How to Connect a REL to Naim Amplifiers
If you own NAIM, always use NAIM speaker cable, preferably 12’ or longer. When using traditional NAIM separates–preamps and amps– it’s best to invest in REL’s BassLine Blue for NAIM amplifiers. These cables are fitted with the exact components that present the correct load for NAIM amplifiers. When using their smaller integrated amps and integrated streamers, use NAIM speaker cable and a stereo pair of REL subs, attach our High Level Cables (cut them to length if you wish) to the binding posts on the rear of your speakers. Using stereo subwoofers and connecting to the speaker terminals, rather than the amplifier terminals, ensures correct connectivity and in many cases is a cost effective solution for lower priced NAIM products. If using the sorts of speakers that commonly pair of with items like a NAIT amp, a pair of 3m BassLine Blue will set you back several hundred dollars, almost as much as ,say, your second REL T/5x which makes this connection scheme perfect for smaller NAIMs and correct partnering RELs. Enjoy! – John Hunter, REL
There are few high-end electronics manufacturers as storied as NAIM Audio, who hail from Salisbury, England. Long a fixture in the UK, they are finally making inroads into the North American market since their acquisition by the same group that owns Focal Loudspeakers. It doesn’t hurt that they have transformed themselves over the past decade plus from a slightly anachronistic design house to one that ticks all the boxes when it comes to relevant offerings; check them out.
There is just one area that diverges from conventional amp practice. Get very clear on this and you’ll have a long and happy relationship with your NAIM stack. Ignore this advice and understand you’ll be less happy and likely very frustrated. I speak of NAIM’s use of their own speaker cables (NAC-5) as an essential element of their electronics. I spoke with one of their oldest and most loyal dealers in the US, a man who engineered many of their famous vinyl recordings, Ken Christianson, yesterday to get his perspective on these and how REL/NAIM owners should use our products together. Ken and his partner John own Pro Musica in Chicago, a great store that takes customer service and careful fettling of systems very seriously.
First, NAIM amps require a minimum of 12’ in precisely length-matched pairs of NAIM NAC-5 speaker cable. They may be longer than that (always using their cables) but cannot be shorter. Their speaker cables have been optimized to present an ideal load for NAIM amps. Their electronics benefit from this. Don’t mess about with other manufacturer’s cables, they won’t sound better, and some cables are even rumored to damage NAIM’s equipment.
High Rollers Take Note: REL and how to connect to NAIM.
The simple, short version of the story is “Always purchase REL’s NAIM BassLine Blue cable(s) to go along with a NAIM installation.” These were specially developed in consultation with NAIM’s engineers and work perfectly every time. This NAIM version of BassLine Blue features a special termination that means the NAIM see exactly the load they’re happiest with. And if you’re using their separate preamps and amps, you’ll find that our cables are very fairly priced. Apart from that one important difference they work exactly the same; they connect exactly the same and deliver all the sonic benefits when mated to NAIM amps as the non-NAIM versions do when used with every other electronics manufacturer. Namely, they open the entire stereo sound stage and restore clarity and dynamics that might well require thousands of pounds or dollars, and they do so for a few hundred pounds/dollars. This version can safely be used on every other manufacturer’s amps without issue, so there’s security in knowing that if you ever choose to move on from NAIM you won’t need to repurchase your BassLine Blues.
For the Rest of Us:
For some odd reason (aah, the unfairness of it all!) you don’t have £25,000 (or £100,000) to drop on your favorite hobby on a rainy Saturday. Fret not, NAIM make lovely and affordable conventional integrated amps like the NAIT, or modern integrated all-in-ones like the Mu-So that scratch that itch at very reasonable prices. When using RELs (at this price point, we strongly suggest using stereo pairs of RELs, (explained below) such as the T/5x, but you should still use NAIM speaker cable in length-matched sets.
Now listen carefully, this is where we save you money on the cables, almost enough to pay for that second REL. When working with less expensive NAIM products, what makes the most common sense and presents the correct electrical load is to connect the RELs to the rear terminals of each speaker. By doing so, the NAIM amp will “see” the correct load from the NAIM cables, and because you will be using our supplied High Level Cable that we include free with every REL that offers High Level, your system works perfectly.
