Cables, cables and cables...

Hi all,

I have followed cable threads conserning Super Lumina (SL) and Chords offers Signature TA (Signature, STA), Sarum T (and the older SA and TA) and Music with interest over the last year or so. I have Linn/LP12/urika with naim standard rca-din (lavender) and cds3/555dr with hiline (or std naim) into 252/300dr (std. cables) and Magico S1 speakers through Chord epic ref (or naca5). 

I have heard chord STA and SL interconnects in my system before service/dr and with previous dynaudio speakers. I also heard Music an Sarum SA in dealer demos, but not Sarum T. 

Auditions of din-din versions I hope are possible but most likely not rca-din or din-xlr. 

In my setup I believe the epic ref speaker cable offer more detail and presence to instruments compared to Naca5, which have a a nicer tonal balance with a richer tone to eg male voices. Comparing hiline to std Naim ic on cds3 also show a similar effect (hiline more detailed but overall slightly brighter). 

So, my question(s)? Could I have the best of both worlds without braking the bank? Do I need to consider full loom, or is just ICs enough in this pussel? Would even starting with the din-xlr make sense (it will for sure benefit both sources)? All experiences and advice are appreciated!

 

Original Post

Joppe 

any full loom set of fancy interconnection cables will cost you the same sort of money as upgrading your 252 to a 552.

It makes sense to spend your money on a nice pre-owned 552 first.

The only caveat to the above may depend upon how your urika is presently connected to your 252, if you are using RCA-RCA Linn silvers with a mayware DIN adaptor (?) then it would be a good idea to upgrade this asap to an RCA-DIN Sarum T, or Music cable depending upon your budget and aspirations as to getting a 552 which IMO should be in preference to any other expensive i/c or speaker cables

Debs

The full loom is, as you would expect, lovely. But it is also costs a lot.  Most of us have built towards it gradually.  I started with the speaker cables then quickly added the interconnect (nDAC to then 282). The XLR came quite a bit later, and I did it twice because my first XLR was a single to my then 250.2 and I had to part exchange it for a twin XLR when I upgraded my 250.2 to a 300DR. It was worth it, though.

If I could only have one piece of the full loom I think it would be a choice between the interconnect and speaker cable, and I'd probably go for the speaker cable as I already had a Hi-line. Since you've got two good sources you might get most benefit from the speaker cable.   Maybe your dealer could let you try some run-in SL speaker cables and an interconnect at home for a few days so you can decide which is best for you.

Hi Debs,

I used to have Linn silver RCA-RCA from my Urika. Then tried a simple rca-din adaptor and realised it brought something to the sound that just the silvers did not. So I used that until I realised that I all ready had an RCA-DIN version of the standard Naim Interconnect. I decided to try that out, that is what I use today. It is very fine but switching from the equvivalent din version on my cds3 to a hiline make me wonder how a fancy cable would sound on my LP12...  

Hmm, 552 is unfortunatly extremely rare in Sweden and not easy to audition and extremely rare s/h. If I put SL or Sarum speaker cables into the mix I agree even a new 552 would probably be the way to go. But at the same time, is it really that good that I would forget about fancy cables...? (not sure I want to know the answer to that )

 

Pretty much agree with Debs here...the 552 is a game changer and your Magico's will love it . That said, the biggest difference I have heard in the cable switching game was the IC from Urika- vinyl is my only source. Sarum T or Music will give you a better insight of what your Urika is capable of . The Linn Silvers strangle it imo...

ATB,

Mark

I have tried all three options at home and went with the tried and true source first, doing the IC from source to pre first, closely followed by the 252-250 (in my case). Speaker cable will follow one  day .. Each upgrade was a significant and well worthwhile investment.

My opinion is that, if you have any aspirations to upgrade the 252 and if funds are available, then a 552 is the move to make.

Cables are much less straight forward and I can only assume that a given cable may have a different impact on a different system in a different listening environment.  The feedback on this forum is extremely varied in this regard.  The other aspect is that cables can be problematic to sell on without losing a very considerable proportion of the purchase cost - hence you need to be very sure that the cables are right for you before committing to them.

