Recently I upgraded my IC with 5-5 DIN Hiline IC, so my current system is the following NDX/nDAC/Hiline/HiCapDR/SN2. My impression is that the Hiline has darker tone than the Chord interconnects and I find the sound too bassy. The result is the same both with Chord Epic Twin and Chord Signature speaker cables.
I tried to connect the NDX with HiLine directly to my SN2 thus eliminating the nDAC and the sound gets lighter and a bit more raw, so the nDAC might contribute to adding too much bass in the mix, however in both cases I don’t find the midrange so open and airy like before using the HiLine. I hear all of the frequencies, so it’s not to say that something is completely cut off in the frequency spectrum, but the tonal balance has shifted too much in the bass zone. Could it be that my HiLine is broken and how I can determine that? Visually it looks normal. It was bought second-hand. Another reason might be that it doesn’t pair good with my speaker cables and NACA5 might be a better match?
Sorry to read of this. Do you still have the standard Naim lavender interconnect? This could act as a known reference in your system that we could all relate to. For instance, how does it compare with your Hi-line?
I have compared the standard Naim cable with the Hiline. With both cables the tonal balance was darker and bassy, with Hiline being the better cable. However I didn’t experience a night and day difference with the Hiline as it is often described in the forum. It might be that I am very used to the brighter character of the Chord cables and now that I have fuller midrange and more bass to find the Naim ICs darker. I am still confused. Another assumption is that the RCA ICs might produce more noise and artefacts to the sound (in a Naim system) that might be perceived as a brighter character.
I have just done the experiment myself and for the moment both cables are too dark and bassy. Still looking for a proper solution in fact…
In my case, my SN2 was bought brand new and I have never used the DIN inputs. It might be that the conductors connected between the internal board of the SN2 and the DIN input are not burn-in and it might take some time the DIN cables to sound as they should. I will let them burn in for a couple of weeks. If nothing changed I should further investigate this dark sound signature.
assume the hiline is hanging freely?
Yes, it is hanging freely but the cable itself touches the furniture and the wall (if that makes an impact).
When we refer to hanging freely it generally means not touching anything. You can tie a very loose knot in it to effectively shorten it if there is no other way to stop it touching. When I say knot its more like a loop but makes more sense when doing it to explain like this. You can also use pipe lagging to help at touching points to give some distance.
I wouldn’t worry about it. Horses for courses and all that. There are loads of users who have moved away from the Naim interconnects in preference to a variety of other things. I personally, enjoy the hiline and find the tonal balance just right. But if you aren’t digging it, just sell it and move on. While it is important to be properly fitted (hanging freely. Not jammed all the way in), fixing any of that (though it appears you have it set up correctly) isn’t going to result in an “aha!” epiphany moment of the sort you’re after.
Atlas, Chord, Witchhat all specialise in Naim DIN-DIN interconnects. There’s bound to be something out there for you that sounds immediately right to you.
I much prefer Hiline over the standard and the rest Powerline and standard cables in my system (NACA and all). And I still have the Raw groove so its totally possible. But the balance upsets and get more ”impressive”, ”clearer” or ”more hifi” If I switch out anything to other brands and cables. If you want what its tonally built for, use naim cables. If you want something else, experiment!
Maybe just try bringing the speakers out in the room a little more.
After playing some more music for a few days something happened and now I can describe the Hiline as a brilliant cable! The bass is kept very solid but is very dynamic and punchy and now I can feel that PRAT sensation! The midrange opened up and vocals, piano and guitars feel very natural. For the first time the words from vocals have such a definition that they are a lot easier to understand. Before that there was a smearing in that regard. The sound is very clean without being harsh. It really seems the Hiline was designed for Naim components and everything sound as it is intended. If particular song sounds too bassy or very bright it is due to the record itself, not because of the system. I can also hear some extra details in the background like vocals, effects. I have better sensation of the environment the record was made in and the different reverbs, decays. Really a wonderful cable! I might have been correct that some burn in was required for the DIN output section of my nDAC and DIN input section of my SN2, since this is the first time I use a DIN connection. In the beginning it was like something is blocking the sound.
The Hi-Line is fantastic for rock music. It really lets the guitars rip without ever becoming harsh or fatiguing. I’ve been caught out many times with my face all screwed up, really giving it some in mid air. Quite embarrassing really. Enjoy!
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