Naim Design Philosophy - Classic Line - Upgrade Path

Hey All,

I have been using a 172/200 for about 4 years. Despite my ownership, I have been confused and aggravated in trying to choose a path forward. I didn’t really understand Naim’s philosophy terribly well. I’ve just happened upon these 2 videos, and now I get it. Now the lights are on. I am sharing here for others that will surely come asking “how does this stuff work?” These videos explain much of the classic line, including the mysterious Core. I got a lot more from watching these 2 videos than I have from pouring through forums threads and reading the Naim manuals. Not I’m bashing any of those sources, but you know how it goes; a picture is worth a thousand words.

Hopefully this post will help others in the future. I know these things have been covered on the forum extensively, but still, visual aids can be great.

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Hey Folks, I have a follow up to the content and philosophy explained in the clips above. Especially around power. If isolating the power supply has such benefit both in sound and in the ability to offer multiple upgrades, why don’t we see this from other shops? What Naim says about this topic makes sense to me as a layman and I don’t doubt that it’s true. Assuming the effects are easily demonstrated, why do 90% or more of audio components have integrated power supplies with no ability to isolate or upgrade? Another thing I have to assume is true is that other shops are making gear that sounds just as good as Naim (although different sounding), and they’re doing it with integrated PSUs.

Do we hear other shops extolling the virtues of isolating power, and placing the PSUs on rack A and the other circuits on a different rack B?

How do other shops handle the noise and interference of their internal PSUs? Can this be done, or do they just ignore it? That can’t be? Can it?

There are plenty of other manufacturers who produce separate power supplies, when we are talking about linear power supplies. Other manufacturers integrate linear power supplies, including Naim lower down their product ranges. Naim of course take this separation philosophy one step further and recommend, where possible, to physically separate head units from their power supplies by putting them on separate racks (Fraim stacks), but this is far from necessary to get great SQ, and is the icing on the cake.

Several manufacturers decide to use switch mode power supplies which do not rely on big transformers and hence are easier to integrate into amplifiers and sources.

There is of course plenty of debate about whether well designed SMPSs or LPSs are best for ultimate SQ.

I think if all else is the same then putting the power supply in a separate box to the sensitive electronics definitely brings benefits, otherwise Naim wouldn’t bother. Placing everything is one box is a compromise (and a challenge, albeit different whether you are using a linear PS or SMPS), but likely more palatable and marketable to most people.

Even where the power supply is integrated in something like the Statement, it’s placed almost in a separate section right at the bottom with some isolation between. And of course, the sheer size and form of the Statement allows this arrangement to be optimised.

It’s not just the fact the power supplies are external that improves the sound quality, the external power supplies are usually way better quality than the internal power supplies they replace.

The internal power supply can be compromised due to the fact there is a facility to add an external power supply.
A good example is the NDac. When powered from the internal power supply, the power is routed to an external socket, though a link, back to the socket and then to the internal regulators. That’s 500mm of cable and 2 connections, instead of 50mm of cable and no connections.

I have a Yamaha DVD player that is divided into three sections, the left for the power supplies (one digital and one analogue), the centre for digital, the right for analogue. Each section is separated by steel plates.

This is rather nicely built Yamaha CD player. Separate transformers for digital and analogue, encased in copper housings. :heart_eyes_cat:

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