Copper musings (Power cable)

I’m looking at buying some power cables for the incoming NDX2 and SN3 and obviously the Naim cables are a good starting point. I’ve started to look at alternatives too.

To those in the know: I’d be grateful for some help in what is turning out to be quite a confusing area!

  1. The mm2 or AWG of the copper used. I’m assuming the more the better but is there a point at which it stops being important? The Powerline is 4mm2 whereas most other standard audio cables seem to be 2mm2. I’ve seen a few with 6mm2.

  2. OCC v OFC. The OCC cables are more expensive but does this translate to better or different performance?

  3. Use of silver plating in the cable. Some do some don’t. From brief research silver seems to add brightness.

  4. Connector material. Copper, silver, rhodium… etc? How important is it and is one better or just different character?

Finally, if anyone has any advice on matching the above variations to the NDX2 and SN3, I’d be very thankful. For example would the amp benefit more from higher AWG/mm2?

Do a search on Power Cables and you will find 50+ threads on the forum covering this subject. I have found the search function to be a great source of information but it does require some time to browse the available subject matter.

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They are. I’d get your NDX2 and SN3, enjoy them whilst they run in and then, perhaps when the honeymoon is over, look at other cables. It’s hard to go wrong with Naim Power-Lines, but a good dealer should be able to let you borrow various power cables to try out and find whether they make an appreciable difference over the stock items.

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Indeed there are and thanks. Most ask about brands and whether they should upgrade. I haven’t found the answers to the above tho :slight_smile:

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Sure. I’d still be interested in the technical differences.

Your list brings some pertinent points to behove.
Perhaps more than can be appropriated in a lifetime.
Best advice I can give is to try and keep things consistent. The same technology and materials throughout from start to end.
Including of course the terminations.

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I recently added Power-Lines to my SN2 and NDX2 - XPS DR and couldn’t be happier. The uplift on the XPS DR especially was a delightful surprise, and I imagine it would be the same with the bare NDX2. Good luck, take your time, let the components settle in - and enjoy your amazing new equipment!

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Thanks and noted! Whilst perhaps not a can of worms, I appreciate there’s a lot to go at there…

Personally I would get Powerlines for the NDX2 and Supernait 3 as the mains cables are designed or voiced specifically for Naim equipment to produce an optimal performance.

I can’t provide the answers to all your questions. Nevertheless, based on my experience the mains cables which come with silver plating on OCC copper sound more open and extended in the midrange and treble than all copper, and more dynamic too. Tested cables are Wireworld Electra 7(all copper), Silver Electra 7 (copper with silver plating) and two pairs of Acrolink. All these mains cables are used on non-Naim equipment.

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It could be a worthwhile addition to your research to acknowledge that it was only recently Naim started to use silver plating of copper.

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Which Naim cables are silver plated?

Id not get too hung up on the CSA of the cables. Ultimately the current is restricted by the fuse in the plug.
My best or perhaps best value for money was using a 4 headed hydra for my xpsdr, 2 HCs and napsc. Only 1 socket required and keeps the earthing commoned. Great sound too and all for less than £200.

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The advantage with Powerlines is that they are designed for the equipment and if you ever decided to get something else they would likely maintain a good resale value.

Try to get some leads to demo from a dealer - I tried some leads which irrespective of their effect on sound were not practical for me as they were so stiff and inflexible.

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I looked at my main cables and thought about Powerlines from my rubbish existing ring-main sockets. For a lot less than the cost of a Powerline, I instead got an electrician to fit a complete new radial mains supply from meter to hi-fi with a heavy-duty and properly-shielded cable. I was pretty confident that would give a bigger improvement than 1 Powerline, and am pleased with the result, but of course your home may be different and your wiring better.

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Of course, now you have a dedicated radial you’ll benefit from Powerlines.

Only good news is that they come up regularly on ebay at “affordable” prices and you can pick them up one at a time when you have some spare cash.

All subjective, but IMHO a full set = half a box upgrade.

Interesting!

I agree that ‘garbage in: garbage out’ applies to main too, hence addressing what arrives at the socket first.

I discussed this with a dealer I have known for about 30 years. He knows that my CDXPS, Supercap, XPS2 (for NDX2) and newly-acquired 300DR are all powered by one of those 4-way star-earthed Hydras. As mentioned on other threads, Naim are rather keen on common supplies (the closer the better seems the gist) and star-earthing, though of course it would not be smart to plus (say) a Lingo or a fridge into the Hydra - Naim only.

We were standing next to a collection of Powerlines and he knows that I now have enough sockets that I could get 4 Powerlines for those 4 boxes. His advice? “You could try it out - but you’ll probably prefer the Hydra”. No sale.

Mind you Powerlines really seem to win if mains cables and other cables are dressed less than perfectly - is this another EM shielding issue?

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I can’t see why it would be, given that Powerlines are unshielded.

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Whops! Good point.

In that case, I don’t know why salesmen are not encouraging me to audition expensive Powerlines as replacements for my old Hydra, given how successful Powerlines seem to be in the ears of many here.

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I have never heard of a honest salesman unless hes about to change his job.

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Interestingly, I have tried my Audioquest NRG-4 (which is usually on the Nova, with no issues) on both the SN3 and the NDX2 and there is a pronounced hum. It is way more than would be acceptable.

With the power cables provided there is a slight hum, only audible when within 10-20cm of the speakers (which I’d prefer to get rid of if I’m honest, but understand the SN3 May hum a little).

FYI, I’m using Audioquest MacKenzie RCA connects between the NDX2 to the SN3, if that has any bearing. These are temporary whilst I get a 5 pin din.