Which speaker cables (again)?

Hi there all,

Topic that’s been asked a thousand times, but trying to decide which speaker cables. Currently I have Linn K400, apparently not a great match & does seem have a dull harshness, but not tried much else for years and could be room acoustics. Currently connecting my non-standard NAP 160 to my KEF 105/3’s, running with a sub, which is a Castle Acoustics sealed enclosure and Dayton Audio Reference 12" driver (not short on bass!). Probably a unique combo ;-).

I’m aware Naim A4/A5 cables need to be “low capacitance and of moderate inductance”, not coiled and 3.5M minimum length. But not sure what that means when looking at other brands - I’m no engineer.

Shortlist so far:
1. Van VAN DAMME UP-LCOFC HI-FI 4 or 6mm
2. Kudos KS-1
3. DNM Resolution
4. NAC A5 - naturally
5. Mogami W3104

Any recommendations with my setup?

To know if a speaker cable is suitable for an older Naim amp you need to find out its inductance and capacitance (ask manufacturer if not published)., then see the below details. This is assuming that whatever mod your amp has had hasn’t changed the output design.

Its probably unlikely that anyone here has a system like yours, TBH…

Adding 2 ‘Naim compatible and problem free’ cables -

  1. Naim NACA4
  2. Linn K20
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It’s tricky to advise, as your 160 has been modified. One thing I’d try is using only half of the K400, ie single wired. Then use jumpers at the speaker end. Naim amps, especially the older ones like yours, don’t generally respond well to biwiring, though again with the modifications, yours might be ok. Other than that, you are unlikely to go wrong with NACA4 or 5.


From personal experience I would rule out the Van Damme. It has poorly controlled overblown bass and poor detail rendition. Likewise the DNM which is a solid core cable. It sounds most odd - great focus and very fast sounding but somehow the sound is very ‘threadbare’ - lacking any sense of warmth.

You do not say how your 160 is modified - and discussion I guess breaks forum rules. However, assuming that the output circuitry is standard or close to then I would stongly advise you to stick with NACA5 - simply because, with the older amps in particular, it is in effect an important part of the amp’s design. Deviation from that will have unpredicatble effects on the sound and may even cause premature component failure.

If your 160 differs very significantly from standard then in effect it’s no longer a 160 in which case I gues anything goes.

As far as I know, NACA4 and Linn LK20 is the same cable, made by BICC.

Naim’s NACA5 is an improvement.

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Thanks, interesting to hear from personal experience of Van Damme and DNM - probably off the list.

Your right, discussion on the mods and by who does break the forum rules. Can’t quite recall the exact changes made, lost on deleted emails after being hacked. Will have to inspect to see, but almost certain new amp modules, although I don’t think this changes which cables

Yes, using the K400 as a single pair with jumpers on the speakers. Was originally made up as a pair, .ie two wires to one banana plug per channel on the amp end only, but swapped a while ago

Ironically I think you should put DNM Resolution back on the list … because you use a sub!

I use this combination -
272/555 → 300DR → DNM Resolution → Spendor SP2s
. . . . . . . → miniDSP 2x4 → B&W ASW610XP sub

The miniDSP 2x4 is programmed to compensate for the main room resonances (aka room modes).

The ‘threadbare’ nature to the sound is apparent when the sub is switched off, but completely disappears with the sub in use. The “great focus and very fast sounding” then remain without the normal disadvantage.


Hi @Xanthe good point, I had read positive things about DNM resolution with exactly the same comments around thin low end.

Interesting about the miniDSP. Any negatives on is, does it take anything away? Just had a quick look, is the config something like this, using the miniDSP asa a preamp for digital sources?

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for what it’s worth, the Van den Hul Clearwater has almost exactly the same electrical specs as the NAC A5, and it’s flexible.


Your call of course, but just to elaborate on my own experience with DNM. It wasn’t just about the thin low end.

It is a very difficult thing to put into words, but the whole sound seemed somehow to be lacking something. Yes it had great focus, speed and immediacy, all things that I value greatly. It just sounded as if something was missing. Various reviews have suggested that, being a solid core cable, it is very clean sounding, and lacks the electronic ‘hash’ and ‘haze’ that is inherent to stranded cables. I think that is correct, and that is what I mean by the ‘threadbare’ nature of the sound. But maybe one can have too much of a good thing?

I suspect it will be very system dependant and down to personal preferences. When I reverted to more normal stranded cables everything sounded right again. YMMV. Anyway bset of luck and have fun.

I don’t use it that way.

I connect the main outputs of the 272 to the 300DR (and then to the main speakers), and the phono L&R to the miniDSP (using shortish 1m cables!). This way the miniDSP only processes the signal for the sub. It acts as the crossover for the sub, combines L&R chanels into a mono sub signal and applies room correction for the sub only. This way it leaves the more delicate midrange and HF signals unmolested by the DSP and hence it doesn’t take anything away.

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Judging by many Amazon reviews, AudioQuest K2 should be worth a look. Here’s one I found particularly enlightening:

We live underground. We speak with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives.

PLEASE! You must listen! We cannot maintain the link for long… I will type as fast as I can.


We were fools, fools to develop such a thing! Sound was never meant to be this clear, this pure, this… accurate. For a few short days, we marveled. Then the… whispers… began.

Were they Aramaic? Hyperborean? Some even more ancient tongue, first spoken by elder races under the red light of dying suns far from here? We do not know, but somehow, slowly… we began to UNDERSTAND.

No, no, please! I don’t want to remember! YOU WILL NOT MAKE ME REMEMBER! I saw brave men claw their own eyes out… oh, god, the screaming… the mobs of feral children feasting on corpses, the shadows MOVING, the fires burning in the air! The CHANTING!


We live underground. We speak with our hands. We wear the earplugs all our lives.

Do not use the cables!

8,951 people found this helpful


Ong, some very funny reviews at amazon

Many thanks. In two minds on the DMN, maybe worth trying out as not too expensive and sell if they don’t work well for me

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Before moving to my current SuperNait I was using this as speaker cable:


A 4x1.5, solid core, high purity copper cable for underground installments. I used it in star configuration.
I’ve yet to hear a more neutral, clear, right sounding cable. It’s rigid, though, perhaps more unfriendly than the NAC A5.
If it wasn’t a PITA to dress, I’d use no other cable.

Interesting Max. What lead you to this? Had you been dissatisfied with the usual bunch of speaker cables? Incidentally it seems to bear some resemblance to some of the Audioquest cables.

Not sure what you mean by star configuration in relation to speaker cables.

Please don’t post unauthorised commercial links in the Hifi Corner. Thanks.

Hi Paul,

I was led to this cable by having had a tube amp for some time and having read that solid core speaker wires somehow matched tube amps better. I also seemed to understand that what I called ‘star’ configuration’ - joining opposite wires instead of adjacent ones, making two conductors out of four - did good things to the sound.

Be it as it may, I still have it and plan to use it again as soon as I feel like messing around behind the sideboard etc…