Considering a move to Exposure or Naim

Hi all,

I currently run a Rega Saturn and YBA YA201 integrated amp. I find this combination to be a little too un-involving. Almost like the music is too smooth, too weighed down. Some songs sound great, but I listen to a lot of rock and it just isn't rocking enough.

So I'm considering a move to an Exposure 2010s amp and CDP, or a Naim Nait 5i amp and CD5i CDP. If anyone has any insight into these it would be much appreciated.

The Rega Saturn is a great player and I'd be a bit disappointed to give it up, but I believe some of the edge I'm missing is due to the Saturn. I am pretty interested in using only one brand as well, as I perceive that would yield more synergy than I am getting currently. I'm not all that excited about getting a Mira3 to pair with the Saturn, although it is an option and something I can listen to. My dealer carries Naim, Exposure, Rega, and Cambridge Audio.

I guess it all depends on my listening to the gear and deciding which combination I like best, but I hope to hear some feedback from you all.

I have experience with BOTH integrated amps under consideration. Naim a bit more incisive, Exposure a litle more laid-back. Both tuneful, musical. Both spectacular. I would NOT dump out of the Saturn. It's a great CD player.
What kind of speakers do you have?
While I have no experience with Exposure, I did own a Nait 5i and CD 5i a little while ago. I can't say enough good about them. They are an excellent set, especially through the right speakers. What do you use?
The only reason I no longer have them is because I decided to make the leap to computer audio instead of CD. Now that they are shipping the UNITI, I'm seriously considering going back to Naim. Excellent and very musical gear.
I compared the Rega to both of these and the Classe. I couldn't hear an appreciable difference.
I am convinced I have the reference cdp to match anything out there. It is called a Mac playing back in a loss less format through a good dac.
Why don't you buy an amp w/enough juice to drive a rock? I just don't see anything w/less than 150w to give the drive and dynamics for rock. If you have a local dealer why not try a few loaners for a personal home trial? Also, alot of equipment can be mix-matched w/no problems. But I see your point for asthetic reasons. What spks are u using? Maybe you need to change these out. Bill
You may just be craving a change in sound. Perhaps the answer is a good tubed cdp. Something like a Unico, Raysonic or a Pathos. That may be the biggest change; whether or not you like it is subjective.

Anyway, worth considering. I think the only significant change you will hear with the options you listed is a lighter wallet.
When I heard the Naim combo you are considering it was used to drive the Dynaudio Sapphires. I was blown away with the overall sound. Very musical especially for the money. For me that combo really got my toes tapping and head bobbing.

As far as the Rega when I was shopping for cd players I thought the Rega was very good for the money but dry sounding to me. I spent a lot more and ended up with the Meridian G08.

Any way those are my personal opinions. See if your dealer will let you demo what ever you choose in your home (it never sounds the same as somewhere else - could be better or may be much worse).
go for the LFD, less fuzzy than the Naims...
Naim is very musical, exposure a bit smoother. Naim can be easily upgraded also. Your cd player is very good for the price and can be utilized with both. Naim is high current so power is deceiving. Probably need an audition to first.
Hi folks, thanks for the replies. I will be running a pair of Monitor Audio RS5 speakers. Long term they will move to HT, but for now they will be the stereo speaker.

A bit of history...the RS5 are new and I've barely listened to them. I plan to do that now to see how they alter the sound. Most of my listening thus far has been through Tannoy Mercury F2 and Wharfedale Evo2-10. The Tannoys rocked pretty good when used with an old system (a Denon mini-system) in the same room. Much less power and refinement obviously, but I guess for whatever reason it let rock come out in a way that made sense.

Of course the Tannoy are way outclassed when matched with Rega/YBA, but to me that should mean that I should be getting everything out of the F2 that there possibly is. If this system could rock then the F2 should rock the way it did before.

So this has lead me to where I am now, considering a change of electronics. The RS5 just happens to have happened at the same time. I saw a great deal and grabbed it, in large part because I do not enjoy the Wharfedale, which itself was supposed to be an upgrade to the Tannoys. I hope everyone follows what I am saying!

I really love the Saturn. It's such a sweet and elegant player. I could hear the improvement in sound immediately over my old player (a Marantz universal). I am loathe to get rid of the Saturn, but on the other hand it may improve overall system synergy to do so even if the Saturn is the better player.