The trick is you WILL want/need to use a stereo pair of RELs (not a single REL) in this instance, otherwise, you’ll be laying a long, skinny wire all the way across the floor from one speaker to the other to get the second channel bass feed to the REL. Trying to live with a wire dangling across one’s carpet is a recipe for disaster.
Let’s wrap this up with a bow. If you own NAIM, always use NAIM speaker cable, preferably 12’ or longer. When using traditional NAIM separates–preamps and amps– it’s best to invest in REL’s BassLine Blue for NAIM cables. These cables are fitted with the exact components built into the cable that present the correct load for NAIM amplifiers. When using their smaller integrated amps and integrated streamers use their speaker cable and using a stereo pair of REL subs, attach our High Level Cables (cut them to length if you wish) to the binding posts on the rear of your speakers. If using the sorts of speakers that commonly pair off with items like a NAIT amp, a pair of 3m BassLine Blue will set you back several hundred dollars, almost as much as , say, your second REL T/5x which makes this connection scheme perfect for smaller NAIMs and relevant partnering RELs. Enjoy!
|Model||Type||Year Released||Favoured Connection Method||next best||option||low level type||GND terminal||float swicth|
|NaimUniti||Integrated Amplifier||2009||Naim Bassline Blue||wireless||speaker||din to rca||n||y|
|UnitiQute||Integrated Amplifier||2009||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||y|
|Uniti Atom||Integrated Amplifier||2017||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||y|
|Uniti Star||Integrated Amplifier||2017||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||y|
|Uniti Nova||Integrated Amplifier||2017||Naim Bassline Blue||wireless||speaker||rca to rca||n||y|
|NAIT||Integrated Amplifier||1983||speaker||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||y||n|
|NAIT 2||Integrated Amplifier||1988||speaker||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||y||n|
|NAIT 3||Integrated Amplifier||1993||Naim Bassline Blue||wireless||speaker||din to rca||y||n|
|NAIT 5||Integrated Amplifier||2000||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||n|
|NAIT 5i||Integrated Amplifier||2003||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||n|
|SUPERNAIT||Integrated Amplifier||2007||Naim Bassline Blue||wireless||speaker||din to rca||y||n|
|NAIT XS||Integrated Amplifier||2008||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||din to rca||y||n|
|NAIT 5si||Integrated Amplifier||2013||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||n||n|
|SUPERNAIT 2||Integrated Amplifier||2013||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||rca to rca||y||n|
|NAIT XS 2||Integrated Amplifier||2013||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||din to rca||y||n|
|SUPERNAIT 3||Integrated Amplifier||2019||Naim Bassline Blue||wireless||speaker||din to rca||y||n|
|NAIT XS 3||Integrated Amplifier||2019||wireless||speaker||Designacable.com||din to rca||y||n|
|NAP 110||Power. Amplifier||1979||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 120||Power. Amplifier||1978||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 135||Power. Amplifier||1984||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 135||Power. Amplifier||1984||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 140||Power. Amplifier||1986||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 150||Power. Amplifier||2001||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 150x||Power. Amplifier||2004||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 155 XS||Power. Amplifier||2009||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 160||Power. Amplifier||1971||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 175||Power. Amplifier||2002||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 180||Power. Amplifier||1992||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 200||Power. Amplifier||2002||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 250||Power. Amplifier||1973||Bassline blue - each channel - spk||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 300||Stereo Power. Amplifier||2002||Bassline Blue - each channel - spk||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 500||Power. Amplifier||2000||Bassline blue - each channel - spk||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 90||Power. Amplifier||1987||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 90/2||Power. Amplifier||1990||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 90/3||Power. Amplifier||1993||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP 100||Power. Amplifier||2013||speaker - each channel||speaker||Designacable.com|
|NAP S1||Power. Amplifier||2014||Bass line blue with wireless - per ch|
|NAP 500 SR||Power. Amplifier||2018||Bassline Blue - each channel|
|NAP 250 DR||Power. Amplifier||2018||Bassline Blue - each channel|