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Offline Martin Colloms  
#1 Posted : 27 May 2012 16:37:00(UTC)
Martin Colloms


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Naim Power Supply Upgrades

A week back I missed , but PM attended presentations and comparative listening tests at Salisbury for something which on the face of it seems rather mundane.

some retrofittable upgrades to existing regulated external Naim power supplies.

http://www.naimaudio.com...-naim-discrete-regulator

For years now these massive constructions with very generous and selected transformers have relied on carefully tuned and decoupled TO3 can regulator chips.

Complex discrete regulators can do better in some areas but have not been the complete solution for Naim, until now.
More than a year's painstaking research , where every idea needed trying against the panoply of electronics it could be used with, both current and historic had to be done both for stability, noise and sound quality, the latter the big idea.

The new generation supplies come with new gear, from Hi Cap upwards and are claimed to improve the quality of the many products they may be used with.
Attention has also been paid to the supplies as a whole and not just the regulator sections.

The clincher is that existing power supplies in the program, and thus existing audio gear such as the HIFICRITIC Superline phono preamp , price point reference, potentially will enjoy an uplift in performance and become another product to test since it is wholly reliant on an external Supercap or Hi Cap supply.

The initial rollout will cover • 555 PS• 552 PS• SuperCap• XPS• and HiCap
and the supply design is claimed to deliver about 17dB of band weighted noise reduction over the previous examples, with much faster transient recovery allied to substantially smaller transient overshoot.

All else being equal we should expect some improvement !


You will hear from us , on the Superline and the 552 pre and 555 CDP at least

Martin Colloms
Offline FangfossFlyer  
#2 Posted : 31 May 2012 19:33:17(UTC)
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I have been watching this with great interest in Naim's Own Forum and will I be interested in your review especially relating to the 552 and Superline as already I rate these as top class products.

Richard
Linn LP12 / Naim / B&W
Offline Pete_w  
#3 Posted : 31 May 2012 20:48:25(UTC)
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Is it heresy to confess to a wry smile when I read Martin's post, and then went to read the Naim website? If you go googling for Andy Weekes' Super Regulator board, or Neil McBride's Naim pre-amp mods, you'll find that the after-market has "been here, done this" for years - I was part of it. Full marks to Naim for at last stepping up and saying yes, you can do better than a '317, and for productionising it and making it reliable and all the rest, but it has taken them a long, long time to get on board...

I don't know what the modern pre-amps' power architecture looks like, but Naim made (IMHO) a significant mistake in their original design - and its derivatives, the 32/42/62/72 generation - in saddling themselves with one 24V power rail - or was it 2 in some variants? - for the whole caboodle. So they could supply you with a very expensive external supply the size of a brick outhouse - the HiCap - but at the end of the day, all of the circuit sections (phono, gain, buffer) of both channels were taking their power from that rail. Given that the circuit elements themselves weren't that sophisticated in terms of noise rejection, an awful lot was depending on the impedance and frequency response characteristics of that single supply rail, the regulator of which was at the far end of 2 or 3 feet of cable. Far from ideal. Andy Weekes tackled it in the way that Naim now have - by building a better single regulator - whereas Neil and I took the much less subtle approach of chopping the pre-amp into bits and giving its separate elements their own regulators. Which turned out, unsurprisingly, to be quite easy to get wrong in terms of grounding layout :-). A lot of experimentation was required, and lots of email back and forth about mystical properties of capacitors :-).

I would argue that, from an engineering perspective, if Naim had put their power regulation where it should be - next to the circuit element it's powering - then they'd have had a lot better product. But, from a marketing perspective, they wouldn't have had that wonderful upgrade path, where you could always go back and spend another £500 (a lot more now, I know) on another black brick and reliably make your system better.

I've often wondered how much of this "engineered upgrade path" was deliberate and how much was happily accidental.
Offline kengale  
#4 Posted : 31 May 2012 22:06:19(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Pete_w Go to Quoted Post
Is it heresy to confess to a wry smile when I read Martin's post, and then went to read the Naim website? If you go googling for Andy Weekes' Super Regulator board, or Neil McBride's Naim pre-amp mods, you'll find that the after-market has "been here, done this" for years - I was part of it. Full marks to Naim for at last stepping up and saying yes, you can do better than a '317, and for productionising it and making it reliable and all the rest, but it has taken them a long, long time to get on board...

