Uniti Atom, NAC A5 and lots of questions...

Posted by: Faye on 24 December 2018

Dear naim community,

After a long consideration, I finally bought a uniti atom and started my naim journey.
In this context, please excuse the noob questions.

My setup looks as follows:
- Speakers: Neat Iota.
- Speaker cable: NAC A5
- Phono stage: Clearaudio Nano v2
(- cartridge: will most likely be a denon dl-103r)

Even though I am still waiting for the speakers to arrive, I already got my hands on a pair of preowned nac a5 speaker cables with the classic naim plugs (non-atom version) on both ends.

Question 1: As I want the cables to be ready to use when the speakers arrive, I'd like to ask whether the 19mm spacing between the pins is enough to fit into the iotas.

Question 2: If not, how should I manipulate the cable on the speaker side? I suppose that removing the plastic case and heatshrink the loose ends should be ok.
However, taking the 90į angle between pins and cable into consideration, is it technically even possible to heatshrink around a 90į angle?
 
Question 3: Regarding the Atom end of the cables, the plastic cases of the classic naim plugs are too spacey to fit into the atom.
I assume I would have to re-solder (and use the special atom pins provided in the package) to get the cables at the optimal 180į angle for the atom instead of trying to bend them straight. If possible, I'd like to avoid any desoldering/soldering at all, unless really necessary.
What is your recommendation?

Question 4: In connection with question 3, how do you evaluate the current soldering job on the pictures below? It seems that some wires aren't soldered at all. Does that have any impact on SQ? Do you think the cables should be re-soldered anyway?

Question 5: I need a interconnect cable rca to rca to connect the nano phono stage with the atom. Unfortunately I couldn't find any info at all on the forums regarding phono stage interconnection to the atom.
Could you please recommend me any specific cables in an appropriate price range?

Thank you so much for your support!!

plug1plug2

plug3plug4

Posted on: 24 December 2018 by trickydickie

The soldering job is not very good. I would start again using the correct plugs for both ends.

Checkout the FAQ. section for examples of how they should look.

Posted on: 24 December 2018 by HiFiman

As stated above the soldering on the NACA5 plugs looks like a right bodge job half the strands on one of the pins is not even soldered.

Strip back and start again.

Posted on: 24 December 2018 by Ravenswood10

I made a wooden block drilled to hold the pins and secured the block in a small vice. Worked a treat especially with a decent 100 watt soldering iron. Thatís when I had A5 of course. The SLs come beautifully terminated from the factory.

Iíve also seen some dire dealer terminations. Yes, it helps if half the conductors arenít AWOL too!

Good luck and try not to burn yourself

Posted on: 24 December 2018 by Faye

Thank you for all the quick expertise!

So only question 5 is open now.

Under this situation, here is also a followup question: The cables are 7 meters each. I need only 5 meters in my current flat. Since I'll have to re-solder them anyway, I could trim them to the correct length.

Keeping them at original 7m length, I'd have to hide the excess cable behind the tv board where other cables are hidden already (please see picture below). Is that a bad idea? How drastically will the cables interfere/distort the A5 signals?  
I'll probably be moving in the next 2 years, so I'd like to avoid shortening them, unless influence on SQ would be big.

room

Posted on: 24 December 2018 by HiFiman

On the older Naim amps 3.5 to 20mtrs on the Atom not so much an issue I would trim down to about 6mtrs this will allow for some soldering practice

Posted on: 25 December 2018 by Richard Dane

7m is a good length.  I'd avoid shortening the cables drastically although I would certainly re-terminate with suitable connectors well-soldered. 

Posted on: 25 December 2018 by Faye

Thank you for your replies, everyone. I informed myself a bit about soldering A5 cables. It seems that my soldering iron would be too weak for that task. And also, any information I found so far on the subject is intimidating...lol Really don't want to mess up those expensive cables. I decided to have them sent to a reputable retailer offering soldering service.

