Atom - speaker audition

I’d look at Spendor 3/1. However, they will require a stand. They are pretty good in big rooms.

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It might be useful to have an FAQ for NACA5 installation even if it consists mainly of “don’t throw it on the floor, bend it into the desired shape” and some photos

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Hi Pauel,

Thanks for the recommendation.

Cheers, Mo.

We are building a shiny new support portal right now - i’ll look to repurpose what i’m sure is a wealth of advice on the subject and get that uploaded…

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I’ve always felt like it was a case of “we developed our products using it, just buy some and don’t ask questions”
Yes it works and in most cases works well but there is this vague grey area around what cable characteristics are compliant. The manual (for a Supernait 3 at least) just states that some Naim amps are fine with any good cable, whilst others will likely burst in to flames and not be covered under warranty!

I suppose the idea is that this is the dealer’s job, but unfortunately the reality is that not everybody can rely on a good dealer and we had to sort issues on the forum because dealers recommended things that were wrong

I’m relatively new to this forum, and my observation (for what it’s worth), is that it’s a very broad church. There is a wealth of knowledge, but a very wide range of requirements. There are super-technical high end people on here (I love seeing the pictures of those systems), and then there are people like me, who have a bunch of other hobbies where we might consider ourselves knowledgeable, but for our hi-fi’s we don’t want to go that deep just now, but want a great sounding system, that’s low maintenance, and ‘just works’.

I love reading the technical discussion on here, even though in many cases, I don’t understand the terminology just yet (references to models etc…). I don’t understand all the components and their functions either. I do appreciate the combination of art & science though.

I bought NACA5 early on, as I heard good things about it, but I bought it with no idea of its physical characteristics. I find it a bit inconvenient, too big, and unsightly, plus it was a nightmare when I needed to change the connectors on the end, when I switched from Superuniti to Atom. I prefer the newer cable I got, that’s easy to use, less conspicuous, and sounds fine to my ears.

The key, is that someone buying it, should know what they are getting (I didn’t), as they can then decide if they really want it. That to me, seems the beauty of this forum … the ability to tap into others experience, and select the right choice for your personal needs. I might get white NACA5 in the future, and I’m already plotting an upgrade of my Atom to a Nova next year, but in the meanwhile, spare cash tends to get directed towards fishing tackle, single malt, and wine :joy:.

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My dealer (UK Platinum) has always recommended anything but NAC A5, so go figure!

Not saying that every dealer is always wrong, but we had members buying dealer-recommended cables that made units overheat.

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They all sell multiple brands and I’m sure the dealer networks vary to a degree country to country and region to region, looking at this as I am from a UK perspective the relationship with the local partner network is more defined and “real time” whereas if you live in Vietnam or up a hill in New Zealand that relationship may not be so clear or intimate.
I think it would be helpful to have more precise guidance and certainly guidance that is product specific. If you refer like many owners will to the manual that Naim supply it’s open to interpretation and will make many default to NAC A5 for fear of their investment being damaged beyond repair.
Many owners have alternatives that work well and are preferred to the default NAC A5 option. Having said that, even the alternatives that owners try, like and keep aren’t referenced against a known set of recommended parameters in many cases, the logic being, if it has the same electrical characteristics as NAC A5 you “should” be ok, but there must be a greater degree of tolerance than that specified by NAC A5 and I can’t believe that Naim themselves haven’t tried and tested other cables either in development or as part of an ongoing R&D process.

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We’ve tried Super Lumina :wink:

But seriously - that new NAC A5 online primer is being discussed right now.

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I’m sure you did, but at what point do you hit diminishing returns given that SL cables of a suitable length cost more than quite a few of the products you can (in theory) connect them to!
Once you get to the upper end of the classic range in to 500 Series and on to Statement, I’d imagine a lot of owners use a whole range of exotic cables from Naim and otherwise.
I think my point here being that the user guide is vague and open to interpretation, of course a wide range of speaker cables and interconnects will work absolutely fine on any current Naim product and probably quite a lot of the older and discontinued models as well. The issue with speaker and IC cable selection and limitation to my mind refers more specifically to older Olive and Chrome Bumper series of products rather than current products and the importance of this is deprecated from the top of the range through to the lower end of the ranges.
I’m trying to look at this from the perspective of someone new to Naim as a brand and especially someone entering the fold with a Uniti product, just like @Mohawk as the OP. You could look at this a number of ways, just buy 3.5m of NAC A5, it’s safe and no one will fault you for your choice, or reuse the cables you already have and enter a world of unknowns and possible problems and warranty issues.
I have a close friend who I’ve helped select a new Uniti Nova, due to arrive later this year. I mentioned speaker cables to him in the context of my decades old experience of owning Naim systems and extensively using NAC A5, he hadn’t even thought about the cables, how they were terminated or how long they should be, in his mind, he needed just enough to go from A to B and no more, in his case well under 2m to left and right speakers.
Also, for reference, the dealer (common to both of us) took some persuading to even provide NAC A5 and was only encouraged on me suggesting that it was a “safe” starting point for my friend as a new Naim owner to begin his journey. That was without even getting in to the electrical characteristics or length of cable discussions. None of this is covered in the manual for a Uniti Nova, quote, “You will also need speakers with cables”

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It is an evolving situation. For example, last year we had huge success with a series of Uniti + Focal systems - provided with 2 x 3m of ready-terminated NAC A5 - that sold in both specialist retailers and more mass-market shops (including John Lewis).
We’ve kept the cable bundle available to order as an accessory, to give all our retailers and customers an easy option.

