Connecting active speakers

Morning all, I’m new to Naim and equally this forum so apologies in advance if I’ve posted this in the wrong place.
My system comprises a NAC N-272 connected to the router with a Wireworld starlight 8 Ethernet, AVI DM5 active speakers on Sonus Faber Iron Wood stands and an REL Storm III subwoofer (more for LFE for films as the speakers go surprisingly deep).
Mains is catered for with an Isotek Gemini 4 plug mains block, Isotek Main line filter for the other speaker, RA silencer wall plug, RA Mega Clamp Ultra wall plug, Missing link silver plugs and Supra Lorad 2.5 Mk II SPC cables terminated with Furutech gold plated IEC’s for the speakers and Missing link silver plated IEC for the Naim NAC.
Varied music taste but I guess largely Jazz vocals, acoustic pop and orchestral/ operatic.
I plan to use the 4 pin din connection to 2 RCA for the sub over a 6 metre length and rca to rca for the speakers over 5 metre and 2 metre lengths.
I welcome thoughts on this setup but particularly I’d appreciate some input on connecting the speakers and sub. Rather not spend exotic money but please give me your thoughts.

On connecting 272 to your speakers, I assume the latter have RCA (rather than XLR) inputs. If so, I’d be inclined to get a 4 pin DIN to 2xRCA cable (with separate tails) made up by your dealer or online. Using DIN as much as possible is generally preferred in Naim systems. However, 2 RCA to RCA cables should work but I’d go for the same length on both channels.

No experience of connecting subs to Naim, sorry, but you might try asking REL, or your dealer.


Thanks for you reply Roger.
I currently have a run of QED Reference Subwoofer 40 which is RCA to RCA. I was going to buy QED Reference Audio 40 for the speakers (for a uniform tone) and run it all on a pair of splitters which Naim have said would be ok.

  1. I was wondering if these cables, being silver, would give to bright a sound.
  2. If I were to instead use RCA to RCA and DIN to RCA which one be better used for the speakers?

And if using DIN to RCA would you suggest using a short converter piece and continuing with the QED run or just doing everything with a Naim specific copper cable - and if so, any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

Using converters will generally reduce sound quality, so whatever you do I would avoid them if possible. So I’d either use a DIN to RCA cable for the speakers, or two RCAs, and in the latter case make them the same length. As to whether the QED cable you mention will give a bright sound, I have not used it myself and I’m reluctant to guess. I have active speakers with a long run from the preamp, but the cables are balanced XLRs and that wouldn’t be suitable for your setup so I don’t want to go beyond general recommendations. I’d be inclined to talk to a dealer or see if you can get the cables on approval.


The lengths sound very long for a Naim preamp. They don’t deal with long interconnects beyond 3m that well. You may need to specify this is for Naim when ordering the cables so that they slug them with resistors. 5m is getting to that point where it will probably work but far from guaranteed without slugging.

Morning Feeling Zen,
Please can you explain what you mean by ‘slugging’ and the potential need for resistors that could help eliminate it?

I believe the 272 is more tolerant of longer length interconnects than other Naim preamps such as 282, 252 etc as it has a different output structure.

I ran a Naim 52/SC into ATC 40A actives and I used a 6 foot pair of Mogami 2549 interconnect din 4 to XLR. I asked Naim and I think I remember them saying anything under 2 meters should be fine…but with a 52 with say a 4 or 5 meter pair Naim recommended fitting resistors to the interconnect.

If you let Naim know that you are using a 272 and the length and cable model specifications you are using they can advise on resistors.

Here’s what one of Naim’s lead engineers replied when I asked about using a 15 foot pair of Mogami 2549 with a 52/SC pre and the ATC actives:

“ If he’s using 15’ cables (about 4.6m) then a resistor of around 27R at the supercap end of the cable (they can be fitted in the din connectors) should keep everything working well.”

In the same way a power amp sees speakers as a load (which includes the speaker cable), a preamp sees a power amp/active speaker as a load and the interconnect is part of that. Naim preamps were designed with really just Naim power amps in mind on the end of a 1.5m cable. A longer interconnect presents a tough load for the pteamp and resistors in the cable (the slugs) help with that.

It’s really common. Any cable maker used to making up Naim leads should be aware of what to slug it with for the given length.

Thank you all for your input.
I spoke with Naim technical support today. Using the Atlas Hyper Integra interconnects at 5 metres will present no issues of any kind to the 272.
He said the Naim ‘party line’ is 3.5 metres in certain cases but even at 5 metres it’s only a shade difference in length.
It could approach 10 metres perhaps but would very likely need ferrite rings around the cable at those long lengths.
Again, thanks for your help.

