NSS 333 connection to NAC 332 - DIN or XLR?

I have a question regarding the connection of the 333 to the 332. Standard a 5 pin DIN cable is provided with the 333.
Normally I replace the standard cables with Chord (Signature or Sarum) cables. My dealer has a demo set of Sarum XLR cables for a good price, but I doubt if should go for this offer or go for a (cheaper) Signature DIN cable.

IIRC the manual recommends a DIN cable for best sound quality.

Naim still recommends DIN.

I know that traditionally Naim recommends DIN, however for the connection to the NC end amplifiers 250/350 they have changed it now to XLR.

You were asking about the 333 (source) to pre amp (332) for which Naim recommends DIN.

This topic interests me very much. I am thinking that XLR may be better but will wait to read a few more comments before deciding what to audition.

Speaking of which, what XLR cables would be suitable? I have no interest in cables that cost thousands of pounds.

This is from the 333 manual.


Yes - correct.

My last reply was more related to the general philosophy, before the release of the New Classic range DIN connections were also standard for the connections of the pre amps to the end amps.

I wonder if there are people who have any experiences with the use of XLR cables between sources and pre-amps instead of using DIN cables.

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The cynic in me reckons that is because they supply DIN cables so they would say that, wouldn’t they?

It is unfortunate that we are expected to accept statements rather than having a measurement backed explanation as to why.

Why would they supply cables that didn’t get the best from their equipment? Why would they say something in the manual that was wrong? Either would be stupid. Naim are not stupid. But there are plenty of people out there who believe they know better than the people who make the equipment.


I imagine the XLR cables would be more expensive to supply. Naim are certainly not stupid and have always advocated DIN in the past but with the NC I wonder if that still holds true.

I certainly don’t think that I know better - just curious as to whether that advice is still really applicable to the NC.

Obviously I can use my own ears to see if I notice a difference but I accept my own limitations and am not confident that I could ascertain if the differences (if any) were truly better or worse. I personally like to be able to read some engineering backed explanation rather than just blindly accepting.

Just my take on things.

If it wasn’t true, why would they specifically make the recommendation in the manual?

An explanation rather than statement would have been more useful.

Just for the record, I have complied with their advice and use DIN. Naim offer more expensive versions of the DIN cables (as do others) which apparently increase performance. Perhaps a good quality XLR May beat the standard supplied DIN?

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My experience is that Chord Cables significantly increase performance. So far I have replaced the following standard supplied cables :

  • Chord signature XLR cables between 332 and 350’s
  • Chord Sarum T DIN cable between NVC TT and 332
  • Chord Signature Speaker cables.

That is also the reason why I am quite tempted by the offer of my dealer the Chord Sarum XLR cables and use them i.s.o. the standard DIN cable between the 333 and 332.

I’ve used Chord Signature cables before and honestly I don’t find them to be that much of an improvement and I’m not sure I could blind test them. The beauty of the NC for me is the OEM cables sound great already. Plug, play, enjoy the music. The constant desire to tweak indicates something is not right with your set up.


My opinion on offering XLR is to allow for more flexibility in adding different componets to Naim amplifiers. That way they don’t completely lose a potential group of buyers that have to find Din cables to work with RCA or XLR outputs.

I agree with @HungryHalibut completely though in that why would they recommend a cable if they didn’t think it sounded the best? It’s not like they are making some huge profit by only allowing users to buy Din cables from them.

I use Chord signature tuned array XLR, between my Ear pre and amp. Before, between the Ear Pre and NC 250. I like them. Believe that they sound better vs the cheap stock XLR supplied by Naim. But haven’t compared as the stock XLR gave a terrible noise in one speaker.

It is not that something was wrong with the set-up. I have used the OEM cables and the SQ was good.
But I found out that when I replaced the OEM cables (both interlinks and power cables) the SQ improved.

The logic of DIN being preferable was related to the grounding architecture of the interconnect cable (particularly when compared to RCA which is present in the Classic products) and also the system itself (DC power rails and audio routing via external power supplies).
The 5 pin DIN cables only use 3 pins, much as an XLR cable does, so with that said, surely they are both providing a separate ground, positive and negative on 3 separate cables?
I seem to recall a lot of talk from Naim technical staff when the 200 Series was launched discussing the XLR implementation, referring in particular to balanced impedance amongst other things.
So whilst the DIN IC may be preferable, I tend to agree with others comments that it’s not really explained anywhere why it is superior and how it achieves that superiority?
Realistically, unless you were a Golden Ears, in a blind test of the same cable types, switching back and forth between a DIN version and a XLR version would likely be difficult to isolate out.

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I’ve noticed an obvious improvement with Powerlines. Not so much with the ICs I’ve used over the years and found that going back to the OEM often yielded improvements. YMMV.