Tellurium Q-Black 2 alternatives... (speaker cables)

Where would be the best place to look for pre-owned pair of Phantoms?

Have you considered Kudos KS-1 ? Half the price of the Phantom/Tellurium Q Black 2, but I think it’s got a performance edge on the Black. I can’t be sure as I didn’t audition the KS-1 (or Phantom) so my reference point was the Black II in my memory (and Audioquest Go 4 and the thickest Van-Damme OFC).

I too wasn’t prepared to wait months for Phantom to become available again when changing my cables and am currently running in the KS-1, though the sound from my system is already better with no running in than it was.

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The usual places however people might stick to them now they are unavailable.

I compared TQB2 vs WH Phantoms, and preferred the later.

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What the differences in sound signature between the two cables? I have TQUBII and I’m interested to compare it with WH phantom and Kudos KS1.

To anyone considering Witch Hat cables I would watch one of their on-line videos first!

Forum rules prevent me from discussing this in any detail but suffice to say that the video hardly inspires confidence. The person carrying out the work comes across as amateurish and several times appears to be struggling judging from the puffs and groans. Also twice reference is made to bolts having 'no official torque settings - as far as I am aware’ (!)

One would expect an engineer to inspire confidence and to have complete knowledge of what they were undertaking. Clearly this is not the case here.

I have no personal experience at all of Witch Hat cables or any of their other products and judging from this video I’m glad I don’t!.

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Ehh…? :thinking:

I wrote about my findings here. NACA5 vs TQ Black II vs Witch Hat Phantom - #77 by nop

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As I said forum rules prevent detailed discussion here but watch the video. The person carrying out the work does not seem to be sure if the bolts in question have an official torque setting. He just says that he is not aware of one. Which is hardly the same thing. Knowing the detail that Naim pay attention to then this would concern me - that is if I was stupid enough to undertake the work in the first place.

I would not be happy buying cables from such a ‘company’ and putting them on my precious Naim kit. Naim speaker cables are specifically made with certain electrical characteristics to suit the output stages of their amps. Substituting them for alternatives, as has seemingly become all the rage, may impair performance and may result in damage with some of their designs. Just because your Naim amp doesn’t melt down into a pool of moulten metal as soon as you start to play music doesn’t mean that all is well. Long term gradual cumulative damage may be occurring which may lead to premature component failure. At the end of the day of course it’s your money…

There are several of these small boutiquey-type companies that sell cables. It’s interesting that they all spout the same sort of rhetoric, ie. the big established cable manufacturers are ripping you all off by selling you complex cable designs based on pseudo-science and charging you an arm and a leg for them. We on the other hand sell you simple honest-to-goodness cables that are devoid of any fanciness and we don’t charge much for them. For which you can read - ‘we sell you standard off-the-reel cable and tart it up with attractive braiding and then over-charge you for them’ - rather than selling you cables designed from the ground-up to meet our specific requirements - because we really don’t have the facilities (manufacturing or research) for this anyway.

It just puzzles me why there is this fashion for fixing something that isn’t broken.

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Witch Hat products are discussed, reviewed and compared extensively here for quite some time in many, many posts. You seem to be able to learn and conclude a lot from single YT video. :smiling_face:

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As I explained, I have no personal experience of Witch Hat products. I have concluded what I have concluded from the video. I wouldn’t want to use their cables on a Naim amp, regardless of any supposed enhancements that they may bring, as I believe that their knowledge and understanding of Naim products is questionable. To not be aware if certain key bolts in the construction have proper torque settings and to just assume that they have not is in my opinion a serious issue and is indicative of a lack of understanding of how the products work.

Just my own opinion though. Obviously if other people are happy to trust their valuable kit to someone like that or they don’t think it matters at all then that’s entirely up to them.

There’s a lot to look at here!

  1. I am sure you are talking about speaker cables, which as I understand it are discussable here. Ditto their signal-carrying interconnects.

  2. Naim regards cables that take power to Naim boxes as part of the box and so regard using third party cables as an unauthorised modification and a possible risk. We do not discuss those here!

  3. The idea that cable function is a digital issue - broke or not - is probably not how we approach the rest of a hi-fi - a Nait has nothing wrong with it, but that does not mean that 500-series amps are not audibly better.

  4. There are lots of companies that sell cables, as you say. As far as I know, there is none but Witch Hat that was set up by people who had worked at Naim for many years and specifically aims its entire product range solely at users of Naim amps. That certainly does not prove they are better than Naim cables or TQB2 (which was the original question), but it does not really match the picture you paint.

  5. To get to specifics, I don’t believe that TQ or WH speaker cables from a Naim amplfier to any normal speaker have ever been suggested as a risk to the amp. From above, if anyone were to be suggesting that, this topic would not be getting discussed here at all. Why do you think it is a risk?

  6. More generally, I don’t really understand why cables get approached so differently from (say) power amps by some, nor why the subject provokes quite the ire that it does.

  7. An analogy may help explain my problem - Sorry in advance if it doesn’t.

Let’s assume that more than one fish and chip shop claims to be “London’s Best”. That certainly doesn’t provide any help to someone wondering where to eat.

