Speaker Cable Linn (K20/K200) vs Chord vs Naim

Currently running a pair of Neat sx5i’s driven by a SN2 through Nac a4 (3 m lengths). Primary source is NDX. Ideally for aesthetics I need another 1 m in length so was going to buy some Linn K20 as it’s inexpensive and is essentially the same as my Nac a4. But maybe this is an opportunity to upgrade my cable so looking anyone who might have some experience with either the Linn K200, Chord Shawline or Nac a5 in a set up similar to mine (ie. SN driving an isobaric floorstander). Ideally I would audition and compare but that’s not an option in my part of the world so if anyone has some experience would appreciate hearing.

I have A5 on my main system and found it a worthwhile upgrade from some Chord Company Silver through my Uniti. I haven’t tried anything else on it.

However, I am using K20 on my attic system (Nait1 and Roger L7st) and tried A5 and could hear no difference. This may be down to the age of the amp, but I am very happy with the K20 and I find it the best VFM.

1 Like

Or… look out for some pre-loved longer runs of Naim A4… :thinking:
Otherwise, Linn K20 sounds like the winner…!! :smile:

( I am still using A4 since… 1982)

1 Like

I found NACA5 quite a bit better than the K20 I used to use. It’s well worth getting properly soldered Naim plugs on it too. If you’re patient you should be able to get some used for a decent price.

1 Like

If you’re looking for something cheap you could try Witch Hat N2 cable. It’s built to Naim specifications so sounds quite NACA5 like but is flexible and cheaper. Fully terminated with Naim plugs at the amp end and banana plugs at the speaker end and 2x4m lengths will set you back £150. Witch Hat Phantom is even better and not much more than NACA5 - £320 for a terminated 2x4m pair.

3 Likes

Great tip thanks!

Another vote for K20 here, sounds much the same as A5 to me.

4 Likes

I have used k20 for years. But I have been wondering if k200 would be an upgrade so would be interested if anyone uses it too.

2 Likes

I’m using K200 and pretty happy with it. Not too bright, but plenty of detail and a wide soundscape. Used with SN3 & Spendor A7s.

Will probably try a few other options in the future once I inevitably upgrade the SN3, but for now it matches the system well.

2 Likes

As an update I bought the K200 and it was a significant improvement over the Naca 4. Then a chance to buy a set of Tellurium Silver 2 came up at a good price so I decided to try them out. Some have reported them to be too bright. In my system, room setup and ears I’m really enjoying them. The improvement from the K200 to Tellurium isn’t as great as the Naca4 to Linn but there is an improvement in further detail particularly at the upper mids and highs.

1 Like

Linn K200 appears to be around £27 per metre (cf. Naim A5 at £35 per metre…?).

“K200 uses a twisted pair of 60-strand (4sq mm) copper core, offering superior shielding and audio performance over K20. Enclosed in a flexible sheath, K200 is easy to manipulate for neat installation and compact enough to be used in multiple cable runs where multi-wiring is required.”

1 Like

I believe you are correct. I did have A5 at one point but sold it for A4 just because it was more flexible and the difference in sound quality in my system at the time (not the one I have now) was minimal. I haven’t tried the A5 in my current set up so don’t know how it would compare. As mentioned I did compare the A4, K200 and Tellurium Silver II. It’s all very subjective what works for one might not another. As with much of this stuff at a certain level it’s about personal preferences and how the room is set up.

I prefer k20 over naca5, k400 and k200 with either Linn or Naim amps. Not the cleanest sound but the most musically coherent to my ears. The modern Linn cables obviously carry the tune better. A5 is the most punchy and snappy which can help emphasis the swing in some music.

1 Like

My preference is Chord Odyssey. Available 2nd hand in the Flea Pit.

Regards,

Lindsay

1 Like

Don’t forget… Linn K20 is effectively Naim A4… Or almost… :blush:

Yep, I think of it as pretty much the same thing too. Must admit I’ve never heard NACA4.

As I understand, the chronology is like this -
First, there was RS 56 strand - which was 2 separate single cables, which had to be twisted and/or taped together. Naim introduced NACA4 as a more user/dealer friendly version of this.

Spotting this, and finding A4 was being made by BICC, Linn and Exposure (?) asked BICC to make the same thing for them. Which BICC did. This is where Linn K20 originates.

Naim were - understandably - a bit annoyed with BICC - and with Linn & Exposure… So, they developed A5… With ANOther cable manufacturer… :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

Also worth a quick mention that Linn k20 sheath recently changed from embossed wording to ink. Dunno if the wire has changed too. I’ve got some but not compared yet.

1 Like

Interesting. I think while K20 was originally ‘the same’ as A4 - there is absolutely no certainty that it still is, TBH. Linn could well have re-sourced it several times, in the years since it was introduced.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.