The Dragon Newt Upgrade Board for the Hicap and Supercap

Even before Naim released their DR module, there were plenty of 3rd party regulators designed for Naim power supplies and so it should be no surprise to anyone how important they are to the performance of an amplifier. Our previous upgrade board, the Newt, was designed around the same LM317 chip that Naim use in their own board, which enabled us to easily maintain the characteristics of the original sound. However, we knew that if we wanted to take this to the next level that we’d have to drop this shackle.

The Dragon Newt is a brand new discrete regulator module designed by our Lead Engineers JJ and Mark. Discrete regulators contain no integrated circuits which gives us more control over every aspect of the board, helping us achieve our aims. When it comes to audio, most producers focus on the audible range but we also wanted to keep noise out of the subsonic range (0.1-1 hertz) as it is often this that is responsible for the timing and pacing of the music.

The other design obstacle we had was choosing between a surface mount approach or a through hole one. Many of you will know that we have been against the move to surface mount for years as it is typically associated with cost cutting, with making a board more difficult to service and it doesn’t necessarily lead to a benefit in sound. However, this doesn’t mean that surface mount technology is without any benefits and some components have much higher tolerances (0.1% vs 1-5%) and hence are more consistently produced, which allows us to be more precise in our delivery.

Through-hole on the other hand has a much better selection of capacitors and transistors designed for audio and importantly it makes it easier for boards to be serviced in the future. To get the best of both, we have kept the capacitors and other components that may wear through-hole, whilst moving to surface mount on the resistors and diodes to get the benefit of their more precise values.

This has enabled us to deliver a clean and stable voltage at a reference of 25v. You’ll notice this is slightly higher than the standard 24v which our competitors follow, but our approach comes back to our testing experience with Naim, in which we know the tolerance for most Naim boards like the 323 is 23.7-26v. Being close to the edge is not ideal so we are aiming for the middle of this band.

The Dragon Newt is significantly  quieter than our previous Newt board and around 10 times quieter than standard board which is represented by the images below.

After all this technical talk, I am sure you’re wondering how it actually sounds. Well, as I am sure you all know, noise is the bane of music and it gets into the audio signal in a myriad of different ways. One of these is via the power supply boards, so by getting rid of this potential pollutant  we are enabling the amps to produce a much cleaner, effortless and more natural sound. We don’t favour any frequency so the improvements are across the board and don’t colourise the sound. Our aim was also to focus on subsonic frequencies so you’ll also notice improvements to the tempo and timing which further improves upon the musicality that Naim is known for.

For the first time ever, these boards will be available for a DIY installation as well as fitting by us. For DIY’er these are drop-in boards that require soldering but a professionally shot installation video and diagrams will be provided to assist you.

We offer a range of options for the Hicap, 1 board for DIY or dual Hicap conversion (factory fitting only) and the Supercap which you can replace 2-6 boards dependant on function in order to get you the most performance for your money. These boards are fully tested and have warranty cover; and given they take 4 weeks to burn in, we also have a 60 day money back guarantee on them so you can try without risk – though we know you won’t be returning them.

They’ll be available from Thursday 14th April with a discount applied for the duration of the sale.

14 thoughts on “The Dragon Newt Upgrade Board for the Hicap and Supercap

    • Mitch Kite says:

      Yes we have varying voltage versions (same exact design, just different reference) but these are currently only available factory fitted.

    • John says:

      Hey Filipe,

      While the NAP200 is eligible for the Phoenix upgrade boards but as we have to replace additional boards, it is an upgrade that we only fit in the factory. We don’t support the FlatCap 2 at this time.

    • Mitch Kite says:

      They are designed for pre DR versions but they will directly replace the DR boards so it is probably smarter to sell the DR’d power supply to buy our boards and a 2nd hand power supply to get the most value out of your money.

  1. Vincent says:

    Do Dragon Newt’s fit for DR series ( Supercap/ XPS)? And how many boards would you recommend for the upgrade? Thank you 

    • Mitch Kite says:

      They can be used to fit the DR models but it would be smarter to sell the item and buy a second hand one to have these fitted. There are six boards that can go into a Supercap but how many you wish to replace depends on its usage which will be explained in the sales page.

      For the XPS we do offer the Dragon Newt at different voltages but it is currently only for factory fitting.

  2. Jurgen Mulder says:

    Dear Mitch,

    Useful and possible with the XP5XS power supply (powering my NAC N272) or do I miss something……..

    Best rgds.

    • Mitch Kite says:

      It could be something we could look at as a factory install but we’d have to look into how they’d mount in the XP5 XS as it’s slimline.

  3. Andy Dunn says:

    How does the noise output of the Dragon Newt compare with the Naim DR Hicap? Also, does it have a similarly low output impedance?

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