Naim with Isotek - use cases

Recently, I had the opportunity to go double the way to improve the electrical path in two different locations with a new electrical installation. It will sound a bit like an advertisement, but maybe it will be useful to someone :).

The first path is to add the IsoTek EVO3 Sirius to the Nova.
The second path is to add the IsoTek Evo3 Polaris to the Atom.

In the case of the Atom, the modernization was necessary because the sound, especially the TV voice, sounded terrible. I didn’t expect miracles from this set, but it sounded so hard to listen to. After the update, you can finally listen to the voice without any problems, the quality of the music has also increased significantly.

In the case of the Nova, it was a typical game of improving the SQ. The update looks like this:

  1. Standard power cord - a bit of a disappointment in quality, conclusion: the Nova is overrated.
  2. Adding the Tellurium Q Black Power Cable - finally better bass and details, conclusion: I don’t want the Nova without this cable.
  3. Adding the Furutech Wall Socket - a clear difference to the plus, but when accidentally connected to the top computer strip, it reveals all its drawbacks (which were not visible on the old socket), conclusion: connection only directly to the wall.
  4. Adding the Isotek Sirius with the Isotek power cord - I’m starting to rediscover what kind of music I listened to. The stage, detail, and stereo have acquired a completely different quality, conclusion: finally I have a strip that not only does not spoil, but also improves the SQ.
  5. Replacing the Isotek cable with an additional Tellurium Q Black Power Cable - no wow effect at the start, but I treated it a bit like an investment in the future. Currently, I am enchanted by the fact how Nova plays.
  6. Unfortunately, the way I have traveled meant that I am going to make an appointment for the NDX2 demo and see what I am missing;).

Of course, all the above steps required a gradual warm-up and the effects were visible after some time.

I wonder what your feelings are on this topic. A particularly interesting topic seems to be the combination of the NDX2 + XPS with or without an additional Isotek strip and how it affects the SQ. And so far I have only tested Isotek base products.

Just a little bit in advance. I did not feel a drop in dynamics. But I don’t listen to music too loud and lately, I mostly prefer old rock, jazz and classical music. In these species, the difference with Isotek is most felt. Especially the old Pink Floyd recordings charm me more and more. Before Naim, they seemed poorly recorded to me. Now, with each update, I admire them more and more :).

All in all, at the beginning of my adventure, the Nova just sounded good. Now I have the impression that the sound detaches itself from the loudspeakers. I don’t want to change it, I love its appearance, ease of use, the fact how great it is at the moment, but at the same time curiosity makes me try how much I lose. This only shows how often we wrongly evaluate the device without paying attention to the issue of power supply - especially with less expensive sets.

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Great to hear that you are finding your way…to the good sound.
I went the same way years ago even though with different gear.
Power supply was an investment that paid off for sure.
What you are experiencing is the proper reward of and upgrade path that is needed to take out the best from HiFi gear.
Well done :+1:

That’s great news. I use the Polaris on my Nova and the Sirius on my NDX2/555PS/252/250 setup. Both with great results.

I read your positive opinions about them. Combined with other positive feedback, it encouraged me to give it a try. The effect exceeded my expectations :).

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Excellent, I’m glad to have helped out.

Hi,
for many years I use my Naim gear connected to an Isotek „Aquarius“ using Isotek Premier, Sequel and Optimum power cables and never had the feeling, that this setup affects the dynamics of my SN2 / HCDR setup negatively. So i would like to recommended highly to give it a try. Especially the power cables have great impact on sound quality and me will never go back to the standard cables. Did compare them with “Transparent cables” recently but I still do prefer the Isoteks. Never tried the Naim power line on the other hand, this might be worth to be evaluated as well.
My original motivation to purchase an Aquarius was to get an “audiophile grade” power bar with surge protection after my apartment block was directly hit by an lightning so my old Cyrus Preamp passed away. I was suprised by the sound quality improvement secondly.
All the best,
Olaf

In the first message I wrote that I was curious what else the NDX2 would offer to me. Well, I’m after the demo and here are my observations.

I listened to the demo on the Dynaudio Heritage Special, on different power cables than I mentioned above. I listened to three sets (but unfortunately I’m not sure of their burn-in at the time of the test).
Below is a suggestive impression from the test:

  • Nova + Heritage Special - this set sounds like a castrated Nova. Everything is nailed down, showing no emotion. You can clearly feel that these speakers are too demanding player for the Nova and I think the cables won’t help much.
  • NDX2 / SN3 + Heritage Special - it’s finally starting to play, I feel almost at home. Of course, everything is a little better, but not entirely. As for me, this set sounds clean, but too nervous, it constantly attacks, which in consequence is not very pleasant to perceive.
  • NDX2 / 282 / 250DR / HiCap + Heritage Special - and I stopped even considering the SN3 … I felt like at home auditioning, but everything was a bit, but clearly better, more detailed, well arranged. Pleasant sound.
  • Nova + Dynaudio Special Forty, after returning home - it should not sound so good … :slight_smile: Equipment that costs a fraction of the previous set, and gives a similar listening pleasure.

I am not trying to convince anyone that Nova sounds as well as NDX2 - it is not. However, by choosing the speakers wisely, properly investing in cables and power supply, we can enjoy the sound that comes surprisingly close to much more expensive proposals.

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I was also thinking about the Aquarius, but I’m too attached to the Tellurium cables :). Unfortunately, the Aquarius requires a different input plug, and I don’t want to customize the cable myself. But maybe someday … :slight_smile:

Very interesting insights and test results. :slightly_smiling_face: I think to build a system with enjoyable sound quality is mainly a matter of good combination of source, amplification and speakers. Power management and power cables could be an important improvement or optimization in a second step at least. But it cannot bring a mediocre system to highest levels - in my personal opinion.

