High end cables or black boxes.

Hi all

I know what people will say to this and ultimately I will go and listen for myself but, wondered what people’s opinions. 

I own NDX/Supernait2 with Totem Sky Towers. 

I currently just use the standard interconnect and 1 power line lite and one of the power cables supplied by naim prior to the lite and NACA5 speaker cable. 

I am debating getting a Hicap Dr to add to the Supernait2 but I know what I am like and think I will always seek to upgrade and then probably want a 282 and so on and so on. 

Ultimately I am happy with my system and have read posts from others including @hungryhalibut who have had very exquisit systems and have settled into something they are happy with and have given up seeking change (to a certain degree). 

I have a line of thought to not add anymore black boxes and just get the most from what I already have and improve my cables form either naim or high end Chord but don’t want to spend money for the sake of it.

Have others taken this route?

thanks all

NDX, Supernait2, HiCap DR, HiLine, Totem Sky Towers, NACA5 

Original Post

What you have is a top flight simple system. Which has its appeal in itself over going into a multiple box set up in someways.

It would be fairly easy to demonstrate if someone just popped in with a big box of expensive cables and supports just what can be brought out of what you already have.

putting fancy cables on a super simple system is great as they will be less of them, so you can up the over all budget.

My advice would be to stick with one brand and technology of construction throughout. If you pick and mix you could end up with some cables that go in one way of presenting against others that might go another way leaving everything sounding disjointed and not all of a piece - more hifi and less musical.

Also it is true and others will advise that great cables don't necessarily need to cost too much in price.

Also the support is just as important.    Fraim, hi lines and power lines are all you probably need - other than the Ethernet cable upgrade.   Having a dedicated hifi mains supply from the power grid is also a major cost effective method.

Good luck

Popeye posted:

Hi all

I know what people will say to this and ultimately I will go and listen for myself but, wondered what people’s opinions. 

I own NDX/Supernait2 with Totem Sky Towers. 

I currently just use the standard interconnect and 1 power line lite and one of the power cables supplied by naim prior to the lite and NACA5 speaker cable. 

I am debating getting a Hicap Dr to add to the Supernait2 but I know what I am like and think I will always seek to upgrade and then probably want a 282 and so on and so on. 

Ultimately I am happy with my system and have read posts from others including @hungryhalibut who have had very exquisit systems and have settled into something they are happy with and have given up seeking change (to a certain degree). 

I have a line of thought to not add anymore black boxes and just get the most from what I already have and improve my cables form either naim or high end Chord but don’t want to spend money for the sake of it.

Have others taken this route?

thanks all

Yes - and no! I'm all for "tuning" systems with cables but if it meant spending the sort of money that would get me another black box then for me, I'd take the latter route. A Hi-Cap would be a lot less money than the high end Naim and Chord cables, particularly second-hand and result in a more tangible upgrade. I haven't a single Naim cable in my own set-up having swapped them out for 3rd party equivalents which I think deliver a good halfway house between the Naim entry level and premium cables. That said, you may not appreciate the extra "grunt" of a PSU upgrade but the same could be said about the cables. It's a case of "you pays your money, you take your pick".

I view posh cables as a way of finishing off one’s system, the icing on the cake so to speak. When I finalised my system at 272, XPS and 250, I bought SL cables. I already had two Powerlines and dedicated mains. I then followed with posh ethernet cables. It went a bit wrong when I then got a 300 last year, as it meant changing the stereo din to XLR for a mono pair, and my 3m speaker wires for a 4m set. So it’s important to ensure that you are not going to want a different cake, or if you are, that the different cake won’t need different icing. 

You have asked a few questions recently so are clearly dissatisfied somehow, so I’d be very cautious before spending anything. Doing nothing is very often the right thing to do. At least for a while anyway, while your thoughts clarify and you make a clear decision. 

hungryhalibut posted:

 

You have asked a few questions recently so are clearly dissatisfied somehow, so I’d be very cautious before spending anything. Doing nothing is very often the right thing to do. At least for a while anyway, while your thoughts clarify and you make a clear decision. 

