Rel sub cable

Hi, I have a Nova and just got a Rel sub, I am a bit confused over how to connect the Rel to the nova, ideally I want to use the Rel hi level cable which came with the sub, and what Rel recommends, my confusion is, I have read on the forum that you can not connect the hi level cable to the speaker terminals on the Nova, is this correct or does this only apply to the older Naim amps ?

You can either split the outer sheath of the Rel cable so that you can run two cores to one speaker and one to the other, or you can buy a dedicated Naim version that is made up with the cables separated. Rel’s own version of this split cable is rather expensive, but you could ask another cable supplier to make one up for you.

If you connect at the amp end, it may not be optimal, but it will still work fine. In fact my dealer has been selling Naim and Rel for many years and this is what he always does, so nothing is going to explode!

The high level cable should be connected to the back of both speakers. The low level cable can be connected to the Nova’s pre out.


Thanks to both of you, it would be much simpler to connect to the speaker terminals on the Nova using stackable banana plugs, think I best drop Naim support an email just to make sure

Yes stacking banana plugs is the best solution.

Furutech makes really nice Bananas FP-202 (G) or (R) gold or rhodium.

FWIW, I’ve done it both ways at the amp and at the speaker on a Supernait 2, zero difference.

So is it safe to connect the rel hi level cable to my speaker terminals on the nova

What cable are you using for your main speakers? If you’re using Naim cable, or another type which is well matched to a Naim amp, adding the Rel cable will be safe. If you’re already using a cable which has very different spec (inductance and capacitance) then the Rel cable will push things a little further out of spec, and this may affect performance.

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I’m using Tellurium q black mk2 5 and half metre pair

They should be fine. You just need to find a way to connect the Rel cable. Stackable bananas are probably the easy option, and should work at either end if you change your mind later.

Connecting RELs via the high level is the preferred way. I installed two T9is to the terminals at the back of the speakers simply by clamping the bare wire. The Witch hat Phantom then connected with bananas. Simples.
What I did do was investigate the actual cables. REL supply an overlong cable and because the distance from the existing speakers to the sub is only a few feet I got custom cables made by Designacable dot com.
I didn’t have to strip back any insulation and the cables arrived beautifully finished with Van Damme cable, custom heat shrinks and genuine Neutrik speaker plugs. They cost less than £40 each and sound great. They now make Naim versions of the cable starting at £76 a fraction of RELs Bassline Blue price.

Connecting via the high level input to the back of the Nova is fine provied you don’t mind the following:

  1. higher stress on the Nova’s power amp
  2. the bass cones of the speakers adding colouration to the bass from the sub
  3. increasing the timing inaccuracy of the sub by an amount equal to the group delay of the Nova’s power amp.

Something to consider here, REL are very clear about their subs. High level is their preferred connection. Whether other connections are are used, RELs should be attached to systems this way. There are of course other makes and of course your choice is available.
My findings are that REL subs are nothing short of lovely. Sliding in that extra level of bass and depth without robbing the detail and presentation. You’ve got the sub so enjoy it and of course the pratting around getting it to balance and integrate…part of the fun.

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Naim also say that the high level connection is preferable, and my experience with an N-Sub is that they are right, but I found the difference between high and low level connection to be quite small. If low level had been my only option I could have lived with it quite happily. Of course there are quite a few variables at play here.

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I’ve had several REL subs over the years. Never had any issues, always used the high level and it always sounded great. Just follow REL’s setup procedure.

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The FAQ on connecting a sub has unfortunately been lost in the transfer to the new forum.

It did not actually say that the high level connection was preferred, what it said was words to the effect that:
“If you needed to use the high level connection then it is preferred to connect to the back of the speakers rather than to the speaker connections on the amp.”

Naim is just being difficult. I had my rel g2 using high level from SN2 for eight years and it was fine. The connection is nearly invisible to the amp. It’s borderline fear mongering to suggest it could damage the amp.

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That’s a separate issue. What they said about high level vs. low level was:

Neither I nor Naim said that it would damage the amp.

I said it would add additional stress to the amp - this is true, but doesn’t state that the additional stress will damage the amp. I know this to be true from having studied electronics (1 unit of a degree course), and from experience having designed my own power amps.

I believe that was from the n-Sub manual rather than from the FAQ to which I was referring.

That also doesn’t take into account the possibility of using a line driver such as a DSpeaker Antimode or a miniDSP 2x4. On the other hand, if the leads to the sub (after the line driver) were to exceed about 20m then I would tend to agree, below 20m the effect of any possible lack of “robustness” of the signal is so small as to be insignificant.

The necessity of using a 100Ω resistor in series with long cables if directly connected to the output of a Naim preamp (to reduce the effect of the capacitance of the cable presenting a load that the preamp was never designed to drive) will have more effect on “robustness” of the signal than the long cable itself. This requirement is removed by using a line driver as previously suggested.

I have enough theoretical knowledge and practical experience to understand the possibilities and limitations of each solution. High level isn’t the best solution, but where long cables are required neither is it the worst.
What I don’t have at the moment, is the necessary time to go through all the advantages, disadvantages and caveats (including the electronic and signal theory supporting these) for each of the three main solutions.