Naim PSUs and Transparency

I read somewhere that PSUs bring improvments (arguable) but make the amp less transparent. What are your thoughts?

I tried a Flatcap XS on my Nait XS2 about 8 months back. I didn't buy it as I wanted to hear a SN2. SN2 is too deep for my  room/neighbours. So I stuck with my XS2.

Recently added a Powerline to my Innuos Zenith. My good god. Improvements are unreal. Namely naturalness and way, way, way more analogue sound. My system sounds like I never thought it could.

I'm getting Flatcap XS this week on the used market but my memory tweaked when I read the comment about transparency  

Am I better off adding a Powerline to my XS2 or a Flatcap XS and Graham's Hydra to my XS2 and FCXS? 

System

Innuos Zenith + Naim Powerline (Tried a U core. I'll leave that one there)

15cm cheapo USB (Best yet)

Hugo

Chord Shawline RCA RCA

Nait XS2 (Stock Naim power cable)

Odyssey 2 (Didn't like Nac but that was pre Powerline)

Proac 118 (Thinking about PMC Twenty5 21 or Proac D2)

Using Atacama stands + racking (I can't do Frains or Dreadnaughts right now).

Considerations for next purchase:

Flatcap XS + hydra cable

Chord Epic Twin + Jumpers

Chord Signature TA RCA - DIN or Naim Hiline

Chord Signature TA USB (Dubious as the cheapo cable has been better than anything up to £200 so far)

 

Cheers

Adam

 

Original Post

Nigel, you have the XPS powering your 272. Have you done a comparison with and without? Maybe my use of words is not very good ��. Perhaps the sound without the 555 comes across as 'hard' in comparison, a little thinner that accentuates the highs. I'm by no means saying that the naked 272 is poor in any way but I'm trying describe the differences. I find voices in particular do not sit in a mix as well as when the 555 is powering the 272 which brings out a certain hardness - so etched could be read as not sitting in the mix so well and metallic a poor way of saying the whole presentation lacks a certain mid range girth/sweetness.

 

 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Etched metallic sound? That's a new one. I certainly never had that, and my speakers are very revealing. 

That could describe the 2 Naits I've heard, a 5 and the orriginal supernait. I owned the 5 for a month and it put me off Naim for quite a few years because of this aspect of its sound (which I described as slightly processed and artificial). When a CD5x led me to reapprase Naim I put it down to a setup issue until I heard the supernait in a demo when I heard the same characteristic, most noticable when it went away on swapping in a 202/200 set. Maybe it's a consequence of having the ps in the box with the preamp.

yeti42 posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

Etched metallic sound? That's a new one. I certainly never had that, and my speakers are very revealing. 

That could describe the 2 Naits I've heard, a 5 and the orriginal supernait. I owned the 5 for a month and it put me off Naim for quite a few years because of this aspect of its sound (which I described as slightly processed and artificial).

You mixed up my SuperNait 1 and Nait 5 with my grandmums turntable from the 30's.

Now serious:

I recognize what you wrote. I had that 'signature' when I was sitting too close to the speakers in an undecorated and smallish room.

ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

 

Considerations for next purchase:

Flatcap XS + hydra cable

Chord Epic Twin + Jumpers

Chord Signature TA RCA - DIN or Naim Hiline

Chord Signature TA USB (Dubious as the cheapo cable has been better than anything up to £200 so far)

 

 

The Chord Sig TA USB cable is very good - i'm not sure it will fit your Hugo as it uses the normal Type-B connector and if IIRC the Hugo is a Micro-B. 

James

I've ordered one and it's en route.

It's sort of tactical though. I can cover the Flatcap cost with some Fantasy Football winnings. It won't lose any value at the price I am paying. Boxes, mint and mid 2016. It then closes the upgrade cost for a Supernait2 vs XS2 and FCXS ... making it easier to convince the missus on the SN2 if we move.

1.5k upgrade sounds much better than 2k. I know it's not a great deal of difference in the grand scheme of things but you'd be surprised how far a little tweakery can get you with the boss! Ha

james n posted:
ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

 

Considerations for next purchase:

Flatcap XS + hydra cable

Chord Epic Twin + Jumpers

Chord Signature TA RCA - DIN or Naim Hiline

Chord Signature TA USB (Dubious as the cheapo cable has been better than anything up to £200 so far)

 

 

The Chord Sig TA USB cable is very good - i'm not sure it will fit your Hugo as it uses the normal Type-B connector and if IIRC the Hugo is a Micro-B. 

James

Thanks James.

Nigel Finn at chord seems to think that they have achieved better results used an audioquest b to micro adapter than with direct micro connectors. Already have the AQ adapter.

Reason i asked is I tried one of those Curious cables at £250 and found it pulled the sound apart vs a cheap 15cm cable which sound better balanced, more open and natural. The cable that came with the Hugo. Short one. Long one sounded squashed anf boxed in.

Shorter is better it seems.

ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

Nigel Finn at chord seems to think that they have achieved better results used an audioquest b to micro adapter than with direct micro connectors. Already have the AQ adapter.

Reason i asked is I tried one of those Curious cables at £250 and found it pulled the sound apart vs a cheap 15cm cable which sound better balanced, more open and natural. The cable that came with the Hugo. Short one. Long one sounded squashed anf boxed in.

