Rega Fono MM MK2 vs internal 522 circuit boards for NAC102

Hi learned community

Looking for some opinions on which option I should opt for for phono stage between my Rega Plannar 1 turntable and NAC 102/NAP180 amps, into SBLs via NACA5 cable.

Option 1

MM 522 circuit boards installed into the NAC102 - cost NZ$300 with a highly skilled soldering technician to install them for me for free (brother)

Option 2 

Rega Fono MM Mk2 external phono stage - cost NZ$435

Appeal of this option is that I will still have the external phono if I should at some stage replace the amps (though can't imagine doing this while they are still in working order!) and also because the review of this phono stage talks about it's oomph in the bass department....the only thing I feel my HiFi lacks on some recordings

Can anyone give me some insight into the sonic qualities of the internal circuit board option please?  It'll obviously match the amp perfectly, but the Rega Fono will also match the turntable perfectly one would imagine

Thoughts?

Original Post

The Rega will match the TT better, just addresses the shortcomings of the planar 1 better (compared to a stageline for example a lift in the lower mids is very audible ( that's where I definitely perceived the oomph to occur),  and not so neutral sounding throughout , with the Naim a bit rolled-off in the treble but with a much better integration beteween  midrange and highs, definitely not a match as well with Naim boards I had on NAC62, I think.

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hoolio posted:

the Rega Fono will also match the turntable perfectly one would imagine 

"imagine" is the operative word here

Antonio1 posted:

The Rega will match the TT better ..... compared to a stageline for example ..... Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria .

ianrobertm posted:

There is no magic 'matching' involved in either case. 

I too would not be concerned with any sort of presumptive brand 'matching' when it comes to getting best performance from a Rega TT. I have a RP6 and have found several comparably priced or cheaper carts superior to the Rega Exact. I also found the Stageline powered via Aux2 on a SN2 superior to the Aria - too much of a mid-bass emphasis from the Aria and better bottom bass solidity from the Stageline. Granted, the Aria does upper-end shine better.

So having used a Stageline and Aria with my RP6, I found the built-in phono stage of my Plinius integrated far better than  the others. Soundstage, dynamic punch, and air between instruments all superior with the Plinius phono stage. I realize my preferred phono stage is not an option for you; rather my point is that you may be remiss to assume brand matching will naturally provide the best results. These matters are of course room and listener dependent, but keep an objective mind and don't be hesitant to exhaust any demo options available. The TT/cart/phono stage/amp combination - It's all about finding a synergy that works best in your room.

ianrobertm posted:

No soldering is required to fit 522 boards - they just plug/clip in.

There is no magic 'matching' involved in either case. 

Hi Ian - I've been told that you need to cut and solder two wires when fitting TT boards for the first time - I have the circuit diagrams and instructions from Naim Customer Service, so believe this to be true.  It's not a deciding factor either way though.

Your point re: brand matching being a myth is backed up by others though, my naivety shining through there I guess.

Antonio1 posted:

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hi Antonio

Just to clarify on a couple of points

- are you saying a Rega Aria will deliver significantly more bottom end over the Fono MkII? 

- what will adding a Hicap to my setup do to the current sound qualities?  I often hear it's a 'noticeable upgrade', but what will I hear, exactly?  

That's all it ever comes down to for me, which is why I have such a modest TT (for now).  I bought the RP1 because it reviewed so damn well, and because we get shafted here in NZ.....it's a £230 TT in the UK, but NZD$775 here (purely on exchange rate they should cost about $410!)....I'd have preferred an RP3 as minimum, but at $1750 I didn't want to go there until I knew if the vinyl bug was going to bite....of course it has and I'm completely hooked already, even with a shitty $25 phone stage I'm currently running!  But I make no apology for the RP1 - it's proving a worthy addition to my rig TBH.

joerand posted:
These matters are of course room and listener dependent, but keep an objective mind and don't be hesitant to exhaust any demo options available. The TT/cart/phono stage/amp combination - It's all about finding a synergy that works best in your room.

Sound advice Joe, I'll try and get some demo equipment to test the waters....I am a firm believer in first leveraging the hive-mind of experienced and passionate people such as yourself, and then seeing what my ears think.  I believe many people get lost in the wank of it all, if you'll excuse my language :-)

That, plus I'm tight ;-)

I have a hifi set-up that cost a fairly modest amount second hand, and still feel like a giddy boy sitting at the big kids table of audio excellence every time I listen to it.  It bring s me so much joy :-)

Thanks for your insight.