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You should sell pre-terminated kits in standard lengths and “to order” in other lengths. 3,4,5m kits that were bundled/offered with a new product would help to remove the doubts and anxieties.
I’m sure some will say, a dealer can just buy a 100m drum and make what you need, but the reality being, even as it is in my case with a Platinum UK dealer, they either recommend something else or can’t be bothered to sit and solder pins to cable for little or no financial reward, that’s my interpretation as a (longterm/Loyal) customer of Naim at least.
More details and informative user guide and support information would be appreciated and a cable bundle offer for new Uniti customers would be a good addition in my mind given my recent experiences with a friend and their journey towards becoming a Naim owner.

I don’t think Naim sees this as a problem.

But to your point regarding the tolerances being made known I agree.

A bit we know/can deduce I guess. Electrical specs of NAC A5 are known, and Naim specify minimum and maximum lenghts.

So we know:

  • 3.5uH
  • 48pF is okay
  • 17.5 mOhm is fine

Max lenght is 20m:

  • 20uH
  • 320pF
  • 100 mOhm

So we have a range that’s known to be safe:

  • 3.5 - 20uH
  • 48 - 320pF
  • 17.5 - 100 mOhm

It’s public knowledge that the minimum is because of the inductance, so we know 3.5uH is the absolute minimum. And I’m willing to bet that the maximum is mostly limited by the resistance, so max 100 mOhm. I guess not really Naim specific I guess and also depended on speakers. I guess capacitance could also be an issue there.

Now the interesting thing is that Superlumina has very different specs, yet I haven’t found any recommendations from Naim regarding its use. Or a recommendation not to use it with certain amps. That’s sold in lengths between 3 and 9 meter, so that would get you:

  • 2.22 - 6.66 uH
  • 199.2 - 597.6 pF
  • 28.8 - 86.4 mOhm

So would it then be reasonable to combine the above into these safe (?) ranges?

  • 2.22 - 20 uH
  • 48 - 597.6 pF
  • 28.8 - 100 mOhm
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That’s exactly what i described in my post above…

That’s great work on your part, credit to you for taking the time to do so!
I think I’m getting to the point now of labouring the context of my comments, but I think many would agree that the guidance (from Naim, and even to an extent their dealer network, in my own experience) is quite vague, and for someone new to Naim as a brand, like the OP of this thread and my close friend, and that has no knowledge or interest in the characteristics of cables would find a lot of this confusing and frustrating, and then additionally, ending up here on this community forum still not get a sense of closure.
Clare has taken notice, and these comments and others are taken on board I’m sure, hopefully with an outcome that benefits the less informed or those new to Naim as a brand and as an experience.

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@Mr.M This is all really interesting stuff. Whilst I’m no audiophile I’m aware of the differences sonically that speaker cable can make, I was not aware of any potential damage getting it wrong could cause the equipment. I suppose for me going with NAC A5 seemed the obvious choice without having yet spoken to a dealer but I would / will be led by them….I think?!

Cheers, Mo.

Always happy to help and myself and many within this community will happily share experience and ideas, you’ll find it a friendly and helpful place typically and I’ve gained a lot and contributed regularly in my time here.
I’ll start by saying that I myself use Naim NAC A5 in my current system and have used it for many years across multiple Naim systems, it’s not just recommended by Naim, it works well with many speaker types and manufacturers and gives good performance at its price point. There are a lot of cables having said that which owners have tried, liked and kept, replacing as they do quite often a long standing pair of NAC A5 cables.
The challenge here for someone like yourself that doesn’t personally benefit from years or in many cases, decades of trial and error and system changes, is what is the best choice for you in your system, is NAC A5 with a Uniti Atom and some speakers that match your listening environment and system budget all you’d ever need, or is there more enjoyment to be found with alternatives?
If you tried other cables, are there things to avoid including not so obvious things like cable length, the material of the cable conductor cores, the insulator materials, and the cable design as a whole considering things like braided construction for example.
As I have personal experience of with my dealer here in the UK, whilst they have access to and can provide me NAC A5, they will, based on their experiences and preferences almost universally recommend alternatives, you’ll find what is recommended will vary a lot as well based on brands that dealer holds, margins in certain brands and ranges and to an extent where you are in the world.
In the UK, certain brands are very common and complimentary (Witch Hat, Chord Company, Kudos, Tellurium Q spring to mind) those brands may not be so widely available elsewhere or even preferred locally depending on your location.
So my point here was well meaning, and mainly intended to benefit you and people like you that may read this. The information made available to you directly from Naim and to an extent their dealer network isn’t always consistent or clear, you’ll get a lot more detail and real world knowledge share on this forum and you benefit from members located globally, likely in the same country as you, and where they have in some cases tried many different cable alternatives and are happy to share their findings relative to your own journey.
The moderators here do read and take on board our comments as both long term loyal owners and those new to Naim as a brand, so hopefully with a combination of support from Naim and this community you can make an informed judgement of not only what is recommended but what is suitable and right for you within your system and your listening style.

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