How good are the standard Naim cables

How do the standard Naim cables compare to say Chord, Atlas or Nordost? Is there much point in upgrading to Shawline or Purple Flare?

They are very good until you try Witch Hat…

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After which they’re still just as good.

Sadly I can remember purple flares, and orange ones, and falling off my bike when the kickstart went up the leg of them.

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Very good, in my experience excellent. In fact I’ve never found a non Naim wire north of the power amp that is really what I’d call an improvement.

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I think that, if Naim thought that there were better cables than their ‘standard’ cables, they would use them.

Any snake oil, anyone?

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I don’t agree snake oil Graham. I’ve tried Chord interconnects between CDP and Pre and Chord XLR between 250 and SC but it was different rather an improvement. Some people might have thought otherwise.

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I think it says a great deal that the majority of Naim users still use them, and a fair chunk of the remainder are unable to agree a consensus on which alternatives are definitely better.

So in my view they give excellent value and performance for most people, most of the time.

Stand back and watch that fight ensue!

Bruce

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To me cables are like tone controls some are brighter and some darker and with that some let you hear more of whats going on easier.
No cable can add something that’s not there but as said it can mask certain bits or highlight other parts.
To me the naim cables, especially the older stuff tends to be in the dark range

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What about the standard cable upgrades they sell themselves?

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I’m no cable expert but this would mean a cable that has more of everything like more details/treble, more bass, more pushy mids is the most transparent cable and would show your system performance as intended? I think there is more to it that dark/bright. My Oephi cables for example are far better in timing and speed than my former Phantoms that in comparison was muddy and slow which is I believe more about cable geometry than bright/dark. It’s also very easy to fall into the trap that a cable that shows more of something is always better. That’s what most of us think first minutes or hours but at least to me it has happened more than once that the first impression was not the one that lasted best longterm. I tend to call it “The Beats headphone trap” where loads of bass impressed people but long term it was just a mess listen to. I guess that’s also why you often read about users going back to Lavender/naca5.

Something rarely discussed on cables in general is timing and speed which is not tone control to me but oh so important to enjoy and get closer to the performance, more so than bit more/less bass etc. Not having listened to naca5 for many years I tend to think this is where it hides its strength more than “highs are bit to dark” etc. I evaluated the Hiline for example. Indeed it brought out more details but in the end I found the Lavender to be more joyful to listen too even though it was likely not the cable you would define as the most accurate in terms of bass up to treble definition. It just provided the music better as a whole, as a performance whereas Hiline sliced it up a bit which is more hifi than naim to my ears (with reservation I might not have got the hiline seated as should).

I’m now at a point with 552/ndx2/300DR in my system where I got curious about how naca5 would sound today that I plan to get a pair of used ones to evaluate again.

The standard Naim cables are very good. The HiLines are an improvement to my ears (though they sound off if not seated properly) and I expect the Super Lumina are better again, though that’s an avenue I’ve not explored.
I have tried some Chord cables in the past but in the end have always gone back to the Naim cables.
The only non Naim cable I use is TQ Ultra Black speaker cable.

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My answer was just a brief explanation of what i feel cables do, thats why i said " are like tone controls" as that’s an easy way to describe and everyone will understand.

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I will give my opinion when my WH Morgana arrives Monday.

BTW much prefer Phantom to A5

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I think the standard cables are a great option to cover the majority of scenarios adequately. That said, I would suggest the majority of scenarios involve a compromised or sub optimal set up in terms of system level, supports, mains, environment, room treatments, speaker positioning etc. and the standard cables are very forgiving of this.

The more time and effort spent on optimising set up, the more rewards can be reaped by changing cables. Different materials and geometries alter specific characteristics, which may or may not be audible or desirable depending on your set up. This provides users with a myriad of options to select cables with characteristics specific to their needs - possibly what people mean by tone controls.

I imagine Naim considered Statement customers would have a highly optimised set up, probably in a dedicated, well treated room and so designed Superlumina to reveal everything the Statement is capable of. That same cable might therefore reveal the shortcomings of an Atom on sideboard, plugged into household mains, with speakers in the corners of a small square room. It would probably be quite fatiguing to listen to whereas the standard cables might be much more pleasing, leading to a conclusion that standard cables are better than Superlumina. They are not, but they they do have have better synergy with a wider range of systems over a wider range of scenarios.

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I am well aware that Naim sell more expensive cables, which I listened to about thirty years ago, when I attended an invitation only event at Grahams HiFi in London for the launch of the 500 Series.

Different, yes, certainly brighter, but tiring to listen to long term. So I still have the original cables and interconnects all these years later.

I have have migrated to a naim system recently, nothing to much an NDX2 with a Supernait 3 and a pair of sopra n1.

In my last system I had some audioquest cables, Robin Hood speaker cables, earth interconnects, and a mix of tornados and hurricane power cables, some monsoons and other audioquest Ethernet cables like vodka and diamond.

And as much I would like the audioquest power cables to do miracles with this system, they work somewhat great and sometimes not so great. The really enhance some characteristics of the music but also they make something’s not feeling right, and these are very expensive power cables. I find on the supernait always going back to the sock in the box power cable as the result is more cohesive.

The Ethernet cables work very well as the speaker cable, the earth interconnect I am not so convinced.

So could be a compatibility thing on Naim and Audiquest, my other system works great with them. Maybe I have to sell some of these audioquest and try some Naim power and interconnect cables in the future.

Cables make a huge difference on various aspects of the presentation, wider sound, bass, texture, soundstage and enhancing details, not always for the better unfortunately, but when they work they enhance the final experience.

I will be in the search for a better cable synergy in this system soon.

The out of the box provided cables are good enough with the Naim system, they will provide a great and equilibrated experience not disappointing anyone. But if the were the best why would naim make better ones like the hi-line or super lumina.

The hi-line appears to be a very fragile cable that makes me think twice before getting one, those plastic connectors seem very fragile.

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I am not sure if the other choices are better than Naim cables, they are certainly sonically different and some people prefer them to Naim and others don’t. I suggest you go to a dealer and listen to them, then make your own choice.

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I Already asked to have a listen to the naim cables, but at the moment my dealer does not have a set of hiline or super lumina, and only maybe next year. So I will have to wait until they are available.

My reply was in response to the notion that Naim don’t think standard cables can be bettered, or they would use them. I was highlighting that Naim do seem to think standard cables can be bettered and sell them as upgrades.

I completely understand why anyone might prefer the standard cables though, whether today or 30 years ago. Out of curiosity, do you remember what cable upgrade options were demonstrated?