Cable upgrades

After a year or two of one upgrade after another I feel I have a well balanced system and I’m getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. I’ve decided I want to stick as closely as possible to the Naim house sound, meaning Naim boxes and cables. I do appreciated there will be some great options from other manufacturers, but my path is set. I am using Kudos speaker cable but I’m comfortable with that as I understand it’s the same cable that’s in my speakers anyway.

In terms of future upgrades I will hopefully have an opportunity to demo a DR version of my 300 versus a 500 (non DR), but the opportunity hasn’t come about. I’ll probably wait until a service becomes due on my 300 in around 3 years time unless something pricks my interest in the meantime. And who knows, Naim might be doing DR upgrades again by then…

So I’m into the tweaking and fine tuning stage now. The dedicated mains is scheduled, so I’m thinking that leaves cables. I’m struggling with the outlay for Super Lumina but Hi-Lines could be added over time. So I’m considering the following options:

  1. Hi-Line interconnect between NDS and 552
  2. Hi-Line XLR’s
  3. Upgrade 300 cable to Powerline (currently old MK style). 552 and NDS and Powerline already.

Was thinking in that order over a few years. I’ll demo the Hi-Line first and if I don’t like what I hear then I’ll go back to the standard cables or keep saving for S/L.

Any thoughts or suggestions? Are these logical next steps. Particularly interested in people’s experiences upgrading to Hi-Lines.

PS I posted about box upgrade options some time ago and a 552 was way into the future on my plan. I was advised by HH not to muck about with the interim steps and that proved to be great advice that will save me a fair amount of money over time. So whilst I’m struggling with the cost of S/L, I guess the door is slightly ajar…

There are no Naim upgrade XLR cables other than Super Lumina.

I would do the Power Line first. Get a second hand one from eBay as thats a no brainer. You have others anyway.

HiLine is a decent cable, its worth a try for sure I use them on my system to good effect. I changed SL for HiLine actually! I also tried Chord Music and still rate HiLine for my ears.

You could look at Witch Hat cables… Ex Naim people producing cables that preserve the Naim sound apparently. I have not tried them yet but having ditched all of my Super Lumina recently I could be tempted. I run normal Naim XLR’s now btw and the difference when I removed the Super Lumina was minimal to non existent. I changed SL speaker wires for Kudos also to good effect.

A s/h HiLine and Powerline should set you back about £7-800 for the pair and is worth a punt. You can re sell for zero loss if you don’t like what they do (I doubt it)

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Thanks Steve, just the sort of info I’d hoped for. Out of interest, why did you switch the SL for Hi-Line?

I always found hilines finicky and wouldn’t buy them s/h other than through a dealer.

.sjb

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Yes would buy through dealer. What exactly is the issue with them? I have heard about them breaking. Is it always in the same spot? I understand Nam will repair if not mishandled.

I’m not convinced the Hiline is significantly better than the standard Lavender cables. It needs to hang free and not touch anything and does have a tendency to fall apart for no apparent reason. I tried Tellurium Q Black II interconnects for £400 a piece and reverted to the Lavender, which I prefer. It’s easy to get into the mindset of more expensive cables being better but it’s often not the case. I’d reiterate the previous advice and stay focussed. £700 here and £700 there soon adds up, and it’s money that’s probably better saved towards a meaningful upgrade. Just get the mains done and then save for the 300DR.

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That used to be the case but don’t count on it any more. I was recently charged for a repair of the very common, broken rings.

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@Stu299 I was finding with the Titan speakers the system was sounding a but shrill at times and had a harder more brittle treble. I added the HiLine in and this helped a lot. I think its very speaker dependant because when I had Naim speakers the SL loom worked very well. I have bought 2 HiLines s/h and 1 new. No problems with any. I find they hang quite free by default anyway as they have more rigidity than an SL which falls straight out of the plug and will naturally rest on the Fraim.

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The Hi-Line has been a very worthwhile upgrade for me. Initially on a CDX2 and now again on my NDX2. When I got the NDX2, I compared it with the Lavender again, just be sure. Same outcome, a clear uplift in SQ. As said by @Steve too, it kind of naturally hangs free behind the Fraim. It’s now 10 years old and never had any issue with it.

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Hi Stu, I have used standard lavender , HiLine and WH Morgana. I haven’t tried SL.
The HiLine was my least favourite on my streamer but probably worked better with the CD5. I don’t use the CD5 any more so I will be not be keeping the HiLine.
On the streamer and the DIN / XLR into NAP 250 DR the WH Morgana won hands down for me.

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Thanks all. I suppose if I do try a Hi-Line then I could demo it alongside a Morgana at no risk given the 30 day return. As said above the Morgana does have a very strong connection with Naim.

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For me the Hi-Line is a wonderful uplift over the stock cable into a Naim digital source player. I much prefer it over the lavender, although that is still a very fine cable in itself.

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SL cables and powerlines can be sourced for hefty discounts on new prices if you’re patient and monitor auction sites, dealer used/ex-demo web pages and keep in contact with trusted resellers. And they’re definitely worth the expense to our ears.

All apart from SL speaker jumpers that is, £1K list price is simply ridiculous for 20cm links and about what we paid for our speaker cables! Very rarely appear used either (probably because hardly any are ever sold!) We went with lightly used Vertere jumpers.

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Agree whole heartily with you re Hi Line

Does it for me

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Demo before you buy. I bought the SL interconnect blindly cause it was at a 50% discount and after several months went back to the lavender IC. Do not just assume more expensive will be better.

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Have you heard an ND555? Just to be sure you have finished with the boxes, it comes with a hiline.
I did try a lavender for a few weeks on mine but the hiline when back and stayed.

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Not heard an ND555, that would be a very dangerous thing for me to do :laughing:

I think I’m going to try the hi-line. It’s not going to make much difference to other possible upgrades and I’m intrigued to hear what effect it has.

Personally, I wouldn’t be without a S/L full loom in my system, as it really brings out the best of my system. And my system is below the level of yours. I’d be doing S/L interconnects and power lines on each black box.

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I use Witch Hat Morgana interconnects and Phantom speaker cable and found them far better than Naim standard cables. I’m very happy with the sound and will probably try their new speaker cable when it’s available.

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Price increase Mike have pushed them beyond sensibility

If there’s such a thing in this hifi world

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