn't like it, I could always sell it second hand, and it seems Naim keeps a constant second hand value (to an extent) so what would be the worse I could end up - flat (with a little effort) or even down £50, which isn't unreasonable.

So far, I've loved the set up, and but for the need for HDMI switching, would go to a two channel set up for a/v as well. As I've expressed somewhere else, I'd probably audition Linn DSM or the new Nad with HDMI switching, if I could do-over. Alas, that opportunity will come with a new house, which, by definition, will mean I have no cash to spend on hi fi.

So, I'm happy with my current set-up.


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