Nait XS3 + Rega P3

I was able to borrow a brand new P3 (with the factory fitted Elys 2) and hooked it up in a XS3 using the built in MM phonostage. I can say it had a nice and robust sound.

I just wanted to test how quiet the XS3’s phonostage was so I removed the LP, and cranked up the XS3’s volume to the max. I notice 2 peculiar things:

  1. There was a considerable amount of hum. Compared to the other integrated amps I tried, the XS3 had the loudest hum. Is this because Naits relatively have higher gain compared to other brands? Does this have something to do with a grounding issue which is one of Naim’s quirks?

  2. I think this is more of the P3’s fault…… With the XS3’s volume at max, I noticed that the hum gets louder when the tonearm is nearing the spindle (nearer the motor). With further testing, I noticed that if I turn OFF the P3’s power (motor), all the hum disappears. Even if I que the tonearm near the spindle, there is no hum, just the normal phonostage hiss.

This was actually an acid test because I cranked up the XS3’s volume to the max, which is an unrealistic scenario.

For other P3 owners, have you noticed this as well? And what did you do to keep that motor hum at bay?

#1
Does this happen only on the phono input or on all inputs? In general, it is not unexpected on phono. Naim are never the most silent and if I turn my 252/300 volume to max, even on line inputs, there is more of a hiss (but not hum) than on my previous non-Naim amps. However, it is not an issue on normal levels.

I have no built-in phono but had a slight hum on normal listening volume level with the Rega Aria, though far from audible with the stylus in a groove, so did not care - it was not perfectly positioned either, the P10 PSU was next to the Aria.

Changed to Superline recently and moved the P10 PSU out of the way, now this is gone. But of course if I turn volume to the max, the phono input is still louder than line inputs; this is normal.

Difficult to say if what you hear is normal or not. It should in any case not be loud enough to disturb you when the volume pot is at a normal level. Try to keep the XS3 away from other PSUs as much as possible, in particular the Rega’s PSU and motor.

#2 Is normal, but again should not be noticeably audible on normal volume level

Thanks for your reply, Suedkiez.

On item 1, yes, the hum is only on the phonostage section and not the line inputs. But when I turn OFF the motor of the P3, the hum is gone and the usual phonostage hiss remains. Again this is when the volume is at 50% to max, a scenario which we don’t usually go.

On item 2, do you mean you also experience that increasing hum when your tonearm is near the spindle even on you P10? Are you using an Apheta MC? I ask because some say, that Rega carts are “unshielded” and hums when near the turntable’s motor. Is there truth to this?

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I just tried out. Yes, Apheta-3.

With volume at 50% I have a barely noticeable lower hum mixed into the hiss, and the hum becomes a larger proportion of the overall noise the higher I go on the volume. If the PSU is on and the motor off, the hum becomes more when the arm is close to the center (but most of this increase is if it goes beyond where the disc label would be). When the motor is on, too, the center hum becomes more pronounced. In both cases it is barely noticeable at 50% volume but obviously much more at 100.

I had a P3 as well and was the same with MM, definitely with the original Elys but I am quite sure also with a Shelter 201 that I later had.

Yes, Grado carts are prone to this too.

With a P3 on nait xs , 202/200 and supernait 2 i had the hums you describe. On a second system there was an audiot technica ATL5 which was clear of hum… it had an individual earth post and the rega doesn’t

I tried Mu metal thin sheets / thin copper sheets and the phono stage and still had it. I’m sure many people . I know rega is very popular here and maybe this isn’t a problem for others. I’m afraid I just gave up and got another ATL5 and no hum in either system.
Try another turntable … possibly an easier fix

Main question is, how is the music. A little hum that is not really audible in any real scenario should not put one off a TT and cartridge if one likes the sound. Of course if the hum is audible at normal levels and in normal arm position, something is wrong

Quite a bit of hum. Whilst listening not necessarily obviously but it shouldn’t be there and with a different tt and cartridge none. Easier end game for me!

Well not quite a bit for me. Like I said, if too much then something may no be right.
It’s like with output relays and Naim hiss stuff - it is possible to design things differently for customers who cannot abide hiss or pops, but just because those things are done does not mean it makes it play music better. “It should not be there” is applicable only if it was designed this way. It is a bit like saying a Rega one arm should have VTA adjustment.

I’ve no idea what you’re saying

Analogies:

Naim amps hiss. Others do not or much less. This is not because Naim cannot build an amp that does not, but because the circuit design that makes the best music, in their view, has hiss.

Naim amps pop when turning on or off, others do not. This is because others put in an output relay to avoid it. Naim thinks it is not worth it, does not help SQ, or is even detrimental to it.

So one lives with these things. Amps that do not do these things do not make better music because of it.

