Naim Stageline ( N )

Just bought a new Naim Stageline
I am using a Flatcap as power source .
My Naim amp is a Naim XS3 also using a highcap as a power source .
I have noticed massively my Linn LP 12 SONDEK volume has reduces massively going through Stageline as when I was going straight to Nait XS 3 phono stage .
The LP12 is using a Adikt stylus MM .

Could anyone assure me this is normal or have I connected wrongly .
I am running DIN connection into Nait 3 on AV connection .

Thanks :pray: for any assurances or help .

So… your Stageline N is being powered by the Flatcap - ? If so, that is correct.

So the signal then needs to come from one of the 4 pin DIN Signal Out sockets.

You will then need a 4 pin DIN to 5 Pin DIN cable to connect to an input on your XS3.

I think this is correct…? @Richard.Dane

Yes, SNAIC5 between Flatcap and Stageline, which provides 24V DC power one way and takes in signal the other, and then signal from Flatcap to NAIT via a 4-5DIN interconnect.

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Yea that’s how it’s configured button as I say I am now having to turn volume to around 12 o’clock position to get same volume output as I did before at say 9pm position before purchasing Stageline and going straight from LP12 to nait XS3 phone stage !
Was wondering if this is normal .

Just guessing here… Maybe the XS3 phono stage is higher gain (so louder) - than the Stageline N…?

This Stageline is new…? What has your dealer said…? You have asked them, surely…?

What happens if you run the Stageline N from ‘Aux in & power’ on the back of your Nait XS3?

(Usual proviso on switching off for making and breaking connections, then on again.)

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Have been using a StageLine N for many years, first with Nait XS powered Aux, later adding a HiCap.

Never was there a need to turn up the volume to 12. Seems like something is wrong?

First I would try using the StageLine powered by the Nait. If this is ok I would then add the FlatCap again.

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I suspect it might be normal. The Stageline is from another era before high output digital sources. Although the built-in phono stage on the XS3 is based on the Stageline, as someone mentioned, it might have more gain.

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Naim XS3 Product Specification - from Naim website -

Audio Inputs
MM Phono Input
via RCA, 47k parallel 470pF input impedance, suitable for 5mV cartridges|

Line Level Inputs
130mV sensitivity, 47k input impedance, suitable for 2V

This may be ‘it’. The XS3 MM Phono input appears to be pretty standard, for Naim. But - the Line Level Inputs are relatively insensitive - 130mV - (re)designed to work with a CD level 2V input.

Checking other Naim units, such as the 282, Line Level is 75mV… :thinking:

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I’d guess that Naim configured the internal phono stage to be fairly close to modern digital sources in level when used with the average MM so there’s no big level difference switching between sources.

The Stageline though, like most separate phono stages, is configured to output a bit lower than say a CD player, so you’ll need to turn the volume control up a bit more.

Likely quite normal.


I’ve never had any issues such as this. My Stageline loudness was very similar to my HDX when comparing between the two and the specs of the Stageline and Naim’s built in phono stages are the same. If you have a dealer close by, I suggest you take the Stageline and PS there and have them figure out what’s going on.

Stageline N with MM cart on 252 requires the volume dial cranked well above what we’d ever use with nDAC input.

As Richard says above, likely quite normal.

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Agreed and likewise - ‘11 o’clock ish’ on the 282/HCDR volume dial with Stageline N.

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What @IainO and @Sinewave describe might be called ‘Naim Normal’ - for a Phono input.
(Running into Naim Phonoboards, my Volume setting was usually around 10 o’clock, with both MM & MC carts - with NAC 42, 72, 102 & 82.)

The problem really is that CD (or similar) line level is really too high for the Classic (and earlier) Naim range. Believe that the NC range has addressed this, from what @110dB has previously posted… :thinking:

…Here’s a bit of techie background

Gain structures

There was an industry shift in output levels from sources with the advent of digital…they became loud!

Naim had normal to low gain phono stages, with a normal to high gain pre-amps. The power amp gains are were in the sweet spot.

This meant CD sounded loud compared to vinyl.

Later Naim gain structure
Since 2002 Naim has increased the gain of phono stages by 6dB and reduced the gain of pre-amps by 6dB.

(6dB = double, and -6dB = half)


  • MM stages are circa 40dB @ 1kHz (designed for cartridges typically 5mV)
  • MC stages are circa 60dB @ 1kHz (designed for cartridges typically 0.5mV)
  • MC stages often have two versions or a gain switch, adding an extra 6dB

40dB = 100x gain/magnification
60dB = 1,000x
66dB = 2,000x


  • Classic NACs including 202, 282, 252 and 552 have a gain of 22dB
  • Newer pre-amps (most post 2003) including pre-amps in Naits, Uniti and New Classic have 16dB (6dB less than previously).

The older 22dB gain meant the volume control was sensitive on digital sources i.e. got loud fast turning the volume control). Sound quality is not affected but could lead to left/right balance shifts at very low volume.

Power amps

  • Always been 29dB
  • (Except NAP 500 which is 30dB. Statement was also made 30dB to make listening comparisons normalised)

As a general rule anything launched in the last 20 years has the above gain structure. Other manufacturers have also zoned in on these gains too.

Adjustable input sensitivity
All newer pre-amps (and pre-amps in integrated products) have adjustable input sensitivity. This allows each source to be made to sound the same volume.

The adjustable input sensitivity does not change the signal path length and so has no change to the sound quality. The adjustment adds an ‘off-set’ to the master volume setting. When an input is selected the off-set is instantly applied.

(Stageline is about 6dB less than our newer phono stages, this can be normalised using the adjustable input sensitivity feature)


Wow. That’s superb. Definitely goes to 11…! (see a Gain related joke there… :crazy_face: )

Thank you Steve @110dB:slightly_smiling_face:

@Richard.Dane - Maybe there is a FAQ to be made from this…??

[As a NAC82 owner, I have this problem - but I have reduced it by using E phono boards, with a High Output MC cartridge (a DV 10X). The volume setting on Phono is now around 8 or 9 o’clock - much closer to the CD level. A few others on here have the same set up. ]

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What happened next?

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