What's left is my question 5 from above. I'd highly appreciate any advice. Thank you again for your support.

Question 5: I need a interconnect cable rca to rca to connect the nano phono stage with the atom. Unfortunately I couldn't find any info at all on the forums regarding phono stage interconnection to the atom.
Could you please recommend me any specific cables in an appropriate price range?

Posted on: 25 December 2018 by Peder
 

Faye posted:
Keeping them at original 7m length, I'd have to hide the excess cable behind the tv board where other cables are hidden already (please see picture below). Is that a bad idea?

???? How drastically will the cables interfere/distort the A5 signals?  

I'll 

room

???? FAYE,....Oops,I see several errors on this picture,below some advice.....

?Replace your powerstrip to one without a switch,..it will play better.
This below is good,costs about £70:-.
????Music Line powerstrip
https://i.imgur.com/WnBQsSO.jpg

?Do not have your SMPS in the same powerstrip  as your music-system.
?Never roll up cables,..it plays worse.
?Separate the powercords and other cables.
?Put your electric cables in large loops back and forth..instead of small loops.
?If you are not from the UK (do not stand in your profile),..so be sure to have the correct electrical phase of your contacts.
?Never tighten your cables hard with tape or other things,..it will play worse.
?Listen to the order,..in which way you want the contacts in your powerstrip.
One order will play better.

See that you have Microsoft's Display Dock,..fun,I also have one.
Maybe you have the phone too.?

This above was a few tips I could see based on your image,..but start there so you will get better soundquality from your music system.

????And,..your speaker cables looked horrible,If you can not solder yourself so leave it to someone who can.
It is important to have good soldering at the right temperature.
It is also important which solder pewter is used, some play better,..check this out with a savvy trader...not all traders are savvy.!
There can be a big difference in soundquality with a good soldering.

Good luck and Merry Christmas....
/Peder ????

Posted on: 25 December 2018 by Simon-in-Suffolk

Peder, sensible advice other than a couple of points of note.

1) if the SMPS is a quality powersupply and well shielded it is fine on your Hi-Fi distribution.. but if you have doubt and no way of inspecting any errant noise keep separate.

2) Mains cables can be coiled safely (as opposed to back and forwards).. but do keep the coils large say at least 60cms diameter so any heating created can be easily dissipated.. but current draw on Hi-Fi is going to be minimal. I think there were some urban myths on some Hi-Fi forums about added inductance in coiling mains cables... I suggest who ever came up with that go back to physics class .   The same goes for safely coiling speaker cables of course where both cables run together and are average equal distance to the centre of the coil.

Posted on: 25 December 2018 by Mike-B

Coiling power cables is only a problem if there are a large number of coils carrying a high current,   one or two turns at the current an audio system draws is nothing to be concerned about.   As Simon says too many urban myths & not enough basic electrical theory around the hifi world 

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Faye

Please excuse my late reply. And thank you all for your recommendations and help. I appreciate it big time and will certainly try to respect those rules also for any future setups. Those points Peder mentioned should be pinned somewhere.

In the meantime the situation changed a bit, since my wife interfered regarding the placement of the hifi system: Speakers are now placed right beside the Atom on a completely separate shelf. To illustrate the situation, I took a picture of the back of the shelf and tried to position the NAC A5 cables where they would be when connected. (Please disregard the Tellurium that are in use on the picture. It's a temporary solution until the NACs are ready.)

The upside: There is absolutely no interference from other devices/power sources.

The downside: The 7 meter speaker cables are way too long for that short distance from amp to speakers (less than 1 meter would be already sufficient in fact...lol).

Shortening them to 1 meter would result in problems with capacitance, and shortening them to 3.5 meter won't solve my problem with coiling excess cable. So I'll just keep them at 7 meter length and try to make as large coils as possible.

 

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Mercky

Atom and iotas - nice little system with great synergy I believe, yes best to keep the 7m I would think, you never know what changes you might make in the future and it gives you some future proofing and flexibility.

