My new (used) Supernait

Hi guys,

It’s been a couple of weeks now since getting my new (used) Supernait (mk 1). I’m using it with my new (used) Revel F30 speakers I picked up from a local audio buddy and everything is sounding very good indeed. My previous speakers were vandersteen 2ce signature and compared to the f30, the vandys were laidback and veiled. The Supernait does sound very good indeed, but I have a questions on two items:

  1. Speaker Cables.
    I’m wondering if I should pick up some NACA5? Right now I’m using Mogami W3082 in a bi-wire configuration. Now, the mogami’s are recognized as being pretty neutral. However, they also have a tendency to sound “full” in the midrange area, where they see to be rolled-off in the highs and lows. Since the vandys were laidback in the mids, this cable helped. But, the F30s are much fuller and open in the mids and highs and I’m wondering now, along with the SN, I’m getting overblown in this region now? Bass is still punchy, but on certain tracks I feel as though I am missing the lowest of lows. Same the highs too.

  2. Volume Level.
    Is there an optimum range on the volume dial that Naim gear sound best? When listening, where is your volume knob most of the time? 8 o’clock? 9 o’clock? 12 o’clock? For me, it’s mostly at 8 or 9 o’clock depending on song and which format. Most of the time I’m listening via Amazon Music via my iphone into my HRT iStreamer. Now, I have used the 3.5mm Digital-In on the SN1 and it’s not as hot (gain or output voltage) so I can get a little more on the volume knob. CD is the same too. Btw, I’ve had several of the Naim cd players over the years, as well as other high end brands (including my current Theta Miles) and I’ve gotta say the DAC in this SN1 sounds pretty darn good. Anyone else with an SN1 use the internal DAC? Anyway, back to the volume knob. I guess my concern is whether I’m missing anything by having the volume at 8 o’clock most of the time? Does Naim gear have a sweet spot in the preamp section within a certain volume range. I’ve read often times that “other gear” sounds best when in the 10 o’clock to 3 o’clock range on the volume dial. Naim is different animal and was just wondering if I have “too much animal” for my space. Although, most of the Naim gear I’ve had over the years… Nait 5i, XS, XS-2 (demo) and 72/140 all seems to have similar characteristics with the volume knob position at/around 8-9 o’clock on the dial. Seems the gain stages in naim gear are high by design? Nait 5i is the exception as I believe it has a passive pre section.

My Supernait is connected with Chord Odyssey (3.3mm/2, silver plated copper & PTFE insulation) I preferred them sonically to NACA5 & its a lot neater to tuck in & hide around the domestic stuff. Plus Supernait is not at all fussy about cables as are the regulated Naim power amps.
My background listening volume is around 8 o’clock, serious listening depends on the codec (file format) FLAC tends to be 9 0’clock, DSD will be 10 o’clock, maybe higher. Then when no one else in the house add one other clock point. Also my speakers are slightly incentive so need an extra ‘half hour’.

PS: I should add I don’t use the Supernait DAC, its not that good but was OK for TV.
I now use the NDX internal DAC which is a PCM1791

Yes, every day. There are better, I also have a chord dac (the mojo only, but I know the hugo too) but I like the Naim dac for its naimness (the ‘kick’ / ‘guts’ whatever). It improves when you add a hicap.

Regarding the volume dial: 10 o’clock into insensitive 84 db loudspeakers is best! But maybe I’m kidding myself since when I turn up the volume it is for the workout and fun.

I run with Witch Hat Phantoms with my SN1, best upgrade I made.
Volume typically 8 O’Clock for normal listening from a digital source, a bit further round for phono via Stageline. The internal DAC is now somewhat redundant. I was using the DAC in my ND5-XS which was an improvement over the internal DAC. Last year I moved to a Chord Qutest which was a massive uplift again. I also run a HC-DR. I will add (shock horror) that I never ran NACA5, I didn’t have the budget when I initially invested in a NAIT 5 and for some reason, it never was replaced until I went for the Phantoms.

9 o’clock on the volume dial is pretty normal. It’s scary dangerous to go anywhere near 12. Not for the amp, it completely takes it in its stride, just for anyone in the vicinity.
Naca5 is very much recommended, you should try it if you can.

Congrats on the Nait. I’ve really grown to love mine more and more as the years pass. I keep trying other amps, but always come back home to the Naim.

Per cables, I’ve used Zu Audio Mission and Audioquest Type 4 cables on the Nait, but still found that I preferred the NACA5, and the Audioquest in close second for my Dynaudios.

As for volume, I keep it between 8 and 9 typically, maybe raise it to 10 on more quiet pressings when the wife and kids are absent.

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Your Mogami cable is not a good match for a Naim amp due to its very high capacitance and fairly low inductance. Using it biwired will only make this worse. So yes, I would try NACA5 or something similar and see if it improves things.

I wouldn’t give much thot to the position of the volume control. I have an SN2 and the knob position is the same as the other posters here. Average is around 7 or 8 o’clock, and 9 if I really want to hear it, and 10 or 11 if I’m alone and I really want to feel David Gilmour’s bending and distortion.
This topic has come up a number of times, but I’ve never really thounght that the knob shoould be at a specific placement for a volume level. I always use the remote or the App anyway.

I would say splash out on some Witch Hat Phantoms but you will need jumpers with your speakers so may make them a little pricey otherwise Nac A5 is an excellent cable.

Your Mogami is
Capacitance 253pF/m
Inductance 0.4µH/m

A5 is
Capacitance: 16pF per metre
Inductance: 1uH per metre

Minimum length: 3.5 metres per channel
Maximum length: 20 metres per channel (note that longer lengths can be used up to around 25 m but then some small signal loss must be expected)

Is your amp getting warm when idle?

The supernait is I think more tolerant than the classic amps but it still relies on the cable characteristics for stability rather than having a series inductor built in. The capacitance of your cable is way too high, though the inductance isn’t too bad. You’re making it twice as bad by biwiring.

The 3.5m minimum recommendation applies to NACA5 only.
What its doing is applying an inductive load to the amp output stage, the minimum recommended is 3.5uH. NACA5 has 1uH/m & 3.5m gives the required 3.5uH.
If another speaker cable has (e.g.) 0.5uH/m, then it needs 7m for the required 3.5uH.
Problem is double the length doubles capacitance, & although capacitance itself is not a bad thing, more capacitance will bring the amp/cable/speaker system closer to capacitive reactance.

Thanks guys for all the info. I found (and bought) a pair of used NACA5’s at a hifi store somewhat close to me. They are a 3.5m (12ft) pair with naim plugs on the amp end, and deltron bananas on the speaker end. I’ve had NACA5’s with the naim gear I’ve owned in the past. I guess I should’ve known better to just get another pair when I bought the SN1. :smile:

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