Supercap in need of recap?


I have a SC from 2004 on trial. Compared to my HC from 2011, the SC sounds a bit dull and slow in the bass. It has more bass weight, but lacks bass definition. It also lacks mid-bass: voices sound thinner. Voices, piano, guitars, etc also sound “further away”, a bit hollow. If I turn up the volume, this difference in the mid-range becomes less obvious/problematic, but during low-level listening it is very clear.

Based on common wisdom and its age, the SC urgently needs a recap… However, if I turn it off while music is playing, the music continues for 10s. So the reservoir caps seem to be fine.

Do the differences with the HC indicate that it needs a recap anyhow? Or am I hearing a difference in character between SC and HC?

I hope somebody here knows the symptoms of a SC in need of service.


System: NDS+XPSDR, 282+HC/SC, 250.2 into Tannoy TD10 + Rel R528

PS I listened to a HC DR, but I prefer the non-DR version. During low-level listening, the HCDR sounded forward/strident.

PS2 I’m hesitant to just have the SC recapped, because it seems to me that the market for used non-DR power supplies has collapsed. It seems everybody prefers DR gear.

A short answer. It needs a service. :blush:

Hi Guinnless, Thanks for the short and very quick answer.

The difference after I had my Supercap serviced was significant. Don’t forget you’ll need a second SNAIC5 to power the 282 properly.

My current snaic belongs to my HC, so I need two :frowning:

How many seconds did you expect it to take to discharge if there had been no spec drift? :wink:

Good point… I read this ‘10-seconds-rule’ on the old forum. But I have no clue about its reliability. It would be nice, if we had an objective test criterion.

It needs service + DR upgrade.

I just upgraded a HCDR on my 282 to a SCDR, and it’s transformative. It’s the opposite change to what you are describing. Nothing dull about it. The bass is deeper and more refined. The mids are richer and the highs are smoother, all with greater resolution of detail, better dynamics and a fuller and more more refined soundstage.

I had my NAP300 DR’d a year ago and still have issues with a bright upper-mid-range, which I think may be more related to my speakers (Thiels). I am coming up on the time I should have my SC serviced but am very hesitant to have it DR’d because I am afraid that this upper-mid “edge” will become even more pronounced if it results in similar change as the 300 upgrade.
I know - definitely a first-world problem, but there’s nothing Naim-related that isn’t, I think.

All this talk of servicing and yet my 2006/2003 252/SCap2 still sound superb with none of the traits OP describes. I think there’s far too much paranoia over servicing Naim gear.


The best test is a listening test. If it sounds poor, and provided all else is equal and properly set up, it generally indicates that it needs a service.

I nearly bought an old Supercap a few weeks ago but could not arrange a demo, it’s now sold.

It had been serviced not that long ago.

One thing that put me off was Naim’s new policy from September I believe (posted by someone elsewhere on the forum) of insisting on servicing the unit when doing a DR upgrade - unless they made exceptions for recently seviced items this would have made a subsequent DR upgrade unnecessarily expensive.

Not an option now that it’s been sold, so I’m not certain the market for older stuff is drying up.

I’m not entirely certain, but have a sense I actually preferred the sound of my olive components before they were serviced - I guess the gradual deterioration can give a characteristic that we actually get used to and enjoy!

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Hi Richard,

Thanks for your reply. Obviously, one can decide by listening, but there are two drawbacks

  • for those buying 2nd-hand without a dealer involved, it is difficult to decide whether a difference in sound is due to age or design.
  • the number of dealers stocking high-end separates and power supplies is very limited in the Netherlands. Most dealers have only streamer/preamp-combinations and all-in-ones in stock. Many salesmen have never heard Naim separates and power supplies.

Therefore, some objective criteria would be very welcome. For example, some test tracks with specific points to listen for, or the time the PS keeps playing after you switched it off. ‘Recapping is needed after 10 years’ is also a criterion but may not be accurate enough, given the different opinions on the forum. It might unnecessarily scare off 2nd-hand buyers. I think it would be in Naim’s interest to help people who buy 2nd-hand outside the dealer channels with better criteria, because they represent a very significant outlet for equipment from users who upgrade. A sticky topic on the forum would be nice.


I’ve never understood why people are reluctant to get their Naim kit serviced. :confused:

I compared a HCDR to my HC2 on the 282 and preferred the HC2. I compared an XPS Olive to an XPSDR (both recently recapped) on my Ndac and had a mixed feeling:

  • my initial response was I liked the XPS Olive better, but
  • upon critical listening I could hear advantages of the XPSDR.
    I think it also depends on whether you let your ‘emotion’ or your ‘mind’ prevail. Therefore, it depends on the kind of music you listen to, the time of day, your state of mind, etc.
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All else was equal, all equipment was on Fraimlites. Separare stacks for brains and brawn.

Age is one indicator and as good a guide as any - Naim recommend servicing every 8-10 years, 15 years on 500 series - and the other is to listen. If something sounds not as good as before, and you’ve tackled the usual suspects of set-up etc., then that could be a sign that a service is needed. The problem is that when something needs a service then it can go one of two ways, either just sounding a bit soft, slow and uninteresting, or getting a bit bright, thin, and bass-light, depending on what the item actually is. Best thing is to play a familiar piece of music and then ask yourself if it engages as it used to when you first had the kit.

It’s expensive…

‘When you first had the kit’ is the key: if you buy 2nd-hand, this point of reference is missing.