Linn Selekt vs Naim Nova

I have a question in regards to Linn Selekt vs Naim Nova: Is the Linn Selekt a better product than the Naim Nova?

I have read in several threads that the Nova is not good enough to drive the Kef Reference 3.

However Linn is using the Kef Reference 3 when presenting the Linn Selekt, arguably a direct competitor to the Nova.

In “Naim terms” it should be a “Mullet” when combining the Kef reference 3 with the Nova, but not with the Linn Selekt according to Linn…

KEF used Uniti Nova as its source of choice when launching the Reference series, including at the launch press event…

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Clare,

You are a darling as I was posting this provocative post to challenge all those who beleive that the Nova is not good enough to drive a pair of very good lodspeakers!

You made my case!

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The KEFs are pretty demanding, to be fair. But the Uniti Nova - especially when you treat it well (decent placement; potential Power-line mains cable update…) is an awesome system. People fixate on the WPC, not the reality.

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I use my Nova to drive the bass on my Kef Reference 5 and a 250dr for the high/mids?

I am more than sure that the Kef’s have much more to give, but I beleive that I squeeze out the best in the Nova and the 250dr by using the Kef’s.

Okay here goes for the umpteenth time I’ve heard both the Selekt and Nova with Kudos 505s and the Nova with the 606s and the Nova has it. And mullet it is not. Now cue enter the source first only zealots.

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If it sounds good to your ears, then it works whatever the perceived wisdom is. I am old enough to remember the gnashing of teeth caused by Linn and Naim when they pushed the source first idea. And whilst I would generally follow it, I have heard many systems that haven’t followed this dogma that have sounded good. Rules about subjective things and SQ is subjective, are there to guide, sometimes breaking them can give a better result. Listen and decide for yourself is my view.

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could you kindly explain what is the reality?

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Watts per channel is a crude guideline with many variables.
For example: Naim DR technology regulates the power output, serving up ‘cleaner’ power. There’s more ‘raw’ wattage before we do that.

To be specific to Nova, if you read the Stereophile review you will see the system measured at higher than stated specs - more than 100wpc.

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Only one of the devices actually ‘pushes the air and makes a sound’ - I’ve often felt that source first is not ideal if the speakers aren’t up to the job of playback. At the end of the day the ‘mullet’ concept isn’t helpful as I think if people are spending a decent wadge of cash thet will have evaluated/compared various options - some work, some don’t.

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The Powerline is a revelation on a Nova as I’ve mentioned many times.

I’m risking dissent, but with Apple ditching chargers with iDevices on ‘environmental grounds’ might there be potential for Naim to sell ‘bare’ equipment allowing the user to choose between a lead they have already, Powerline Lite or full fat Powerline? Naturally the base price might be held higher but some users at a demo might prefer a Powerline add-on rather than what is supplied by default?

Just a thought.

I very much agree with the some work some don’t.
However I do have an observation on what happens when they don’t.

An unbalanced mullet comes in two flavours:

1 Cheap source fronting a much more expensive system. This can be OKish, just lacking in polish and/or finesse, provided that the source doesn’t have any truly nasty characteristics that are revealed by the rest of the system.

2 Cheap source and amp with much more expensive speakers. Depends almost entirely on the speakers, if the speakers are a difficult load and the amplifier really struggles the result can be dire; if the speakers are a begin load, it simply and faithfully reveals the capabilities of the source and amp and can actually be a very good system.

Source first on the other hand rarely gets nasty, all that happens is that it faithfully shows the limitations of the speakers; if you like the speakers you’ll like the system, but it will cost a lot more for relatively little gain. On the other hand it makes for a simple decision on what to upgrade when the time comes - as it inevitably will! (although selecting speakers to suit ones taste and the listening environment is much more time consuming than selecting sources or electronics!)

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Thanks for sharing @Naim.Marketing I auditioned the Uniti Star with the KEF Reference 1 and was impressed that the Star could drive it well. I’ve got a Nova now and Powerline on the way for this week.

Curious on what you meant by placement? I’m looking at ways to optimise my Nova.

As @LindsayM says for mr it’s the NOVA having heard both on demo - NOVA has more musical drive dynamics & Boogie - Linn is more relaxed in sound and IMO drive

pair the NOVA well with speakers and enjoy the music

Slightly off topic but I hadn’t realised until recently the Nova had an SD card slot. Is there a difference in sound between this and streaming from a network? Seems a lovely neat solution to house plenty of flac files

The linn is a clever box of tricks but ultimately is too polite…. Naim on the other hand has that delicious slam and drive that is not replicated in other brands.

Gary

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I meant placing it on a really solid surface - mine sits on a Fraim shelf with isolating supports, for example.

Slam really is about bandwidth and lack of smearing (frequency phase distortion), speaker displacement, and low frequency cancellations (lack of) in your room. Largely speaker/amp coupling and speaker / environment related.
Most quality speaker and amps can provide ‘slam’ in the right environment. You can find upper mid dips and dips around 200 Hz can appear to artificially enhance ‘slam’. Also cutting or restricting very low frequencies often enhances slam as well. However this is often done in recording production. Also often frequencies below 100 Hz or so on produced music are converted to mono to stop phase cancellations…which often would otherwise suck out slam.

As far as Linn vs Naim, yes I often have found Linn a little lacking in engagement vs Naim on the same systems room environment…. Possibly Linn is the more accurate, but less engaging,

Well having listened to both Nova and Selekt i agree with Gary that to my ears the Linn sounds polite on rock music, not bad on folk music…….the Naim Nova gives the heart and soul of a performance to my ears. Technically I have no clue what both brands are doing, but it is obviously very different……as ever home demo if you can.

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You hear similar comments when people compare the Cambridge Audio EVO with the Naim Atom (Darko just put up a video comparing them yesterday, using almost the exact same wording).

I personally don’t think there is anything magical going on, but that the class D devices from Linn and Cambridge are simply more accurate. The Naim devices have more distortion and introduce more 2nd and 3rd order harmonics, which subjectively makes them sound either more warm or more aggressive:

Second-order or ‘even’ harmonics are even-numbered multiples of the fundamental frequencies and create a rich, pleasing sound. Third-order or ‘odd’ harmonics are odd-numbered multiples of the fundamental frequencies, which give the signal an edgier, more aggressive sound.

Naim listeners have gotten used to the Naim sound so they will prefer it, but that doesn’t mean it is technically the better or more honest reproduction.


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