No Improvement With Transparent Reference RCA Interconnects For Naim NDX 2 Streamer


I am in need of some guidance from those more audiophile educated than myself. I recently upgraded my 18-old system. My system now is: Mark Levinson 5805, Naim NDX 2 streamer with Naim XPS DR power source, Naim Uniti Core CD ripper to WAV files, and Transparent Super speaker cables.
I use the streamer mostly for music from Tidal and the Uniti Core. My dealer talked me into buying a pair Transparent Reference RCA Interconnects saying my system was good enough to benefit from the $3200 upgrade. After ~ 600 hours "burn-in" time, I have to say that the Refs don't sound any better than my 18-year old Transparent Supers. Transparent's VP even called me when I politely complained, explained how the Refs were tuned for the source impedance and suggested that my speakers may need to be re-positioned to which I replied that there is not much more room for adjustment.
I am wondering several things: if the Refs are simply overkill for Naim's mid-level streamer, or if Transparent "tuned" the boxes incorrectly, or if the Ultras would be better, or if a different brand of interconnects would be better, or fill in the blank.
Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
paulg24
Return those $3200 ICs and get your money back! Put the old ICs back in place! Don't fall for the "burn-in" scam! No cable is worth that kind of money! The whole wire business is built upon fraud! "The Emperor's new clothes" is the philosophy at work here! Add expectation bias and the gullible are easily fleeced! This is the sad state of affairs today and for decades past! 
Too bad you can't walk into that Transparent VP's office and throw those ICs on his desk! 
You would have been much better off with Purist at the same level.Enjoy!!
The tuning could be wrong Have transparent check serial numbers for a mach to your gear. Transparent is directional check the way you have them connected. Return them if you can not improve the sound.
Forgot to say: my speakers are Aerial Acoustics Model 7Ts.
The cables are and have been connected in the right direction.

This quote below is from Transparent's website vis a vis their RCA Reference cables. My old interconnects were first generation Transparent Super, two levels below Reference, so I expected a significant performance impact, and, didn't get it.

"REFERENCE RCA Interconnect is a significant performance upgrade compared to ULTRA RCA Interconnect. Reference level cables are the first products in the Transparent family to be custom calibrated for the specific electrical output characteristics of your components."


Your story is the perfect example of over priced $3,200 are BS.But your problem was you were opened minded or a true audiophile, then they would of been perfection....yeah right .Remember  money can't buy you love .......
custom calibrated for the specific electrical output characteristics of your components.

My components output electrons. What a load of malarkey!
Lesson #1: If its any good you will hear it right out of the box, and it will only get better with time. If its not good right out of the box, send it back, it never will be.
Lesson #2: Never buy anything based on a story. "Specific electrical output characteristics" is a story. A tired, worn, 600 hours long cliche of a story.

Lesson #3: When in doubt, just buy whatever new or used Synergistic Research fits your budget. It will handily outperform anything anywhere even close in price.


A dealer should be assisting you in achieving better sound,  That's what they're supposed to be there for.  I would talk to your dealer about your issues and they should help you.  A customer that spends 3k+ on interconnects is a valuable commodity and your dealer should take your issues seriously.  If not, find someone else. 
Paul, I wish you did not wait for 600 hours for break in.  I would think 24 hours or less would have given you their basic sound signature, anything from there being subtle.  I hope your dealer gives you a decent refund on these now used cables.
Thank you everyone for all your responses. I emailed Transparent sometime ago and I believe their response was their products 70 to 100 hours of break in time, sometimes longer. I also emailed my dealer sales person and he said up to 800 hours. So, that’s why I gave it so long. I am taking the cables back out to the dealer today, either for a refund or to give Transparent another chance to so-called re-tune the cables. 
paul, just my opinion, I would get out from under these cables and just ask for a refund.  Not because of the brand, as I have never heard a Transparent cable, but even if the tuning was off, how much better can they be?


If I were you, I would just explain that the cables did not result in the improvement to your ears and work with the dealer to arrive at a solution.  Remember that your goal is not a refund, per-se - It is to achieve an improvement in sound quality that you feel was commensurate with the expense.  The end result may well be a refund or a credit but don't knee jerk until you've explored the possibilities. Good luck. 
That was a painful read.