Now there has also been a change of plan. I really wanted to try Naim and to like it, but the dealer I was going through let's just say is not the most customer focused guy. I am going through another dealer now, one that I've dealt with in the past who is an awesome guy and who I'd rather deal with. This dealer opened up as an option since coincidentally I found out that he just added the Exposure line and will get the new 2010s (version 2) in, probably today. He also carries Creek. I should be able to compare the two.

The thing with Naim, that the first dealer had made me aware of, is that it has no pre-out or sub-out. I do run a sub and would like to use it. I could do so with speaker cable to the sub I guess, but I also just bought some subwoofer cable earlier this year to use with the sub. Seems a silly reason to not consider Naim perhaps, but this is going to involve more work when I was hoping to have things finalized in the next few days. So Naim is on the back burner...I think I will demo Exposure and Creek. If I don't like either then I may re-consider Naim. If I like Exposure or Creek then I feel I will buy one of them. Whether I just buy the amp and continue to use the Saturn I guess I will see.

Does anyone here feel there is something to be said for synergy, obtained by using the same brand? If we agree that different components sound different, and that different companies build their gear to sound a certain way, then aren't you messing with that sound by combining different brands? How can you expect to get the sonic signature that Rega puts into the Saturn if you combine it with Creek or Exposure? Whereas, if you used the 2010s amp and CDP together, you should be assured that you are getting exactly what Exposure wants to come out. This seems logical to me but I know many will disagree!

And I apologize for the long post.
I understand your liking of the Tannoy F2's as I have the F1's and the MX1-1m's. These are great sounding spks. I disagree w/your statement that the Saturn and YBA outclasses the Tannoy's. I've listened to the Monitor Audio's for about 3 hrs while waiting for a car audio install. They were powered by Parasound seperates and they sounded excellent. I was impressed. I take it that you've listened the MA w/your Saturn and YBA? I'm assuming you found the sound not to your liking. I have a feeling you'll need a warm, powerful amp to bring out the best from these spks. Good Luck!
Well the Tannoy is a $300 speaker, while the Saturn costs 10x as much. The YBA about 5x more. So it should be outclassed on that basis alone. They are a great speaker though, the best entry level speaker that I know of (not that I've listened to tons of them).

I haven't listened to the MA with the Saturn and YBA all that much. The YBA/Saturn just don't sound all that hot with both the Tannoy and the Wharfedale, prompting me to consider this change. But I am hoping to listen to the MA with YBA/Rega just to see what impact the MA has on the sound.

However, I'm pretty certain I'll change at least the amp. From all I have read online the YBA isn't exactly the most rocking or PRaT-y amp out there. Powerful, refined, smooth, and detailed; great for certain types of music but not rock.
I have not heard the Naim but have had exposure (ha ha) to the Exposure and now have a 2010s. I listened to( in my own home) or owned Musical Fidelity A300, Plinius 8200,8200mkII, Bel Canto, Vincent 236MKII, Creek Destiny Creek 5350SE and Cambridge Audio 840 V1, Anthem 225 not to mention several NAD and Rotel items. While I could live with several of these the Exposure sounds like real music to my ears and has a very strong and rich bottom end. I listen at absurd levels sometimes to rock and blues (cannot hear myself talk) and the Exposure handles it fine. it sounded more powerful with more slam then one 3x its output. I bet the Naim is like that to.I would like to hear the Version 2 of the CA 840 keith
Although great results can be had by carefully matching components, IMO one can reduce the chances that components will not match well by using components from the same manufacturer. For example, I owned all McCormack electronics and was very pleased with the result. Everything was "voiced" by McCormack at approx the same time, using the same equipment. I have heard a all Naim system and it sounded very good. So IMO, using components from the same manufacturer can hieghten system synergy.
Geph0007, from what I've read online it seems that a lot of Naim users also enjoy Exposure. It would seem that the two are quite similar then, and both have a reputation for great rhythm and timing.

Tbromgard, I haven't had much luck mixing different names. I tend to agree that the safe bet is to use the same brand and that's the direction I am leaning. Though I would imagine the brands I am looking at (Creek, Rega, Exposure) would all get along pretty well, since they all seem to be after a similar kind of sound.

