The Tom Tom Club

Join the Owners Club for Naim Users

A Journey of Discovery at the Chord Co

James and I finally got ourselves down to Amesbury to visit the folk at Chord Co to find out how they make their cables and hear more about the breakthrough technology they call Tuned Aray (TA). Nigel ‘The Cable Doctor’ Finn made a very good case for TA with his dem at the Bristol show but hearing it on a Naim system in the controlled environment of the Chord Co dem room was another experience altogether. First however we met the people who work for the company who seem a lovely bunch, slaving over a hot iron all day can’t be all easy but the atmosphere was by no means intense, you get the impression that it’s a good place to work. We also had a go at cable building ourselves; twisting, preparing and terminating a run of the new Epic Reference speaker cable using the facilities reserved for dealer training. Before you knew it they'd put James to work, rolling up his sleeves to solder on some banana plugs with one of their meaty, plier like irons ('I love the smell of flux in the morning ' said James) This new cable is a halfway house between the existing Epic cable and the Signature model and has the same clamped twin-core construction.

The real fun of the day was sitting and listening to a Naim DAC with XPS, NAC 202 and NAP 200 with either a Sony SACD player or USB stick for source material, speakers were the Spendor D7s used in Bristol. Tuned Aray is an idea that Nigel came up with last year and originally involved changing the way that the second return conductor in a Sarum digital cable is used. His description was rather vague because the secret of TA appears to be related to geometry rather than materials, it’s a recipe for interconnect design that was arrived at by painstaking empirical trial and error and you can understand why they would prefer to keep it under wraps. The proof as ever lies in the listening and when Nigel replaced standard Sarum DIN to DIN and SNAIC pre to power leads with TA versions it was evident that this is a game changer. The timing went from very good to astonishing. We were playing the track In Shades by Tom Waits, an rambling instrumental with a lot of background music from a bar. Suddenly this made complete musical sense, there was space and time for every sound to be fully expressed, it was as if the degree of transparency had more than doubled. I have rarely heard a system change so much. Chord Co has always been good at delivering a highly musical result with Naim electronics but this is in another league. In every instance the TA allowed the system to deliver significantly greater resolution of low level detail, timbre and space in the context of an exponential increase in musicality.

Nigel is of the opinion that TA works because of the way that electronics react to it, and as it’s the same cable in nearly all respects its hard to think what else is going on. I have never heard a Naim system sound as good as it did once the TA cable was inserted and apparently this system can sound even better with a rully run-in DIN to DIN. Turns out Nigel had rashly donated his dem cable to another Naimee in need so we had to use a new one! The second best thing about TA is that it’s relatively inexpensive in comparison with original Sarum.

Epic Reference

Crimson cable prepared for termination

Cables awaiting packing and despatchKudos Super 10, just one of the references Chord Co keeps on hand

This was a truly enjoyable and inspirational day out, and I'd like to add my thanks to everyone at Chord for their warm hospitality, wonderful sandwiches and truly ground breaking work with Sarum Tuned Aray, an unmitigated milestone in cable design.



Views: 2152

Comment by Martin Crowther on May 27, 2013 at 10:40

Having never defected from standard Naim cables sounds like, for once, these might be worth a listen?

Comment by Dave Burke on June 5, 2013 at 20:30
I knew I should have patented my idea of using a 15mm pipe solderer for speaker cables - posted this on Naim Forum 16th May 2009... Works a treat!

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of The Tom Tom Club to add comments!

Join The Tom Tom Club


Welcome to the Tom Tom Club

About the Tom Tom Club

2 discussions

The Naim Archive

8 discussions

Your Naim Story

The place to post details of your Naim systems

44 discussions


  • Add Photos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Profile IconMario Vukelic, Paul Reiterbund, Adrian Jewell and 11 more joined The Tom Tom Club
Sep 9, 2020
Tom Tom Audio posted a blog post

Welcome Back

We are delighted to announce that from Monday 15th June we will be re-opening our showroom for demonstrations by appointment only. With private parking right next to our building and thorough cleaning of the demonstration area between visitors, we are able to offer you a safe ’socially-distanced’ environment in which to evaluate your next upgrade with complete peace of…See More
Jun 11, 2020
Tom Tom Audio posted blog posts
Apr 9, 2020
Tom Tom Audio posted blog posts
Apr 1, 2020
A blog post by Tom Tom Audio was featured

Keeping a Safe Distance

By taking every precaution I’ve managed to keep our on-line shop open for parts, accessories and pre-loved items: - click here More
Apr 1, 2020
Profile IconRobbie Inglis and Andrew Ashby joined The Tom Tom Club
Apr 1, 2020
Jason posted a blog post

Rega's world keeps turning

Great things are afoot in Southend. Rega, for it is their patch, are growing in scale and technological advancement as I found when I visited recently. With the workforce up to 140 and a new healthy food canteen to keep them fuelled the company is doing remarkably well. When I last visited five years back the new mezzanine floor was only a quarter filled, now it’s full…See More
Mar 20, 2020
Profile IconStefano Bilotta, William J Arrowsmith and John Bacon joined The Tom Tom Club
Mar 13, 2020

© 2021   Created by Tom Tom Audio.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service