Not the usual Superline loading questions

Hi all,

I’ve had my SuperLine for 10 years now and never really played about with the loadings. I auditioned it with an AT-OC9 with a 100 ohm loading, liked it and bought it. A couple of years later I bought a Xerxes 20 plus, an Artemiz 2 and a DV XX-2. A quick search of the forum told me I needed a 453 ohm plug for the XX-2. And that’s how I happily used it until now.

I’m not saying I’m unhappy with the sound but with so much time on my hands with Covid I’ve been making many minor (almost anal) adjustments to my system; speaker positioning, cable dressing and anything else I can think of. And that’s led me to thinking about the SuperLine.

I believe a lot of the loading figures came from Peter Swain. Does anyone know how he arrived at the 453 ohm figure? Was it through measuring for a flat response or just by ear? Dynavector give the loading figure for the cartridge as >30 ohm, which could be anything really.

If it was done by ear then I think I owe it to myself to carry out some testing with the plugs supplied with the SuperLine.

Before I do that I’d be grateful if someone could give me a couple of pointers as to what differences I should expect to hear.
For example, a couple of internet searches have led me to believe the higher the resistance the brighter the sound. Is this correct? Also, what does capacitance do?

I’m doubtful I’ll improve the sound but there’s nothing to lose in trying.

Thanks in advance.


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Steve, it may be well worth revisiting the old Superline loading thread in the Naim forum archive.

Apart from that, Peter @Cymbiosis may be able to comment further on this thread.

Regarding MC resistance loading, it is applied to the cartridge coil and has an effect on damping which will effect frequency response, but more importantly also things like sense of timing, so optimising this by ear is actually a very good idea.

Capacitance loading is far less significant for a low output MC. Sometimes it’s good to add a little to keep induced noise levels low.

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Listening tests years ago here using an LP12/Aro/Radikal a variety of cartridges, a 552/500 driving a variety of loudspeakers. And importantly, a selection of resistors kindly supplied by Naim.

The original S load suitable for most moving coils like your AT is 470R used by Naim for many, many years but the selection supplied for starters with the Superline varied from 100 Ohms to 1000 Ohms and the closest in the selection was 500R which was broadly between the original S and K loads. I wondered/thought at the time that maybe we could improve on this and I tried around 20 - 30 loadings at the time but soon found that I was liking the sound best where the loading was near to this original value. In the end I settled on 453R just 17 Ohms less than the original load. Others have listened and liked the results and indeed I remember Steve Sells saying he liked this load too.
Using the same approach with listening tests, I came to the conclusion that 576R was the best solution around the original K load of 560R.
Why the difference? Well maybe the voicing of the Classic and 500 Series being slightly different to the Olive and CB Naim gear that the original values were arrived with could account for the difference? Or maybe just my personal taste using the LP12 which is currently the most regularly used turntable with Naim gear although I appreciate other turntables including Roksan are used.
The loadings have been used and tested over the years by various folks and in general these loads have proved the most satisfactory although there was a little more debate around the K load whether 576R or 560R was the best, (FangFossFlyer may wish to comment here). Anyway, in summary, pretty much everyone preferred the 453R for the S load. The great thing is with the Superline, if you are unsure, you can try the loads you have been provided with and if the 500R comes out on top as your preference then good and check out the 453R. If the 100R comes out on top then maybe that is in the right area for your TT/Arm combination and you will need to experiment. Two further points (just briefly Richard :slight_smile: ) are that when experimenting with Hi-Line plugs in the early days, substituting them for the standard silver plugs, this gave a much better sound quality and this was then adopted by the factory and likewise the use of much higher quality Z-Foil resistors (credit to my friend and colleague Chris West in the USA) also lifted the bar further! This is why today we have the Airplug load plugs as they are called supplied with these much better sounding Z-Foil resistors.
Regarding capacitance loading, yes I’m with you Richard, keep it to the lowest level possible when RF is present for example. So 1nF really, now that the 470pF load is no longer made by the factory. I find 5.6nF for example cuts the HF output too much.
There’s lots of further reading on the old archived Naim Forum about this, I’m just not sure if it’s accessible anymore but I’m sure Richard will know.




Thanks Peter. the old thread should still be there in the archived forum. The trick is to find it, as it’s a bit of a devil to search. As Google and other search engines get through it hopefully they will enable a better and more precise search. I’ll keep looking and if I find it I’ll post up a link here.

OK, that was easier than I thought. Here you go…

Superline Loading Thread


Excellent Richard, a really interesting read about those early days of experimentation with loadings for the Superline for those interested, even if it does run to 30 pages ! :laughing:




Always worth trying the 1nF plug and if you have one the 470pF once the R load is set. They can nudge the timing a bit and sometimes in the right direction. For instance when I went from an Aro to a Schröder Reference with a Transfiguration Proteus and 100R, 470pF made up for the change in the arm leads. Similarly I used to run my 17D3 on the Aro with 470R and 470pF (the latter at the suggestion of Roy when I needed a bit of RF attenuation and 1nF was sitting on the music too heavily) but now with the 17D3 on the Reference I find 1nF just the ticket. I just wish I had a 453R to put into the mix. I did borrow one years ago and marginally preferred the two 470 plugs with a 17D but my system’s come on a bit since then.

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Thanks for the replies so far.
As the 453R plug I have is an airplug I expect it’s greater quality will keep it ahead of the competition. It may result in the purchase of a 453R in a z-foil if these are better again. Are these a special order from the factory and are the capacitance plugs the airplug type now too?

