Power - mains, leads and distribution blocks

Had some work done on the house a few years ago - less than satisfactory outcome, although I got lots of extra sockets in my listening areas the electrician forged ahead while I was pre-occupied with family matters and I missed getting a dedicated spur - is this simple as the distribution box is on the wall outside both listening areas?

Great but limited experience with a couple of Naim Powelines so far. If on a budget what else might you consider? My gut feeling is just to add Powerlines gradually as funds allow.

Distribution blocks/extension leads - why on earth have I lived using extension leads costing a few quid powering expensive hi-fi? Maybe power distribution didn’t have the same prominence in the hierarchy a few decades ago but I still remember various ads for mains conditioning.

What works? What’s snake oil or system dependent?

I suspect in many cases it’s just better quality cable with better shielding and better quality plugs and sockets, but is there more to it???

Mains conditioers - evil or good?

Opinions please!

I would still go for a dedicated radial as a first step. It shouldn’t cost too much more than a new Powerline to get installed and will give you a firm foundation for anything else you wish to do with the system. Mains conditioners are best avoided with Naim kit.

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I agree with James, get the foundations right first. Ideally, get a mains circuit installed on its own consumer unit, to maximise isolation from other devices.
FWIW, regarding shielding, Naim have never used shielded cables in any of their mains leads, including the Powerline. Neither do they recommend sheilded cable for dedicated mains intallations.

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Depends. Evil if you have no specific problem to be adressed by one or do but could cost effectively resolve it with an electrician instead.

Good if you have an audible problem that has been accurately determined to be caused by mains and root cause resolution is cost prohibitive.

People get a bit dogmatic about the evils of them but context is important. If I was in a rental property or needed to tear up stone floors to resolve an issue, I’d use one. Again if there was an audible issue. They also need to be targeted for the specific issue on the mains. “conditioning” means many things.

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Mains conditioner worked for me. I have a naim AV2 which is on the other side of the room of the naim/linn six pack stereo system with took care of the left and right channels. I had terrible interference and buzzing coming from the AV2 because of the long run of the interconnect cable. We tried everything, changing the interconnect cable which worked to a small degree. I asked Naim about using a mains conditioner and they said you try it there’s no harm, i went out and bought a monster mains conditioner and guess what ?.. It worked, it is now deadly silent.


I had a rather poor experience with a power line. I powered everything down to change interconnects. I dress all of my cables. My nap 500 did not power up. I checked everything, I checked that the power cables were fully seated in their sockets. I had a power line connected to the 500. There was a significant flash blowing fuses on the 500, 552 and 555. The flash damaged the socket in the 500. Part of the metal prong was burnt and missing. All of this because I must have brushed up against the powerline enough to just effect the connection. Not happy, will not install a powerline again. I have handed over the power line to my dealer to sort out. Anybody.interested in a used powerline?

Great topic, I’m on the same journey myself.

For my main system (SN2/HiCAP/NDX2/XPS DR, I have an Isotek Sirius distribution board, which is also a power filter. This has practically eliminated mains noise, which I measured using mains noise meter borrowed from my dealer. This noticeably brought more focus around the individual sounds and significantly lowered the noise floor. 2 weeks ago, I added a used Powerline to the XPS DR and will remove in a few weeks to see what difference it makes to the sound. I might go full Powerline on this system, or go all with Isotek leads and move the Powerline to my Nova.

In my second system, I have an Isotek Polaris distribution board/filter and that had similar benefits. That currently feeds the Nova, Core, Bluray and TV, all via power leads that came with the products. I’m keen to try the Powerline on the Nova, or add Isotek leads there to.

In terms of dedicated mains, I don’t have them. Unless you are certain that mains pollution is from within your house and not coming in from the street, it’s a blind guess as to what it will do. I spoke with a Naim dealer who added dedicated mains and it was worse than the main house supply.

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Ha! yes funny you should mention that predicament–in my case I had serious transformer hum issues with my Naim units culminating in the worst case being the 555 PS–the thing hummed just sitting there!
My checks at the wall sockets can show 237V to 251V–yep that’s FLUKEY right!
I’ve spoken with other owners that have had same issues especially with the higher end PSU/s–we’ve tighten the transformers sent them to Techs for service /remedy/etc --my tech said he couldn’t rectify and that it was just something that Transformers do --eh?

Anyway I bought a Regenerator at considerable cost and set the Voltage at constant 230v and was able to adjust via an inboard potentiometer for frequency and now my supplies are church mouses slumbering!



Crumbs that’s bad luck Dan5.

That’s very unfortunate! The jaws of a Powerline IEC plug grip the contacts on the socket extremely tightly, and there is absolutely no way that brushing against them is going to dislodge the connection. My first thought is that perhaps the plug was not pushed fully home, as this takes a firm shove, and quite a few people have been caught out by this (albeit less catastrophically) in the past. Either that, or the Powerline IEC plug, or the socket, was defective.

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I was going to say the same.

I tried a dealer’s run-in Powerline on my Nova - instant sale.

I then borrowed a new one and rather stupidly plugged the plug into the switched wall socket without turning the swicth off before connecting to the Nova - it was a real struggle to get the IEC connector in partially due to me being concerned about damaging the wobbly decoupled Nova IEC socket.

I heard a shorting or sparking noise as I tried to plug the IEC connector in.

My Nova developed a display fault which I actually think predated this swap, but now I wonder if it was due to not fully plugging in as the fit was so tight.

The ‘display fault’ did not settle after powering down and restarting or a brief disconnection of a few minutes, but somehow did after many hours being disconnected.

Trying a few different things I moved furniture to get better access to the back of the equipment and could see that the Powerline was not fully in even though it felt like a good connection, and I managed to push it in another 5-7mm I guess.

So, the one thing I’ve learned, is although we’d say it’s perhaps common sense to connect cables to devices before the mains sockets, in practice it’s rarely an issue with normal IEC plugs which just ‘dock’ obligingly - a Powerline, especially a new one, is a different proposition.

Thanks everyone. I think ally cat describes my problem very well. The 500 worked fine until I changed the interconnects. I don’t think the powerline was plugged in completely.

@Alley_Cat I have just installed Titan audio cables into my system

the seperate source and power cables are very very good indeed and well worth a demo
so far i have mains block and styx - which the following is plugged into

NDX > Electra (this source cable is Ashtonnishing)
300DR > Eros
Lingo 4 > styx

my thoughts - Eros is a step up on powerline, Styx for cost is a no brainer

Electra - beyond what I thought a cable could deliver taken my NDX onto another level - a demo is a MUST


Anyone tried any ISOL-8 products?

Yes, I tried an Isol-8 Substation HC but it slowed down basslines too much. An Airlink balanced power supply had the same beneficial effect on the mains, without losing the music.

Hope this helps, BF


The ISOL-8 product I tried seemed to add or accentuate detail at the top end possibly by having a rather anaemic bottom end. Perhaps with a higher end system it would shine but maybe I just prefer a more analogue colouration wherever it comes from.

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