Naim Nova Totem Fires. Wire? Cardas?

Thanks for adding me!

Ive purchased a Naim Nova a few months back. I have Totem Element fires. I’ve been reading Naim amps are sensitive to speaker and power wire?
Ive always liked the sound of Cardas cable, warm and detailed. Prior to Cardas, i was using Kimber 8ATC bi wired sounds very forward and bright with the Naim.

Is Cardas a good match with the Naim Nova? alternatives? Recommendations for power cord?

I appreciate any feedback!



Kimber should be avoided at all costs. The inductance and capacitance properties make it unsuitable. Anything woven is a no no.

The ideal speaker cable is Naim’s own naca5. But if you want to try something else, the rule of thumb is to stick with cables with a similar design, where the positive and negative are separated with a spacer. Like this.

A suitable power cable is in the box.

You will also find speaker cable connectors for the amp end in the box.

I would be very careful with Kimber 8TC - much too capacitive and far too low in inductance. I tried some that I had been using on some big valve amps on my NAP250.2 some years ago. It not only sounded very bad on the NAP, but the 250 got very hot very fast. I switched off before any damage could be done. Lesson learned.

The Nova is a bit more tolerant of speaker cable compared to the classic amps, but in my opinion you should still not stray far from Naim’s recommendations of a low capacitance, moderate inductance cable. See here for more on Naim and speaker cable;

Thanks Richard. If i look at the Cardas wire it looks to be separated internally. Ive read that the supplied power cord can and should be upgraded? Can you speak to this?

The litz wire is not a good match. They are generally not suitable for Naim:

From Wikipedia:

It consists of many thin wire strands, individually insulated and twisted or woven together, following one of several carefully prescribed patterns often involving several levels (groups of twisted wires are twisted together, etc.)

The included power cord is appropriate. Power cord upgrades are a possibility but always demo as there are no guarantees that you will hear our like the effect. Adding a 650 euro Power-Line to a 5000 euro Nova is a bit lopsided. But try if interested

The Litz construction makes Cardas speaker cables particularly unsuitable for Naim amps. This applies specifically to speaker cables, not interconnects or mains cables.

Thanks. Do you have another speaker wire manufactures other than Naim wire, i cant use it, far too stiff. Ive heard Chord is good for Naim Nova?
Bi wire critical?

Welcome to the Forum / madhouse. I use the Naim speaker cables with my Totems:

  • Nova - Hawks, NACA5
  • 252/SN2, Forest Signatures, Naim Superlumina speaker cables.

The Element Fires are a lot of speaker for a Nova I’d imagine. They will take you well into the classic range of Naim amps!

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Chord should be fine.

Thanks Mike, i used to have the model ones. I’m amazed with the Nova’s ability to drive the Fires!

Im so used to the warmth of Cardas…on other equipment.

From memory Cardas cables are very similar to Van den Hul cables. Being slightly warm with good detail resolution - as if your midhall seated rather than right at the front presentation.
Their cables are usually nothing crazy load wise.
Generally you want to use a powercable that’s in keeping with all your other cables. Van den Hul have the very excellent the mainstream.
Although with your Totem fires I would be tempted with something from the upper tiers by Nordost, give them something to get their teeth into.

I replaced my Naim Nac A5 speaker cable with Witch Hat Phantom and it was a definite improvement in both sound and usability. Plenty of threads on here about them if you search. They also do a cheaper cable which is meant to comparable if budget is an issue. Witch Hat is pretty much made for use with Naim amps.

Have been using Cardas since 2000 first with Nait 5, than with 202/200, no issues, liked the result very much. Each time compare to NACA. in both case prefered Cardas.

Thanks All for the great info!

I went and borrowed a set of Naim Nac5 cables. They sounded dull cold and uneventful compared to my Cardas that I’ve been demoing. I was very disappointed. On another note, thoughts on upgrading my Nova with a 250dr and a 272 streamer/preamp? My dealer will take my Nova in on trade and has the 272 at half price as its discontinued. My investment will be around $6-$7k Considerable difference in sound? worth the 6-7k?

Thanks for the response Andre, what model Cardas cables are you using?

Initially it was Crosslink, then Quardlink and improvement was huge. From old assortment I believe Quardlink is the minimum to start.
By the way, chage Crosslink to Quardlink gave bigger imrovement than adding FlatCap2, so first I changed speaker cable and later bought FC2.
Sorry not familiar with their new models.

Witch hat cables are loved my many here. I use Audience AU24 SX. But I don’t have a Naim amp anymore.

Richard keeps repeating that the A5 needs a long time to burn in and that he believes that most people judge it too early after a short demo installation.

I use A5 and certainly don’t find it dull and uneventful, quite the opposite in fact. But amps, speakers, and tastes differ.

Do consider that you would lose some of the streamer functionalities that the Nova has. No built-in Qobuz for example (though this and Roon can be rigged with 3rd-party solutions), and who knows how long Naim can support the 272 with updates if something fundamental changes in the online streaming market/technologies. It depends on what you want from it, for local UPnP streaming it is just fine, for example.

The 272 as such is great and many people say that the 555PS transforms it, but of course would change the price considerably.

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