Dragged my SuperLine out of storage. A story

My wife and I got to host hi-fi whisperer and all-around great guy @ChrisBell at our home last weekend during his visit to Boston. After about an hour of listening to the Solstice, it dawned on us that I’d never done the NVC TT (provided with the Solstice) vs. Superline-powered-by-552 comparison. (Superline connected to the 552 with oem SNAIC.) This was just the time to do it. No Supercap at home as I’d sold it off assuming I’d not use the Superline again. (Its new owner @JosquinDesPrez loves it and I’m glad it wasn’t sitting idle in my attic.)

Our ears were pretty dialed into the system sound and we got the SuperLine out of the attic, unboxed, and set up with the oem metal plugs at the recommended 100 ohms/1000 pF values.

The difference on the Superline after being powered on for 2 minutes – a really significant improvement – was pretty startling in my system. (My wife remained blinded to which was which and it took her the same 3 seconds to clearly prefer the Superline.) A much more open presentation with much more balance throughout the audio spectrum. My first words were that between the two the NVC TT had a lot jammed into the midrange (like the effect you can get by really boosting the mids with a graphic equalizer).

Maybe @ChrisBell will have better words to describe the differences we heard.

The Superline has now been powered on for not quite 48 hrs. I’ll do some more listening this evening.

Next up. Will a HiCap2DR make it better? The reports are a bit mixed.


To my ears, I preferred SL through either my SC2 or from 252 Aux… didn’t much like the ‘hifi’ edge the HCDR seemed to give it.


It would take a SCDR to beat being powered by the 552.

If you really want to add another box, get the NPX300 for the deck and sell the solstice phono stage and power supply.


They’ll pry my Supercap DR from my cold dead hands. :slight_smile:


Albeit you go for the Boulder 1008……

You mean Boulder 1108, and that’s a big “if.”

I have to get the new TT first, and that probably won’t happen before sometime in 2024.

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Ah ok. Didn’t know it’s not soon, as you have opened a thread recently on the second Superline….or other phono stage with 2 outputs.

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Interesting… I’ve been pondering my next move given the new line and my aging gear… have decided to wait for the 332 Pre as my first step… replacing my 282 (dual hicapped). Was thinking I may be able to spring for the new phono amp, but given this report, I think I’ll stick with my S-Capped Superline. One less thing to think about / spend money on :slight_smile:


That was for research so I have something to think about.

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In my experience so far the NVT TT will lose the competition.

You know where you will be able to take a Supercap dr in the US now , in maybe one year :joy:
You will just have to visit a certain Desprez place.

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Are you on my Boulder dealer’s payroll? :rofl:

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Fun time at Bart’s home during my New England visit. I was interested to hear his Magico S5 speakers paired with a Naim 500 system. It was clear when listening to LP’s that there wasn’t much scale and it sounded constricted. The culprit was the NVS-TT, a bare Superline powered from the 552 was so much better. I came to the same conclusion when I took delivery of my Solstice SE. As much as I wanted to love the supplied phono preamp it was no match for my SL/SC-DR. I’ve encouraged Bart to add a HiCap or Supercap as the Superline deserves it’s own dedicated power supply to shine.

Next up was digital audio. Again the sound was lacking scale and tune. The culprit turned out to be a fancy-schmancy Ansuz DIN5 cable that had it’s own power supply! Replacing it with a Chord Music DIN5 brought new life to the Magico S5 speakers. Suddenly they filled the room with power and finesse and the music was in tune! I do believe the system would further benefit from Chord DIN-XLR cables from the 552/500 amp. The beryllium tweeter is very fast and needs some taming. The Magico S5 is a speaker I’d like to spend more time with as I believe it is capable of tremendous performance… but like any high-end speaker needs serious attention to the entire chain to realize its potential.

I’m a big fan of Chord Music cables and I’ve yet to hear another cable that is so, well… musical.


@Bart was texting me your progress the whole time. It’s almost as if I was there myself. :joy:

Seriously, a cable with it’s own power supply? How does that work?


My impressions exactly (I tried all three with a 282). I have no plans to ditch my SuperCap, but I would be optimistic about how good a SuperLine would sound powered by a “bare” 552.

There are other threads on this…

Fwiw, I powered my SL with Hicap when I had an 82. When I swapped to a 52, we compared at length the options of Hicap or power from the 52 - more different than A beats B.

Then I put the correct Z-foil air plug in the SL. Now everyone here agrees that there is no contest - power to SL from the 52 sounds better. Of course, if I had a spare Supercap, that would be even better, but that’s a lot of money for a little difference.

More contentious is the NVT issue - has anyone compared it to SL and thought it just as good or better? Most here seem to think it’s a serious downgrade. If that’s right, I hope Naim does not replace the SL with a phono stage that sounds considerably less good. Is that really the plan?


Let’s remember that when the Solstice package came out it was £16k (all in of course), whereas a SL is ~£2.5k? There were some weasel words about how good the NVT is, but it would have been astounding to be better than a SL…and by most reports, it isn’t, by quite a margin (as one would/should expect).

This is why, from an existing-owner of an LP12 perspective, switching to the package of the Solstice was very challenging – noting a couple of dealers kept the supplied NVTs, leaving customers with their SLs.

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Given that the SL SRP is £2899 and the NVC-TT is £2699, ignoring the power supply permutations for now, it is disappointing (and strange, as I would expect that Naim know what they are doing) to hear that the new phono (~13 year newer design) is not performing at, at least, a similar level. Honestly, when Solstice came out, and based on what I had seen, I was expecting the NVC-TT to be a replacement for StageLine. Obiously that role has now been given to the built-in phono preamps, which makes total sense.

It is also annoying that the innards of the NVC-TT and the NPX-TT haven’t been shared either with any high resolution photos. Really curious to see what is inside :innocent:.

Edit: Actually a high-resolution photo of the NVC-TT is here:

NPX-TT still missing :upside_down_face:

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