Naim Powerline


I recently have a friend to audition my system and he notice the dynamic is too “strong”!
My system 252/SCDR->300DR->ATC SCM20 (full SL loom / Powelines).

The sound from low to high volume is rather suddent and sometimes I also find listening in front of the speakers is a bit tiring. (need to sit somewhere else in the living room)

I talked to the local Naim service centre and one of the technician suggest some people don’t use powerline for all boxes because the sound may come in too “Strong”.

I did some experiment, changing the SuperCap with old Naim power cable (cabtree) seems to remove some of the “energy” but lossing the quieter background/separation/bass.

Any suggestions or anyone experience the same situation?
Will mixing a Chord Sarum T power cable be a better choice?


Ken - you don’t mention what source you’re using ?

Hi James,

My full Naim chain.

NDX2(as streamer only)/BJC BNC->NDS/555PSDR->252/SCDR->300DR->ATC SCM20

You have a fine system there Ken. What’s the room like it’s in. Is it quite live and reflective ?

My room is about 9’ x 11’ (longer between speaker/sofa) left sided is window (almost touching speaker) so toe in a little, right side is open to the dining room. So accoustically is not that balance.

Have a thick carpet in front of speakers and some acoustic panel at the back of sofa.

I’m wondering if this is as @james_n suggests a speaker room interface issue. Can’t believe it’s a PL issue.



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As Lindsay mentions it may just be the speaker / room interaction. Has it always been like this or have you changed something lately and it’s upset the balance ?

the same sonic signature/behavior has always been like this even with my previous setup.

52/SC->135->Rogers ls5/9

Interesting- it does sound like a possible room issue rather than the system as you had the same with your previous speakers.

I just don’t understanding how will room acoustic play a role in the dynamics of the music/volume?

Well you mentioned you found sitting in front of the speakers tiring at times ?

Well he doesn’t have to take it home with him. I’m trying to understand the significance. Do you feel the system has a problem?

If you do, the problem your friend describes seems more like they aren’t used to a system that can swing proper dynamics the way your system can and have judged it wrong. Managing dynamics from quiet to loud is generally seen as a good thing since most systems struggle.

If you have a problem with the tonal balance, that’s another story. And one I don’t think will have a significantly different ending by changing any cables. If the overall signature of a system is not to your liking, you basically have two bold options:

  • Change the electronics (i.e. a different brand) for a big change.
  • Change the speakers for the biggest change.

mkng, I have experienced the same thing.

My system is: NDX2+XPS DR > NAC282+NAPSC+2xHiCap DR > NAP250 DR with Graham Audio LS5/9 BBC Monitors.

I live in a condo. My room is 25 feet by 12 feet with 11 foot ceilings. I have windows to my right and an open space to my left.

I have tried Power-Line leads, but I always go back to the stock cables. I find the Power-Line over-excites my system and pushes the sound presentation forward. I prefer a relaxed presentation.

I have always followed Naim’s recommended upgrade path and I’ve always been pleased with the results - except with the Power-Line. With my system in my room I prefer Naim’s stock power cord.


razzzor1963, glad that I am not alone.
I do find the stock cable more relaxing if I can let go of the powerline’s other benefits like quieter background/better bass. To me the stock cable is a bit flat in presentation while the poweline can provide more separation/3D spacing.

But I also know that the ls5/9 has a lot of PRAT in it and adding too many powerline will be too much “thick” in sound.

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mkng, I live in a condo, and I recently added an Audioquest Niagara 5000 power conditioner to my system. It has perfect synergy with my system and my room. Here’s my review:

feeling_zen, the total balance is fine, just the dynamic/energy of the music is too strong.
I didn’t know how to describe it before my friend came along put it into a phrase that make sense to what I feel as well.

My experiment also proves that changing back to stock cable can resolve the “too strong energy” feeling and the ambient/quieter music can be heard without turning on the volume as much and is more relaxed. Just at the same time the sound seems more flat/more noise in the background / less bass vs the Powerline.

It is the worst if I change the stock cable on the 300, it is almost like the amp loss 50% power.
Putting the stock cable in the 252/SC seems have similar result then putting in the 252/SC. But just in my head, the source should have the best noise isolation as possible, so it seem better put the stock cable in the 252/SC.

Just looking for if someone have the same experience.
I do believe if I have a larger room and able to turn the music lounder , I can still hear the quieter transition while the power/energy will have more space to dissapate around the room.

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thanks for the advise, will do more research on the AQ with Naim.

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I think the OP is on to something here.

I’ve never heard of powerlines making a system too bright or active or fatiguing or whatever. If anything the lack of powerlines would cause these characteristics in my experience. You likely have some other issue contributing to your less than ideal listening experience.

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The cheap cables are simply reducing dynamics and detail. In other words they are hiding the issue rather than resolving it. My guess is treating first reflection points would help

I dumped Naim 5 years ago due to strident high frequency. Once my roo was treated I tried nam again and all of the issues were gone