The Naim audio group manufacture beautiful components. And I decided to try yet another experiment to improve the sound and hence this Naim Audio performance improvement article. The experiment aimed to determine if the length of a power cable made a difference to the system performance.
The loudspeakers we decided to use for this test were the Acoustic Energy AE309. Which, is a new slim-line floor-standing loudspeaker with compact dimensions. And, suitable for medium to large-sized rooms. Similar to the AE300 comparison, the AE309 offers higher levels of performance and finish than its 100 Series equivalent. The AE309 uses two latest generations 130mm mid-bass drive units. And, featuring a brand new ceramic aluminium sandwich cone with an ultra-shallow profile and ultra-high force. Long-throw motor system. This new driver boasts improved dispersion, extended bass slam and overall power handling.
A new 25mm aluminium tweeter, developed for the 300 Series. which, offers high power handling and a low fundamental resonance to reduce distortion. However, the main benefit of this, the new design is the excellent dispersion characteristics thanks to our Wide Dispersion Technology waveguides. The waveguides shape the acoustic output of the tweeter to match the woofer and provide a wider sweet-spot in your listening environment.
In the Naim Audio performance improvement test, the first amplifier we used to test the power cable was from Marantz. The PM7000N is fully discrete, current feedback integrated Hi-Fi amplifier with HEOS Built-in technology. Which, is for network music access from Marantz. It is the ideal choice for audio connoisseurs that require Marantz Musical sound with flexible operation and access to digital streaming music.
Current Feedback amplification, a renowned Marantz-proprietary circuit technology, is thoughtfully designed to match the requirements of high-resolution music. The unique Marantz HDAM modules outperform the regularly integrated op-amps dramatically in slew rate and noise level. The result is much more dynamic, accurate and detailed sound. The look of the PM7000N is great, and the sound excellent. And, a very capable amplifier that worked extremely well with the AE309 loudspeakers.
The second amplifier used was supplied by Naim Audio. And was a combination of Naim Nait XS-2 integrated amplifier (connected as a pre-amp), Naim Hi-cap power filter and Naim NAP-250 power amplifier. And, the system used in the last session when testing the Naim amplifier with Perkune Reference cables.
The performance from this set was one of the best musical performances I have ever encountered. During my twenty-years of working with Hi-end audio systems and audio cables, was certainly able to show the strengths and weakness of any cables introduced.
The idea was to see just how good, a low priced power cable would perform. And, to determine whether the length of the cable made any difference to the performance.
The power cables we used supplied by Taga Harmony, Van-den-Hul, and Perkune audiophile cables. The Taga Harmony and the Van-den-Hul power cables were 1.5 meters in length, but the Perkune power cable was two meters. The Power cables were taking power from the Taga Harmony PC-5000. Which, is an excellent addition to any audio system to improve performance in many areas.
The first part of the testing was easy because the Taga Harmony Power cable fitted to the Marantz amplifier played to get a bassline. The music chosen was ‘POINT’ from Yello. And, was because of the excellent way in which the album produced and high quality of production. The content was outstanding with a fantastic variety of techniques and musical information. After we were happy with the system sound and set up, the power cable changed to the Van-den-Hul power cable.
The prices of all three Power cables was about the same, and indeed, the performance from the first two cables was very similar. The last Power cable used was from Perkune audiophile cables. And, was a new cable called the ‘Silver’. Designed to provide maximum performance at a minimum price point. And, certainly did show what a Power cable can do! After a few seconds, the music took on a new lease of life. Showing, a larger sound stage, more dynamics, and it was as if a blanket, had been removed from over the loudspeakers!
The first part of the testing was complete and time for a break to rest and return our senses to normal. Something often overlooked during a listening session! We changed over to the Naim Audio set up and decided to use the power cables on the pre-amp. We used the same music, and the first Power cable was the Taga Harmony. I must say the difference in quality in the performance of the Naim system was a HUGH step up the ladder. The first cable sounded great and next used was the Van-den-Hul.
The performance was indeed in the same class, and we were pleased with the new sound we head. And, clearly showed the cables certainly sounded better than before and were similar in performance. Next was the Perkune ‘Silver’ and again after a few seconds of changing the cable, we became aware of a massive leap in performance. Furthermore, the sound stage greatly improved, and the music had more dynamics, depth and speed. The instrument positioning was spot on with excellent transparency. And, again it was like a blanket had been removed from the speakers, allowing more of everything!
After listening to the Marantz set up and the Naim set up, we both agreed 100% on our findings. A two-meter power cable sounds much better than a 1.5-meter power cable. The differences are a larger soundstage (having a more generous width and depth)—more dynamics, speed and movement in the musical presentation.
I would like to add, I have carried many tests with cable length. From one-meter to 5 meters. And, yes the cable length does make a big difference in performance. In your audio system, in many cases, it is not practical to fit a longer length, due to the looks or space. But, I would strongly suggest you make adjustments and NEVER use a Power cable less than 1.5 meters.
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