Non Naim equipment also on Hydra?

Will it be beneficial to connect active speakers also with the Grahams Hydra that connects the Naim equipment or will it be better to connect them by separate cables?

Seems difficult from a logistical standpoint unless the hydra leads are quite long or the speakers rather close together.

Good point. Perhaps they could make one where two leads are longer than the others.

I tried non-Naim kit on my Hydra. It definitely degraded sound, and putting the turntable PS on it was a big downgrade. However I never tried it with active speakers.

I racall that when I had my Hydra, many years ago now, it came with a warning that it must only be used with Naim equipment. Bear in mind that use with other equipment may have both safety and insurance/legal implications.

One thing is that the tails consist of standard Naim leads. These are (or at least used to be) 0.75mmsq conductors. If your active speakers require a heavier guage conductor - say 1mmsq or more - then the Hydra definitely won’t be suitable regardless of any other considerations.


A definite no-no to use anything but Naim equipment on a Hydra.

Something to do with ‘star earthing’ of Naim products. I have no idea what that means, but that was the explanation given to me by Grahams HiFi, who used to be my London dealers.

1 Like

If that is the case, then presumably other star-earther gear could also be connected - but maybe most manufacturers don’t say, leaving uncertainty. (My Sinclair kit-form amp I assembled in 1969 was star earthed, so the concept is hardly new or unique!)

An interesting question and one that for some time was one that kept me hunting the net many years ago. The answer is that star earthed gear should not be mixed with gear that is not star earthed from the same single supply. There is an exception to that though and that’s if the supply is star earthed itself. I have a Hydra plugged into a balanced power supply and a balanced power supply by it’s very nature and construction is star earthed, it can’t be a balanced power supply unless it is star earthed. I have run my system completely from a balanced supply for years via a Hydra. If i plug the same hydra directly into the mains supply, SQ drops dramatically.

1 Like

I actually just did the following;
I have one wire on the Hydra left. This is plugged into a Wireworld Matrix II power block. From this powerblock two standard cables go to the SCM40A.
It sounds actually sooooooo much better than connecting the Wireworld Matrix II connected to another wallsocket by the Wireworld Stratus 7.
I’m amazed how much punch and dynamics there are vs connecting the block with the Stratus.
So would this be considered unsafe??
The wire world block is also star earthed.

In fact, it sounds so good I don’t want to change it anymore :joy:. PRaT is going through the roof!

1 Like

It certainly violates the warning that come with the Hydra.

What guage are the power cords that ATC supply? If they are greater than 0.75mmsq then I would certainly not do it as you are feeding your block with a Hydra tail of only 0.75mmsq. Depending on the actual power requirements of the ATC’s then it may still be electrically safe, but in effect replacing a manufacturer supplied power cord with one of a lesser gauge is not good practice in my view.

It’s an unusual configuration and violates Hydra specs. Is it safe? The answer is you’ll only reallly know that if something bad ever happens.

Star earthing is nothing special and can be used on any hifi gear.
Star earth is when you have multiple sockets like a mains block. Inside the mains block you can wire all the sockets up by daisy chaining the earth from the first socket to the next and so on.
In a star earth block the incoming earth wire has a wire then going from it to each individual socket, this helps stop any nasty stuff from the earth cable having to go past the other earth connections in the mains block.
For even better results star wiring the live and natural in the mains block also stops any nasty stuff effecting the next plug.
Also this then means you can plug things in anywhere on the mains block as each is the same, and not have to worry like some members on here have, trying to find out what they feel works best plugged in where.

The only thing to worry about with the hydra block is the rating it’s designed to work too. As in the amp draw it can take. You certainly wouldn’t want to put several big current drawing appliances on the end off it, as it could melt the cables and be a fire hazard.


I have no idea about any of this - I’m a (former) lawyer by training, not an electrical engineer!

I am simply going by the clear, explicit advice that I was given by Grahams HiFi, who used to be my Naim/Linn dealers, when I bought my first Hydra from them over thirty years ago.

Their guidance then was clear. The first was only to plug in Naim equipment - even to the extent of only using an Armageddon PS for the LP12, rather than a Linngo. The second was to use the Hydra that had the correct number of ‘heads’, as any that were unused could pick up stray airborne signals.

Anyone in doubt should give Grahams a ring.


Obviously the hydra is made with naim products in mind.
But is just a mains block with the extension cables attached rather than the normal mains block that you plug into.
But as been said it doesn’t have very large cables and this is probably why they say naim only, to stop people using it for say plugging in 6 irons and melting it all.
But the star earth wiring will work with anything you want to plug into it, as it no different to if you just had one plug.


That’s also what I thought. I sent an email also to Graham’s to confirm but no response yet.
Perhaps not noteworthy but I’m in the EU and my Hydra has a schuko end and not a UK end with a fuse. Not sure if that makes things different.

It’s about cable size and amp rated.
Different end and no fuse doesn’t change things, unless a different cable size has been used throughout

1 Like

That was always my clear understanding. The Hydra is not intended as universal mains device. It has but one application.

Use outside of these parameters is entirely at your own risk both SQ and safety wise.

Not really. A mains block that you plug into will have proper sockets designed for the purpose and the cables plugging into these will have purpose designed fused plugs.

The hydra has several tales connected in a proprietary and unknown way to the main lead.

Althought in essence it may appear essentially the same thing - it isn’t. Naim, whn they designed their Powerline plug had to go through a long process to get it approved. Even though essentially it’s just a mains plug.

Exactly what i said above.


As I thought I had made clear to you - it is not.

Further, you state that the reason why Grahams specify its use with Naim equipment only is “probably” due solely to the restrictions imparted by the cable size, and that:

These statements are at best highly speculative and at worst misleading and dangerous. Mains electricity can kill.

From Grahams’s website:

These mains distribution leads are specifically designed for Naim electronics

They come with a warning that they must only be used for Naim equipment.

Your choice if you want to believe otherwise.

To be fair, and before anyone jumps to conclusions, from what I can find on the Grahams website, it says the following;

These mains distribution leads are specifically designed for Naim electronics to continue the ‘star’ earthing route that they are designed around. They make a stunning difference in sound quality and there are options for three to nine connections.

I believe this is more about performance than about safety, per se (presumably it should be safe regardless of what might be connected, otherwise it could not be sold), and they don’t specifically forbid or warn you against connecting non-Naim equipment. However, I’m sure they will be able to clarify should you ask.