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Offline Popeye  
#1 Posted : 30 January 2021 00:20:21(UTC)
Popeye


Rank: HIFI Newbie

Joined: 19/12/2018(UTC)
Posts: 6
United Kingdom
Location: East Sussex

Hi all

I have been a subscriber of the magazine for a couple of years now and love it. Keep up the good work guys!
I started my Hifi journey with a modest Naim Unitiqute2. Since then the bug has bit and the system has made many changes sticking with Naim in a fairly short period of time.
My system now comprises of an NDX2, NAC282, NAP250DR, HiCapDR, all on a full Naim Fraim with Powerlines and a Super Lumina Din-Din interconnect.

The system is wonderful and brings me hours and hours of joy.
However having made many changes, each bringing wonderful improvements along the way, one always feels the need to explore and research what’s the next upgrade possibility.

Is this generally just a Naim trait, with their vast product range and clever modular approach or dose this mindset apply to whichever brand of equipment you own.

I feel that if I owned a system from a company that had a smaller product catalog with far bigger price differences, I would be more content with what I’ve got.

Anyone know how to deal with this madness and many left the Naim train?😂

Best

Popeye
Offline HansW  
#2 Posted : 04 February 2021 07:41:34(UTC)
HansW


Rank: HIFI Addict

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Sweden
Location: Stockholm

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Dear Popeye,
You have suggested one viable strategy; buy something else. Another is to bite the bullet and buy their best streamer, pre-amp and power amp. No more upgrades possible. A third strategy is to stop reading Hi-Fi magazines or visiting internet forums and instead listen to more music. A fourth strategy is to accept that you are as interested in the system as the music and enjoy upgrading. See it as a hobby.
Personally, I am often surpised at how good music sounds on my system when I haven’t listened for a while and mostly get an attack of ’upgradeitis’ when I haven’t had much chance to listen but instead been reading about hi fi.
Best regards

Hans
Offline Pete_w  
#3 Posted : 05 February 2021 20:31:34(UTC)
Pete_w


Rank: HIFI God

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Tricky one. I stepped off the Naim Train quite some time ago; in fact not too long after getting on it :-). That's perhaps not strictly fair, but I went through quite a long period of upgrade-itis, and to be honest I was never that happy - I was always worrying about "the system" and not the music. It's when I stepped off Planet Flat Earth Hifi and started actually listening to the music that I relaxed a lot and just started enjoying what I was hearing. I think that, for me, there were three big steps I made that "solved" my upgrade-itis and just started me listening to music instead...

Step 1 was cleaning up the mains, and getting rid of the electrical noise. A PS Audio Power Plant, and shielded mains cables. I would recommend that combination to anybody. Once you've lived with it for a bit, it's a no-brainer. Also taking care routing your interconnects, and so on. Electrical noise is the single biggest evil, IMHO... It's worth spending time on, you don't need to spend a lot of money[1] (well, except for the power plant, obviously :-)).

Step 2 was throwing the active pre-amp in the bin, and going with a transformer-coupled passive. Music First, in my case, others (Townshend) are available. You can discuss their relatiove merits, I think that Martin and I did so at some point, but what they both offer is something very different to the traditional active pre, and both are thoroughly musical.

Step 3 was to throw away loudpeakers with a cross-over at about 2KHz, right in the middle of the human voice where the ear is most senstive. Yeah, you can get used to a good crossover, and some are very good, but I'm kinda with the much-missed Paul Messenger in thinking that the best crossover is no crossover. Many years ago, straight after student-hood, I was spoiled by a little pair of Robin Marshall's Epos ES11s, which ran the one driver full-range and just rolled in a tweeter at about 5KHz. After some fairly unhappy conventional speaker choices (and people say nice things about ProAcs, for example) I'm currently very happy with Martin Logan panels, which run one driver from 250Hz up, and fill in at the bottom with an auxiliary bass unit. Yes, I have just (well 11 months ago) upgraded them (after 10 years, to another 20 year old pair) but that's because I wanted "more" of everything, as opposed to being dissatisfied with what I had...

