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Naim Stageline questions

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by Colin131, Sep 19, 2022.

  1. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    The Kandid is a nice cartridge with a lot of definition and detail but it just been a tad too bright for me so far which makes it difficult to live with longer term. I’m using a slightly negative VTA and highest tracking weight possible and that helped a bit but still not enough.

    It’s made by Scan Tech who also make Lyra cartridges and they can also have a reputation for being a tad too bright. We are not talking Denon 304 or OC9 type bright but it’s enough to be a bit of an issue.

    Despite the loss in detail/definition it would bring I might eventually end up ditching the Kandid and just use a retipped or rebuilt Linn Troika with the Naim K stage. A well known good combination without problems.

    I’ve also got a Dynavector P75 mk1 and mk3 right now and those are hopeless for the Kandid on any setting (even the lowest 30 ohms). Worse in the PE mode (even brighter). The P75 is a bright and forward phono stage IMO. Not to my liking. Might be good with a full and duller sounding cartridge such as a Denon 103 or variants. I find it even a bit bright with a Linn Troika or Karma.

    I know many people like the P75 but it’s not for me. The Stageline has a somewhat similarly tight and snappy kind of sound but isn’t as bright sounding.
  2. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    Thanks for this. I’ll have a look at the other forum and see if I can find what works for a Kandid and Naim MC phono stage.

    I haven’t altered the cap value yet but went down to 43 ohms loading resistor on the Stageline today (47 ohms in parallel with stock K) and didn’t really find any improvement so I’ll try the extra cap in parallel with the existing 1nF. I bought some caps from Cricklewood electronics the other day. 6.8nF and 2.2 nF in a similar blue cap to the Naim stock 6.8 nF cap. So I’ll try the 6.8nF to go for max difference over 1 nF.

    I also bought a couple of 1nF polyesters but I think they are unlikely to work well with the Kandid (like the stock ones). If I end up with a Troika instead I might put the polyesters in to replace the stock 1nF caps.
  3. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    I didn’t find the output as high as reported here. I think it is close to 0.38 mV as per the specs.
  4. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    So Peter Swain recommend 576 ohms and 470 pF? The resistor seems pretty high. Very different value to what is used in the Linn Urika for the Kandid (42 ohms)
    I could try 470pF I guess but I’d have to take out the stock capacitor first and I don’t think I’ve got any caps to hand that low value. Might have a Wima FKP1 but they are pretty big caps.

    The recommended capacitance loading range for the Kandid is 100-1000pF. So maybe going higher to 6800 and above wouldn’t be suitable and not the right direction.

    I’m not totally clued up on how capacitance loading affects MC cartridges. I thought the effect was very weak compared to an MM cart. Certainly with a MM cart if you go too high on the capacitance loading the sound gets too bright and can be peaky. Is there a somewhat similar effect with MC carts at a lower level or does it not work that way for MCs?
  5. nobeone

    nobeone Total Member

    The capacitance for MC on Naim at least is just about not letting too much RF through and it has a slight roll off effect. It isn't like on MM. I don't think you can compare Linn and Naim stages for settings, they are completely different beasts I suspect. All the Naim stages are more or less the same until you get to Superline then they went all out on using as much of a Supercap as possible :D

    Peter Swain is recommending something using his ears in his system for a Superline and Kandid (well it is a second hand report, but I see no reason to doubt it!). I would use that as a starting point for you in your system with your ears, nothing more.
    Colin131 likes this.
  6. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    • Thanks for finding the post. Well I already tried close to what he recommends- 560 ohms and 1000pf as that’s the K setting, and I didn’t like it. Makes the brightness and thinness of the Kandid worse. Maybe reducing the capacitance might help but it doesn’t sound like a big differencez Can only try it.

      I appreciate Linn and Naim phono stages are different but 42 ohms vs 576 ohms is a big difference. Something a bit odd going on there.

      The phono stage I’ve got I like the most with the Kandid so far is the £60 CA640p in standard MC mode. 100 ohms loading. It has a fuller and more laid back sound than the Dynavector and Stageline that balances out some of the issues I have with the Kandid being too bright. £4K cartridge with £60 phono stage does seem a bit odd though.

