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Bright Naim Sound

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by S1MON, Apr 13, 2005.

  1. S1MON

    S1MON
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    I Recently took a step into the world of naim, purchasing a nac92 and a nap90 and i am due to buy a cd3 in the next couple of weeks. So for now i set them up within my current system a meridian 206b cd player an orelle dac and dynaudio speakers.
    I have spun a few disc's over the past few days giving the amps chance to warm up, but i am still getting a horrible hiss noise on the vocals(you know the one i mean, where some one singing the word "this" sounds like "thisssss") and a cranking the amp up to a decent listening level it becomes unbearable, almost armour piercing. With the cyrus 5 i had before it never did this. Can anyone please tell me if this is probably the incompatibility between the meridian and the naim or is it something else. I am just a bit worried that i am going to splash out on the naim cd player and its not going to sound any better.

    Any comments or suggestion's would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Thinking on this problem, I wondered, you have'nt connected to the phono stage have you ? Because a phono stage amplifies the upper frequencies due to RIAA equalisation and might well be producing that effect !! You should note that you can swap input boards on the Naim pre amps, not just swapping m/c to mm but also phono input for line level boards.



    Yep, several things. First, always, always leave the amp powered up. Second, check the cabling to the amp is original Naim and not bodged around with. Third, check how old the units are, usually around 8 years and its time to change those capacitors. Fourth, never use anything apart from NAC speaker cable, I have got away with Flatline gold and Im sure there are others, but the way Naims are built, they rely on plain copper cabling 4mm sq to provide output stability.

    Naims are not very revealing of top end frequencies, they work in the mid range so sibilance /hiss is rarely a problem, so I find that a bit strange, although have encountered a similar problem with an older Naim amp........when the top was removed, it was'nt a Naim at all, someone had just bodged an amp board off a cheap amp.

    Naim amps have a history of being 'tinkered' with to improve the sound, sometimes its just tweaking of the potentiometers to change the bias of the amplifier because people feel it is not revealing enough, sometimes the power supply section is tweaked to produce a higher voltage in the pre amp, then theres caps and resistors that get changed. I have sent pictures to Naim so they can tell me if anythings suspect and you can ring and chat with the workshop technicians.

    I dont think there would be a compatability issue with the Meridian TBH, be careful with a CD3 they are not known for their reliability ! I'm happy to give any advice you need (as a long term Naim owner) just send me a mail.

    PS. Just a thought, but I read somewhere that fancy esoteric interconnects can cause problems and a final thought, how are you connecting to the Din plug ?? Naim interconnect, converter plug, custom cables ?? or has someone changed the plugs for phonos ? Of course you did'nt connect to the phono stage , did you ?
     
  3. S1MON

    S1MON
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    Hi karkus the units were only manufactured in 2000 so they shouldnt be due a service.
    As far as i'm aware the connector from the the power amp to the pre is a naim cable, but the cable from the dac is a chord rca to din. My speaker cable is Dnm resonance (but you think i would be better off changing this to naim is it expensive?). The cd3 has had a transport changed 3 weeks ago, but do you think i should stay away from this player?
     
  4. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    With all due respect to Karkus (and not wishing to dis a fellow 2210 + TomTom owner !), I also always found that amp combination overbearingly harsh. Note I was a devout flat-earther at the time - as was my dealer - and was running an LP12 and some little Royd speakers, but I just couldn't get on with those specific amps - or indeed any of the Naims of that era. The Naims of that time generate EXTREMELY polarised opinions in people; some love them (perhaps too much so), some detest them. Naim have added to their amplifier personnel in the last couple of years, and it is also evident that the Naim sound is changing as a result. Anyhow, I digress. At the time, I returned to my dealer on a number of occassions to re-audition that combo and higher ones (I was running an Exposure integrated and wanted to upgrade) convinced it was what I ought to have, but on audition it never did it for me - for the same reasons you describe. We bowed fully at the altar: using the right cables, six weeks warm-up, it was on the end of a Sondek etc, etc, but I never liked it, even despite my other stuff.

    As I say, others loved - nay adored - it. But you just might be one of the many who hated it also. The others hated it for the exact symptons you describe, so don't feel ashamed of your opinions ! Nonetheless, I would follow all of Karkus' good advice become reaching a final decision.
     
  5. karkus30

    karkus30
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    Lost Cause is right regarding the love it or loath it presentation, though I have to say that harsh does'nt quite describe it and I certainly would'nt ascribe sibilance with Naims, the chief weakness is a lack of top end detail and a propensity towards a dry bass and a forward sound. The chord i/c should be OK, they dont have any perculiar properties.

    Before you go changing cable, get a look inside both the pre and power amps, just check that nothing looks disturbed or altered and also have a look at the large capacitors in the power amp to check they are not starting to swell (its evident, because the can is bulging or rippled). Year 2000 should'nt be a problem, but neither is it a guarantee. As an aside, they did change the supplier of transformers around that time, they used to use Holden but changed to something else which produced a slightly less laid back sound (some like it etc).

    Hmmmm DNM cables, that could be a problem. They are known for esoteric cables, so might be a cause of your problem. NAC A5 is'nt expensive, but before paying out, how about just trying some plain copper cables, like QED 79 strand or whatever (someone must have a bit spare) , just to check if its down to that. Naim recommend a length of around 3.5m minimum, most people use around 5m which is perfect.

    Naims are really happy with cheap, plain old copper cables and basic i/c cables, they either dont respond to high end cables (I have heard all sorts of stuff on Naim amps and the basic good quality, bog, basic, comet cable sounds just as good as the 5K cable, if not better) or they start giving problems.
     
  6. karkus30

    karkus30
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    :eek: interesting, that transport is unavailable now as it has been discontinued by the manufacturer and has been a big concern. The CD3 is a great player, but as you already see, they do have transport problems and its likely that if it goes again you might be stuck. Dont ask me to suggest an alternative, as its also the player that I considered, along with the slightly more upmarket versions (they also have the same reliability issues). Im using a Marantz CD17 Mk1, which is OKish, mark 2 is supposed to be better and KI sig is supposed to be brilliant. :rolleyes:
     
  7. S1MON

    S1MON
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    Thanks Karkus, i will check that out about the transport and ask the shop that i am getting it from. Noticed you are from darlington (hey me too) weird. I am going to check with music matters in the town to see if i can loan some cable to try it out. Hope it works.
     
  8. karkus30

    karkus30
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    I have just looked on the Hi Fi plus site it states..........DNM Reson, very high quality cables, doe not work in a Linn/Naim set up. I have a couple of lengths of A4 Clone (not Naim, but a copy, its the cheaper stuff) kicking about, which your welcome to try, its not as good as proper NACA5 but would prove the point. PM me with your details if you want to try them as they are just kicking about in a box somewhere.

    Music matters...say Hi to Rod.
     

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