New Naim system, lots of noise

Well,

I’m seeking some advice and experience from all the members here, I’m a new Naim NDX2, NAC282, HiCap, NAP250DR owner in a 120V environment. Firstly, I’ve been in this hobby actively for 20 years or so, so my experience is extensive, but this is my first Naim system. So far I really enjoy the energetic, big and lively sound but what I don’t like is all the noise the system generates powered up at idle.

We all know that any system will generate some level of “hiss” or “buzz” when its powered up with no signal and with your ear pressed up against the speakers. However, what I’m getting with my Naim system is 10X that as soon as you unmute the preamp. With the preamp muted and the amp powered on there is barely anything audible from the amp itself. But with the preamp unmuted you can hear the hissing from 20-24" and more away… the hissing also changes a bit over time and begins to pop, crackle and buzz some once you play some music and then pause again. To the extent that you can hear it at the sitting position during the quiet transition between tracks.

Now a little about my environment and things I’ve already tried to isolate the issue. I have dedicated 20 amp power lines running to my listening room directly from the fuse panel, terminated with TOTL Furutech GTXD receptacles in the room. I’m using all of the factory Naim power and interconnect cables. I’ve tried to split the player and the preamp/amp/PS’s by having them connect to their own receptacles, then I tried to use a Power Receptacle Distributor and have them all connected on the same single line. Then I disconnected the wired ethernet line from the player to see if the noise was coming from there. Then I tried to use different inputs on the preamp, and finally I disconnected the input entirely and started switching the inputs while everything was on. None of these things have reduced or changed the noise I am hearing at the speakers.

I’ve spoken to Naim and am currently still in discussion with one of the Techs, they tell me this is not normal and perhaps points to a ground loop, dirty mains or other interference. Well, my mains are clean, with very consistent voltage at all times, there’s nothing else on the lines to interfere as they are dedicated and I’ve never had any ground loop issues with any of the other 100 systems I’ve owned.

I have spoken to some Dealers in the area and they all tell me that Naim is not known for their noise floor and they all hiss to some extent.

At this point and from my experience this doesn’t appear normal to me, and I cant be the only one to have experienced this by now. Everything I have seen points to either a preamp issue or a power supply issue. Perhaps even one of the cables. But I don’t have any one with another preamp to drop in nor any new cables to try without actually buying them.

I have taken videos of the noise and I will attempt to post them here.

So… any advice/experience/guidance?

I’d keep talking to them. This doesn’t sound normal but without knowing more about the environment the system is in and if anything else is connected, it’s difficult to give useful advice. Naim are best to help here.

A bit of hiss is normal but pops, crackles and buzzing are definitely not. It seems to perhaps indicate some kind of interference somewhere that’s being picked up somewhere in the system. Are you using any ethernet over mains devices, or do you have anything with these built in anywhere?

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Naim can help a bit from afar, but ideally it may need someone more able to check things on site and this is where your dealer really earns their spurs. I would be pressing the dealer here to perhaps come out and take a listen, or at the very least be prepared for you to take it in to their shop and then let them set it up and diagnose for you.

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My system is similar: XPS DR > NDX 2 > Hi-Line > HiCap DR > NAC 282 > NAP 250 DR > NAC A5 > ProAc D30RS. My system is powered up 7x24 and have no noise issues so can offer no guidance as to what may be the problem.

I am based in the USA and the only difference I can see between systems is that I do use AV Options TibiaPlus12 Deep-Cryo AC power cables on my Naim devices.

A dedicated mains circuit will help, but it will not give complete isolation from poor devices that can pollute your supply. In the UK the standard recommendation is to take the dedicated supply from a separate board rather than using a spare slot on your main board as this gives better isolation, but I’m guessing you’re in the US where such an arrangement may not be possible.

It sounds like the problem could lie with a faulty component in one of your Naim boxes, but you can’t rule out contamination on the basis of dedicated mains. To test this try turning off all other circuits and have a listen.

Another thing to check: make sure that the mains leads are fully pushed into the sockets on the back of each box.

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Have often seen the advice on here to check the ground switch on the electronics to make sure one in the stack is set to ground and the rest to chassis.

Not an expert on this but with them all being new maybe they are all set the same way ?

Others here will be much more informed than me on this, I’ve only got an amp and CD player from Naim so less to get wrong.

Many reading your original post will be sharing in your sense of frustration. This is an excellent system and you should be revelling in it at this point. Aside from heartfelt solidarity I can only share my experience of what is ‘normal’ with naim, and to hear any hiss on my system I’d have to put my ear up to the speakers to hear the faintest of sounds, and that sound does not get any louder. I could (with nothing playing) crank the volume all the way up and that barely audible hiss will not increase, nor will any other sound emerge. It’s dead quiet. I don’t have dedicated mains, so sometimes I will get transformer hum, but rarely, and not at night. Even if present it comes from the unit, not the speakers. It gets no louder if the volume increases and in reality I hardly ever notice it.

