282 and HiCap plus speaker upgrade

Been a while since my last post and certainly been a journey with plenty of ups and downs.
I have ended up with more boxes than I originally thought and have learned many lessons along the way.

Current system is: -

NDX2, XPS DR, NAC 282, HiCap DR, NAP 250, Focal Aria 926, shawline x speaker cable, all other interconnects are standard.

The speakers are the only part of my original system left.

Two questions I have / looking for advice on.

Second HiCap for the 282, is it worth it, not going 252 but does the 282 merit a supercap v 2 x HiCap?

Speakers, the system could sound significantly better with upgraded speakers I am being told, what experience / views do forum members have on this and what speakers should I be looking at to balance out the overall system? One dealer is suggesting Focal Kanta 2’s.

The room is 8m by 5m roughly in size, the 926’s fill it without issue however can be slightly bright / harsh under load.

Thanks as always Doug

Hello Doug. There’s a few threads about the merits of 2 x HCs. My two pennies; I didn’t like the presentation with 2 and have since gone back to 1 Hicap. Although bass and soundstage were improved, I found pace became a bit sluggish. I liked the airiness of a single HC. Everything seemed a bit darker with 2. But then I don’t use a 250. Can’t comment on the speaker choice other than that every Focal speaker I’ve heard seemed to sound bright. Perhaps that’s their habit.

I always ask this question, so apologies in advance. Have you got dedicated mains and good system supports.

As to the Hicaps, having two can disrupt the earthing arrangements. I’d get a Supercap or stick with one Hicap.

Didn’t know this

You’re speakers are good. I have the larger Aria 936 and rate them over the Linn Kelidhs I had before them. Running an 82, Supercap 2 with 2 x 135s, NDS with 555PS, CDS3 with XPS2 and LP12, Cirkus, Kore.

Supercap would be worth doing and then a 252 possibly in the future.

The 936s or 948s are worth considering as well as the Kantas or Sopra 2s if you want to stay with Focals.

If I upgraded my speakers, I would be looking at Sopra 2s or maybe Kudos Titan speakers.

Is it a 250DR?. If not then, having had the equivalent system I’d say get there first. I’d stick with one HC and save for the 252/SCDR as the next step.

That’s then a nicely balanced system.


Apologies, I should have been specific, yes NAP 250 DR.

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At this nice level of system you will be able to get more out of your current electronics with improved power cabling and interconnects I think.

I do not have a dedicated mains, I run a wireworld matrix 2 power block. The systems sit on a bespoke cabinet that I would say gives good support if I understand the question correctly. Thanks for the view on the second HiCap, that seems to be the theme, do not do it and save for the SC.

In that case I’d sort the mains or before thinking of a Supercap. It’s the foundation of the system and there are loads of threads about the subject.

A Hiline interconnect took the edge off and helped with this for me.

Some might ask about room treatment, too, maybe that is a contributing factor especially at high volume.

Have to agree on adding a dedicated mains supply if you can, makes an incredible difference and should be cheaper than a black box.

I’ve never been convinced by the idea of using leads as tone controls. Every Focal speaker I’ve heard has been screamingly bright, though I understand that the Kanta range is more mellow.

Sure, but I guess in that respect every part of the system is a tone control. For the op, if an interconnect or dedicated mains etc helps to achieve the desirable music reproduction without having to replace the speakers, that’s a good result.

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I recently added a second hicapdr with positive results. Less air but really filled out the low end. No earthing issues here. I came by an ex demo at a good price and since I will be skipping the 252 in favor of the 552 it made sense vs. supercap.

How come so many are obsessed with mains when they leave their houses and power lines, and focus on spending thousands on 2 meters of cables when there are hundreds if not thousands of meters of unchanged mains? Especially given the naim philosophy of source first - surely you should be optimising the power lines if anything.

I think there is a massive misconception about mains and how power flows.

The way to think of things is if (standard power cabling) lot’s of people were standing in a row, banging into the person next to you (current flowing) and the last two meters (your Powerlines) are really big burly men who can then smash into one another with ease and agility right up to the appliance. The current is passed with ease into the black boxes.
As long as the Powerlines are long enough for a full sine wave then it’s only the last section that matters.

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I just have seen your system on your profile. You use a cheap 5 dollars powerblock. I really advise you to get something more decent. You will be very surprised.

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I went from a 282 with a flat cap 2x to a hicap and then a supercap, there were other upgrades around it as well. I tried using both outputs from the flatcap for the 282, compared to using a single one the soundstage gained definition by shrinking and losing air so I stayed with just one. Next up was the hicap, compared to the flatcap the sound seemed to relax, gained a little more scale and substance but the timing was maintained and maybe even improved. The supercap grew the scale a bit more and increased definition. My next preamp move was to a 552 which revealed a hitherto hidden world of musical expression that the 282 was glossing over. If I had to los
e the 552/500 and revert to a 282 and a 250 and I’d use a hicap between them, if retaining the supercap I’d keep it on the superline where it now resides but i depends to some extent on speakers how this one falls. I had Thiel CCS1.6s at the time but had a hicap/supercap demo using Kudos C2s and on those the supercap cleared a lot of mud from the bass as if the power amp had been uprated. The thiels had a nice clean bass with the hicsp in place.

I have pretty much the same Naim set up, recently bought, after extensive testing. I added a second Hicap, it made enough difference for me to warrant the modest investment vs supercap which is significant investment. I have a isol-8 integra sub station which sorted my potential mains issues, some might consider this pricey but worth it IMO and to my ears. I matched my kit with Kudos Titan 707’s.
My advise is get another Hicap on test and listen, if your ears tell you it’s worth the investment and you have the funds, go for it. If not stick with one.