Naim Celebrates Solstice By Launching First Turntable With Special Edition Aro Tonearm
What better time to fully appreciate your vinyl collection than during the longest day? Well, Naim Audio has helpfully announced its very first turntable and more in celebration of Solstice.
Naim Audio's Solstice celebrates “a new dawn for music” and the vinyl experience with the British brand's first-ever turntable. Designed and tuned by Naim, the Solstice Special Edition comes exclusively packaged as a deluxe collection, limited to 500 sets.
Of course, the Solstice Special Edition features the classic Naim aesthetic and combines a contemporary, room-friendly design. We are also promised that the Solstice is easy to live with and use.
Stand-out features include a turntable plinth crafted from 47 separate layers of wood, a next-generation version of Naim's iconic Aro tonearm, the all-new Equinox moving-coil cartridge, and Solstice Series Phono Stage.
Rounding things off is an exclusive commemorative hardback book and unique Naim Records album – a curated collection of superb quality True Stereo recordings, newly remastered for vinyl.
The phono stage and power supply are hand-crafted at Naim in Salisbury, UK, with the turntable, arm and cartridge exactingly manufactured to Naim's design by German specialist, Clearaudio. All elements are precision-engineered for consistently excellent performance.
Naim Solstice Turntable
The Solstice turntable boasts multiple levels of mechanical decoupling and features a magnetic bearing supporting a high-mass, highly polished aluminium platter with a unique, self-calibrating motor drive system.
We are informed that the turntable meticulously delivers the Naim sound even though it, and the special edition Aro tonearm and Equinox MC cartridge, are manufactured by Clearuaudio; as they are designed and tuned by the Salisbury-based hi-fi legend that is Naim Audio.
The turntable plinth consists of 47 wood layers skinned with metal to create an extremely low resonance structure, says Naim. Additionally, the plinth features an island between the platter bearing and arm to keep those components critically aligned with one another. Furthermore, a three-arm decoupling system isolates that island from the plinth, blocking vibration caused by ambient sound or residual motor vibration.
The turntable comes with a Solstice Accessories Set – including Digital Stylus Gauge; Bubble Level; Hex Drivers (x3); Vinyl Adjustment Tool; Dust Protector and Cleaning Cloth.
Naim Aro Solstice Edition Tonearm
Naim's Aro tonearm has long been well-respected, and requests for a new version are a consistent feature on many forums thanks to the original model's knack for delivering a natural and organic musical performance.
The updated Aro for Solstice Special Edition retains the familiar three-point fixing – maximising the integrity of the critical interface with the new Equinox MC cartridge.
Further refinements to the design and performance of the original include improved materials such as tungsten and carbon fibre. That's in addition to all-new, no-compromise bias, arm height and azimuth adjustment features.
Naturally, the Aro Solstice Edition also accommodates cartridges from other brands through its two-point, slotted fixings. However, and perhaps more excitingly, the new Aro finally features a lift-lower device!
Naim Equinox MC Cartridge
The Equinox cartridge is said to be engineered with Swiss-watch precision and features a Moving Coil (MC) inner assembly sat in a solid aluminium housing machined from a single billet which combined tips the scales at 8g.
To maximise stability and energy transfer, the stylus, cantilever and motor components are securely clamped to the cartridge body, which itself is attached to the headshell with a three-point fixing.
Equinox has a Microline stylus shape which is apparently closer to the original cutting lathe head. This is said to enable accurate retrieval of high-frequency information, further assisted by the boron cantilever. In addition, the stiff-but-light design promises to faithfully transfer the stylus movements to the moving coils.
With a claimed 20Hz-40kHz frequency response, 11Ω impedance and 0.4mV output, the Naim Equinox requires a 2.2g-2.4g tracking force and 100Ω input resistance. Naim also suggests setting your MC phono stage to high gain for the Equinox.
Naim Solstice Phono Stage
The Solstice Series phono stage is touted as an ultra-low-noise Class A design with dedicated MC and MM amplifiers and references previous Naim designs, such as the SuperLine and Statement amplifiers.
The Solstice Series Phono Stage is the first to feature the Discrete Regulators (DR) developed for Statement. We are therefore told to expect a smooth, stable power supply, crucial for next-level performance.
For greater flexibility, fly-by-wire input switching, loading and gain are all present. Fly-by-wire allows the controls to be conveniently located on the rear panel and the internal circuits ideally placed for optimal performance, says Naim. It also means that you can use the controls on the fly.
There are abundant settings, making cartridge matching pretty much guaranteed thanks to sixteen settings each for resistive and capacitive loading, with 256 possible tuning combinations for moving-coil cartridges. Moving magnets get 42dB of gain, 47kΩ and 100pF loading with 22dB ref 5mV input headroom.
The MM and MC inputs have dedicated head-amplifiers, including an all-new, Class A MC design. Naim says that this has been configured to be inherently ultra-low noise boasts Naim with MCs enjoying a claimed <0.005% ref 1.5mV input THD+N and 84dB ref 0.5mV A-wtd (both gain settings) SNR.
Designed to make the business of reproducing your cherished tunes even better is the Solstice Series Power Supply. Looking identical to the phono stage from the front, this bespoke design powers both the turntable and the phono stage and, for the ultimate performance, these two power supplies are completely isolated, with no risk of interference.
Like the Solstice Phono Stage, the turntable power supply features Naim DR technology, providing the cleanest possible power. Clean power is a crucial component of any audio system, but it's even more vital in a turntable setup, where the cartridge is incredibly sensitive to interference from electromagnetic radiation.
This Solstice design has another trick up its aluminium sleeve, too, as it detects when the turntable has stopped and goes into a 0.5W power sleep mode for standby, making it both smarter and greener.
A small switched-mode power supply (SMPSU) enables this standby function to automatically disengage when the turntable is used. At this point, an oversized toroidal transformer takes over power duties.
Available from late July, the Naim Audio Solstice Special Edition is available to pre-order now with a suggested selling price of US$20,000 | €17,000.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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