I tried the Curious Cables as well on the basis of the money back guarantee and was pretty underwhelmed after some of the reviews I had read. Funnily enough though I'm now trying a Chord Signature TA USB so I'll see how it goes. I've found USB cables to be very hit and miss. They obviously affect the sound but like yourself, I've found more expensive ones can end up sounding worse than the stock ones.

Mayor West posted:
ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

Nigel Finn at chord seems to think that they have achieved better results used an audioquest b to micro adapter than with direct micro connectors. Already have the AQ adapter.

Reason i asked is I tried one of those Curious cables at £250 and found it pulled the sound apart vs a cheap 15cm cable which sound better balanced, more open and natural. The cable that came with the Hugo. Short one. Long one sounded squashed anf boxed in.

I tried the Curious Cables as well on the basis of the money back guarantee and was pretty underwhelmed after some of the reviews I had read. Funnily enough though I'm now trying a Chord Signature TA USB so I'll see how it goes. I've found USB cables to be very hit and miss. They obviously affect the sound but like yourself, I've found more expensive ones can end up sounding worse than the stock ones.

Hi again Mayor!

Do let me know how you get on with Sig TA USB. 

I use a 15cm stock cable which has proved better than Chord Silver plus, Supra, AQ Cinnamon, Curious so far. At least to my ears. The above all made things jangly and bright. The 15cm stock has been the most balanced, natural and open. 

Keen to know if the TA really does sound like £400.

When I factor that a Powerline is £560 and this has been the single best upgrade I've done it's a lot of cash for a USB. But if it does enhance naturalness then I am all ears.

Cheers!

 

Mayor West posted:
ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

Nigel Finn at chord seems to think that they have achieved better results used an audioquest b to micro adapter than with direct micro connectors. Already have the AQ adapter.

Reason i asked is I tried one of those Curious cables at £250 and found it pulled the sound apart vs a cheap 15cm cable which sound better balanced, more open and natural. The cable that came with the Hugo. Short one. Long one sounded squashed anf boxed in.

I tried the Curious Cables as well on the basis of the money back guarantee and was pretty underwhelmed after some of the reviews I had read. Funnily enough though I'm now trying a Chord Signature TA USB so I'll see how it goes. I've found USB cables to be very hit and miss. They obviously affect the sound but like yourself, I've found more expensive ones can end up sounding worse than the stock ones.

Hi Mayor,

How's the USB working out? Any good? 

 

Cheers

Adam

ThatsNotMyNaim posted:
Mayor West posted:
ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

Nigel Finn at chord seems to think that they have achieved better results used an audioquest b to micro adapter than with direct micro connectors. Already have the AQ adapter.

Reason i asked is I tried one of those Curious cables at £250 and found it pulled the sound apart vs a cheap 15cm cable which sound better balanced, more open and natural. The cable that came with the Hugo. Short one. Long one sounded squashed anf boxed in.

I tried the Curious Cables as well on the basis of the money back guarantee and was pretty underwhelmed after some of the reviews I had read. Funnily enough though I'm now trying a Chord Signature TA USB so I'll see how it goes. I've found USB cables to be very hit and miss. They obviously affect the sound but like yourself, I've found more expensive ones can end up sounding worse than the stock ones.

Hi Mayor,

How's the USB working out? Any good? 

 

Cheers

Adam

Hi Adam, sorry for the slow reply!

The Signature TA USB was a bit of a disappointment to be honest. It seemed to improve on the weightiness of the sound with a touch more depth and it seemed slightly more detailed, but I can't justify the outlay over the stock USB which seemed to have a more natural flow and ease of listening. I've tried quite a few USB cables now and most of them have been pretty disappointing. However they do certainly alter the sound. What I would say though is that it seemed to be better than the Chord USB Silver Plus, taking away that ever so slight glare that is sometimes a characteristic of the Silver Plus. I tested going straight from Macbook into Hugo via an Audioquest adapter so I'm not sure how much using an adapter limits the true potential of the cable.

I picked up the Signature TA s/h so it was well run in as well. I would say it's still worth a listen but it just didn't beat the free stock cable convincingly enough, and even then I felt the stock cable did some things better. I think I may re-visit it in the future if I switch to a source that is a bit more robust than a Macbook but for now I think I'm going to remain content with the stock cable having scratched the itch

Thanks Mayor,

You've just saved me at the 11th hour!

Nearly ordered one. I'm going to give it a miss. Sounds like the same experience as Curious and others I tried. I found Silver Plus a bit jangly and lively. 

15cm stock cable just sounds more even and balanced and easier to listen to. The longer stock is narrower sounding and less dynamic. Pain in the backside having the hugo butted up against my Zenith. But that's the way it'll stay! 

I'll give TA USB a miss. 

Get some Epic or Nac A5 to replace my Odyssey. 

ThatsNotMyNaim posted:

Thanks Mayor,

You've just saved me at the 11th hour!

Nearly ordered one. I'm going to give it a miss. Sounds like the same experience as Curious and others I tried. I found Silver Plus a bit jangly and lively. 

15cm stock cable just sounds more even and balanced and easier to listen to. The longer stock is narrower sounding and less dynamic. Pain in the backside having the hugo butted up against my Zenith. But that's the way it'll stay! 

I'll give TA USB a miss. 

Get some Epic or Nac A5 to replace my Odyssey. 

Ha well you never know, as always YMMV! However I do think you may get more benefit from improving something elsewhere. I have previously had the cheaper Chord Epic Twin which was bettered by Tellurium Q Black. Not sure how the more expensive Chord Epic Reference speaker cable compares though. 

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