Seems that without Hi-Cap is better sound in my System

Hi Naim Community,

I think the sound is better without Hi-cap on my system.
Is the signal flow (cable direction) below set correctly? (Cable direction: yellow marking)

Power strip: WireWorld Matrix2
MCRU No.75 Power cable used for Hi-cap and XPS
Naim bundle used for NAP180 and NDX2

Speaker : Rogers LS5/9

After removing the Hicap, it seems that the overall tone and balance of the annoying sounds in the high frequency range have been improved.

Was I using Hicap incorrectly?
Should I change the priority of the power cable?

Thanks,
Lian

You should be using a Snaic 5 (5 pins at each end) between Socket 4 of the Hicap and the 82. You mention Port 2; if that’s socket 2 then you’ve got it wrong.

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You need to use a standard Naim mains cable with the Hicap. Or even a Powerline Lite.
I did try an MCRU cable once and took it back the next day cos it was rubbish.

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As Nigel mentions, Socket 4 connects to the 82. You may want to check the back of the Hicap to make sure, depending on vintage, that socket 3 (which you would normally connect via a SNAIC4 to the 180) doesn’t have a 24v rail on it. If it does, use socket 2 instead.

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I second sticking with Naim mains cables. My experience of MCRU products is such that I would be surprised if their power cables were up to much.

Many, many years ago I had a 42.5/110. When I added a Hi-Cap my first reaction was that I didn’t particularly like the effect. I found the sound became harder, brighter and less ‘forgiving’, although it was more focussed, dynamic and detailed. Without the Hi-cap it was warmer and softer and overall ‘nicer’.

I got used to the Hi-Cap and I felt it was an overall musical improvement but I still missed the more easy-going nature of the system without it.

So I would suggest that adding a Hi-Cap can be a double-edged sword. Yes it will bring improvements but it may also take-away some facets of the presentation that you like.

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ditch that power cable mate and pop the naim one back on.

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Thank you, I was confuse and Incorrectly drawn the socket number.
I was set it up as 82: No.4 180: No.3

That’s a shame, as I thought I had the answer. All your cables are the right way round, so it’s not that. Replacing the MCRU cables with original Naim may help but other than that I don’t know. Can I just check that the Hicap and Napsc are well away from the 82. Maybe a photo of your setup would help.

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Is your Hi-Cap due for a service?

Reason I ask is when I sent mine in for Servicing I had the same impression as you. I thought my SN3 sounded much better without the HiCapDr, but my opinion changed once I put my serviced HiCap back in place(careful dressing of cables as well)

(Sorry, just noticing your diagram saying “serviced”).

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Just a few other things that occurred to me.

I’m assuming that the system is powered up permanently. This does matter. You will definitely hear improvements by doing this, and smoother high frequencies with less harshness is one of them.

Also I would question the suitability of your power strip. Use a Hydra instead.

The Hi-Cap will make your system more sensitive and less forgiving. It’s important to check that all set-up details are spot-on. Things you may have got away with before may now be exposed via the Hi-Cap.

Other than that, as with my first reply, all I can say is that the Hi-Cap should be a clear musical improvement. But there may well be cosmetic aspects of the presentation that you find less appealing. Usually these are less important and tend to pale into insignificance as you appreciate the musical benefits. Unless of course these things really grate on you.

At the end of the day if you really prefer things without the Hi-Cap then so be it. I’ve heard of this happening before - so you’re not alone.

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Sometimes, we just prefer something that’s not in line with “source first” (Linn) or “more power, Igor” (Naim). If you prefer it without the Hi-Cap, then that’s what’s right for you. You can go down the path of equipment servicing and swapping out cables 'till you’re blue in the face but you may be searching for something that isn’t there.