@Hoolio - Based on my knowledge, the 102 (which I did own) , as shipped from Naim, had 2 wire links which made the Phono inputs into line inputs, if no Phono boards were installed. The 102 shipped with no  Phono boards fitted - they were a dealer fit option.  To enable the Phono inputs, the wire links needed to be cut and 5xx series Phono boards fitted. The only need for soldering would be to reverse this process - to restore the Phono inputs to line inputs. 

This is based on having owned a 102 & what I was told by my Naim dealer, at the time of purchase. I had 522 Phono boards fitted to mine (which are now in my 82) and my dealer cut the wire links, when fitting the boards. Worked fine. I removed the 522's myself when I sold my 102 (which was simple)  & fitted them (myself) to my 82 (which was TBH tricky, as the boards are angled & difficult to get to engage). 

Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hi Antonio

Just to clarify on a couple of points

- are you saying a Rega Aria will deliver significantly more bottom end over the Fono MkII? 

- what will adding a Hicap to my setup do to the current sound qualities?  I often hear it's a 'noticeable upgrade', but what will I hear, exactly?  

That's all it ever comes down to for me, which is why I have such a modest TT (for now).  I bought the RP1 because it reviewed so damn well, and because we get shafted here in NZ.....it's a £230 TT in the UK, but NZD$775 here (purely on exchange rate they should cost about $410!)....I'd have preferred an RP3 as minimum, but at $1750 I didn't want to go there until I knew if the vinyl bug was going to bite....of course it has and I'm completely hooked already, even with a shitty $25 phone stage I'm currently running!  But I make no apology for the RP1 - it's proving a worthy addition to my rig TBH.

1st point -sure and much more, though Its not really my cup of tea.

2nd point- Please keep in mind basically  there's two ways to use an hicap: on preamp and on Stageline . A good  hicap would transform your preamp it goes much lower yet everything controlled , mids, highs and separation are greatly improved.Injects life. Any source would equally benefit from hicapped preamp  but none really maximized. SO if you're after vinyl replay ONLY  the best is to connect it to straight to Stageline. Obviously better still one on hicap and one on preamp. 

While talking Rega, I saw this device recently- it's a must have for serous turntable owners- I loved it.

 

NEW Atlas tracking force gauge
The Atlas tracking force gauge, the ultimate turntable accessory. Designed to provide reliable and accurate measurement of tracking force for the lifetime of your turntable. Inside the durable aluminium casework is a highly stable loadcell and precision amplification circuitry.There is also a custom designed front guard to protect the measuring element and provide easy alignment. This allows the Atlas to achieve accurate and reliable performance with minimal input from the user.

ianrobertm posted:

@Hoolio - Based on my knowledge, the 102 (which I did own) , as shipped from Naim, had 2 wire links which made the Phono inputs into line inputs, if no Phono boards were installed. The 102 shipped with no  Phono boards fitted - they were a dealer fit option.  To enable the Phono inputs, the wire links needed to be cut and 5xx series Phono boards fitted. The only need for soldering would be to reverse this process - to restore the Phono inputs to line inputs. 

This is based on having owned a 102 & what I was told by my Naim dealer, at the time of purchase. I had 522 Phono boards fitted to mine (which are now in my 82) and my dealer cut the wire links, when fitting the boards. Worked fine. I removed the 522's myself when I sold my 102 (which was simple)  & fitted them (myself) to my 82 (which was TBH tricky, as the boards are angled & difficult to get to engage). 

Thanks Ian - even easier than I thought if I go the circuit boards route then, cheers :-)

Antonio1 posted:
Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hi Antonio

Just to clarify on a couple of points

- are you saying a Rega Aria will deliver significantly more bottom end over the Fono MkII? 

- what will adding a Hicap to my setup do to the current sound qualities?  I often hear it's a 'noticeable upgrade', but what will I hear, exactly?  

