Naim Snaps: The Spaghetti Dual Rail


Last birthday I received many beautiful gifts: one of them was a tiny little Naim Snaps power supply in perfect condition. I'm a Naim chrome bumper fan (as you can see just by looking at the website…) and since my Naim CD5 didn't have an external power supply, I started thinking about using the Snaps power supply for that.
Unfortunately, an original Snaps isn't made to do that: for that reason many people where modifying the Snaps hardware configuration, soldering some connections inside the circuitry and adding a new plug outside of the chassis. Rather, I decided to try a less "intrusive" solution.
My Snaps is twenty four years old and I thought it wasn't a good idea to modify the circuitry of something that is vintage and in perfect condition. Also I thought that by trying different configurations you will need to solder back again the circuitry: "You'll never know about your future improvement paths…".
snaps02 The original unmodified Snaps is a single rail power supply: it means that it can give a single 24V supply, so at the back you can find one or two four pin sockets (depending on the age of the model), and use them to supply the chrome bumper preamps, Naha headphone amps and a lot of other components (I've also heard that it's simply beautiful with a Sony Walkman Pro). The fact is that my CD5 needs a dual rail power supply, like a Hi-Cap (let's not even talk about Flatcaps… how can you use a power supply without a Holden and Fisher inside?), you definitely need two separate 24V supplies instead of one into the same five pin socket… Fortunately my Snaps is one of the most recent ones and has a couple of four pin sockets at the back, so I crossed my fingers and I looked inside: I was very happy to see a couple of LM317 regulators next to the mighty Holden And Fisher toroid; each regulator was connected to a different four pin socket: in some models there is only one LM317 and in some others one it's disconnected. You can use these later Snaps models to supply two units at the same time (preamps, crossovers, radio, etc.) but the most important thing is that you can easily go for dual rail!
snaps03 At this point, I decided to try a smart solution: you can easily build a cable that at one end has two four pin sockets and ends with a five pin socket (which is exactly the same as a Hi-Cap five pin socket): by this way, two single rail supplies can become a dual rail one… Also, with the CD power supply you don't need to have signal cables passing through the power supply, like the classic Naim preamp/power supply/power amplifier configuration. So you need to build a cable ending with two 24V pins and one earth pin on the five pin socket (click on the schema). You can also use this cable with a couple of old Snaps that can't be dual railed.
From that day on, my CD5 and I started a new life… the improvement was so big thatthumb_snapsconnections now I can't even imagine using it without an external power supply: everytime I turn my Snaps on, it's as if someone has removed a couple of foam plugs from my ears. You also have to consider that the Snaps is a lot cheaper than a Hi-Cap and my cable cost me only 7 euro… but of course you can even improve the cable by buying more expensive electrical components.
Thanks to Angelo and Paolo for the gift and to Maurizio for the soldering work.