I don't know what the modern pre-amps' power architecture looks like, but Naim made (IMHO) a significant mistake in their original design - and its derivatives, the 32/42/62/72 generation - in saddling themselves with one 24V power rail - or was it 2 in some variants? - for the whole caboodle. So they could supply you with a very expensive external supply the size of a brick outhouse - the HiCap - but at the end of the day, all of the circuit sections (phono, gain, buffer) of both channels were taking their power from that rail. Given that the circuit elements themselves weren't that sophisticated in terms of noise rejection, an awful lot was depending on the impedance and frequency response characteristics of that single supply rail, the regulator of which was at the far end of 2 or 3 feet of cable. Far from ideal. Andy Weekes tackled it in the way that Naim now have - by building a better single regulator - whereas Neil and I took the much less subtle approach of chopping the pre-amp into bits and giving its separate elements their own regulators. Which turned out, unsurprisingly, to be quite easy to get wrong in terms of grounding layout :-). A lot of experimentation was required, and lots of email back and forth about mystical properties of capacitors :-).

I would argue that, from an engineering perspective, if Naim had put their power regulation where it should be - next to the circuit element it's powering - then they'd have had a lot better product. But, from a marketing perspective, they wouldn't have had that wonderful upgrade path, where you could always go back and spend another £500 (a lot more now, I know) on another black brick and reliably make your system better.

I've often wondered how much of this "engineered upgrade path" was deliberate and how much was happily accidental.



Or to put it another way - why on earth did Naim produce so many products with such poor power supply rejection?
Offline Martin Colloms  
#5 Posted : 07 June 2012 18:28:49(UTC)
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Sometimes designing for high PSRR damages sound quality, and it is better that the supply shoulders the burden rather than the audio circuit.

Martin.C
Offline malteser  
#6 Posted : 11 June 2012 16:03:33(UTC)
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Naim rep brought along an XPS-DR to compare with our own XPS and 555PS into powering a CDX2. The XPS-DR was close to the 555PS in performance. If the other supplies benefit in like manner, then we're looking at significant improvements in Naim performance accross most of the board...
Regards,
Frank.

All opinions are my own and do not reflect the opinion of any organisations I work for, except where this is stated explicitly.
Offline darkmatter  
#7 Posted : 11 June 2012 21:32:23(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: malteser Go to Quoted Post
Naim rep brought along an XPS-DR to compare with our own XPS and 555PS into powering a CDX2. The XPS-DR was close to the 555PS in performance. If the other supplies benefit in like manner, then we're looking at significant improvements in Naim performance accross most of the board...


Look forward to when Critic get hold of the 555PS, Pleased I have held off getting my Hi-Caps serviced BigGrin
Offline Martin Colloms  
#8 Posted : 11 October 2012 09:12:00(UTC)
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Naim Review News

Paul M did the 552PS DR for his pre-amplifier in Vol6 no 3

Now the SuperCap DR has arrived to try out for Vol6 no 4

The vehicle is the 2008 review SuperLine

so is this a new Superline review or a DR supply technology review ?

Martin Colloms
Offline darkmatter  
#9 Posted : 11 October 2012 10:23:03(UTC)
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Be interested in % score increase?
Offline Martin Colloms  
#10 Posted : 12 October 2012 05:46:06(UTC)
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You will get that from me when I have done it

but it seems to be more than you might expect from a basic audio product upgrade

Martin Colloms
Offline Martin Colloms  
#11 Posted : 05 December 2012 10:31:21(UTC)
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I am hearing a new Superline as a result of DR but it took a few days to settle in

Martin C
Offline FangfossFlyer  
#12 Posted : 07 December 2012 18:43:14(UTC)
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You tease!


Richard
Linn LP12 / Naim / B&W
Offline Martin Colloms  
#13 Posted : 07 December 2012 18:52:46(UTC)
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improvement is off the scale

well not quite

I have put a number on it ...........

Martin C
Offline phil page  
#14 Posted : 10 December 2012 03:06:21(UTC)
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Still tantalising us ...

Phil
Phil
Offline Martin Colloms  
#15 Posted : 10 December 2012 10:55:01(UTC)
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' fraid so

press date should be later this week

Martin
Offline hifistan  
#16 Posted : 12 December 2012 03:37:37(UTC)
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I will read with interest but as the existing Supercap is already priced beyond what I want to pay I will probably get another TP TSC which gives excellent performance for much less. Also not having to use DIN connection is quite handy; TP will use WBT RCAs at no extra charge on the relevant output.
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