That's all it ever comes down to for me, which is why I have such a modest TT (for now).  I bought the RP1 because it reviewed so damn well, and because we get shafted here in NZ.....it's a £230 TT in the UK, but NZD$775 here (purely on exchange rate they should cost about $410!)....I'd have preferred an RP3 as minimum, but at $1750 I didn't want to go there until I knew if the vinyl bug was going to bite....of course it has and I'm completely hooked already, even with a shitty $25 phone stage I'm currently running!  But I make no apology for the RP1 - it's proving a worthy addition to my rig TBH.

1st point -sure and much more, though Its not really my cup of tea.

2nd point- Please keep in mind basically  there's two ways to use an hicap: on preamp and on Stageline . A good  hicap would transform your preamp it goes much lower yet everything controlled , mids, highs and separation are greatly improved.Injects life. Any source would equally benefit from hicapped preamp  but none really maximized. SO if you're after vinyl replay ONLY  the best is to connect it to straight to Stageline. Obviously better still one on hicap and one on preamp. 

I was told when I bought my 102 and 180 that Naim amps were ridiculously upgradable, but have avoided 'going there' as I hadn't seen a need for anything other than more bottom end at any time.

I'm going to regret asking this, I'm sure....but:

 - what sort of Hicap should I get?  does it have to be an Olive series to match the existing amps?  I had a quick look and there is one or two on Ebay UK for around GBP380 - 400.

- what does it do exactly?  how does it imapct the job the 102 and 180 are already doing?

- is a Hicap the obvious addition to the rig...what does it do compared to a Flatcap (seen one for GBP145)

Sorry for how unenlightened these questions must be to you guys.

Hoolio posted:
oomph in the bass department....the only thing I feel my HiFi lacks on some recordings

Hoolio, When was the NAP last serviced? Are you happy with the soldering on the ends of your Naca5? Have you got a Napsc? Do your SBLs pass the woofer test? Is the Rega record player your only source? (your post reads like it is, and if so, which stage are you using at the moment? and what's wrong with it?)

My questions don't look friendly. They are asked in a friendly spirit in the hope that you can nail this asap and just get groovin.

C.

Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:
Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hi Antonio

Just to clarify on a couple of points

- are you saying a Rega Aria will deliver significantly more bottom end over the Fono MkII? 

- what will adding a Hicap to my setup do to the current sound qualities?  I often hear it's a 'noticeable upgrade', but what will I hear, exactly?  

That's all it ever comes down to for me, which is why I have such a modest TT (for now).  I bought the RP1 because it reviewed so damn well, and because we get shafted here in NZ.....it's a £230 TT in the UK, but NZD$775 here (purely on exchange rate they should cost about $410!)....I'd have preferred an RP3 as minimum, but at $1750 I didn't want to go there until I knew if the vinyl bug was going to bite....of course it has and I'm completely hooked already, even with a shitty $25 phone stage I'm currently running!  But I make no apology for the RP1 - it's proving a worthy addition to my rig TBH.

1st point -sure and much more, though Its not really my cup of tea.

2nd point- Please keep in mind basically  there's two ways to use an hicap: on preamp and on Stageline . A good  hicap would transform your preamp it goes much lower yet everything controlled , mids, highs and separation are greatly improved.Injects life. Any source would equally benefit from hicapped preamp  but none really maximized. SO if you're after vinyl replay ONLY  the best is to connect it to straight to Stageline. Obviously better still one on hicap and one on preamp. 

I was told when I bought my 102 and 180 that Naim amps were ridiculously upgradable, but have avoided 'going there' as I hadn't seen a need for anything other than more bottom end at any time.

I'm going to regret asking this, I'm sure....but:

 - what sort of Hicap should I get?  does it have to be an Olive series to match the existing amps?  I had a quick look and there is one or two on Ebay UK for around GBP380 - 400.

- what does it do exactly?  how does it imapct the job the 102 and 180 are already doing?

- is a Hicap the obvious addition to the rig...what does it do compared to a Flatcap (seen one for GBP145)

Sorry for how unenlightened these questions must be to you guys.

You won't regret, why should you? 

Actually due to its very nature any Naim preamp should be sooner or later matched to its own PSU. 

Power amp should be seen as a  stop-gap, so I would pay a visit to a specialist to understand the Naim way.

He would advice best on PSUs and which one is better suited to your budget , and/or possibly source one for you.

if not possible I would keep an eye on cheap good older olives hiccups NOT flatcaps with a recent service history(usually I advice the new DRed ones but sometimes one could go vintage and be quite satisfied.