If it sound too good to be true... Shame on the dealer.
Here is an update, and I have to eat some crow on the Transparent cables situation. I must admit that I'm a novice when it comes to hi fi gear. After I complained, Transparent's VP suggested that I ask my dealer's sales person (who has been in the business for 30+ years) to come to my home and check the positions of my speakers.I had done my best to locate them based on hours of internet research and recommendations from the speaker company's president.
My dealer was willing to do a full refund but I wanted to give them the opportunity to see if speaker re-positioning would help even though I was very skeptical. Their expert come out and I left him to spend about an hour assessing my room and then re-positioning my speakers. I was in a different room working and I could immediately tell something marvelous had changed from a different room. I went back into my listening room and was astonished at the sound difference.I also re-compared my old Transparent Supers vs the Reference interconnects and there was indeed a substantial improvement with the Reference. So, I spoke too soon, and feel a bit badly that I wasted you good peoples' time and spoke ignorantly of the cables. So, there you have it.
Post removed 
paulg24

Thank You for sharing your Transparent Cable experience. Whom is your dealer/retailer? Location?  As above, I concur that the Reference RCA should best the Super model. Continue to enjoy the music!
I am a former owner of the Super MM2 series.

Happy Listening!
My dealer is Audio Advice, Raleigh, NC.
That’s great to hear. Internet shopping is fine, but I’m glad you could experience the assistance a GOOD dealer can offer, as opposed to the guesswork of shopping blind. Unfortunately, not every dealer is good.
The important thing is that you’re enjoying your system. Companies like Music Direct sell for full retail, but they're not coming to your home to do an installation.  I think MD is fine, but just attempting to make a point. 
Hi Paul!
 
How is the 5805 doing? 

I had another issue with mine, and worked with AA and Levinson to get a 585.5

another reason to have a great dealer! They totally went to bat and made things right. 

currently saving up for a ref G5 digital cable from the NAIM. 



How significantly different was the positioning?
Where did they move to relative to where you had them?
paulg24

With Audio Advice, you are certainly in excellent company.
My last visit and audition was in 2015.  I wish that I lived closer to Raleigh NC.

Happy Listening!
Change to a different cable manufacturer.


What steakster said, +1 per each statement made.      KUDOS: for experimenting, having ears and patience. 
twoleftears, I missed your questions earlier. My home theater room is 12'W x 19'L and my system is set up in one of the 12' ends. My listening chair is 11' back from the center of a straight line between the two tweeters.
I had the speakers set as follows: tweeter 41" from the back wall and 23" from the side wall. I had a 2.5" toe in.
The dealer's expert re-positioned them as follows: tweeters 48" from the back wall and 20.5" from the side wall and changed toe in to 4". Huge improvement in sound!
no_money, Other than the firmware problems, wanted to know your reasons for switching from the 5805 to the 585.5. I know the 585.5 has more power and cost a lot more. Is the 585.5 DAC superior? The 5805's DAC is supposedly the newest but is also in Levinson's "budget" line.
The bottleneck in your system probably is the  Aerial Acoustics Model 7T. 
andy2t,  I'm happy with the sound of my system now. With some music, it could use more power. But I'll take the bait...would you please elaborate the facts on which you base the opinion that the 7Ts are a "bottleneck" in my system. I don't know what that means vis a vis my hi fi system.
Thanks for the details.

Once again, moving the speakers further out from the wall behind them improves the sound.

The increased toe-in will, among other things, compensate for being closer to the side walls.
I'm happy with the sound of my system now. With some music, it could use more power. But I'll take the bait...would you please elaborate the facts on which you base the opinion that the 7Ts are a "bottleneck" in my system. I don't know what that means vis a vis my hi fi system.

I mean the drivers used in the 7T may not have the resolutions to reveal the differences between upstream components.  

With more exotic driver materials such as ceramic ...., you may hear differences.  


Hi Paul,

The second unit failed, just shut off one day. Not sure what the cause was, but if you are still running you should be fine at this point.
The 585.5 offered a nice improvement overall I think due to the extra power. Is it worth the full retail difference? Thats a tough call, the 5805 offers so much great sound.  But they knocked quite a bit off the MSRP with a full refund for the 5805 so I went for it. I also liked the extra DAC inputs, and the phono stage is a nice upgrade.


Glad to hear they got the 7ts signing for you. They are great speakers as well.