Sorry for another power cable thread: What would be the best choice for an Atom? (Audiquest vs. Chord vs. Isotek)

I will keep you updated if you like. I am going have both for about 10 days (including 2 weekends).
Seems to be a decent testing timeframe …

To be honest: A year ago I would never have thought that I would ever compare loudspeaker cables and test them extensively at home. I hope it’s worth it and not completely pointless. But it costs me nothing except a little time.

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Just give yourself time and don’t madly swap them every 5 minutes. Not all changes are obvious, and not everything that is obvious is really better. More brightness or in-your-face-ness can seem impressive but the test is if you can live with it and enjoy the music for the long term.

I am very happy with NACA5 out of a 300DR, but have not compared. My funds are dry now after an insane year leading to the all new system (see profile :wink: ).

However I am interested in TQ among others, and you seem not yet corrupted and tainted by the forum :wink: so it will be interesting what you think, even on an Atom

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You have to!! :slight_smile:

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The other cables you have are from Chord?


The interconnects, yes, Sarum T. Interconnects are not an issue (section 1.1 of the manual). Speaker cables are, because the classic Naim power amp design uses their electrical properties as part of the amp’s output circuitry. (I.e., “Naim power amplifiers do not have extra inductance networks in the output. Naim prefer the more elegant solution of allowing the speaker cable to provide the correct inductance and capacitance.”, from the previously linked FAQ).

Regarding the Sarum T’s, they were highly recommended by people I know and also have a good rep on the forum. My dealer advised me that he thinks I would be happier with Super-Lumina. However, neither’s new price was an option and I was actually planning to stay with standard cables for a while - the sound was fabulous anyways. But then one of the larger Chord dealers in Germany was closing shop (not Covid-related) and an online search task I had going dropped the Sarum-Ts into my lap for less than 50% of new price. And now I very much like what I am hearing. Given the price, I have always the option to shift them without loss if suitable SLs come along


Please let me know what you determine. The Uniti ref manual does not say only Naim cables can be used and instead says “Naim Audio speaker cable will provide the best results, however, a range of speaker cable types may be used without risk of damage to the amplifier.” section 2.5 Speaker Outputs. I have included the link to the PDF below. What is confusing to me is that this is a simple issue. Either it will or it won’t damage the amp, and Naim seems to make this clear in that sentence. Am I missing something? I have the Uniti Atom. Thoughts appreciated.

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The Uniti is much more tolerant as we discussed in, I believe, another thread (edit: actually right here, above). I think the issue is only that Naim can’t very well say that there is no speaker cable in existence that will do harm - there are some weird cables out there and you cannot know and test them all. But you will be hard pressed to find one that does, at least not without first sounding bad and possibly making the Uniti hot.

Though Unitis often seem small change in the context of this forum, we still shouldn’t forget that they are way more expensive than what most people would consider, and they are still very optimized devices. We also don’t expect that just any liquid propellant will do for cars, and less so for supercars, and I guess it is similar here.

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There have been a few people experiencing problems with the current Uniti range using speaker cables that are of an unsuitable spec, so it’s not just the classic power amps that are susceptible. For example:

I agree that the guidance from Naim isn’t entirely clear, but look at it from their point of view. They are a business that sells speaker cable, and theirs is obviously selected to work optimally with their amps. If you want to use a competitors cable, why should Naim test every third party product on the market just to help their competitors to sell more stuff? Surely the onus is on the seller to provide you with a cable that’s suitable for your needs. Naim do at least publish the spec of their cable in order that you can choose other cables that are a reasonable match.

Right I agree with not testing every third party cable but the wording indicates go for it. I am not seeing “don’t using woven or braided cable” which would allow them to not review every third part cable or name company names. So I am left not understanding if there is a problem and if so what to avoid. Witch Hat had cables as does so many vendors but what is in and what is out? I am only caring because I don’t want to burn up the amp. Very frustrating

Litz type cables from the likes of Cardas are about the worst for a Naim amp. Brands such as Chord and Witch Hat are very much aimed at Naim amp users, and will be a safe bet, as will Tellurium Q, Kudos and Linn. If in doubt, check the inductance and capacitance of the cable and compare it with the figures for NACA5, and avoid anything that’s a very different spec.

This is going in circles a bit :slight_smile: I agree that the Uniti quick start guide is a insufficient. On the website in the support pages, however, if you search for speaker cables it finds:

Q: What sort of loudspeaker cable should I use?
A: We recommend using Naim NAC A5 speaker cable which can be purchased from your local specialist retailer.

If someone decides to get a different one, it really is up to them. Either talk to a Naim retailer who will sell you A5 or something else - which probably they will have some experience with. Or speak with a cable manufacturer who know about Naim (apparently Kimber don’t). Or do the legwork and choose your own, at your risk. As Chris wrote, at least the specs of A5 are known, which is more than can be said about most other cables.

I know it’s dire with the car analogy, but I still think it applies. The manual tells you a specific motor oil to use. If you use a different one, it’s up to you and your knowledge.

There’s also the FAQ on here re. loudspeaker cables;

Note in particular that “alternative speaker cables cannot be recommended by Naim, however, should you still wish to try them then you should ensure that the cable is low capacitance and of moderate inductance. High capacitance &/or very low inductance cables are to be avoided at all costs and may result in damage to your amplifier.”

I use Mark Grant made 6mm2 Van Damme speaker cables using same “shotgun” parallell design as NACA5 for similar required characteristics. And they are flexible! :wink: And cheap compared to a lot out there. Great performance/cost value IMO.

Recently I bought Audience 24U SX. I had first the Naca 5 18 years ago. Then replaced by Apertura tiny, which were more refined to my ears.
I have the Audience since 1 month. They opened recently. The sound is terrific, fast, dynamic, super clean, organic and textured. A revelation!

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Some friends have some of this cable from a Unitilite to ATC SCM7’s and the sound is excellent . Mark Grant makes very good cables for the price .

I use a very similar (looks the same) Van Damme 2.5mm on my Nait-2 (2nd system)
I measured the specs when I first bought it, regret I seem to have not kept a record of the numbers (very not me) but I do recall the inductance was just little lower than NACA5, something like 0.8uH/m, so should be good for Naim’s. And capacitance was fairly low as well, so all good to go.
Only question is how does it rate for SQ compared to NACA5 & the others.

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With Uniti Atoms for the European market, two power lines are provided: one with a UK plug and one with an EU plug. The one with a UK plug is a Naim power line lite (and costs about 100 euros separately), the other cable is a more ordinary power cable.

Posted it further up in the thread, not sure it is being read …
But it is true that only forum users have a chance to see this. (And the Uniti “manuals” don’t have the bit about “speak to your retailer” that is mentioned in the Amplification Reference Manual, the Uniti flyer only says that you will need a speaker cable)

Using 8m of Chord Rumor 2 with my CB 160 bolt down, mostly because I needed white flexible cable to go around a door frame, and my dealer happened to have a used pair for a price hard to refuse. Sounds fantastic to me, perhaps the extra length makes a difference. The 3.5m of NACA5 I used before is now on the Unitiqute in the office. Like others have said, just stay away from the truly exotic stuff, and perhaps go for the longest length you can afford whatever you choose, esp with the older amps.

I have also considered replacing the power cable on my Atom. The dealer indicated that with a 1.0 m length, the Audioquest NRG-Z3 performs better, is comparatively cheaper, and would add some more bass. If a greater length was desired, the Chord Shawline was a better choice. Just keep in mind that the audioquest cable is almost impossible to bend. Whether replacing it makes any difference I can’t tell you. I haven’t decided if I want to spend the money for it yet.

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