So that was my route off the train. All three, I notice now I've written this, are about cleaning up and removing distortion, rather than about equipment choices per se. That distortion, for me, is what makes "hifi" fatiguing and gets in the way of the music.

Cheers
Pete

[1] For example, I had a copper SPDIF from a blu-ray player into the back of my DAC, so we could watch movies and put the sound through the stereo. Breaking that noise feed by swapping that copper co-ax for a bit of fibre with an E/O converter at each end worked wonders, and cost only a few quid from amazon. That sort of thing....
Offline Martin Colloms  
#4 Posted : 21 February 2021 17:55:35(UTC)
Martin Colloms


Rank: Moderator

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There are few activities where your decisions including product choice, quality of installation, investment, music catalogue/library

will affect your long term pleasure to such a degree. For me music is priceless and I have been committed to improving music replay from the

age of seven. To my great good fortune, despite being rubbish at math, I have made a living out of this endeavour.

Every new product, to review or to own is like Xmas all over again. Always you hope that you may hear just that bit more from your music,

more expression from the performers, deeper and more focused sound stages, more rhythm and resulting listener involvement, more bass tunes, and so on.

It can be costly and you need to spend wisely. And good advice from audio dealers who understand this complex, interelated and interactive art is essential.

Martin
Offline hiacedrifter  
#5 Posted : 12 March 2021 16:12:21(UTC)
hiacedrifter


Rank: HIFI Newbie

Joined: 01/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 7

Originally Posted by: Pete_w Go to Quoted Post
Tricky one. I stepped off the Naim Train quite some time ago;


I'm contemplating stepping off that train! I have some very simple and sensitive Russ Andrews Quave LS1 speakers, and a passive pre on the way. I'd like to forget thge equipment and just enjoy the music. What power amp(s) have you found work for you? I may keep my NAP200 until I find something better ... exposure perhaps.
Offline Pete_w  
#6 Posted : 12 March 2021 21:40:28(UTC)
Pete_w


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Was thanked: 11 time(s) in 11 post(s)
Originally Posted by: hiacedrifter Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Pete_w Go to Quoted Post
Tricky one. I stepped off the Naim Train quite some time ago;


I'm contemplating stepping off that train! I have some very simple and sensitive Russ Andrews Quave LS1 speakers, and a passive pre on the way. I'd like to forget thge equipment and just enjoy the music. What power amp(s) have you found work for you? I may keep my NAP200 until I find something better ... exposure perhaps.


Hmmm. I went down a route that has worked very well for me, but that I wouldn't necessarily recommend to others as an obvious choice. I had a forced-choice; my previous (home made) amps had decayed to the point where I wasn't happy about their continued reliability and safety, but I'd built furniture around their small monoblock form factor. Oh, and I needed horsepower and lots of it - the Martin Logans have many good points but "easy to drive" isn't on the list.

So I ended up with a pair of Benchmark AHB-200s, configured as monoblocks. You'll find mixed reviews of them on the internet, my own take is on this website a few years ago. Summary is that they can sound very good and clean and musical, but (at least the ones being built circa when I bought mine, so fairly early in production) have some really strong and quite odd dependencies on the mains supply and cables. Which is really really odd for an amp with a switched-mode supply. But that probably explains the variety of opinions - ISTR that whoever reviewed them for 'critic was not impressed, whereas Andrew Everard (with his HNF/RR hat on) seemed to quite like them. Different rooms, different mains. I already had a big PS Audio Power Plant P10, so thick shielded cables from that to the Benchmarks removed any doubts over their performance. Grunt, and lots of it, along with good timing and musicality. And they run cool :-).

So if you have some easy-to-drive RA speakers, then 300W-per-side of serious power is not necessarily what you need at all...