Similarly, Rega cartridges and motors hum not because Rega are too stupid, but because they are not specifically designing them to avoid it. E.g., damping might increase weight, which Rega hates. Or it simply may make a motor more expensive if they used a different one, and the money might make more actual difference for the music if spent elsewhere.

So if a Rega behaves like it should, with hum only audible if the cartridge is in a position where it never is when playing a record, and at crazy volume levels, then it does not seem to make sense to choose a different TT and cartridge just to avoid such hum, if one likes the SQ that the TT and cartridge makes.

If hum is at audible levels under normal record playing conditions (arm position and volume), something is not right

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we all make our own choices. rega hum on p3 elys 2 appears online as a common problem.
All I was saying is that I experienced it too and spent time researching it and trying solutions - 3 different amps 2 phono stages and for me changing tt/ cartridge was a very good solution

It may be common online, does not make it unavoidable. Like I said, if too much and audible, something is not right. If you like a different cartridge better, more power to you.

All I am saying is that the prime criteria for choosing a cartridge should be that one likes the music better that it makes, not just that it avoids hum compared to a cartridge that one may like better, if this one’s excessive hum can also be avoided in other ways. (And more so if the hum only occurs at theoretical volume levels and impractical arm positions that seem to be the topic of this thread)

You’re not wrong; but there is something idiosyncratic about Rega’s grounding scheme. I gave up trying to use an RB300 and reinstalled a Grace G707.

I can surely understand that one may lose patience with excessive hum, and obviously after all reasonable measures are exhausted. I also did not say that you are never allowed to choose non-Rega.

It’s just, in the context of this thread, the OP seems to experience normal hum that he can only hear in scenarios that never occur, similar to me. sjw said he had the same hum. IF this is the case (and not more pronounced hum), and we don’t know, then it just seems to me an odd cause to change the cartridge, if the actual sound in reality was fine.

To each their own, of course, some people cannot stand slight hiss (then Naim is not the right brand), some expect no phono humming at all even at 50% volume and the arm above the spindle (then Rega decks/cartridges are not for them), others cannot stand vinyl surface noise (then digital is the way to go).

In my case, I had a P3 with Elys and with Shelter 201, a P8 with Ortofon 2M Black, and now the P10 and Apheta-3. Phono stages were an amp I built myself with the P3, then a Rotel pre with the P3, a NAD pre and then an Aria and 252 with the P8, the Aria also with the P10 and now a Superline/252. Over 3 decades in 6 different apartments, old and new, in 2 different countries. I never had any hum that would require drastic measures

Think this is more a feature of the grounding on the P3. I own an RP6 and a P3 and they behave differently. My daughter has a P1 and it behaves like the P3. At a certain point when you put the tonearm into a resting position it is like a switch goes off and the output of hum from the turntable ceases (I’m explaining it badly but essentially saying it is more a feature of the P3 when not in the groove of the record.) The RP6 doesn’t do this at all.

I’d also say I really didn’t get on with the Elys 2, I had the RP6 before the new P3 and found the Elys harsh and edgy compared to the Exact 2 on the RP6, put an Exact on the P3 and moves it much closer in performance to the RP6.

In normal operating situations the P3 hum isn’t any issue, just noticeable when cueing on / off, my P3 is also in a cabin where the mains power supply is a few piggy backs off the main circuit, so I don’t think that helps either.

I don’t know if the grounding arrangements differ, certainly no Rega has a grounding wire. My P3 was from 1987, if it makes a difference, no hum for me. Anyways, Rega seems to have a reason for everything they do. Without doubt, Regas are take-it-or-leave it in all aspects. An outboard motor, for example, would avoid motor hum, but it comes with tradeoffs that they don’t like. But yeah, it either works for you or it does not. Right now, I am pretty impressed by how silent the Apheta-3 and Superline are, at least in my case with separate rack for brains and the P10 PSU far away

It does not surprise me that you liked the Exact better, it’s a level above the Elys after all :slight_smile: This is a perfectly fine reason for changing the cartridge :slight_smile:

Appreciate everyone’s comments.

Under normal listening level, I don’t notice the hum. This is when the volume knob is around 9am. The hum becomes noticeable from my listening chair starting around 11am, a volume level I don’t reach when listening to LPs.

I just experimented earlier and noticed this quirk when maxing out the volume of the XS3.

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This seems indeed quite similar to what I had with the Aria (which was not ideally placed, but I never tried if it changed by moving the PSU away. It is much better now but I do not know if it’s the SL or the better PSU placement)

Should add I have a Neo Psu on both the Rp6 and the P3. Mates P3 has exactly the same on/off effect on hum depending on the arm position relative to either centre of the disc or nearing the resting position.

I definitely suspect my power supply in cabin carries more noise than household one as I’ve had the Aria out in cabin system and had more hum that when in house and near silent.

Cabin also has a husky fridge on the circuit, so it’s far from perfect.

System out there does sound pretty amazing however.