Having dreamed of being a Naim owner for many years, a couple of months ago I threw caution to the wind and bought a used Supernait 2 from a Naim dealer, a significant upgrade from my Arcam Solo and my biggest Hi Fi purchase ever.
Excitedly I set it up, plugged in my existing speaker cables (Audioquest Slate) and played some of my favourite vinyl on my turntable. It sounded incredible. A couple of years ago I upgraded to a Clearaudio Concept Wood from an entry-level turntable and a veil was lifted from the music. Switching to the Supernait 2 was the same again. The music became even more engaging, another veil lifted, subtle aspects of the music I had never heard before I heard for the first time, the stereo imaging and soundstaging was incredible. I was hooked. I played records with my wife and she was hooked away too, all was good with the new purchase.
I read a lot of views of the right speaker cable to use with the Supernait, many from this forum. The NAC A5 was almost universally praised so I thought I would complete my upgrade with the ideal cables also. The Supernait 2 had already blown the budget for me, so I found an older used 3.5 M pair of unterminated NAC A5 online and bought them. The dealer that supplied the Supernait gave me (FOC) a pair of the Naim terminal plugs for the amplifier end and a set of Deltron plugs for the speakers. I soldered the Naim plugs and fitted the Chord Company plugs and replaced the Audioquest and sat down with the same favourite vinyl. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. Almost all of the sonic benefits of the Supernait 2 were lost. The newly found details were lost, stereo imaging took a backward step, the music somehow less engaging. I checked that I had not wired or installed the cables out of phase, I had not. Eventually I switched cables back, normality was restored. Many years of being a fan of Hi Fi has lead me to follow my ears and that’s what I did.
I am more than happy with the Supernait 2, but puzzled about the seeming lack of performance of the NAC A5. At this stage I am making the assumption that I have done something wrong somewhere along the way, the question is what. For background, here is my system:
Clearaudio Concept Wood with Clearaudio Performer V2 cartridge
Graham Slee Reflex M phono pre-amp
Van Den Hull D102-III between phono pre-amp and Supernait 2
Dynaudio Audience 52 speakers, stand mounted.
The NAC A5 is older and one run has the Naim text and direction arrows almost completely worn away, so I guessed the direction based on the markings that were left. The other run has clear arrows on, which I installed towards the speaker. I am not an expert in soldering, at the amplifier end, based on the photos I have seen from the internet, my termination was not the prettiest, but by far not the worst. The dealer said that he thought the freebie speaker plugs may be rhodium plated, my recent research says they are nickel, which I suspect isn’t ideal. So the question is what next? I am keen to get to the bottom of the problem so I can hear what the NAC A5 can do. Any advice?