The Air-plugs already use Z foils.

Have the z- foils been used in the airplugs from day one?
I was under the impression they were a later development.
Anyway, tomorrow I’ll service the deck and add some capacitance and see what happens.

Possibly not. Hopefully the factory can confirm one way or the other.

Thanks to @SteveO for starting this thread and Peter @Cymbiosis for his detailed response.

I recently acquired a Superline that came with the standard loading plugs as well as a set of 3 x AirPlug-Z (453R, 576R, 590R) and a 1nF AirPlug. I spent a long time trawling through the original loading thread and noticed that Peter also suggested the 470R worth consideration for P9 owners. As a P9 owner i’m curious as to what the 470R would bring over the 453R on a P9?

I’m also currently using a DV cart but am considering a switch to Lyra, which happen to be very good value in NZ, and would like to know what loading would be recommended for Lyra carts (there wasn’t a lot of info on this matching in the original thread)?

Hi SteveO and Peter,

Yes, I spent some time swapping between the 560R and 576R for my Superline with my LP12/EkosSE with a Linn Kandid cartridge. In fact, I think I built a bit of a reputation for how often I swapped between them.

I bought my Superline in 2008 and had it serviced in 2018. The 2018 service improved the Superline without a doubt, not that it sounded it needed one but after I was mega impressed.

I basically started off with the standard Naim 560R and then tried the 576R. I to’d and fro’d between them often running one for a year or so then switching back. I once wondered if there was a plug between the 560R and 576R that might give the best of both worlds but I never progressed such an option. I also use a standard Naim 1nF Airplug.

I have tried both the 560R and 576R in various guises: Naim standard phono; standard phono less an unused pin; standard phono less the black cap; Airplug; Airplug with Z foil and cryo treated Airplug with Z foil. Each one had some +ve effect, even the cryo treatment Airplug which I was extremely cynical about until I heard it!

As a side note: probably the most significant step forward, for me, was driving the Superline with a Supercap and then upgrading to a SupercapDR which was really, how should I put it, beautiful!

The 576R had maybe a bit more clarity than the 560R but it began to tire in my system in that it could sound a bit dry and harsh at times. Whereas the 560R was much more ‘rounded’, a terrible Hi-Fi word, but to put it another way it just seem to get into the groove of the music more and it is like playing in a band rather than listening to a master tape in the studio.

I switched back to a 560R cryo treated Z-foil Airplug a few years ago and never looked backed or thought about it again. I sold on all my 560R and 576R variants and kept the AV Options 576R cryo treated Z-foil Airplug.

In summary, they both sounded good to me but I preferred, in my system, the 560R due to it producing a more engaging presentation with that ‘in the band’ sound that supported the type of engagement I am looking for in my system.

Many thanks to Peter at Cymbiosis, David at the Sound Org (York) and AV Options in the USA for putting up with my to’ing and fro’ing but I assure you all I am perfectly happy with what I ended up with.

All the best,



The Z-Foils were a later development. Although Chris West and I had been using them for some time previous to that as indicated in my first reply.
I think if you don’t know which cartridge you’re going to continue with for the moment I would just use the loads that you have initially. If you go for a Lyra as I have clients running these cartridges on both S and K loads. One would imagine a standard moving coil loading i.e. S but of course it’s well known that Lyra make the Kandid for Linn and so some people experimenting with that loading (K) preferred it! Additionally you are using a P9 which sounds very different to an LP 12 so if I were you I would experiment maybe you can feedback to information to the group when you have checked out which ones you prefer in the context of your system.

@Cymbiosis Thank you Peter. It is highly likely that I will stay with Dynavector (most likely an XX-2). My local dealer is a fan of Lyra and is keen for me to try one, plus there is the cost factor (a Kleos is only 60% of the price of a TKR here), but I like what Dynavector does and am led to believe that Lyra are finicky when it comes to set up and VTA, which is not exactly ideal for a P9.

As I pretty much have all the key Z-Airplugs, with the exception of the 470R, i’m not really keen on ordering one (assuming they are still available for NZ) unless I have an idea as to the subtle differences it has over the 453R, but i’m guessing the only way to satisfy my curiosity will be to try and order one.

Well an afternoon of swapping plugs has brought me pretty much back to where I started, just as I expected. Well, sort of.

The only plug I added capacitance to was the original 453R as the 100R, 220R, 500R & 1000R all sounded significantly worse.

I’m really not good at describing the differences between each plug, and though I’m not 100% sure I think adding the 1nF to the 453R reduced the absolute quality of what I was hearing ever so slightly but also made some of my almost unlistenable 80’s records sound not too bad at all. So do I go for everything sounding at least good and at best excellent or do I go with a small portion of my collection sounding poor and other stuff sounding exceptional?

I would have liked to have heard 470R but I don’t have one, so the resistance is going to stay at 453R and I’ll treat myself to a Z Foil Airplug and see just how much better it is.

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A few years back (eg 6) Naim charged me £30 for swapping the resistor values in some existing air plugs.

That would be a great solution for me, as I happen to have 2 x 453R Z-Foil plugs. Unfortunately the pending change in distribution in NZ would likely mean a request along these lines would be met with a rather bewildered look.

Does anyone know what Z-Foils I would need to order to convert one of my 453R plugs to a 470R plug?

Today I picked up a 453R Z-Foil and a 1nF Airplug and plugged them into the system. I have to say it’s a revelation.
All the usual “window opening” hyperbole applies. System sounds ever so slightly faster and the bass is a tad more nimble. Happy bunny.


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