The biggest difference I noticed in my system was when I replaced the standard cable between cds3 and preamp with a hi-line.  I don't recall which naim pre-amp I had at the time but I do remember being astonished at the improved clarity of sound.  I have since acquired a chord sarum t cable to replace the hi-line. The cable is still quite new and there may be burn in but the sound characteristics are quite different to hi-line.  Cymbols etc have not got any brighter but I think there is a significant step up in the coherence of the music, the way it all hangs together better.  Quite subjective and I am intrigued by the difference!  There is such a significant amount of money in these new cables that I would want to enjoy the benefit of a lengthy audition before being able to justify them.  No such issue with the 552.  If purchased used, depreciation will be negligible also which is a considerable bonus.  And of course, you can always play about with cables at your leisure in the coming months or years.

Peter

 

Hi ... right I think the hi line matches the 252 spot on ........ the slightly polite nature of the 252 is complemented by the slightly exuberant hi line.  You risk unbalancing your system (speaker dependant of course) .... by changing the interconnect with the current setup.  Conversely if you go to a 552 the hi line I think will make your system maybe a little too hot in the upper reaches.... So in your position .... I think I would invest in SL speaker cable .... as your 300dr will love that...   One person advised the 552 and yes it is utterly brilliant....... but it is allot more powerful and unrestricted at the top end - kinda in a classic old school Naim way ...... in terms of presentation - the detail timing and clout are great. So changing to the 552 could be a double whammy....interconnect and pre-amp (ouch) which is what happened to me ........ I then tried a SL interconnect and omg - no looking back....

I’ve recorded my findings elsewhere. But to conclude I’m not at all convinced by full loom.  

As Northpole has said frankly it’s a bit of a lottery and at least until the mid-point (282/250) I would concentrate on upgrading black boxes but once you’ve reached your optimum level start thinking about how changing wires might really conclude things. 

With regard to brands in my experience it’s best sticking with Naim inter-connects between the electronics. But for speaker cable I think this is more speaker dependent.  But all subjective and personal preference.  

Regards,

Lindsay 

Just to add further confusion, I have NDS/252/250DR and have been totally convinced by SL full loom in my system, in my room, listening with my ears after step by step SL additions (IC, then speaker cables and finally DIN/XLR) and a lengthy home demo at each step. I suspect the SL quandary is very much influenced by room, speaker and personal preference (and the depth of one's pockets).

I wouldn't quibble with those who advise seeking out a second-hand 552. I liked the 552 sufficiently to buy a new one.  However, I really don't these as two alternative choices because if Joppe did get a 552 it would only be a matter of time before the SL cable 'itch' returned. And its worth remembering that he noted cash was tight so he was looking at one SL cable at a time and I don't think a second-hand 552 falls within range of the cost of one SL cable.     

Thanks for all the feedback guys! To be honest I am not totally happy with having fallen back into the cable swamp. One of the things I really liked getting my first Naim gear in 2006 was the fact that they were designed as a system and all the cable hassle was suppsed to be history! I still remember my reluctance getting the hiline and I resisted for a long time. But when I upgraded to cds3 and 252 I gave in and bought one not being able to put it off as being just HIFI anymore.

I try too summarize the feedback so far:

  • Interconnects are probably the best end to start, alternative is speaker cables.
  • Both Chord and SL has it’s endorsers.
  • Nobody suggest starting with din-xlr even if that would serve two sources in my case.
  • Urika has a lot of hidden potential using linn silvers (and probably also with std naim rca-din in my case). Many use Chord Sarum and Music with great results. What about Signature, anyone with experience?
  • And last but not least, 42 is not the universal answer 552 is!

Signature TA yes tried the inter-connect between my CDS3 and 282 but reverted to a hi-line - more organic is the only way to describe.  See my separate thread I was going to try Sig speaker cable but have concluded that I wouldn’t that level of investment as it would take me some way towards a Supercap or such like. 