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It was not my intention to say that cables and power would pull the average set up to the highest levels :). More than that, without them, it’s hard to hear what they can really do. Therefore, before replacing the brick, it is worth investing in a power supply, and it will certainly be more useful with a more expensive set :).

However, in the case of the Nova and Dynaudio Special Forty, many people say that they sound much better than the price indicates, together they create an amazing synergy and the Tellurium Q Black Power takes this set to another level (and I listened to many cables, including the more expensive ones, and without such an effect) - to the vestibule of audiophile emotions; ). Perhaps that’s where my feelings are. I’m honestly not down after the NDX2 demo :).

Reason tells me don’t change anything. Maybe one day I will arrange a demo at home for the NDX2 / 282 / 250DR / HiCap - if I can find a reasonable excuse for my wife why she has to press so many buttons when the Nova only had one and it works ;).

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Isotek shill thread??

I have nothing to do with Isotek and I do not know what to reply to such a comment. I have described my experiences. Everyone can draw their own conclusions.

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In the first message of the thread, I didn’t want to write too much. But now I feel like I should explain why I created this thread.

  1. Listen at the audio dealer

When we go to the audio room, we most often listen to the equipment on a dedicated power line connected to some top audiophile power strip with better or worse audiophile cables. When we come back with purchases, and this is one of our first purchases in the audio world, we probably take the equipment out of the boxes and plug everything into standard power strips or sockets.

  1. Power socket

If you live in England, thanks to the plugs used, you probably won’t mess up too much. If you are not aware of the topic and use schucko plugs, you can connect the equipment in a random way. If you have French sockets, the problem becomes much more serious, because you rely on the will of an electrician, and some countries have a live wire on the left side by default - completely different than what audio designers expect. Reverse connection of the plug causes sound degradation, which may not be all aware of. In my opinion, customers who connect schucko plugs are not informed about it enough.

The second thing is the power socket. The standard power sockets are most likely suitable for connecting a vacuum cleaner and are the weakest element in your electrical network.
Basic audio power sockets are not very expensive and are, in my opinion, obligatory with any Naim equipment. I chose mine based on the material they are made of. Most likely, during the exchange, you will see for yourself how poorly standard sockets are made. As I wrote above, the replacement of the power socket caused the equipment to get more energy, but at the same time I was terribly disturbed by the standard computer power strip, which I connected in the summer as protection against overvoltage. So in my opinion, the standard power socket masked the shortcomings of the computer power strip and the whole equipment simply sounded more muffled. Interestingly, I tested an audio strip from one of the top manufacturers on an old socket and gave it back because it did not bring anything special - perhaps because of the standard socket.

  1. Cables

The simplest, invisible way to improve sound quality. Someone will say that the cables are not the most important thing, but that the wrong ones make the equipment sound poor.
My power path costs half the price of the Nova. Someone will say it’s unreasonable, but I take it partly as an investment in the future, and now I’m enjoying the improvement in sound quality.

  1. Power strip

I created a thread because I used to look for recommended lightning protection solutions on this forum. Apart from a few cautious opinions, the topic was practically not touched upon. Overall, I got the impression that the best thing to do is to connect everything to a socket in the wall, and everything else will spoil the sound quality.

Because I wanted protection, I chose one of the models recommended here. I read the reviews in stores and decided to give it a try. The effect surprised me and surprised me why no one wrote more honestly about it. The best thing about audio is that you don’t have to buy anything blindly (maybe a little bit apart from the power socket, which can be hard to return after installation). I am not a seller or a substitute fan of the brand. If you haven’t done it yet, I just suggest you try it, you will lose a few hours at most, and the results may surprise you.

But in the case of a power strip, it should probably be the last change before any equipment replacement. You should already have good power cables, power socket, etc. I mentioned a specific company so that you can judge the effects yourself. If you know something better (at a reasonable price), I would like to read about it.

  1. The upgrade path

If someone writes, the Atom is weak, he gets an answer to try the Nova. If someone writes the Nova is poor, he gets an answer to try the NDX2 / SN3 - at best someone will add to try a better power cable. There is also an indirect way, which I described above. As I wrote, I am not saying that poor equipment will sound like a higher-class equipment after replacing the cabling and adding a power strip. However, I am convinced that if this topic has not interested you so far, your equipment is below its capacity.

  1. Opinions on the forum

We can often read that the NDX2 is better and you don’t even have anything to think about. Or that it is slightly better and is not worth overpaying. Talking about one element without mentioning the whole set, i.e. speakers, cables, power supply, often does not show the whole.

  1. Feelings from the listening session

Therefore, my impressions also apply to a specific set, speakers.

When I was buying my Nova, I was totally unaware. I didn’t know what to expect. After the purchase, I was disappointed and it took me a while to get into the subject and get the best out of this set.

It is different now. Of course, I’m not saying the Nova plus any power strip is any better than the NDX2. I guess that it can gives comparable joy of listening to music - without dry A / B testing.

I have not heard anything new on equipment more or less 4x more expensive than mine. A similar stereophony, a scene, a slightly different presentation, more expressive, but it’s not like I suddenly heard a stunning detail that I had not heard before. New details, impressions always accompanied to me during the upgrade and listening to the Pink Floyd’s The Wall - when I was starting to enjoy every sound in the song. I also compared the classics in DSD and 24bit FLAC and the impressions were similar.

But as I wrote earlier, the key is synergy. If this was my first attempt, I would have rejected the Nova after the first listening session with the Heritage Special.

The success for me is that I did not come out depressed. I was smiling seriously when I got home. Perhaps someone will find the above comparison helpful.

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