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Naim amps and speaker cable, advice please...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have just ordered a Naim NAC122x and a NAP150x in an upgrade to my current system. Im looking to upgrade the speaker cable i use as well, and i sent an e-mail to Naim after reading part of the amp manual that said 'high definition' speaker cable would damage the amp.

The response i got was interesting, but also has me a bit bemused as to where to go from here...

The response from Naim states that their amps do not have inductors on the output stage, and so the speakers cable 'completes' the amps loading. This is why they suggest customers use their speaker cable (obviously!) but they do admit other cable can also be suitable, apart from Kimber and Litz which the sales guy named out rightly and told me definitely not to use.

Then came the numbers... apparently Naim speaker cable is rated at (per meter) 9milli ohms and 16pF and they recommend that a length between 3.5 and 5 meters is used.

I am now wondering if i am going to have to measure speaker cable before i use it and test it to see if it is close to the numbers above. I have no idea how id go about testing and it would be a PITA.

Im just looking for some advice on whether i need to be really worried about this. Do i risk damaging the amp if i don't use cable which matched these specs?
post #2 of 17
i use kimber wire myself but they make even less impact on the sound than interconnects do which i think is very little. if you are worried about compatibility, just buy naim hookup wire which is relatively cheap. not their speaker cable, but the internal wires they use for the electronics and speaker crossovers.
post #3 of 17
Looks like really poor design to me if it is that sensitive to cabling, does it have a clause in the warranty about cabling ?
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Not that i have found so far. I also find it strange that it would be that sensitive to cable, and wonder if it more to do with optimising the sound signature.

I found some digital amp/volt meters which measure resistance but don't measure capacitance accurately enough. 16pF is tiny, and im starting to wonder if it is negligible.

As for the resistance, i should be able to measure it ok. It seems easier than i fist though, if i can use the AVO ive got in mind.

Im looking at something like this, can anyone suggest if it will do the job or not?

UT58C Digital Multimeter > Maplin

post #5 of 17
No inductors on the output... doesn't that just mean they're not transformer coupled? Like pretty much every solid state amp?

Sounds like marketingspeak to get people to buy the Naim cables. What are you going to do with the multimeter? Are you going to order and test cables until you find one with the same specs as the Naim? That's going to take you weeks and weeks and hundreds in shipping.

Just use whatever cable you want. If something is that particular about 16pF of capacitance it's probably a defective product. And no, I don't think Naim is junk. Their products are well made and sound good. But I think Naim likes to sell as much product as possible. Like everyone else.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
The reason for the multimeter is that Naim mentioned Chord speaker cable was suitable, and the place i bought the amps sell it. So i was going to test it and see how the specs compared.

The Chord stuff is silver plated copper. I ordered some silver plated copper of the same gauge off ebay (navships natually) that might be suitable. The thought being if it really isnt i can always use it for interconnects etc.
post #7 of 17
Unless you're meant to use only one specific pair of speakers which are bolted on to it, you're going to get a different load on the amp as soon as you swap speakers. Whoever told you that was ********ting.
post #8 of 17
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cheers for the info guys.

I finally managed to get on the Naim forum (you can't even search until you are verified) and there was some interesting talk on there. It is certainly the case that not everyone uses the Naim cable so does look like i have some options.

Quick question about the silver plated copper cable.
If both cables are silver plated, both 16AWG and both have 19 strands, then can it be assumed that their electrical properties will be similar?

The only difference i can see between the Chord Rumour which was recommended to me, and the stuff i bought from Navships is the amount of Teflon on them.
post #10 of 17
As a preliminary, did you read the first link I previously posted?
I am not familiar with newer Naim amps or the Chord cables, but have some knowledge of the older Naim products and still have some original NAC4 Naim speaker cable I use (great bass and a warm signature). The amps needed low capacitance (hence the maximum length recommended for cables). They also required a minimum inductance value (hence the minimum length requirement). The Naim cables were designed with these numbers in mind (gauge, number of strands, linearity,dielectric, geometry). Otherwise the amp could oscillate.
Hopefully Naim has improved the tolerance of their newer amps so it's more than likely that your navships wire will be fine. But a teflon dielectric will lower capacitance and geometry of the navships (the original Naim cable spaced the positive and ground conducters in their own jackets 3/4" apart which reduced capacitance and raised inductance) should be the same as the Chord.
The Naim had a fairly tight and uniform tolerance in the strand braiding, making for more linearity in capacitance throughout the cable length. That being said, if the geometry of the navships cable is the same as the Chord, I think you'd be safe if you kept the lengths of the cable in the middle of the recommended range. Also it helps to lift the cables off carpets if you have any.
Hope this helps.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cheers NightOwl, i did indeed read both of your links, and the other responses they led to.

It seems Naim have improve the tolerances in regards to speaker cable, from what i've read on the Naim forum. Most of the threads on speaker cable have a pretty even match of those who swear by NAC A5 and others who have been using other brands, like Chord and Van De Hul for years and never had any problems.

Im going to look in to getting a good enough multimeter to measure the wire, i could do with one anyway. Then ill test just to be on the safe side!

Can't wait till i can get the system up and running. The power amp won't be in for another week.
post #12 of 17
Cheers J.D.N. It sounds like this could be the start of a lifelong hobby for you as it has been for me. You've got great equipment and it looks like you're upgrading through the British tradition of source>amp>speakers. That means the speakers are next (space and budget permitting)? Then back to the source? If you like the sound signature, the amp should last you a long time.
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yeh, that's the way forward. Speakers are going to be a while though. Going DIY again with SEAS drivers and custom crossover. Only in the very early design stages and nothing will happen before i finish my masters.

Im not planning on upgrading this for some time, get a job and start saving again!
post #14 of 17
Linn does this same thing. Which is probably why their speaker cable looks very similar to the Naim and the Vanden Hul.

I never did understand this approach.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
All to do with taking as much out of the signal path as possible.

Once understood its not all that daunting. Obviously it means having to be a bit careful with the speaker cable used, but after reading around it seems a lot of whats available falls in to the acceptable spectrum.

Found a multimeter with good enough accuracy so ill run that over the cable ive got at the moment and see how it all measures up.
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