I fully understand your position, I have very fond memories of uppgrading from hicap to sc on my 282. I really liked that one! Not easy to compare (it was 10 years ago) but to these ears that was in a way more significant than my recent DR upgrades in how it increased my enjoyment of my music collection. Naim really do some cool stuff!

The closest I got to this prior to recent changes were my hi-lines:  din-din from cds3 to 252 (later 552); and rca-din from groove+ phono to pre-amp.  During this period I was using chord signature speaker cables which replaced NACA5 cables.  I had found the NACA5 a bit harsh in my room with the nbl speakers.  I have very recently replaced the hi-line din-din with a chord sarum t; and I acquired a set of chord sarum speaker cables from a fellow forum member.  What I didn't try was to compare the hi-line against the sarum t with either cable set in place ie the speaker cables and interconnect were swapped over at the same time, which is not very helpful to the OP's latest question!  I'm afraid I'm pretty terrible at analysing the differences however, in my opinion the overall sound presentation seems to cover a wider spectrum with perhaps a fuller sound which I am finding most engaging and coherent (unlike my descriptions!).

Kinda goes back to my earlier contribution in this thread - you really do have to hear these cables for yourself to form a judgment.  Happy to let you hear mine if you are passing through London any time soon.  The hi-line and signature cables are still here.  Unfortunately I'm not sure how much that would help as the proper place to hear them is in your own listening room at home.

Peter

Joppe posted:

Is anybody using Naim SL interconnects and Chord speaker cables?Also most SL interconnect owners seam also use SL speaker cable or att least plan to get there. However, many seam to enjoy Chords higher end interconnects with Naca5...

Yes. SL DIN to XLR with Chord Epic Reference Twin. I originally intended to buy SL speaker cable, until I tested both. For me the Chord was superior by a significant margin. The money saved was incidental, I prefer the Chord signature (same occurred when I compared Chord Epic Twin to NACA5 when buying my first Naim kit).

My 552 refuses not to lift all boats, indifferent cabling be darned.  

This is especially evident in remote zones, where 552 benefits shine obviously through Naim Uniti Qute and Uniti Lite end points, and ancient B&O systems.  All these connections are through many yards of in-wall-rated RG6 via a rather good Denon AV Pre functioning as a distribution hub.  

I would not drone on about this (as I do) if it were not so completely amazing.

Nick

A short update, I spent the last weak with the Epic Reference SC and LP12 using rca-din “lavender” and cds3 with hiline and lavender din-din taking turns. I can conclude that in my system the hiline and Epic Ref don’t have the best synergy, at least not on all records. And the synergy with “lavender” is not bad on both vinyl and cd. But it is a bit rough around the edges and makes me think about upgrades rather than relax and think about the music (if you can relate to that). Tonight I reinstalled my naca5 and initially I thought it was abit dull, and what happened with the fantastic resolution? But now after an hour or two it feels more relaxed and balanced... hmm (maybe not all that shine is gold)

So far I have not been able to arrange an interconnect demo, but hope to have some positive news from my dealer soon. 

Peter, thanks for your invitation. I might take you up on that one day  And you description of the sarum T sound very much as what I am looking for!

The problem I have with this kind of thread is it always comes down to either Chord or Naim, be it the standard cables, which are excellent, or the SL cables. There are other choices available that can equal or exceed some of those choices.

Some other cables that can work extremely well with Naim are Atlas, Tellurium, Vovox and Vertere to name just a few. There are others too! If you've got the time and are not in a hurry, try to listen to some other cables. It may be worth it!

Moderated Post: Badlands, I have had to remove the name of someone who has requested that neither they nor their products are mentioned or discussed on here.

Thanks Badlands, you actually initiated me seeking out if there are any Vertere dealers in Sweden. I actually found a store that state they carry Vertere din cables, Pulse B and R. Anyone who has used these with good results? How do they sound compared to a hiline?

I know that there are Telurium dealers, but not sure if they have any din cables on demo. 

Chord and Naim share distribution in Sweden, so generally convenient first audition candidates. 