Good advice

hungryhalibut posted:

I view posh cables as a way of finishing off one’s system, the icing on the cake so to speak. When I finalised my system at 272, XPS and 250, I bought SL cables. I already had two Powerlines and dedicated mains. I then followed with posh ethernet cables. It went a bit wrong when I then got a 300 last year, as it meant changing the stereo din to XLR for a mono pair, and my 3m speaker wires for a 4m set. So it’s important to ensure that you are not going to want a different cake, or if you are, that the different cake won’t need different icing. 

You have asked a few questions recently so are clearly dissatisfied somehow, so I’d be very cautious before spending anything. Doing nothing is very often the right thing to do. At least for a while anyway, while your thoughts clarify and you make a clear decision. 

Thanks HH

i have only asked 2 questions of late regarding my own system, about adding either a Hicap or info regarding a Hugo TT2. 

So 2 box options and now just leaving as is and doing cables. 

Popeye posted:

Hi all

I know what people will say to this and ultimately I will go and listen for myself but, wondered what people’s opinions. 

I own NDX/Supernait2 with Totem Sky Towers. 

I currently just use the standard interconnect and 1 power line lite and one of the power cables supplied by naim prior to the lite and NACA5 speaker cable. 

I am debating getting a Hicap Dr to add to the Supernait2 but I know what I am like and think I will always seek to upgrade and then probably want a 282 and so on and so on. 

Ultimately I am happy with my system and have read posts from others including @hungryhalibut who have had very exquisit systems and have settled into something they are happy with and have given up seeking change (to a certain degree). 

I have a line of thought to not add anymore black boxes and just get the most from what I already have and improve my cables form either naim or high end Chord but don’t want to spend money for the sake of it.

Have others taken this route?

thanks all

Get your black boxes sorted first, once you are happy with the black boxes, then go for fancy cables. Bear in mind, money spent on black boxes is always better spent over cables.

Keep the NACA5 and look to Chord Company for power and ethernet cables, also your NDX to SN2, a nice nearly full loom at a later date if you want to go Signature speaker cable.

I personally now rate Synergistic higher for fuses, power leads and future looking to their ethernet.

I would disagree cables are end point ice on the cake, rather additions that you will retain if you change or add more black boxes.

I would get a Hicap over an expensive cable every time. I know that some people have said the SN2 sounds worse with s HCDR but I would be finding that out for myself. 

I have had quite expensive cables Hiline, Powerlines, Chord Signatute Tuned Aray amongst others and they are all gone now replaced by standard Naim cables and NacA5. 

Keep your system simple by all means and if your happy then stay as you are but if you want to spend money I would say Hicap over posh cables everytime

In the context of a Naim system you have the benefit of pretty good cables for free (lavender interconnect, mains) or little cost (NACA). If you stay inside the ecosystem, you can get far without fancy cabling. On the other hand Powerlines and a different interconnect were worthwhile upgrades to my NDAC/SN2 system. As many other things there is no universal answer for this question. One thing you should consider is whether the next black box upgrade would lead to different cable types or lengths. If this is the case, think at least twice about spending money on cables.

The standard cables are, in fact, very good and not cheap patch chords. 

The higher end cables really come into their own further up the electronics range in my opinion. So if you like it as a 2 box system, do nothing. If you are okay with more boxes, add a HiCap to the SN.

How my dealer explained it to me was:

Bother with a HiLine only after adding an XPS to the NDX.
Bother with PowerLines only after adding a HiLine.
There are quite a few speaker cables as good as or slightly better than NACA5 for the same or even a little less money. But anything a lot better than NACA5 also costs a lot more than NACA5.

FWIW, I think the HiCapDR is the best value for money upgrade on anything it can be partnered with.

After I tried Powerlines and they made to my ears no difference that I could hear it was explained that a dedicated mains was needed to get the best from them and when I tried Chord Signature Tuned Aray interconnects to little effect I was told a full loom was needed. The one interconnect that made an instant and very noticeable change was the Naim Hiline it sounded like someone had turned the volume up and I have always found speaker cabling to make the most difference Nac A4 - Nac A5 big difference better bass Nac A5 to Tellurium Q Black lots more detail but then when I changed speakers less bass and then TQ Black back to NacA5 better all round.

