My Nova suddenly sounds not good

Hi all,

Something fishy is going on with my Nova and I cannot figure what exactly it is. Suddenly the sound became overly warm. Listening to tidal or radio, no matter the source is I lost the sparkle… bass is prominent and muddy, and the overall sound is dark. I also feel pace, and rhythm is not as it was. It was a warmish sounding system from the start with my Dynaudio SP40s but suddenly it became a lot more that is hard to bear. The only change I made a couple of days ago was to change the speaker cables. I have two cables and I change them from time to time. One is the Nac A5s and the other DH Labs Q10s… Mostly A5s are connected but occasionally I also connect the DH Labs for couple days at most for its livelier sound. My mind is playing tricks maybe, or there has been a shift in my hearing… but I noticed this has started right after the last time I changed the cables.

Meantime since I did not know the capacitance and inductance values of the DH Labs cable, I was emailing the company for a while, and eventually I got an answer. When I shared the values in another post the responses were that it was a little out of the specs what Naim suggests. I then sent an e-mail to Naim support about this, and I am waiting for a response to confirm.

The values for DH Labs in 2,5m length is ;

Inductance: 1,22 uH
Capacitance: 246 pF

I remember @Richard.Dane mentioning earlier he experienced similar issue with his unit because of speaker cables he used, and that the unit never sounded same afterwards and was repaired ( I wonder what components were damaged). I find it hard to think that this could potentially be a cause… if Nova could be that sensitive to cable specs…

Has anyone experienced such shifts in sound quality on their units?

Before we get into discussing speaker cables, have you tried a full power cycle and/or factory reset on your Nova, to rule out other issues?

1 Like

That wasn’t me - I’ve not had a Nova, however, I would do as Clare suggests first. A full power cycle and factory reset should rule out anything else going on in the DSP first.

As for the speaker cabling, Naim recommend low capacitance and moderately high inductance speaker cable - NACA5 is 1uH per meter and 16pF per metre.

Your DH labs is about half the inductance but high in capacitance, which is not ideal.


Hi Clare, yes couple times indeed for both power cycle and factory reset.

1 Like

How old is it? Sounds like its running in.
If not, how do you have it connected to power? Straight into wall socket or block?
Maybe try on a different power circuit in the house or isolate and other electrical devices see if it reverts to normal

Sorry for the confusion Richard. For the last few days, I have been browsing a lot of old postings about cables in this forum and there was a post in which someone talked about such an experience, and it was not specifically for Nova.

I don’t understand why people mess with speaker cable, then complain afterwards that things aren’t sounding as they were.

Just wire up the system with the NACA5, then leave well alone. That’s surely not difficult to understand or to do.


almost 7 months… and I never experienced such a dramatic change during this time. It is connected to an extension block, and I tried another one as well and I did not notice any change.

Ok, my advice would be to get it off a block anyway if possible.
Is there a chance you could have damaged one of the terminals on either the Nova or speakers if you alternate regularly?

Could speaker cables be out of phase by being reconnected the wrong way around at one end? Not sure it would have the effect you describe but at least it is a quick and easy check.


I don’t think so because both speakers have the same shift in sound and damaging both L/R
terminals would need extra effort to do so I guess.

I did once try some kimber 8tc that I used on some valve amps on my NAP250. That was a mistake. The performance was poor and the amp ran hot too so I quickly removed it. The cable was low in inductance and high in capacitance, so unsuited to Naim power amps.


nope, they are connected correctly.

Put the old cables back and tell us how it sounds then. But you don’t need a forum to tell you that surely?


Richard I understand the certain capacitance and inductance value requirements for Naims to work in optimal conditions but how much this information is still valid today, what range these values should be ( min/max ) and is it valid for all series or just specific series is still not clear to me and to many as well probably. I’m having a little hard time understanding why Naim is not truly clear on this topic. For example, if there is any chance of damaging a Uniti or Supernait series when using cables other than Naim’s “specifications”, why is it not clearly mentioned in the manual inside the box as a caution? All the info I read in this forum specific to Uniti and Supernait series is that they are not as sensitive as the classic series or power amplifiers in this regard, that they are more tolerant but there is no clear information about the borders of this tolerance. Even my dealer has no clue on the capacitance and inductance values to be considered and vast majority of buyers never bother with the forums…

Yes, the current NAITs and the Unitis are a bit more tolerant than the classic power amps, however, for best performance you should still try to stick to Naim’s general recommendation of using low capacitance and moderately high inductance speaker cabling, which ideally would be NACA5 of at least 3.5m per channel or Super Lumina of at least 3m per channel. Naim can’t really comment on the enormous number other cables from other manufacturers, except to give their general guidance above.

Also, whatever cable you use, you should always use the supplied Naim speaker connectors at the amp end, as these are the ideal match with the 4mm speaker sockets on the equipment.

1 Like

I posted the calculation for your cables here just a few days ago:

Unitis are more tolerant than classic power amps, but this should not be a reason to use wildly incompatible cables. Although more tolerant, the forum is seeing issues with Unitis as well when such cables are used

I use LINN K20 speaker cable with my Nova and it’s sounds awesome.


In the basis, the K20 is rather similar to Naim’s NACA5


That is the point I am trying to make. For most, they will not be noticed on the general guidance unless informed by the dealer or by searching the topics in this forum.

If I get back to main topic, with the DH Labs cable, Nova didn’t get any hotter than usual when those cables were plugged in. Would you consider there could be any chance of damaging the unit with those specs ?