Joppe posted:

Hi Debs,

I used to have Linn silver RCA-RCA from my Urika. Then tried a simple rca-din adaptor and realised it brought something to the sound that just the silvers did not. So I used that until I realised that I all ready had an RCA-DIN version of the standard Naim Interconnect. I decided to try that out, that is what I use today. It is very fine but switching from the equvivalent din version on my cds3 to a hiline make me wonder how a fancy cable would sound on my LP12...  

Hmm, 552 is unfortunatly extremely rare in Sweden and not easy to audition and extremely rare s/h. If I put SL or Sarum speaker cables into the mix I agree even a new 552 would probably be the way to go. But at the same time, is it really that good that I would forget about fancy cables...? (not sure I want to know the answer to that )

 

Yes, unfortunately it´s very difficult to hear a NAC552 in Sweden. Only one store in Sweden carry NAC552 (to my knowledge) but that store doesn’t have NAC252 so it’s hard to compare unless you bring your own preamp.

I have a similar system to yours, Joppe, and would also like to hear a NAC552, preferably in my own system.

Maybe I need to plan a vacation to London and visit a well-equipped dealer to at least be able to hear NAC252 vs NAC552 at a dealer?

I’m also thinking about if my long time plan should be a NAC552 (after saving up for a few years) or if I should change a cable per year.

After hearing a Chord Music vs SuperLumina DIN-DIN cable in a similar system to mine I must say that I was very surprised of the difference in performance. The Chord Music cable was just so much better…

I would like to do the demo NAC552 + my present cables vs NAC252 + Chord cables for the same amount of money as the cost for upgrading NAC252 ==> NAC552.

After such a demo I could have a longtime plan. Unfortunately no dealer in Sweden have such possibilities… 

/Marcus

If you have whole Naim setup then please try Chord Sarum or above models for interconnects. Please carefully try the speaker cables with your speaker. I think Dynaudio will match well with the Chord Sarum and above. For Magico you can try Chord (not confident) but I think you can also try Naim Lumina or Cardas (Clear and above). Naim cables has more laid back character, so should suitable for Magico.

Mix and match the cables are the last step in our setup, and require carefully listening, as it may make lots of difference from heaven to hell or another way. Good luck.

OK, I'm going to throw in a curved ball...  How are you with a soldering iron?  If you can use one, make up interconnect cables as follows

DIN 5 180º  /  Mogami W2549 cable  /  DIN 5 180º    (CDS3 to 252)
2 x Phono  /  Mogami W3160 cable  /  DIN 5 180º     (Ulrika to 252)
2off   DIN 4 240º  /  Mogami W2549 or W2497 cable *  /  XLR 3   (252 to 300)


For the DIN 5 180º I recommend Prehkeytec 71430-050 or Rean NYS322

For the DIN 4 240º I recommend Prehkeytec 71430-040

For the Phono plugs I recommend either gold plated MS Audio Star Line plugs or WBT plugs (the current version of the Eichmann bullets (ETI) have silver contact surfaces and are not recommended due to the build up of a sulphide layer and the resultant requirement for regular cleaning, and potential incompatibility with the gold contacts on the Ulrika).

For the XLR the standard Neutrik plugs are fine (e.g. NC3MXX)

 

This will cost less than $800kr (SEK), then you can put the money saved toward the 552!

 

* I currently use W2549 cable but I'm about to make up cables using W2497 cable (and also Klotz MC5000) and will post my results on this forum.

Huge, interesting stuff! Checked the price of w2549 seams to be roughly 30kr/m (or 2,5£/m). Also realised that I seen it used somewhere, it turns out that my (never used) Linn tonearm cable uses this cable!

How would you rate it compared to e.g. a Hiline?

W3160, why this cable? Look similar to w2549? I assume I need double runs for 2 rca to din, correct? Would I then connect one lead as signal the other as earth and connect the screen to earth at the signal end only? Sorry for all the detail questions, but got a bit curious. 

 

Backing up what HUge is suggesting at Audio Show East PMC were using £2 per metre cable made up for them from a cable company in boreham wood. It sounded great. The guy I spoke to reinforced my view that, yes, there are better cables, but not worth thousands in terms if their actual bill of materials that companies work to.

northpole posted:

I'd agree with Lindsay or, if limited to London, Graham's Hi-Fi would be a very likely candidate to have boxes and cables aplenty.

