Nova system flat sounding

Hi all. This is my fist post so be gentle! I’m after some advise/help with my systems sound. Currently running a Nova into a 300Dr feeding Focal Sopra 2s. Powerlines fitted all round and A5 speaker cable. This issue I have is that the system sounds rather flat…not dynamic and quite bass light. I’ve tried the usual and moved the speakers to different positions but still sounds flat and dull, check all connections. Room is 4x9 meters.

While bearing in mind your ‘be gentle’ request, what you have here is mullet of considerable proportions. A hugely capable power amp and some very revealing speakers, but the source and preamp are part of a much more entry level all in one. It’s never going to sound great, as the power amp and speakers will mercilessly reveal your source shortcomings. The way to make it sound as it should is to invest in an NDX2/XPSDR and 282/Hicap DR at the very least. An NDX2/555PSDR and 252/Supercap DR would be an ideal match.

I have done exactly as you have and did have a Nova/300 dr into PMC 25.26. This was deliberate whilst i waited for the new streamers……i then got a nd555/252 supercap dr.
Have to agree with (Nigel ) @hungryhalibut you need a better front end to match the amp and speakers. He suggests some excellent options which second hand or ex demo may be affordable…….but please demo them at home with your speakers.

I wonder if “rather flat” and “not dynamic” would be solved by ditching the Nova. This looks like a more serious “room” problem to me. But i agree this is quite an unbalanced system, especially in the Naim world.

Try to remove the 300DR from the chain and see if it sounds worse. Apart from the system beeing quite unbalanced, i cannot see why it should not sound very good at least.

Thanks for the feedback. Yes fully aware the system is currently unbalanced and this is not my end game with the system so to speak. But the nova is highly regarded and I have had good results with it over the last 3 years in different systems depending on the firmware! . Thing is it sounded pretty good with the 250dr I had before and before the powerlines were fitted. But as suggested it’s now just shown up the source even more I suspect. I’m not saying it sounds bad it doesn’t but not as dynamic as it did with the 250dr which is confusing.

I think the equipment you’ve got should sound superb, I run a Nova into a pair of Kanta’s and I’m continually impressed with the Nova’s sheer musicality. I also have a NAP300DR driving a pair of Sopra No2 in my main listening room. So I know your kit, although I confess I’ve never run the Nova into my NAP300DR, but I think that combination should work well. . .
Couple of thoughts. As Naim equipment is very mains sensitive can I ask are the Powerlines plugged into a block or directly into a wall socket? And have you managed to keep the speaker cable clear of other mains cables?

Hi, just to add to the above: make double, even triple, sure the speaker cables are the right way around at both ends - after all; we’re only human & mistakes can be made :blush:


Just to make sure : are the Powerlines plugged in correctly? They require quite a bit of force to be connected, some people seem to stop before that. Otherwise i would really try to narrow down the “issue” by starting with the Nova + speakers with the normal power cables, and build it up from there by changing one thing at a time.

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Hi there. I agree completely. I know the front end is a weak point but regardless it’s not performed as well as expected if anything it’s gone the other way to a degree after the changes. The powerlines are into a distribution block currently.

Hi there, definitely phased correctly…I don’t think the cable is directional as far as I’m aware.

oooh, not good - try them directly into mains socket; it’s what they were designed for.

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To add, if there’s any kind of filtering or surge protection in the mains strip, make sure it’s not plugged into the mains when you try the Powerlines direct into the wall socket.

I think this is the problem. The majority of HiFi blocks have surge protection and filtering which really strangles the current a naim system needs to sound alive.
Until recently (due to limited wall sockets) I’ve been using a block that no internal circuitry whatsoever. The system was Powerline to the block, then Powerlines to the the kit. I then realised that a previous house owner had removed double plug socket and covered it with a plate. I re-installed a double plug socket on Saturday and now I can plug all of the Powerlines directly into wall sockets and Oh Boy Oh Boy what a sonic upgrade! Better timing, detail and realism and in terms rating upgrade performance per £ nothing comes close!
My recommendation is to plug your naim kit directly into the wall. . . The more elements between the naim equipment and the incoming power supply the more compressed the sound. . . .

If the performance dropped when the 300 was introduced then the power block was presumably already there, in which case it can’t be blamed for this drop in performance.

Is the system set up correctly on a decent rack with some distance between the boxes and cables correctly dressed? This becomes increasingly important as you climb the ladder, quite apart from any mullet configuration.

It is and there should be arrows (pointing toward speakers), but I doubt it’s responsible for what you described if it’s the wrong way around


Will check it when I’m home this evening. I have done before but couldn’t see anything on it and being black no alway the easiest to see. Thanks for the info

Hi there, thanks for the feedback. General consensus is possibly a mains issue…apart from the front end Will take on board all your advise and have a sort out tonight and see how it goes. Fingers crossed.

Lol…I’ve clearly stated I’m an airhead, so no shock here; yes, the other day I noticed…gee…why is there an arrow on the A5? oops…and mine are black. White arrows.

Clare, will my Powerline here in the USA be the same…difficult to push into the rear of the Nova? I know there’ll be a difference in the UK/ US versions. I’ve seen “fat Powerline” expressed here. Are there different Powerlines? And I know the Powerline lite is what I have…