Either go all Naim or all Exposure. Its that simple.
Some of the most fondest memories is when i had an all Naim kit driving a pair of NEAT loudspeakers. Did none of the audiophile things but boy was it fun with all types of music but especially rock.
I would go with a used Nait5i and CD5 with flatcap. Your Monitor Audio speakers would do fine. Get some NACA5 speaker wire (cheap) and be done
I have been there . and have been a Naim-fan for aany years. Naim throws a very dynamic, life-like and organic music reproduction, and the upgraded PS adds additional definition, particullary on the bass.

Carefull speaker matching is important, I lived very happy with top-of-the-line Monitor Audio speakers by that time.

I remember I switched back to tubes to Manley gear, not better but a different option.
Do not rule out Naim because of the lack of sub output in the Nait 5i, you should listen to the Naim CD5i paired with the Naim Nait XS. It has 10 extra watts of power and the sub output you are looking for. I run a Nait 5i and Naim CD5i with a pair of Anthony Gallo Reference 3.1s. The sound is fantastic. I demoed the Rega CD player and the Naim CD5i at the time of my purchase. The Naim wins hands down. Good luck. Trust your own ear. That is the key.
Thought I should update the thread, I meant to earlier but it slipped my mind these past few weeks. Quite a bit has happened since I last posted and I do have a new amp that I've been running for the last couple months.

I listened to a few amps when making my decision. The first audition was a Bryston B100SST and Bryston BCD-1 powering some Monitor Audio Platinum towers. A great system! The music had nice body and weight to it, conveyed power and musicality, the room was just filled with sound.

Moved on to a Nait Supernait and Naim CD5i combo with the same speakers (same room) and it just fell flat. I guess these are common complaints against Naim by those who don't love the sound - but it was very thin sounding, the body and smoothness of the Bryston system was gone. And the music felt like it wasn't in front of the speakers at all. Rather, it was at speaker depth. I felt distant to the music. I hadn't heard anything like this before in a system, and maybe it's something I could eventually get used to as I'm sure Naim does a lot of things right, but the sound was so distracting that I found myself just looking at the Bryston gear and wishing that it was playing instead.

I then went to another dealer and heard the Simaudio i-1 integrated with a CD-1 player. Sound coming from tiny bookshelf ELAC speakers. It wasn't the speaker I wanted to hear but I arrived at the store late and they were about to close so I had to make due. I could sense that with speakers like Dynaudio (a brand they also sell) I'd probably hear a lot of what I heard earlier with the Bryston system. I've no doubt the ELACs are good speakers, but they were a brighter speaker than I would normally like. Other than that brightness I thought this system sounded very good, but wasn't quite at the other system's level (understandable when compared to MA Platinum series speakers - an unfair comparison).

I felt like I had two options I liked - the Bryston of course (though it was probably over budget) and Simaudio (within budget and if I didn't like Exposure I would certainly go back for a proper audition with Dynaudio speakers).

On to the Exposure audition. Exposure 2010s2 amp, Exposure MCX CD player, and Tannoy Glenair 10 speakers. The amp was severely outclassed, but nevertheless it sounded fantastic! Mid-bass was ever so slightly emphasized with this system, but of course not muddy at all. There was a fantastic sense of PRaT, and what I was hoping for, that being a bit of bite in the music. Attack and decay was a treat, drums had a nice snap to their sound. Unlike Naim, the Exposure gear had very nice imaging.

Of course then I ended up buying the 2010s2 and have been using it for the past month or two. I ended up changing speakers though...

The Monitor Audio RS5 proved to be too bright for my liking. It wasn't fatiguing really, I could listen to the speaker for a long time and it didn't bother me in that way. The problem was in musical passages with high frequencies mixed with mids or bass, the highs were so loud that they hid what was happening beneath. It's too bad as I enjoyed the RS5 in most other respects.

So I opted to buy a pair of Quad 12L2 speakers from right here on Audiogon (Lanemart) and they have proven to be a great match. No loss of PRaT, attack/decay are top notch, the highs are not harsh or overpowering at all, bass is quick and tuneful, musical instruments sound very real, and one thing I wasn't expecting that was the nicest surprise of all - integration of the woofer and tweeter is top notch. I never really understood this before, but now I realize that most (all?) other speakers I've owned have never had this right. A lot of speakers just seem to have highs plastered on top of the lows; they fit but not perfectly. It just doesn't sound quite right. But with the Quads all music sounds like one cohesive performance.

So things seem to be working out. I still have my Saturn but will likely trade it in for the matching 2010s2 CD player and speaker stands, and the Monitor Audio speakers will likely be traded in for a turntable.