Christopher_M posted:
Hoolio posted:
oomph in the bass department....the only thing I feel my HiFi lacks on some recordings
 When was the NAP last serviced?
Are you happy with the soldering on the ends of your Naca5?
Have you got a Napsc?
Do your SBLs pass the woofer test?
Is the Rega record player your only source? (your post reads like it is, and if so, which stage are you using at the moment? and what's wrong with it?

Hi Christopher - thanks for those questions...here's the low down:

NAP serviced just before I left London to come back to NZ in 2010 ...not sure whether the Naim dealer in Wellington (other end of the island) knows enough to do any kind of serious service work...which is why I'm a it nervous about how old my rig is getting, but the bass thing isn't a new gripe, it's been a bit light in the low end ever since I got it, but it's so damn good at everything else, and I don't listen to much these days where I notice it really.

I have never looked at the soldering on the Naca5 cable - could this need freshening up?

I don't have a napsc - what would this do compared to adding a hicap (as recommended by Antonio)

Re: woofer test - do you mean te suction test for a good seal to the base unit? I check that periodically and reseal as required...the bass is tight and clear but some recordings have never sounded anything like they do in decent cans like my HD25s (example LTJ Bukem progression sessions sound orchestral and nice, but the driving bass line is left wanting)

No, the Rega is not my only source - very recent purchase...and I have only bought 12 albums so far as I only had $1500 to get rolling - half on TT and half on vinyl...the current stage is a shitty piece of equipment around the $25 mark that my friend had lying around, purely so I could connect it up and think on whether to go circuit boards or external stage.

I clearly don't spend the kind of money most of you guys do on your gear - but I reckon even my very modest RP1 is a great move and I'm enjoying a sonic difference compared to my other sources, which include spotify through chromecast, optical into Beresford Caiman mkii DAC then straight into the 102...and occasionally an old ipod directly into the 102 via a mini jack to DIN cable. I know....I'm a heathen! ;-)

The foam grills on my SBLs are disintegrating and looking tatty. ..so $300 to replace those is a pretty unexcitng way to blow potential vinyl funds. ..I'm warming to the idea of adding another unit, whether that should be a hicap olive series to match the amps or a napsc. ..what are your thoughts?

Antonio1 posted:
Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:
Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:

Either one won't give you real bass unless you consider an Aria or an hicap on boards.

Keep in mind the Nac 102 is a very good piece of equipment ,you can improve it a lot with the hicap, the Planar is just OK, keeps the tune but for real bass and anything else your set-up still deserves a much better TT. The phono won't solve you the issue ,I'm afraid. I were you I'd rather save and either get the package with the mini fono now for better synergy with both units to be replaced at a later stage or just get the boards now.

 

Hi Antonio

Just to clarify on a couple of points

- are you saying a Rega Aria will deliver significantly more bottom end over the Fono MkII? 

- what will adding a Hicap to my setup do to the current sound qualities?  I often hear it's a 'noticeable upgrade', but what will I hear, exactly?  

That's all it ever comes down to for me, which is why I have such a modest TT (for now).  I bought the RP1 because it reviewed so damn well, and because we get shafted here in NZ.....it's a £230 TT in the UK, but NZD$775 here (purely on exchange rate they should cost about $410!)....I'd have preferred an RP3 as minimum, but at $1750 I didn't want to go there until I knew if the vinyl bug was going to bite....of course it has and I'm completely hooked already, even with a shitty $25 phone stage I'm currently running!  But I make no apology for the RP1 - it's proving a worthy addition to my rig TBH.

1st point -sure and much more, though Its not really my cup of tea.

2nd point- Please keep in mind basically  there's two ways to use an hicap: on preamp and on Stageline . A good  hicap would transform your preamp it goes much lower yet everything controlled , mids, highs and separation are greatly improved.Injects life. Any source would equally benefit from hicapped preamp  but none really maximized. SO if you're after vinyl replay ONLY  the best is to connect it to straight to Stageline. Obviously better still one on hicap and one on preamp. 

I was told when I bought my 102 and 180 that Naim amps were ridiculously upgradable, but have avoided 'going there' as I hadn't seen a need for anything other than more bottom end at any time.