Cheers
Pete
Offline en1omb  
#7 Posted : 13 March 2021 08:45:17(UTC)
en1omb


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Originally Posted by: hiacedrifter Go to Quoted Post

I'm contemplating stepping off that train! I have some very simple and sensitive Russ Andrews Quave LS1 speakers, and a passive pre on the way. I'd like to forget thge equipment and just enjoy the music. What power amp(s) have you found work for you? I may keep my NAP200 until I find something better ... exposure perhaps.


I am feeling a similar temptation (even the same speakers!). I don’t own Naim but I am starting to feel swamped in boxes and cables. I am quite tempted to go down to a two box solution. I am thinking an integrated amp with MC phono stage, then an integrated streamer-dac. Feels like the best split of expertise. I would have to accept that a turntable is likely to come with another power supply box.
Offline hiacedrifter  
#8 Posted : 13 March 2021 08:55:34(UTC)
hiacedrifter


Rank: HIFI Newbie

Joined: 01/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 7

Originally Posted by: en1omb Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: hiacedrifter Go to Quoted Post

I'm contemplating stepping off that train! I have some very simple and sensitive Russ Andrews Quave LS1 speakers, and a passive pre on the way. I'd like to forget thge equipment and just enjoy the music. What power amp(s) have you found work for you? I may keep my NAP200 until I find something better ... exposure perhaps.


I am feeling a similar temptation (even the same speakers!). I don’t own Naim but I am starting to feel swamped in boxes and cables. I am quite tempted to go down to a two box solution. I am thinking an integrated amp with MC phono stage, then an integrated streamer-dac. Feels like the best split of expertise. I would have to accept that a turntable is likely to come with another power supply box.


Do you have the RA speakers already? What source/amps are you using? I'm determined to keep my speakers, and my source (Rega Saturn CD) whatever else happens.
Offline en1omb  
#9 Posted : 13 March 2021 22:02:44(UTC)
en1omb


Rank: HIFI Guru

Joined: 27/02/2009(UTC)
Posts: 327
Location: Bristol

Thanks: 7 times
Was thanked: 3 time(s) in 3 post(s)
It is a really mixed set up. I have a dCS Network Bridge feeding a Totaldac D1 Dual into a Russ Andrew’s Integrated amp with external power supply from the mid ‘90s. I have also just put a Russ Andrew’s modified laserdisc player back in the rack. It is very temperamental but when it does decide to play it definitely has some magic about it. I then have a Rega RP3 with Exact 2 feeding a Rega Fono MM. Got a Stax system for when I am feeling guilty about annoying the neighbours. When it is all on song it is glorious, but I do crave some more simplicity but don’t want to take a backwards step. Not being in a flat would be the biggest upgrade!
Offline hiacedrifter  
#10 Posted : 14 March 2021 05:25:55(UTC)
hiacedrifter


Rank: HIFI Newbie

Joined: 01/09/2020(UTC)
Posts: 7

Originally Posted by: en1omb Go to Quoted Post
It is a really mixed set up. I have a dCS Network Bridge feeding a Totaldac D1 Dual into a Russ Andrew’s Integrated amp with external power supply from the mid ‘90s. I have also just put a Russ Andrew’s modified laserdisc player back in the rack. It is very temperamental but when it does decide to play it definitely has some magic about it. I then have a Rega RP3 with Exact 2 feeding a Rega Fono MM. Got a Stax system for when I am feeling guilty about annoying the neighbours. When it is all on song it is glorious, but I do crave some more simplicity but don’t want to take a backwards step. Not being in a flat would be the biggest upgrade!


Thankfully my system is relatively simple as I only have one source (Rega CD player). I started to look at naim multi box power amps / power supplies and realised it might be a never ending quest. I'm hoping my passive pre/one box power amp will be a system for life. I might stretch to a 2 box Naim NAP300, but that will be the limit.

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