Atom - Speaker Cable Advice Please

Greetings, all.

I hail from the UK, and for some time since moving to Naim equipment I have taken on board and benefited from the excellent advice on this forum; it is much appreciated.

I appreciate high quality music, but hifi is not my hobby; I tend to keep equipment for a long time, rather than continually tweak my set-up. My history over the last fifty years is Quad, Cyrus, Rega and now, Naim.

Not wishing to purchase and store more and more CDs, two years ago after a number of demos I sold my Rega Elicit-R and Dali speakers, and purchased a Uniti Atom, Kef LS50 Metas, and Meze 109 Pro headphones, all which are more than adequate for my needs streaming Tidal. I still have my CDs and player, but in the future probably I will rip the CDs to save space, archiving the CDs.

Since the Naim purchase, this year I downsized from a large three-bedroom property, to a two-bedroom retirement apartment.

In the house the speaker cable was Van Den Hul CS-122 and its length from the Naim Atom to the speakers was 6m; in our apartment it will be less than 2m. Possibly it could have the length of 3m and I could curl and store the excess 1m under furniture, but nothing longer.

So… My questions…

  1. Will this cable arrangement and length (2m, possibly 3m max.) be okay?
  2. If not, would a different make of cable be more suitable and give an appreciable improvement in sound quality? If so, recommendations, please.

I am not averse to purchasing new speaker cable; once set-up I do not intend to make furniture placement and speaker position changes to my system in the future. However, I would like to future-proof my speaker cable in the event Naim replace the Atom with a new unit.

I have searched this forum, referencing speaker cables, length etc but I just don’t understand the replies discussing the technicalities of capacitance, impedance etc.

Thank you for your assistance.

Your Atom should probably be OK with 2-3m of the VdH cable as it looks like the normal figure 8 type construction - I would lean towards 3m though to be on the safe side. Whether it will be the best sounding cable here, I really don’t know.

FWIW, Naim’s NACA5 is at least a known quantity, known to work extremely well with Naim kit, and won’t cause any issues with the power amp, provided you stick with Naim’s recommendations on length and termination.

From the FAQ:


Those cables look fine to me. One thing to bear in mind is that it’s not a good idea to coil spare cable. If you have the matching KEF stands, which have cable management, I wonder if it’s possible to run any spare cable up, then down, then up again inside the stands. That would be better than coupling it, and may enable you to have 3m rather than 2m. The Uniti products are very cable tolerant, and I use unequal lengths of cables with my Nova with no ill effects.

Hi @Beefheart and welcome to the forum.

Within limits, your Atom is pretty tolerant of cables and your VdH cables should be OK, but since you’re going to need to get them shortened and re-terminated, perhaps it might be worth investing in some new cable. Naim’s own NACA5 is the recommended choice, but it’s thick and stiff which can make it unwieldy. Some forum members use Kudos’ KS1 as a more user-friendly alternative and there are several others possibilities. As for SQ differences, that’s a controversial topic so all I will say is that when I swapped NACA5 for a thin Chord cable in my Atom/Neat Iota study setup, any change in SQ, to my ears, was sufficiently small not to be worth worrying about.

One thing I would ask is: are you absolutely sure that 2m of speaker cable will really be enough? My Atom setup is in the small bedroom I use as an office with the Atom on the desk and the speakers mounted on the wall behind. I thought I would only need short cables and was surprised to find that by the time I’d allowed for the cable to go from the back of the Atom down to the floor, along the skirting round a corner and up to the wall-mounted speaker, I needed 5m. Cables that are of minimal length can reduce positioning flexibility, making even minor adjustments impossible. I speak from experience!


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Thank you for the warm welcome, and, especially for the replies; they are much appreciated.

It is reassuring to know that shortening the Van den Hul cable to 3m will not be disastrous!

I do not have the matching LS50 Meta speaker stands but custom built 4mm thick stands with 4mm hollow steel columns and bases on adjustable spikes that pierce through the carpet to the concrete floor. The hollow columns are filled with dry, fine sand. The speaker bases are bolted to the stands. My stands are shorter than the KEFs; I find the KEFs just too ungainly and too high for my seating position.

Point well made regarding speaker cable length and having an allowance for adjustments and routing etc. Nevertheless 2m is the minimum and 3m the maximum I need to use for the runs.

It’ll be next year before I get my Atom set up as I have yet to finish decorating and having a new kitchen installed.

Certainly I will investigate Naim’s NACA5 speaker cable and the Kudos KS1, but alas, not at my valued dealer of 50 years; earlier this year they had to close the shop.

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