I'm going to regret asking this, I'm sure....but:

 - what sort of Hicap should I get?  does it have to be an Olive series to match the existing amps?  I had a quick look and there is one or two on Ebay UK for around GBP380 - 400.

- what does it do exactly?  how does it imapct the job the 102 and 180 are already doing?

- is a Hicap the obvious addition to the rig...what does it do compared to a Flatcap (seen one for GBP145)

Sorry for how unenlightened these questions must be to you guys.

You won't regret, why should you? 

Actually due to its very nature any Naim preamp should be sooner or later matched to its own PSU. 

Power amp should be seen as a  stop-gap, so I would pay a visit to a specialist to understand the Naim way.

He would advice best on PSUs and which one is better suited to your budget , and/or possibly source one for you.

if not possible I would keep an eye on cheap good older olives hiccups NOT flatcaps with a recent service history(usually I advice the new DRed ones but sometimes one could go vintage and be quite satisfied.

By regret I mean 'opening the door to spending on more units'...I don't have a money tree,  and the market in NZ is non existent...the more units I get, the more servicing issues as no one over here will know what they are doing to the same degree as the many suitable servicing options in the UK. 

Will try and find a Naim rep to understand what the various PSUS offer....

Wha do you mean by 'a new doctored one'?

You don't have to spend money until you can afford, not boosting purchases but giving away free advice.

DR stands for discrete regulator.

Again ,if you're budgeting $300/450 for the phono, I were you I'd just just source in the used market something  as cheap as a rega phono mini which is fine with your deck.

That would help you get an Hicap.

 

Hoolio, Thanks for answering my questions. Nothing to worry about in your answers, good to say. You have a decent set. If you google mark sbl grille, then it will take you to the site where I got my replacements.

I had a NAC202/ NAP200, the later variants of your amp. Putting a Napsc on it was superb and removed a bit of a glare and made it more listenable and natural. This I would definitely do on your set before considering a HC. But as someone who runs 282/200 into SBLs I wouldn't consider a HC. Instead I'd follow the Naim advice that used to appear on the front page of this forum along the lines of 'Naim suggest the biggest improvements in your system can come from your improving your source'. To be clear, putting any available used HC money to one side for source improvements will bring benefits.

I've always found the Rega Fono far more synergetic with the Rega cartridges and that is what I would choose. Hence my initial recommendation on your thread. Thinking about it more though, I think the Naim boards will give you a warmer and more rhythmic presentation, making them the right choice for you with your lack of bass on some recordings.  There's a caveat, I don't know the Rega Carbon only the other Rega mm cartridges. I think moderator Richard Dane does and maybe he will chime in and give his view on the Naim phono boards with it.

Christopher_M posted:

Hoolio, Thanks for answering my questions. Nothing to worry about in your answers, good to say. You have a decent set. If you google mark sbl grille, then it will take you to the site where I got my replacements.

I had a NAC202/ NAP200, the later variants of your amp. Putting a Napsc on it was superb and removed a bit of a glare and made it more listenable and natural. This I would definitely do on your set before considering a HC. But as someone who runs 282/200 into SBLs I wouldn't consider a HC. Instead I'd follow the Naim advice that used to appear on the front page of this forum along the lines of 'Naim suggest the biggest improvements in your system can come from your improving your source'. To be clear, putting any available used HC money to one side for source improvements will bring benefits.

I've always found the Rega Fono far more synergetic with the Rega cartridges and that is what I would choose. Hence my initial recommendation on your thread. Thinking about it more though, I think the Naim boards will give you a warmer and more rhythmic presentation, making them the right choice for you with your lack of bass on some recordings.  There's a caveat, I don't know the Rega Carbon only the other Rega mm cartridges. I think moderator Richard Dane does and maybe he will chime in and give his view on the Naim phono boards with it.

Hi Christopher

It seems you advise a NAPSC and would not go for a Hicap, bit don't say way - can you enlighten me?

Antonio believes a Hicap would deepen the bottom end while also adding clarity and separation - I have to say that is appealing!

I have no idea what either of them do other than what I read on forums (I am an electrical specs retard), and I guess a consensus is the unicorn of forums, so I won't hold my breath waiting for one :-)

Will research what these two options will offer and make a call at some point.