Every time I added a Naim power supply it made a difference Flatcap XS to 122X, Chrome Bumper Hicap to 202 and finally Olive Supercap to 82 always made a difference. IMHO the fashion for less black boxes can never be compensated by fancy cables.

Bob the Builder posted:

I would get a Hicap over an expensive cable every time. I know that some people have said the SN2 sounds worse with s HCDR but I would be finding that out for myself. 

I have had quite expensive cables Hiline, Powerlines, Chord Signatute Tuned Aray amongst others and they are all gone now replaced by standard Naim cables and NacA5. 

Keep your system simple by all means and if your happy then stay as you are but if you want to spend money I would say Hicap over posh cables everytime

Hey Bob, i am curious because you had before the chord signature tuned array and you replaced them by standard naim.   Can you tell why?   

Hi Popeye

This time last year I was running the same electronics as you, though into a pair of PMC Fact12s. Cable was standard Naim interconnects and NACA5, and very good it sounded too. I'd looked at "black box" upgrades to the 2 box set up, and this included XPS2 or 555PS for the NDX and NAP250 or SuperCap for the SN2. (On a bit of a tangent to your question, the best by far of these options (to my ears) was the SuperCap. However, I felt that spending that much on a p/sup was beyond my means and also I had had thoughts of moving away from Naim amplification anyway.)

Long story short, I tried out some Tellurium Q Ultra black speaker cables and interconnects (RCA) and the difference between that and the standard Naim cable was chalk and cheese, so I ended up buying the TQ wires.

My take on cables versus black-boxes is that from a purely commercial point of view, there's no difference. If you spend X on your system and get Y improvement, then for me, it doesn't matter whether that money is spent on bbs or wires. For a two box system like yours, you need Speaker Cable and inter-connects, and that makes it an appealing and relatively simple route to take if you're planning on staying where you are (and minimise upgradeitis). However, if you are planning on moving to a pre-power amp or a separate streamer and DAC then clearly more cables are needed, so the costs goes up again beyond just the outlay on the new boxes. As such more thought is needed as to when to splash out on the new cables.

Hope this helps. As you've already noted in your original post, you need to trust your own ears. If you've not considered trying the TQ cables, they're well worth adding to your shortlist, and work very well with Naim.

Cheers

Matt

I would highly recommend looking at the Entreq Grounding Products as a further consideration. I have the Entreq Silver Minimus and silver cable. It made a significant improvement to sound quality, rendering greater resolution and focus to the sound stage. Look at some reviews and try and get a demo of one. I think you will be surprised by the gains it gives you.

Dreamblademyth posted:

I would highly recommend looking at the Entreq Grounding Products as a further consideration. I have the Entreq Silver Minimus and silver cable. It made a significant improvement to sound quality, rendering greater resolution and focus to the sound stage. Look at some reviews and try and get a demo of one. I think you will be surprised by the gains it gives you.

i tried the entreq on my system and found pros and coins.  The pros:  more clarity and details.

coins:  the sound was less lively.      So i preferred without.      But on other systems it can perhaps be all positive....who knows 

Hi Guys

Well today I did a deal with my dealer on their ex-demo Hicap DR. I also got a Hiline that has just come back from Naim to be sorted for the known issue for a price that was an absolute steal so will move on if I don't like what it brings as I went for this on a whim. I had auditioned the hicap however.

 

My experience from years with SN2/NDX (PMC 20.23):

HicapDR - Tried this more than once for extended periods but preferred the SN2 ‘bare’.

HiLine - At used prices I thought this was a value for money uplift in presentation.

Replaced NACA5 with TQB - For me a definite uplift in presentation

Introduced Cisco 2960 Switch - Nice uplift in presentation

Traded the NDX/SN2 against 272/XPSDR/250DR (Proac Tab10) - Best sound per pound I’ve owned - and no urge to ‘upgrade’.

Food for thought & good luck.

G

 

GraemeH posted:

My experience from years with SN2/NDX (PMC 20.23):

HicapDR - Tried this more than once for extended periods but preferred the SN2 ‘bare’.

