SuperUniti - Finally working properly after 9 years!

OK, so I know you’re all going to think I’m mad, or an idiot, or possibly both, but I’ve finally managed to get my SuperUniti to work properly for the first time in 9 years.

Some background: I bought my SuperUniti new back in 2013 to replace a Planar 3 / Denon CD Player / A&R A60 / Heybrook HB2 system that I’d owned since my school days in the early 80s. I assumed the SuperUniti would be a massive step up – it wasn’t, it was a massive disappointment.

Which was odd, because it had sounded pretty great in the shop.

The Heybrooks made way for B&W PM1s, but it still didn’t sound right.

They eventually made way for Dynaudio Special 40s. Still not much better.

The sound was small, thin, hard and lacked air and kick.

I took it back to the dealer – and we listened together in the shop – sounded great. In fact (as it had been run in by now) it sounded better than his demo SuperUniti.

But at home it still sounded awful.

Now… I knew that Naim kit of old had been fussy about speaker cable, but I’d been led to believe that the new stuff didn’t really mind what cable you used. I knew that Naim recommended NACA5, which was probably loose change to someone with a full separates system, but for a SuperUniti it seemed expensive overkill. As it turned out, my Naim dealer agreed with me and supplied me with some basic 2.5mm copper core cable – looked a bit like QED 79 – not sure it was though.

Still didn’t sound great. Over the years I fiddled with different NASs, routers, mains, but nothing really improved.

Recently, out of frustration I tried taking my SU over to a friend to try it in comparison to his Atom. It sounded great.

Back home, it didn’t.

Then I took it to another friend and it sounded great there too, through his modest Yamaha floor standers. So I went and got my Dynaudios and… it sounded terrible.

It turned out that my friend’s speakers were bi-wired so I couldn’t use the same cables to the Dynaudios – so I had taken mine over.

Then a thought hit me.

My friend had some boggo Kabel Direkt cables in his second system – which I asked to borrow. Brought them back to my place and plugged everything back together…

And…

Bingo! The lights finally came on.

His Kabel Direckt cables were cheap, but they were 4mm copper instead of 2.5mm. (I note that NACA5 is also 4mm).

The SuperUniti into the Dynaudio Special 40s has completely transformed. It’s so open and effortless at any volume. Airy, open and detailed at the top, punchy and tight at the bottom. Even Spotify sounds amazing.

This is what I’ve been missing all these years.

Now I finally get why everyone loves Naim.

I feel foolish, but also rather annoyed – after all it was a Naim dealer that gave me the offending cable in the first place.

However, it sounds great now and that is making me very happy.

I write here, just in case anyone else is struggling with a hard, thin, weak sounding Naim Uniti – if you are, it just might be because you’ve been led to believe that it doesn’t need fancy speaker cable.

Actually, it DOESN’T need fancy speaker cable – but it DOES seem to need something that’s 4mm copper.

I really cannot believe how good it sounds now. Just a shame it’s 9 years late.

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Pleased you are now happy with your SU; not clear as to the point you are making. SU has always been an excellent product from Naim. I have a similar age SU which has always sounded very good.

For a long period I used QED cable possibly 79, to MA speakers in bedroom, then changed to NACA5 when opportunity arose. Considerable improvement certainly, but not game changing.

Recently relocated SU to dining room where the cable is same QED, hidden in the ceiling to wall mounted Spendor SA1s - listened at length this morning, no issues.

Enjoy,

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Do you still have them? They are fantastic.

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Hi Sound-Hound,

I agree the SU sounds great. Now.

My point was simply that cables are critical, even for modern Naim kit. (I know this won’t be news to a lot of people).

The SU didn’t like the cable I had. (It looked a bit like QED 79, but probably wasn’t). Whatever its electrical properties, the SU didn’t like them.

With the cable I now have, it sounds amazing.

Yes, I still have the PM1s. They are lovely! I should really sell them on, but I found it hard letting them go. :rofl:

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The SuperUniti is still a very capable amplifier. Is it 70w?

Of course it is constrained in the way any other multi purpose box is.

We recently had cause to press the SU into action as a preamplifier.

NDX2/nDAC/555PSDR, SU, 250DR.

At low volume levels we were very surprised at how good it sounded. TV listening was a pleasure.

This short term setup gave us new appreciation for the “source first” methodology.

We keep the SU as our office system. QED XT40i speaker cable.

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Take a look here: Naim Audio NAC A5 | Audio Speaker Cable

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What length cables do you have now? I’ll find 5m a minimum and optimum around 10m. Somehow amps sound more relaxer with long runs.

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All the cables have been 5m x2.

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It could have been poor connections with the wire to the plugs, this can have a detrimental effect. There’s a knack to it and with naca5 for example and Naim sa8 plugs it’s quite tricky to do cleanly with the wrong solder or soldering iron; it requires a lot of heat.

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On an optimized network with ethernet spec network cables, NACA5, transcoding set to WAV, the SU is a great sounding all in one that punches way above its weight.

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I use Chord Shawline X with my Nova and they are only 1.31 mm2, the system sounds good enough to my ears but I now wonder if it would sound better with thicker cables?

Hi Robert,

Yes, quite possible that there was an issue with the plugs on my old cables - although they were made up by a Naim dealer, so I had assumed they would have been assembled properly - nevertheless, you might be right.

Hi Diavolo,

The Nova is obviously more modern than my SuperUniti, so its requirement for certain cable parameters may be different - I don’t know. To be honest, if it sounds good to you, I’d leave it alone!

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Could it have been that these cables were wired out of phase?

Had my SU connected with 2x2 m QED XT 25 ls cables for a while. Overall soundQ was good but i heard some sort of distortion at certain frequencies. Now with 2x5 m NACA5 everything sounds smooth and clean.

Kef don’t get much love here. But combi Kef Q550 and SU sounds great.

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It’s a valid question, but I tried switching the cable polarity to deliberately put the speakers out of phase and the sound was even worse, so no, I don’t think the cables were wired out of phase.

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Sound-Hound, I recently saw a very informative YouTube review on a channel using your name. Is it your channel?