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Another vote here for sticking to the stock Naim power cables. I recently bought 3 MCRU No.75 power cables and the result was completely unlistenable. You can find my detailed comments here:

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Lian,

there are other variables, but 82 and 180 are olive I suppose, and that power amp is a little lean and ‘bright’ itself. The olive series is the most ‘assertive’ sounding series in my experience. A HiCap may have added some spark and you may not like it. What speakers are you using?

I have often tried with/without extra PSU in my systems, and have never found a univocal answer to my doubts. My last CDX2 was more balanced without XPS, and a 122x/150x/FC2x was best with the FC on the preamp only.
It’s eminently a matter of personal tastes and unless you hear obvious aberrations, just keep it as you like it best.

Hi Lian,

In the past I had a similar system to you and I would agree with PJL and MaxBertola above.

I believe you posted a query the other week about changing power amp to sort out the issue and many suggested upgrading to an olive 250. I believe I said that although it is better amp it is not going to sort out the ‘annoying sound in the high frequency range’ that is bugging you and I stand by this. Similarly it’s a good idea to put the Naim power cords back in but I still don’t think this will rectify your problem.

I think this is just a bit of a feature of the olive gear and the way they interact with your speakers (which I believe are a bit ruthless when showing up bad recordings in any case).

The hicap adds some sparkle and opens the sound up but I can see that it also accentuates the high frequency niggle that is grating on you.

If you are happy with the sound without the hicap then just leave it off. Otherwise you are probably going to have to change your amps (could try the OC series which is bit less forward or another brand) or your speakers for some which are a bit more forgiving.

This post will almost be certainly followed by several saying that the problem is due to the room you have it in (not enough soft furnishings etc) or the setup (it’s plonked on tables with glass shelves etc). They are not wrong but I personally don’t think messing around with this will really correct your problem. Well it didn’t for me!

Thank yoy for your advice,

The Graham Hydra cable for naim is the best alternate for me ?
Because I’m in Asia south Korea, We don’t have the matched power strip or blocks for the UK plugs

However only able to approach way going to Power line . But That’s so expensive in my budget.

Happy to help!

The standard cable that came with each box should be good enough, and definitely better than the MCRU 75 based on my experience. If you are missing some genuine power cables, you can ask your dealer to obtain new ones, at very low cost (I got one for ~€30 here in Beglium).

Indeed Graham Hydra is convenient and well performing for Naim. It’s basically a bunch of standard Naim power cables linked together with star-earthing into one plug. But it’s trickier to find outside UK.

What is they plug type in South Korea? I had a look and it seems to be the same as EU (Schuko)? In this case a decent powerstip such as WireWorld Matrix 2 EU could be a reasonable option at a manageable cost.

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If it is an EU Schuko type that you use, be sure to check each mains plug with an induction pen to ensure you have the polarity the same for all of them - and don’t rely on them all being the same as in my experience they rarely are. Getting just one the wrong way around can give poor performance, noise issues etc…

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I am a big fan of a Hydra for multiple Naim boxes. Grahams can send overseas, deduct the UK VAT and so on. The standard Naim mains cables work ok too, unless plugged into a really poor power strip.

I’m also a big fan of olive boxes and don’t think that choosing olive or adding the Hicap should be messing up your sound unless there is a problem somewhere else that a warm and softened delivery was disguising. However, as with most things here, if you don’t like the sound after making a change and giving it a few days for system and ears to settle, then there is no need to stick with ‘conventional wisdom’.

Good luck!

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I tried a grahams hydra a few years ago in my system and it sounded worse than the individual supplied naim mains leads plugged into seperate sockets. I also tried the upgrade from 180 to 250 and found the slight gain not worth the extra cost. The hicap on my 72 though transformed the system for the better.

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Thank you for the advice, Richard!

I’ve been asking a lot of questions lately, and I apologize for bothering you. However, I have one more question regarding the polarity.

How can I check the polarity of the NAC82?

I checked it by using screws or the blank DIN slot’s steel side and selected the low voltage side.
I tested it with no signal cable inserted; only the NAPSC was installed. Am I correct ?

Thanks.