Naim 'Hiss' active Vs passive pre

If you hear the hiss with the volume turned down to zero and the amp muted, then it’s extremely unlikely to be the preamp and certainly nothing to do with the high gain in the preamp. It’s more likely to be the input stages of the power amp: the long-tailed pair and the B-E junction of the first gain stage.

Sure, but it’s nevertheless the best way to get answers quickly instead of waiting for the same thing to be repeated again, usually by the same people

Hallo all,
i am new to naim, just bought nait XS 3 a week ago, brand new, and i have the same problem. i can hear a substantial hiss (more on left channel) from the listen position 3 m far and at zero volume and also when mute in on. i have B&W 683 standing speakers. I also tried a more sofisticated power cable NRG-Y3 with no improvement at all.
Could it be that the power cable are differently long (thebone on the left is 3m and the one for the right is 2m long) ?

I have also done several tests charging layout, positions, cables no luck so far.

any hints appreciated as i could not believe such company is producing an amplifier with this problem, never had with my Marantz, Rotel and NAD in decades of listening.


This does not seem right. This does not appear to be the typical Naim hiss (which is a result of their amp design), because the typical one does not occur when muted and has lower volume.

It would not be expected to make a difference

I suppose you mean speaker cable. What kind of cable is this? With NACA5, both would be too short, the 2m one quite significantly. I don’t know if this affects the hiss that you are experiencing, but it’s not great anyway.

Well. The Naim amp design hisses a bit, but as noted above this kind of hiss disappears when muted. In addition it is less audible than what you are experiencing. It should be barely audible if at all from the listening position, except with very sensitive speakers. My speakers are 86 dB sensitivity like yours and don’t hear it from 2.5 meters, it starts to become audible only when I move to below 1 meter distance with the ear on tweeter level.

Seems to me that something is not right with your XS3 or the setup

Hi Suedkiez.
firstly thanks a lot for taking time to look at this.
more info. Yes i meant speaker cables. they are not from Naim, they are good quality cable, manufactured by
I hear the hiss as soon as the amplifer is on. and also.when muted. Now i also noticed that the amplifier itself has hiss.whem i get my hears closer to it. not sure.if this is related.or part of naim design.


I suppose the amp has a low-frequency hum coming from the chassis, not a high-frequency hiss? This is quite normal and depends on the mains quality. It can (and often does) vary during the day. As long as it is not too loud it’s not a cause for concern, you can read everything about it here:

It’s most likely not related to the hiss.

Regarding the speaker cable, it’s not so much about high quality but about whether it has the correct electrical specs at the short lengths you are using:

Do you know the specs of your cables, i.e. inductance and capacitance? I found nothing on the extrasound website. If you don’t know, what is the construction? Do you have a photo or the model name?

Like I said, the hiss that you have, even when muted, and so audible at 3 meters, does not appear to be normal as far as I can tell

Yes the frequency of the amplifier hiss is.low. i read that is quite usual and notmal for naim.

In relation to the speaker cable, i need to ask those technical info tomorrow to the manufacturer.

For the moment i can provide the following:

Cat.6 100 Ohm UTP 4x2x24AWG cable, internal cross for the perfect maintenance of the twisted geometry, 99.99% pure OFC copper.


This is network cable not speaker cable?? :thinking:

Hi, i spoke to the.cpany assembling my cable.and basically they do not have info on the they do.not produce it hljudt assembling. so.vottom line difficult to.obtain for me.

anyway this morning i did another test using cable’s equally long ( 2 meters) on left and right channel and i got no.major difference or improvement.

Can anyone suggesy any type of cable.with characteristics whick are worthy to try for my setup
nait xs e and b&w 683? so i can talk to the dealer as see if i can test it?

Hi, i spoke to the.cpany assembling my cable.and basically they do not have info on the they do.not produce it hljudt assembling. so.vottom line difficult to.obtain for me.

anyway this morning i did another test using cable’s equally long ( 2 meters) on left and right channel and i got no.major difference or improvement.

Can anyone suggesy any type of cable.with characteristics whick are worthy to try for my setup
nait xs e and b&w 683? so i can talk to the dealer as see if i can test it?

Ok. It’s not ideal and I don’t know why there is a continuous stream of forum posts because dealers use speaker cables for Naim amps with unknown or unsuitable properties.