      I’ve got a Yaqin MS12 tube MM stage that sound full and dark compared to neutral. It sounds v similar to the EAR 834P although it’s not quite a good sounding.!I’m getting some S&B TX103 MC Stepups soon and with those the Yaqin might do a good job of taming the brightness of the Kandid. I can put in some Mullard 12AU7s to help make it darker too.
  7. nobeone

    nobeone Total Member

    OK so Peter's Superline and system and ears does not immediately translate to your Stageline and system and ears, it was only a shot in the dark, apologies for the wild goose chase.
    Try reducing the resistance a bit, not the whole hog 100R ish you tried, try somewhere in the middle, a binary search. At the very least go down to the S 470R?
    Separately try increasing the capacitance, that might help. At least go up to the S 6n8?
    Colin131 likes this.
  8. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    Thanks, I wasn’t complaining! Appreciate the advice. Was just trying to figure things out.

    Yes I was thinking maybe 220, 330 or 470 ohms Is worth trying with higher capacitance. Are you not suggesting lower capacitance as that might make my matters worse?

    Its possible that for me,that the Stageline and P75 are a bit too lightweight sounding for the Kandid. Ok with other carts like the old Supex Linns (although the P75 is still a bit bright).

    Maybe something like the Linn Linto or a Rega phono stage might be a better bet. I’m looking for a fuller and darker phono stage (than the Naim or Dyna) to balance things out a bit. Will try the step up and tube amps first though.
  9. PigletsDad

    PigletsDad My intelligence test came back negative.

    For a low output MC, the impedance is made up of two parts, resistive (a few Ohms) and inductive. The inductance varies a lot depending on the type - some have air core coils, some have a permeable core, so the inductance varies over a wide range from a few uH to a few mH or so. To actually change the frequency response, big capacitors can be needed, even up to a uF!!!!! The load resistance mostly interacts with the cartridge inductance; even a 100Ohm load hardly changes the level from a 5 ohms source.

    To complicate matters, most MCs have a monstrous ultrasonic resonance, which causes a rising response if undamped.

    See Hagerman Technology LLC: Cartridge Loading ( has a discussion, formulas and some inline calculators.
    Colin131 and nobeone like this.
  10. nobeone

    nobeone Total Member

    Thanks PD, if only cartridge manufacturers always listed the nominal inductance!

    Linn say this (Load Resistance 50–200, Load Capacitance 100–1000 pF) but it seems in an earlier data sheet that these folk have cached they said, at some point this (Recommended load: 70Ω ~ 1kΩ (determine optimum by listening)) though neither tell us the inductance. None the wiser other than to say lower resistance will roll it off earlier, and you can go as low as 50R and be within the Linn spec, but if 100 ish did nothing much for you, I suspect this combo will not work for you regardless. I would not have described Naim MC stages as bright, more that they merge stuff into a cohesive sound, which inevitably leaves them a little lacking in detail, not especially accurate, but not bright. I have not heard a Stageline but, meh, it is 32 phono cards on a single PCB in a box, same thing really, though implementation is important I would not expect it to change it quite that much.
    Colin131 likes this.
  11. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    thanks for the info. I’ll have a look at the link!
  12. Colin131

    Colin131 pfm Member

    Yes maybe they changed the recommended load as it was a bit too bright when higher than 200 ohms.

    I know that with active MC Stages the loading doesn’t make much difference but it does make some slight difference. Subtle though for sure but it is there.
    With a passive MC step up transformer and MM stage loading can usually make bigger differences.

    Yes I probably describe three Naim phono stage incorrectly. Not bright but I would not say they do not have a full and somewhat richer sound like some phono stages do. For my taste that is what is probably needed more for the Kandid. The Linn stages might suit better.
    The new Ekstatik is probably better balanced but £££.

    Wil try the 7.8 nF cap value soon and report back how I get on.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2022 at 9:19 AM
    nobeone likes this.

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