A magazine review of one shop that claimed its fish was life-alteringly great (without any useful specifics or comparisons, or recognition that tastes legitimately differ or description of the surroundings) would probably be useless too. Perhaps it would be more useful if 10/10 said that, but only ‘perhaps’.

Another review that slated the restaurant because of a measurement to 7 decimal places of where the fish came from or what exactly was in the cooking oil or how well-printed the menus were would also not help. Adding more tests without demonstrating that they were all that could be relevant would not help either.

If I visited two similar restaurants on different evening with different company, I do not believe that I would be able to form a robust opinion or provide any useful information on which fish was better.

I don’t have great taste buds and am not decisive. It might well be that, in a long and robust taste test, I would still be unable to pick consistently which I preferred.

None of that means that there is no consistent difference between the two for how enjoyable the fish is (on a typical evening, for a discerning-enough palate).

Nothing here disproves there are measurements that could in theory exist that could produce a useful explanation of fish quality that could one day make subjective reviews unnecessary one day, though it seems clear we don’t have/ use them today.

I know my analogy isn’t perfect, because 2 spins of a CD start out identical but no two fish can be literally identical, but I think it is good enough for my point.

People don’t seem to get cross or patronising or evangelical or defensive when discussing their preferences and views of fish restaurants. Who do some treat hi-fi cables so differently?

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Strange, some of the guys at WH are former Naim employees and should know a thing or two.
They say their Phantom is build to match the cable requirements specified by Naim.
I have never seen any specs/data - neither would I be able to understand them anyway.

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Cant find the video :roll_eyes:

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Nick, can I invite you to join us in the What you are listening to thread. It’s great fun😎

Hi Nick. Yes I was vaguely aware that Witch hat was set up by ex-Naim employees and it’s obvious from their website that their entire range is geared specifically towards Naim.

I was prompted to look at their website by some of the very positive comments here on their Phantom speaker cables. That’s how I came across the video - which the site prompted me to watch!

Perhaps I am being a little over-critcal, but the person carrying out the work on the video which was on a Naim amp - hence my reluctance to go into detail about it as it would breach forum rules, came across as very amateur-ish rather than a professional. This took me by surprise but no matter I thought.

But then twice reference was made to certain contructional bolts having no official torque settings - in the person’s own words, - ‘as far as I am aware’. This to me is an incredible statement. I would have expected - ‘these bolts have no official torque settings so no need to worry’ or something along similar lines. But the clear implication to me is that they may indeed have official torque settings but that the person in the video is simply not aware of them! Which of course he wouldn’t be if he no longer works for Naim and presuming that they wouldn’t be supplying confidential business data to him - especially as he is carrying out an unofficial modification of their products!

My unavoidable conclusion is that this person does not necessarily have a complete knowledge of Naim products and their design. He is making, what I think, are very dangerous assumptions. Dangerous in the sense that they could both impair performance and also possibly lead to reduced reliability.

So, by extension, I would not be happy to use their cables - any of them. I’m not saying that there are not better cables out there than NACA5. What I am saying is that one needs to exercise extreme care as Naim themeselves say (and I’m making the assumption that it’s true) that NACA5 is designed specifically to work as part of the output stages of Naim amps and to achieve correct performance. Also that some cables can lead to impaired performance or damage.

Maybe it’s a small point in the video. But to me it’s significant and telling and enough to put me off. If they can’t get that right then can they be trusted to make cables that will not cause damage to Naim amps? Maybe yes, maybe no. But I would not risk it. The point is that any damage may not become apparent for years and may manifest itself as early component failure.

It really comes down to - do you have faith in this company or not? I don’t. Others may feel differently and that is of course entirely up to them.

At the risk of being censored you need to go to their site, look at ‘upgrade boards’, select one and cursor down to ‘installation’ where you will be prompted to watch a video. Hope this in itself is not breaking any rules - I feel I’m on very thin ice so sorry Richard if I am.

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It’s been a frequent source of discovery and reminders!

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Don’t think this is very fair. Shouldn’t you judge a product based on its performance, instead of entirely basing it on one sentence in a video for a product that is not related to their speaker cables?

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I am not questioning their speaker cable’s performance as such. Maybe it sounds so much nicer than NACA5 - I don’t know. I’m simply saying that based on what I’ve seen/heard in the video I question the knowledge/competence of them and their ability to make a cable that they are 100% certain will not damage Naim amps. Maybe they can, maybe they can’t. I wouldn’t risk it myself, but others may want to if they think that the cables sound better.

And yes I think it’s extremely fair. I have spent a considerable sum of money on Naim amps in the past and I would not have wanted my amps damaged by cables supplied by some outfit making completely unauthorised and un-endorsed accessories and modifications.

Let’s be clear here. We are talking about a company with absolutely no affilliation to Naim who are making money by marketing unauthorised and unendorsed accessories and modifications aimed specifically at Naim products. That in itself is a questionable activity. To suppose that they have a better understanding of what makes Naim products perform optimally than the manufacturer does. Maybe some or all of their products do enhance the sound/musical performance - but at what cost to long-term reliability?

Personally I would prefer to trust what the manufacturer tells me about their products and their use rather than to place my trust in an unauthorised third party with necessarily incomplete knowledge of the products that they are seeking to improve.

You, however, may feel differently. It’s your money…