HiLine - At used prices I thought this was a value for money uplift in presentation.

Replaced NACA5 with TQB - For me a definite uplift in presentation

Introduced Cisco 2960 Switch - Nice uplift in presentation

Traded the NDX/SN2 against 272/XPSDR/250DR (Proac Tab10) - Best sound per pound I’ve owned - and no urge to ‘upgrade’.

Food for thought & good luck.

G

 

Thanks G

surprised to hear you went sideways move to 272/250, not heard of anyone else do that.

I am happy with pre and power together and having the flexibility as technology changes on the digital front to have the source on its own.

Each to there own.

Popeye 

Although I don’t have a ‘high end’ system compared to many, the upgrade to a SL DIN to XLR lead between 272 and 250 was a ‘night and day’ improvement. Chord Epic Reference speaker cable vs NACA5 not so much, just more to my taste. As ever I believe there is no correct formulaic approach to this - just try the various combinations and choose that which sounds best to you.

Popeye posted:
GraemeH posted:

My experience from years with SN2/NDX (PMC 20.23):

HicapDR - Tried this more than once for extended periods but preferred the SN2 ‘bare’.

HiLine - At used prices I thought this was a value for money uplift in presentation.

Replaced NACA5 with TQB - For me a definite uplift in presentation

Introduced Cisco 2960 Switch - Nice uplift in presentation

Traded the NDX/SN2 against 272/XPSDR/250DR (Proac Tab10) - Best sound per pound I’ve owned - and no urge to ‘upgrade’.

Food for thought & good luck.

G

 

Thanks G

surprised to hear you went sideways move to 272/250, not heard of anyone else do that.

I am happy with pre and power together and having the flexibility as technology changes on the digital front to have the source on its own.

Each to there own.

Popeye 

I went with my ears Popeye! Having been at CDS3/555 252 300 level with 8 boxes and still fighting upgraditis I’ve found a more satisfying place (why do I hear Kermit singing ‘Half-Way Up The Sairs?) 😱

Yours contentedly,

G

GraemeH posted:
***SNIP****

 

I went with my ears Popeye! Having been at CDS3/555 252 300 level with 8 boxes and still fighting upgraditis I’ve found a more satisfying place (why do I hear Kermit singing ‘Half-Way Up The Sairs?) 😱

Yours contentedly,

G

Wasn't it Kermit's nephew Robin? (I always like to add value to a conversation.)

 
Eoink posted:
GraemeH posted:
***SNIP****

 

I went with my ears Popeye! Having been at CDS3/555 252 300 level with 8 boxes and still fighting upgraditis I’ve found a more satisfying place (why do I hear Kermit singing ‘Half-Way Up The Sairs?) 😱

Yours contentedly,

G

Wasn't it Kermit's nephew Robin? (I always like to add value to a conversation.)

Kermit and Robin...and it was Halfway Down The Stairs you now remind me...ok, I checked 

Thanks!

G

GraemeH posted:
 
Eoink posted:
GraemeH posted:
***SNIP****

 

I went with my ears Popeye! Having been at CDS3/555 252 300 level with 8 boxes and still fighting upgraditis I’ve found a more satisfying place (why do I hear Kermit singing ‘Half-Way Up The Sairs?) 😱

Yours contentedly,

G

Wasn't it Kermit's nephew Robin? (I always like to add value to a conversation.)

Kermit and Robin...and it was Halfway Down The Stairs you now remind me...ok, I checked 

Thanks!

G

So glad we got that cleared up!

Well the system is now running for a couple of hours now with the addition of the HiLine and Hicap DR and is certainly improving all the time. 

Hicap is ex demo but hardly used and dealer reckons definitely not run in yet. 

HiLine is pre owned but just back and not used from naim repairing it and giving it the going over. 

Will leave things running tomorrow when out. 

Ran the system earlier with the Hicap disconnected and done a few back to back comparisons with the HiLine and lavender interconnect. 

Wow, the HiLine is incredible and In my opinion at the moment it does more sonically than the Hicap DR!

I think it’s a bit early to say that for definite as the Hicap not fully run in yet. 

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×