Re: the stage question... I'm leaning towards circuit boards now, and will get all the connectors and NACA5 ends serviced to breath some new life into them while I'm at it.

Thanks for your help :-)

Antonio1 posted:

You don't have to spend money until you can afford, not boosting purchases but giving away free advice.

DR stands for discrete regulator.

Again ,if you're budgeting $300/450 for the phono, I were you I'd just just source in the used market something  as cheap as a rega phono mini which is fine with your deck.

That would help you get an Hicap.

 

Hi Antonio

You are very pro-Hicap, and have me almost sold on the idea.  What are your thoughts re: Christophers suggestion of a NAPSC?

I don't want to get a mini, as I may very well upgrade the RP1 to an RP3 in the forseeable future, and don't want to have to then upgrade the stage as well...so am thinking boards as then it's 'done'.  Thoughts?

Hoolio posted:

It seems you advise a NAPSC and would not go for a Hicap, bit don't say way - can you enlighten me?

Antonio believes a Hicap would deepen the bottom end while also adding clarity and separation - I have to say that is appealing!

When I enthused on the forum about adding a natural sounding Napsc to my NAC202, someone wrote words to the effect, 'Der, you f-ing dolt, what did you expect, the Napsc socket is only marked Upgrade 1 on the back of the pre'.

My general advice is don't get caught up in the cult of the amplifier, and think about the sources. In this respect the phonostage, Naim cards or Fono, can be thought of as sources. Yes, the HC is good but only if the sources are there IMO. Otherwise you are just very nicely amplifying the tosh.

Chris (fellow electrical specs retard)

Christopher_M posted:
Hoolio posted:

It seems you advise a NAPSC and would not go for a Hicap, bit don't say way - can you enlighten me?

Antonio believes a Hicap would deepen the bottom end while also adding clarity and separation - I have to say that is appealing!

When I enthused on the forum about adding a natural sounding Napsc to my NAC202, someone wrote words to the effect, 'Der, you f-ing dolt, what did you expect, the Napsc socket is only marked Upgrade 1 on the back of the pre'.

My general advice is don't get caught up in the cult of the amplifier, and think about the sources. In this respect the phonostage, Naim cards or Fono, can be thought of as sources. Yes, the HC is good but only if the sources are there IMO. Otherwise you are just very nicely amplifying the tosh.

Chris (fellow electrical specs retard)

Haha, thanks Chris :-)

It's going to cost me north of $1000 to add a Hicap (GBP450 for a serviced olive series one, plus I then get hit with $230 or so in import tax as it's over the magical $400 threshold) whereas the NAPSC can be bought for under GBP150 I believe (from a 5 minute trawl of Ebay UK)?  that would dodge the import tax issue...roughly 1.8NZD to the pound.

I like your "source first' mantra...and it fits my lack of electrical knowledge nicely, so I think I'll get the 102 and NACA cable serviced, biff the circuit boards in and when I come up for air on my new vinyl buying addiction long enough to afford an upgrade I'll go for a NAPSC, then a better TT, then a Hicap.  T

That's today's thinking anyway :-)

One last question - does it matter what age/series/flavour of NAPSC I get?  With the 102 being olive series, should it be an olive NAPSC?

Hoolio posted:
Antonio1 posted:

You don't have to spend money until you can afford, not boosting purchases but giving away free advice.

DR stands for discrete regulator.

Again ,if you're budgeting $300/450 for the phono, I were you I'd just just source in the used market something  as cheap as a rega phono mini which is fine with your deck.

That would help you get an Hicap.

 

Hi Antonio

You are very pro-Hicap, and have me almost sold on the idea.  What are your thoughts re: Christophers suggestion of a NAPSC?

I don't want to get a mini, as I may very well upgrade the RP1 to an RP3 in the forseeable future, and don't want to have to then upgrade the stage as well...so am thinking boards as then it's 'done'.  Thoughts?

HI ,

I've got both, NAPSC is a good product for a small outlay I consider it part of the design. So yes ,but doesn't add what hicap does : the WOW factor I wish I had done it before.  Fine tuning Vs. a real improvement.

Also, as long as the boards are serviced and your intention is to upgrade the TT the boards are a good buy, I think. As you say source first mantra, its the TT the source first not the phono.

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