Peter

Hi Lindsay and Peter!

Thank you for your suggestions!

Yes, I could fly to Birmingham (I think that’s the nearest airport from Leicester).

Wait, I just checked Cymbiosis homepage and found this information:

The nearest airports to us are East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport, both fly internationally and are under one hours drive. If you wish to fly to either airport a Cymbiosis member of staff will arrange to meet you on arrival and transport you by car to Cymbiosis at Rearsby

That is really impressive customer service!!!

The reason I mentioned London was because I thought it would be easier to convince my better half to spend a weekend in London compared to Leicester (no offence intended).

/Marcus

Marcus, yes auditioning 500 series amps (and source when it was availble) is almost impossible here.  Not that I have asked my dealer if he could arange a 552 demo. But juding from the difficulty of arranging a din-xlr demo for my 300 (of any cable) I assume it would not be very easy to arrange.

I see you have SL full loom, were you able too find a demo din-xlr cable, or did you make your purchase based on faith (and din  experience)?

It looks like I at least will be able to audition din-din versions of SL against Chord Signature TA, Sarum T and Music in the upcoming weeks. Not a bad start...

Joppe posted:

Huge, interesting stuff! Checked the price of w2549 seams to be roughly 30kr/m (or 2,5£/m). Also realised that I seen it used somewhere, it turns out that my (never used) Linn tonearm cable uses this cable!

How would you rate it compared to e.g. a Hiline?

W3160, why this cable? Look similar to w2549? I assume I need double runs for 2 rca to din, correct? Would I then connect one lead as signal the other as earth and connect the screen to earth at the signal end only? Sorry for all the detail questions, but got a bit curious. 

 

Hi Joppe, I'll take this to the padded cell as that's the place for the limited DIY stuff that Richard does permit (i.e. NO modifications to Naim equipment or SNAICs or other power carrying connections)

I'll start a new thread there "Cables, Cables and Cables..." for the DIY info.

MarcusM posted:
northpole posted:

I'd agree with Lindsay or, if limited to London, Graham's Hi-Fi would be a very likely candidate to have boxes and cables aplenty.

Peter

Hi Lindsay and Peter!

Thank you for your suggestions!

Yes, I could fly to Birmingham (I think that’s the nearest airport from Leicester).

Wait, I just checked Cymbiosis homepage and found this information:

The nearest airports to us are East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport, both fly internationally and are under one hours drive. If you wish to fly to either airport a Cymbiosis member of staff will arrange to meet you on arrival and transport you by car to Cymbiosis at Rearsby

That is really impressive customer service!!!

The reason I mentioned London was because I thought it would be easier to convince my better half to spend a weekend in London compared to Leicester (no offence intended).

/Marcus

Well even if you had a weekend in London the train to Leicester is only 90 mins.  

The Strat (Fender) posted:
MarcusM posted:
northpole posted:

I'd agree with Lindsay or, if limited to London, Graham's Hi-Fi would be a very likely candidate to have boxes and cables aplenty.

Peter

Hi Lindsay and Peter!

Thank you for your suggestions!

Yes, I could fly to Birmingham (I think that’s the nearest airport from Leicester).

Wait, I just checked Cymbiosis homepage and found this information:

The nearest airports to us are East Midlands Airport and Birmingham Airport, both fly internationally and are under one hours drive. If you wish to fly to either airport a Cymbiosis member of staff will arrange to meet you on arrival and transport you by car to Cymbiosis at Rearsby

That is really impressive customer service!!!

The reason I mentioned London was because I thought it would be easier to convince my better half to spend a weekend in London compared to Leicester (no offence intended).

/Marcus

Well even if you had a weekend in London the train to Leicester is only 90 mins.  

Thanks, that’s good to know.

Maybe I should plan for a trip during the spring. I only visited England once and that was 17 years ago so it’s about time to visit again 

 Perhaps Leicester is a nice town to spend a few days in?