Anyway, do you have a name for these cables or a photo of its cross-section when unterminated? Usually it’s possible to get an idea based on the construction:

  • Anything similar to NACA5 is typically OK: Two strands of cable (one strand each for plus and minus), the wires within one strand not internally isolated, with a distance of approx 5 mm between the strands.
  • Anything that is braided or litz type (wires within a strand being individually isolated and woven together in a pattern) are usually unsuitable for Naim amps

As for a cable recommendation: Use the NACA5 that Naim recommends and manufactures, or cables that are known to work with Naim: WitchHat, Tellurium Q Black, or certain Chord. (There are lots of forum posts about them, use the search)
Note that the minimum recommended length for NACA5 is 3.5 meters, not 2. For other cables it depends on their specs. It makes a difference for Naim amps because they are designed for a specific cable inductance, which should not be below a certain value. (See the FAQ that I am posted before)

However, while checking the speaker cables is a good idea, I doubt that they are the cause for the hissing. Everything you wrote about this (hisses when muted, is quite loud, difference between the two channels) seems not normal to me. I recommend a visit to your dealer to compare your XS3 to another one.

Your speakers have quite high sensitivity, so they will tend to show up the tendency of your Naim amp to cause them to hiss. Cables are not relevant, you are wasting your time trying to change them, it will not solve your problem.

Hmm you’re right, when I first looked up the specs earlier in this thread, I found a website saying 86 dB, but now I found several saying 90. As you say this will make it worse, but what Donato is describing still sounds odd regarding the described hiss level and the difference between the channels.

Thanks all for contributio.
Unfortunately i cannot of the section as i would need to cut the cable. here anyway.

I understand from discussion that testing other cables might.not solve the problem, so Tomorrow i will.ask dealer to send a technicians at home so to check the behaviour of my system. and hopefully the amp could be checked properly for.any anomalies.

Meanwhile if you have in mind other tests or changes to the configuration, which is worth to try please let me know.

I found the cable on their website but there are no specs and no cross-section pictures, so it’s impossible to tell from how it looks on the outside. It could be just fine or could be totally wrong.

One thing came to my mind: On my 252/300, the hiss disappears nearly completely when I mute the 252 - there only remains a very small residual hiss from the 300, which I can barely hear with my ear right up to the tweeter. Most of it is coming from the 252 and goes away by muting. So I assumed that in the XS3 it is similarly coming mostly from the preamp stage and can be muted. However, I realized that I’m not entirely sure and maybe the XS3 hisses more from the power amp stage.

Nevertheless, I still find the channel difference and the apparently high level of hiss quite strange.

Not necessarily. You could be picking up AM/MW static from how the speaker cables are arranged. It’s a common(ish) problem. You can get the false diagnosis that the preamp is the cause when muting or disconnecting the preamp. But that’s just because you’ve broken the circuit.

I used to get crystal clear radio coming through when I zigzagged my speaker cable under the rack near the 250. When I moved the slack speaker cable elsewhere it went away. Likewise, I also initially thought the preamp was the culprit because muting or disconnecting the pre caused it to go away. But like I said, that’s just because you’ve broken the signal path circuit to the speaker cable areal.

If just for trouble shooting, I suggest you drag out any speaker cable slack away from speaker and amp and see if the problem changes.

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If the speaker cable itself is unsuitable and causing the amp distress then that can cause all kinds of issues. I would try with suitable speaker cable such as NACA5 of at least 3.5m per channel and see if you still have the problem.

As for the cables in the picture, if they are internally woven conductors then that could mean high capacitance and low inductance - the opposite to what Naim amps require. However it’s not possible to tell from the pictures. What I can see though are speaker plugs with what appear to be gold plated bananas - these will also impair performance. The ideal here is to match the socket and plugs as best as possible. You should use the Naim SA8 speaker connectors that came with the Nait as these are a perfect material match. Failing that nickel/silver Deltrons will do.

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Interesting. In my case, the cable routing is fine and I tried it also in two separate setup attempts and for testing with all cables as far away as possible, but it remained the case that most of it seems to be coming from the 252 and can be muted. But, as mentioned, it’s all on a low level and not audible unless I try to hear it and am very close to the speakers.

In any case, it’s surely a good idea for @Donato to test if routing the cables differently makes a difference

Just checking… do we have a terminology problem here? Is the issue being described actually hum?

Hi Andy,

no. mine is not a hum (like caused by ground loop). it is a hiss ( similar to a bee or moschito) on highfrequency mainly (tweeter, midrange).