The other sound I get sometimes is a reaction to me using the iPad or phone to control the streamer. That only started after I got a SNAXO, and it sounds like gently rustling paper. Again, not present even 5% of the time. Never hear snaps and crackles.

There are others who’ve posted on this forum on earthing issues. It might be worth a trawl. What I find disappointing is that your dealer seems to be offhand with you about this - like going to a garage to complain about a car and being told ‘they all do that’.

I wish you the best of luck with this, and remain pi**ed off on you behalf!

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Stable/consistent voltage is no indication of how ‘clean’ the mains is. Dirty mains means things like RF noise contaminating the supply, which can arise from a variety of sources external to your own home. I’ve no idea if this is the issue at all, but it could be that Naim kit is more sensitive to such things than other brands with which you have familiarity. The first thing to do would be to eliminate a faulty unit, so your dealer bringing or loaning you another preamp.

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You don’t list your speakers. Very high sensitivity speakers could accentuate a bit of background hiss to the point of audibility- but this wouldn’t generate pops and crackles.
My other thought is that incompatible speaker cable could be upsetting your amp??

Yes, I am using two of those devices. Its how Im getting a physical wired ethernet cable to the system. This is also why I disconnected the ethernet cable from the NDX, but perhaps youre suggesting just having these devices plugged into my home power grid could be contaminating everything?

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Very good advice here as well, literally cut off everything in the house other than the system. I will try this certainly.

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I have now disconnected the “ethernet over power line” devices completely and the noise remains.

I will try the full home breaker panel disconnect tomorrow morning.

None of my Naim pieces exhibit any sort of mechanical transformer hum, so that’s a plus.

Yes, I missed that. Theyre Bowers 802D4 and Im using 3M Super Lumina cables, also new.

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Yes, unplug them completely as they can cause all sorts of noise and interference problems - Naim do not recommend their use. If you can’t go hard wired then use something like a WAP instead.

Also worth checking the earth potential of your mains and ensure all the Naim kit is properly earthed.

If is your first Naim system ask the dealer to have a look.

I recieved an uniti atom with a loud transformer and that was a defective unit, I tried dc blocker, audioquest niagara, disconnected all things in my home, but that unit was noisy noisy in power on only. When it was back to the dealer was identified as a defective transformer out of the box and exchanged by a new one. The new one is sillent.

A little hiss on the speakers is expected, that was what I read on the forum, and noticed that on a demo SuperNait 3, but a very low hiss that a few inches away dissipates.

I noticed the demo SuperNait 3 is sensible to placement with some interference making the hiss bigger on one channel when side by side with the NDX2, but having some space between them made the hiss be almost a non issue.

I Am waiting the arrival of the new SuperNait 3 I purchased soon, the only thing I Am afraid at the moment is of receiving again a defective unit and have to wait again a few months more to be replaced. Fingers crossed as I expect the unit next week or so.

Naim units are sensitive to noise and have other quirks sometimes even new out of the box, could be a quality control issue. My experience has not been rewarding, maybe this will change from now on.

But one thing I can say, when they are working as expected, they sound good.

Take the units back to the dealer and test them there, that could identify if is something on your house or is the Naim gear.

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Really annoyed with this level of mystique that naim fans accept. There shouldnt be any level of needing to talk to their tech support. If it works it works and the cost of naim equipment it should be working all the time. You shouldnt have to be in discussion with their tech people. It should just bloody work.

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One thing I agree with you, I have had more issues with two Naim boxes in one year, than a lot of other gear in the last 10 years. And soon I only will have 3 Naim boxes.

To add that I Am afraid to receive an out of the box defective SuperNait 3, says all about my confidence on the brand at the moment.

Call it bad luck or other thing, but is not a normal feeling about a purchase and I do not have this feeling on any other brand I have in my home, I do not have a lot but have some gear here.

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You may eventually try a DC blocker, there is ne from audiolab that is not expensive, or there are more high end ones from Puritan labs

A little humor on comparing issues.

A phone makes an hiss, is exchanged.
A Denon makes an hiss, is exchanged
A DAC makes an click, is exchanged, had an if pro iDSD exchanged right away
A car makes an hiss, is not good
A Naim Makes noise, hiss, not exchanged, or is a feature, needs support, and your electricity is the problem, or even the house or other gear. Change all the rest.

There is something wrong here………

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