After reading this thread, I realize that I don’t underrstand an ‘active’ speaker setup. I get that you basically bypass the crossovers, but how it’s done, and the equipment required, elludes me. I should probably start a thread ‘how do you do this’ …

The active ATC speaker I use has a power amp pack, with one amp per driver, bolted on the back of the speaker. (The power amps come after the active crossover in the circuit.) The ATC website explains it further along with why they favour active operation and may be worth a read.

To use the speakers, you simply run cables from the preamp to the amp packs. Since this often entails long interconnects, balanced cables may be advantageous, but this is not possible with Naim preamps (short of Statement). I assume the OP’s speakers operate in a similar way. However, I’ll leave it to others to explain how full active Naim setup works.


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In hifi terms true active speakers have the power amp built into or attached to the speakers (e.g bolted on the back), usually one power amp per speaker driver, feeding the driver direct with no crossover components between to affect the signal, likewise with very short speaker cables, and with an active crossover splitting the signal between the power amps. They are fed by the output of a preamp. Significantly the amps are chosen or designed to be a good match for the specific drivers including power capability, and the active crossover set up with the specific amp and speaker combination. (Some also include a DAC for a digital feed, though that is a bit of a departure, adding as it does the character of the DAC used.)

A variant is a separate non-attached power amp pack for each speaker, usually positioned right beside or behind it. Not a lot different from active bi- or tri-amping of speakers without passive crossovers, except the components of active speakers coming as a package will be matched by design, while active driving requires setting up and adjusting accurately.

Active speakers outside the hifi world are common, e.g computer speakers, where they commonly consist of a single power amp plus passive crossover component if the speaker has high and low frequency drivers.

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What He said :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:.

Mark Sears (Missing Link/ Vinyl Passion) was extolling their virtues to me recently.

I remember him telling me about active speakers being phase perfect and essentially a pair of well made actives are very difficult to beat.

I’ve not heard an ATC but I read Lots. They have quite a following.

I know I’m happy with AVI’s and they run lovely from my Naim preamp :blush:.

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@PeakMan and @Innocent_Bystander . Wow, thank you so much guys for the clarification and excellent descriptions of the methodology to affect this. I’m not there yet, as I have a lot of pressing personal issues at the moment, but I need to know what is required so that if equipment opportunities present themselves unexpectedly, I’ll know what to acquire.

The 272 has two DIN analogue outputs, so you can use two separate cables. IIRC, ths is also the way to connect to the NAP300 power amplifier.

Hi. Are the AVI’s you mentioned, active then?

Yes. I formerly had the ADM 9RS with built in DAC, pre-amp, sub out but chose the DM5’s which are just power amped to match a Naim preamp streamer instead. Sweeter, more detailed sound.

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Interesting. Can this be done with pretty much any speaker? I understand as per @Innocent_Bystander that there are some matching qualities that need to be addressed, but are the physics the same if one has sourced appropriate amps for the project?

Key requirement for any speaker is that you have to be able to remove or bypass the existing passive crossover. Some speakers are designed to be able to do that - some PMC for example. Many speakers with bi- or tri-wiring terminals will be easy to do if the terminal panel can be removed for access behind. But if they don’t have multiple terminals you would need to modify in some way to get the cabling from the frivers ro the amps.

My point about matching was that true active hifi speakers will be, but virtually any amp could be used - if it can drive the speaker well passively, it will do better actively. However one important requirement is for the amp to not have any significant DC voltage on its output terminals to the higher frequency drivers especially the tweeter, as that could cause premature failure of the driver - there shouldn’t be, and I doubt any decent amp have, would but no harm in checking.

As for active crossovers, there are a variety around, from cheap to expensive, and of course some will sound better than others. The Snaxo of course, or Bryston is good, ditto ATC though no longer available new. These are analogue ones - then there are digital ones - I don’t recall other brands off-hand, but I use one by Behringer, which have the advantage of greater tailorability including adjustable cutoff characteristics and spare DSP capacity to help match everything as well as more readily adjustable crossover frequencies, and the obligatory phase and level adjustments. I compared my Behringer with an old ATC EC23 and found just as good, perhaps helped by the tailorability of the former. Whilst I did tweak the Behringer with improved analogue circuitry, regulators and clock, it had shown the improvement active brings even in stock form.

Very informative IB. Thank you for your time on this.
I will be cutting and pasting these last few posts to a Word Doc for reference. I am also in PM contact with a member from AK, and he is in the process of building and setting up some active speakers. But he describes things from such a technical standpoint because he is also building the speakers from scratch, that it is difficult to understand how I would go about it.

I run a pair of reconditioned Kef R107’s, and the crossovers are very easily accessible. But if they can’t be used, then I will look for some of the speakers that you and ‘what’s in a naim’ suggested.

The Kefs sound quite nice as they are, so an acquisition is probably the best route. I’m not in a hurry, so this would work well.