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Faye

Thanks mercky! They already sound awesome as they are. Can't  wait to hear them with proper cabling and speaker isolation.

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Danny.M

Hi Everyone, I got my atom recently and also bought Naim A5 speaker cables with it, the naim plug cannot fits with atom, so i removed the plastic shell and directly insert the pin directly to speaker hole  

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Bob the Builder

Did you sort out your RCA to RCA cable I'm looking for one myself to connect a UQ2 to a non Naim power amp?

Posted on: 30 December 2018 by Faye

Not yet, but so far I managed to limit my choice on Chord and Flashbacksales cables. Both brands seem to be popular alternatives to naim rca/din cables, and both offer a wide range of rca/rca-interconnects.

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by ChrisSU
Danny.M posted:

Hi Everyone, I got my atom recently and also bought Naim A5 speaker cables with it, the naim plug cannot fits with atom, so i removed the plastic shell and directly insert the pin directly to speaker hole  

Naim supply different plugs with the Atom, with the pins spaced to fit itís sockets. Still, what you have should be fine. If I were you Iíd get some heatshrink tubing to cover the exposed metal to prevent an accidental short. 

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by Danny.M
ChrisSU posted:
Danny.M posted:

Hi Everyone, I got my atom recently and also bought Naim A5 speaker cables with it, the naim plug cannot fits with atom, so i removed the plastic shell and directly insert the pin directly to speaker hole  

Naim supply different plugs with the Atom, with the pins spaced to fit itís sockets. Still, what you have should be fine. If I were you Iíd get some heatshrink tubing to cover the exposed metal to prevent an accidental short. 

Yeah, i don't want to desolder the original plug, just unscrew and remove the plastic shell

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by badlyread

Hi Faye

What is the issue with the Tellurium speaker cable? I have Tellurium Ultra Blue (1.5m) between my Atom and Guru Juniors and it sounds great. The capacitance issue is mainly to do with the older amps I believe. I checked with Naim HQ when I had a UQ2 and they informed me of that the Tellurium would be fine. I even used it with a CB Nait2 with no problem at all. 

Does the NAC A5 sound better to you? (Blind test of course)

Regards

Neil

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by hungryhalibut

You might want to think about getting the speakers further apart, say 1.5 to 1.8m. Neat make both wall brackets and stands for the Iotas, and having them further apart will give a bigger broader sound. You are aiming for a sound that fills the room rather than appearing to come from one place.

If the 7m cables are a pain, just use the Tellurium. Itís good cable and when I had PMC speakers with my Naim amps I preferred the TQ Black to NacA5. Itís much easier to handle too. 

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by badlyread

Good advice as usual from HH. Also some have said they prefer the sound of the Iotas with the ribbon tweeters on the outside rather than the cones. Have a play. 

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by Mike-B
Faye posted:

Shortening them to 1 meter would result in problems with capacitance, [ inductance ] and shortening them to 3.5 meter won't solve my problem with coiling excess cable. So I'll just keep them at 7 meter length and try to make as large coils as possible.

 To loose excessive speaker cable length you should 'fold' not 'coil'    -   a coil adds inductance whereas folding as per the picture does not add inductance.

 

Posted on: 31 December 2018 by petzhou

Changing the direction of the thread slightly - does anyone have experience of using the the little cable lifters to take the speaker cables off the floor. I read a promo' recently that said you can expect a "sparkling uplift " by using these?

Posted on: 01 January 2019 by Faye

To be honest I never considered anything else than NAC A5, since they are so highly recommended for naim amps, that it seemed almost mandatory to me. Also, at the time that I had ordered the cables, I wasn't in the possession of the Atom yet, so it seemed like the only right thing to do.

It's unfortunate that I already invested in the A5, but nevertheless I'll consider the tellurium as an alternative. Will do a comparison when the soldering is finished and report my findings here.

Thank you Badlyread, hungryhalibut and mikeb. I really appreciate your help and support.