Today Naim revealed its new Super Lumina range of high-quality interconnects and speaker cables, developed in parallel with Statement, its flagship amplification system.
The brief was simple: design a range of cables that would complement and allow the maximum performance of Statement as well as Naim 500 Series and Classic products. Starting with a blank page, Naim’s engineers specified each element of the cables based on the results of thousands of hours spent in the listening room testing prototypes.
To reach their goal required a deep understanding of material science and the influence of cable and connector construction on sound quality.
Super Lumina pre to power interconnects ship as standard with all Statement systems. The rest of the range is scheduled to enter production in February 2015 and will be available from all Naim specialist retailers.
Super Lumina Technology
The Naim Air-PLUG
The Super Lumina interconnects feature an advanced version of Naim’s patented Air-PLUG technology first introduced for the Hi-Line. All DIN and XLR connectors have the Air-PLUG connector which is designed as a decoupling device to minimise microphonic interference and preserve the integrity of the audio signal.
The new Super Lumina Air-PLUG features multiple individual aluminium rings which form the rear of the connector. These are screwed together to form an articulating section which inhibits the passage of unwanted energy, the choice of aluminium as a material enhances this process. The connector pins on DIN terminated cables also float within their sockets, extending the decoupling effect right to the point where the signal enters the product.
Super Lumina cables are designed to minimise the effect of external and internal interference sources and preserve maximum signal fidelity. The fundamental cable design consists of several individually-insulated multi-strand silver-plated copper conductors of varying diameters enclosed in a tin-plated copper shield. This is all enclosed in a soft outer jacket which facilitates easy installation whilst minimising microphonic interference.
Each signal, return, ground and shield conductor is individually manufactured for its specific function. The ground conductor references the audio band waveform, mirroring the internal design of Naim electronics.
To optimise performance and ensure consistency the directionality of the cables is controlled at every point of manufacture. Each diameter wire is matched after extrusion so that every conductor within the cable has the same directionality.
Choosing the right high-quality materials is an essential part of cable performance. This doesn’t mean opting for the most expensive or rarest metals, but instead specifying complementary materials that deliver the best sound in listening tests.
Silver is used to plate all conductors, connector pins (excluding the RCAs) as well as the spade and 4mm speaker terminations. Silver has the highest conductivity rating of any metal and also matches the plating on terminals of our flagship amplification system, Statement. This consistency in materials eliminates any galvanic potential differences.
Copper is used as the main conductor material in all Super Lumina cables. Like silver, copper also has an exceptional conductivity rating. All DIN connector pins use silver-plated tellurium copper, an alloy of copper which is greater than 90% conductive as the pure metal but which can be practically used in connector manufacture. This is far higher than commonly used alternatives such as brass or phosphor bronze.
Aluminium. Air-PLUG connectors on XLR and DIN interconnects feature individually machined and anodised aluminium rings. Aluminium is a non-magnetic metal which provides a highly durable connection and is consistent with materials used on the chassis of Naim products.
Gold. Super Lumina interconnects come with an option of RCA terminations for fitting to non-Naim equipment. Gold is used here for consistency of materials with these products and for its effect on sound in this context.
FEP is a quality insulating material with low dielectric absorption. It used as the internal material which insulates and separates each conductor.
Tin. All conductor shielding is woven from non-magnetic tin-plated pure copper to provide maximum coverage and protect the conductors within from interference.
Hand-built in Salisbury
Each Super Lumina cable is hand-assembled at Naim in Salisbury to the customer’s specification of length and termination. The process is intricate and highly-skilled, following detailed instructions which cover every aspect of the build.
Every cable also goes through a proprietary de-stressing process to relieve the materials of the inherent stresses which are a result of the manufacturing process. This means the cables reach optimum performance with minimal run in time.