I’m hoping for some advice about the best speaker cables, regardless of price, for my 300DR. I’m aware of the issues around capacitance and induction and I need to keep the impedance low too, but what I’m really interested in, is not the science but your personal experience of cables, with focus on the sound quality. I have some NAC A5 (good but a little bright) and Which Hat Phantoms (good too). I’m thinking about Townshend F1 Fractal cables (already have Fractal interconnects (superb).
In my experience, NACA5 cannot be fully judged until it has at least a couple of hundred hours on it. Remarkable, yet also a bit frustrating too. However, I’m not sure “bright” is the word for NACA5 of any age; it’s never soft or particularly sweet in the sense of some, but it also has life and verve instead, which is a fair trade off as far I’m concerned. Time rounds off some of the harder edges and also brings a rather profound sense of depth that is otherwise in short supply until run in.
I recently demo’d some Superlumina cable running off a 300 against my old and trusted 5m of NACA5. Surprisingly, I didn’t notice any major shortfalls when I switched back to NACA5 and actually thought this cable had more ‘flow’. The NACA5 is staying !
Yes I have heard that. Mine probably have done around 100-150 hours but I notice that the soldering isn’t great (not done by me). I wonder if I should have them re soldered/ new plugs. I may try that.
Definitely get that done if it’s at all suspect - it makes a big difference.
DNM Resolution is worth listening too as well.
Compared to A5
A bit bass light but significantly better from the midrange to the treble and better at differentiating instrumental timbres; there’s possibly a very slight improvement in the dynamics (but that difference is at the limit of my hearing if it exists at all).
In general it’s very “musically coherent”.
I would definitely recommend trialling Super Lumina, despite the price. The guys at Townshend are a friendly bunch, and I’m sure they would let you try a demo set of Fractals too.
I had a look at the F1 Fractal specs:
I’m very concerned about capacitance so much so I would not put it on a classic Naim like the 300. The specs show it as 0.91nF/m (nano Farad) which is a bit odd as cable capacitance is normally shown as pF (pico Farad), but thats a side issue.
My main concern as 0.91nF is 910pF (per metre) & that is massively high - NACA5 is 16pF/m.
The very high C is because of the cable construction with a parallel pair of copper strips separated by a very thin strip of insulation; it is more or less a capacitor thats been unrolled.
Naim NACA5 has its conductors deliberately separated by a web to give the desired inductance & minimise capacitance
I had naca5 and then went with super lumina with my 300dr into Focal Kanta’s - super lumina was better by a country mile with the added benefit of it not needing to be tamed when hiding excess cable!
As alway demo if you can and be mindful of running in time.
Before jumping into super lumina it is well reported of the cumulative effect of going for the full loom. I did the interconnect first, followed by speaker cable then the pre to power last - my overall Impressions are the music just flows with the lumina full loom but the speaker cable when run in was much better than naca5.
You are right about the capacitance figure, Mike, but I suspect the contents of the little boxes on the ends of the cables ensures that this is not a problem. I think Max Townshend is pretty clued up, and he is certainly familiar with Naim amps, so as his web page says “Each end of the cable, incorporates house-keeping electronics to ensure stable operation with ALL amplifiers…” and “The ends of the cable are terminated in a metal enclosure containing an RLC network to prevent unstable amplifiers from oscillating…” I’m guessing that he has this covered. Of course, there are no specific details, but I’m sure a quick phone call would clarify the matter.
You should also add Chord Epic to the list. I preferred it over NAC A5, a lot of other people also do.
I did see all that Chris & no doubt Max has something in mind when he designed the cables. But I’m always suspicious of over complication for something as basic as connecting an amp to a speaker, & he has gone the complicated route with all his products & I wounder if thats associated with the pricing of his stuff.
I note that a 3m pair of this cable is £3300, compared to 3m of Naim SL @ £1950 which I would trust implicitly to work 101% correctly on a 300 … game set & match IMO
Perhaps, but without listening to them, it’s all guesswork.
Having used Super Lumina with the 300DR on both a NAC282 and NAC552 I can ‘recommend’ this choice. I noticed a really nice improvement in the balance of the sound when I added this cable to my system. Even from new they sounded good. I have also used NACA5 which is great for the price. Do a demo but Naim developed the SL cables in conjunction with Statement and they really do allow a small glimpse into the Statement world.
Thank you for the info, I will look into the DNMs
Another vote for SuperLumina, but in my experience these work best in conjunction with a SL interconnect and ideally a SL DIN/XLR.
PS - just noticed you have a non-Naim PS and a Townshend Allegri+ pre so I am not sure how well SL cables will work, so more important to demo than usual.
You are right to point this out of course. I previously used the Townshend Isolde speaker cable without any amp issues so I’m expecting the F1 to be equally acceptable, but I will ask the question. I do think that the high capacitance is corrected in one of those little magic boxes though.
Thanks to you all for the great info. DNM, Super L and some Chord cables are now on my list to research
@Russ, @NigelB is correct in saying that SL works better as a complete system. I did the Interconnect and speaker cable together and swiftly added the XLR’s. I think that Naim products work best together and that includes all of the cables. I see now you have a non Naim pre and I would be concerned about the SL not working as well in your set up. A demo is really necessary as these are not cheap wires!!
Please let us know how you get on though. I for one am interested to see how SL stands up in a non complete Naim system.
I replaced Tellurium speaker cable and a Hi-Line with Super Lumina and oh boy what a revelation -worth every penny.