/Marcus

Joppe posted:

Marcus, yes auditioning 500 series amps (and source when it was availble) is almost impossible here.  Not that I have asked my dealer if he could arange a 552 demo. But juding from the difficulty of arranging a din-xlr demo for my 300 (of any cable) I assume it would not be very easy to arrange.

I see you have SL full loom, were you able too find a demo din-xlr cable, or did you make your purchase based on faith (and din  experience)?

It looks like I at least will be able to audition din-din versions of SL against Chord Signature TA, Sarum T and Music in the upcoming weeks. Not a bad start...

No, I was not able to demo any other SL cable except the DIN-DIN cable.

This was when the SL cables were new on the market. I think that I listened to the first SL DIN-DIN-cable in Sweden and no DIN-XLR or Speaker Cable were available for demo.

Why did I buy the full loom of SL without listening to them? Well, at that time I did not find any dealer/distributor to borrow Chord Cables from. The Naim distribution in Sweden was about to change so no dealer bought the SL cables. There was only the DIN-DIN SL that I could listen to.

With NDS-NAC252-NAP300 the upgrade possibilities I saw then was:

-        NAC552

-        SL-cables

-        Second 555PS on my NDS

Since NAC552 was not possible to demo I compared the other two options. Since I thought I got roughly 50% of the performance lift changing Hi-Line to SL DIN-DIN compared to adding the second 555PS I draw the conclusion that full loom of SL would be better than a second 555PS. Since I already had the Hi-Line and NACA5 it was also cheaper to go with the full loom of SL-cables.

Now I think it should be possible to demo the full loom of SL and also compare it to Sarum T (or maybe even Music). I have not checked what’s available right now but almost a year ago when I listened to Chord Music DIN-DIN (as an bonus during another demo) I was told that it soon would be possible to compare SL, Sarum and Music for more cables than just DIN-DIN.

If I was in the same position today I would definitely compare SL vs Sarum. Now when I already have the SL I don’t know if I dare making that comparison…

I also think that it’s not wise to listen to Chord Music if you’re not in a position to buy it. I was very impressed by the DIN-DIN Music-cable that I listened to…

Since it’s not possible to have SL cables in all positions I now have a mix of SL and Sarum SA (Ethernet, Snaic 5 and speaker links). Yes, I also have PowerLines as power cables so not only SL or SSA.

Since it’s also (to my understanding) chord cables in my Kudos speakers I’m a little tempted to try Sarum T instead of my SL-cables and instead of my powerlines.

Since cables is very expensive I would like to find out if it’s wiser to instead save money long-term for a NAC552 and try to forget about the cables…

Please report back what you think about SL, Chord Signature TA, Sarum T and Music. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on the different cables.

/Marcus 

Huge posted:

OK, I'm going to throw in a curved ball...  How are you with a soldering iron?  If you can use one, make up interconnect cables as follows

DIN 5 180º  /  Mogami W2549 cable  /  DIN 5 180º    (CDS3 to 252)
2 x Phono  /  Mogami W3160 cable  /  DIN 5 180º     (Ulrika to 252)
2off   DIN 4 240º  /  Mogami W2549 or W2497 cable *  /  XLR 3   (252 to 300)


For the DIN 5 180º I recommend Prehkeytec 71430-050 or Rean NYS322

For the DIN 4 240º I recommend Prehkeytec 71430-040

For the Phono plugs I recommend either gold plated MS Audio Star Line plugs or WBT plugs (the current version of the Eichmann bullets (ETI) have silver contact surfaces and are not recommended due to the build up of a sulphide layer and the resultant requirement for regular cleaning, and potential incompatibility with the gold contacts on the Ulrika).

For the XLR the standard Neutrik plugs are fine (e.g. NC3MXX)

 

This will cost less than $800kr (SEK), then you can put the money saved toward the 552!

 

* I currently use W2549 cable but I'm about to make up cables using W2497 cable (and also Klotz MC5000) and will post my results on this forum.

the XLR plugs ideally should have silver plating rather than gold plating as the input XLR to the nap 250 is silver plated.

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