I’m thinking of upgrading to the Hiline IC but my system is in a credenza with all the cables strung through a single, centered hole in the back. I’ve read how important it is for the HiLine to hang free, touching nothing.
Would my setup rule out the Hiline, or would it still be an upgrade over the stock IC?
With that degree of compromise and the HiLine’s actual design being predicated on physical isolation to work it’s magic, yes, I’d stick the the (very good) stock cable or upgrade to something else that uses a different design philosophy.
I say this as a HiLine owner who thinks it is a superb cable. But in your use case, it seems like totally the wrong cable. Something else may offer better performance for the same money in your specific situation.
Alternatively it could be argued that having the interconnect touching other cables and the credenza makes having the mechanical de-coupling at each end even more important in minimising vibration along the cable and into the source and pre-amp…
I really wouldn’t get too concerned. As long as the plugs are inserted properly and un-stressed, it should sound very nice. I say this as a long time HiLine user. Mine brushes the floor and another cable or two (eeeeek!) and, yes, it sounds just perfect.
In reality in most cases you aren’t going to have the luxury of all your cabling floating magically in their own air space. The DIN connector pins of the Hi-Line are all decoupled in the air-PLUG connector which is also itself designed to provide further decoupling.
The cable construction itself is designed with multiple layers of shielding and isolation between signal and ground.
I’d suggest the most important aspect of connectivity of a Hi-Line is to avoid it crossing/touching on itself and for the connectors to not be under tension, such that the cable exit is not pulling at an angle relative to the connector itself, you want it to be loose in orientation, and when pushed fully in to the DIN connector, to be gently pulled away again by a few mm till you feel a resistance.
If your cabling route is central to your equipment, you may find routing it means the Hi-Line connectors are under tension and may not enable the cable to perform as intended, rendering the decoupling benefits of the design redundant in effect.
I just don’t get this cable dressing malarkey - even if there is a marginal benefit I can’t be arsed currently, and surely if there were very significant benefits Naim would publish advice indicating best practice.
Perhaps some of us live in environents of chaos whereas others must have order and simplicity - would love to be in the latter group but rather too old to be taught new tricks.
Borrowed one once, can’t remember if I read the manual.
I was probably talking a little more generally about cables/interconnects. I may be missing out on some performance gains, but domestic siting practicalities often aren’t conducive to perfect cabling arrangements, NAC A5 being a particular case in point, it looks a right old mess in my room.
Maybe I’m just getting older and less fussy about certain things, I think I’d have been quite fanatical 20-30 years ago, now i’m more relaxed about this kind of thing.
The best thing for the OP if feasible is simply to try a HiLine against existing cables - even if cabling is not ‘optimal’ in terms of placement I’d imagine the benefit would still be heard. If there’s little sonic difference then perhaps look at other manufacturer’s interconnects?
Presumably cable arrangement will affect supplied cables to some extent as well even if they don’t have decoupled connectors.
As long as the connectors aren’t under any sort of directional tension/ strain and it’s kept a sensible distance from any AC mains cabling I’m sure otherwise you’ll find a Hi-Line will perform as intended by Naim.
Ensuring it doesn’t loop and touch on itself is recommended by Naim and advised in setup but should it brush against the floor or run near other interconnect cabling I doubt you’ll find its performance impacted in any measurable way.
It’s designed with multiple and seperate layers of screening on both ground and signal anyway.
The Hi-Line certainly needs to be handled with real care for sure. Only holding it by its metal connectors and not by the plastic rings in any way. When dis-connecting do not allow the connectors to drop freely, even onto a thick piled carpeted floor. Those plastic rings are quite brittle and can break very easily. There is a bit of a learning curve with it, when connecting up and dis-connecting. If handled with care though the HiLine should provide years of sterling performance, fault free. I’ve learned to just plug mine in and leave well alone unless it’s absolutely necessary.
I much prefer the performance from it than i do with the stock lavender. The treble is silky smooth and helps to bring a rich full bodied velvet quality to the sound that is very addictive. Going back to the stock cable and i find the music sounds a little rougher around the edges, thinner and a little squeezed (forced?) by comparison.
I had a similar situation when I had a SN2/HiCap/NDX2/XPS DR in a TV cabinet and was using a superlumina interconnect. I drilled some extra holes for the various cables. But as your wife would kill you for doing this, I wouldn’t die in a ditch over some cables touching each other. Needs must, and if it improves things it’s all good. Best not to be too anal over things in my view.