UK manufacturer Naim has announced the forthcoming release of its first ever turntable : the Naim Solstice Special Edition package. Limited to 500 units, this special edition includes the Solstice turntable, an upgraded version of Naim’s iconic Aro tone arm, an Equinox moving coil cartridge, a Solstice Series phono preamp, power supply and accessory kit.
Renowned for the quality of its hi-fi amplifiers, wireless speakers, power amps, network players, power supplies and headphone amps, Naim has announced the future release of its first turntable, almost half a century after the brand’s inception.
The Solstice inherits the design elements for which Naim electronics are renowned, including the use of multiple levels of mechanical decoupling and premium materials. It has a thick, high mass polished aluminium platter resting on a magnetic sub-platter. The belt drive system is combined with a motor designed to achieve unique precision and thus deliver all the sound quality for which Naim is known.
The Solstice Special Edition also includes a commemorative book and the Naim Records True Stereo album – a collection of high quality True Stereo recordings specially remastered for vinyl.
Naim has partnered with Clearaudio to design the Solstice turntable, taking advantage of the German manufacturer’s extensive experience in the field. The turntable, tone arm and cartridge are designed by Clearaudio to Naim’s exact specifications. The phono preamp and power supply are manufactured by Naim in Salisbury, UK.
The turntable design, devised by Naim, incorporates several levels of mechanical decoupling to block vibrations and reduce noise and interference levels. Made from 47 layers of wood, the turntable plinth is a low-resonance structure with an ‘island’ linking the sub-platter to the tone arm to maintain alignment. This small section is combined with a three-legged decoupling system to isolate it from the rest of the plinth. In addition, the aluminium platter uses a ‘floating’ magnetic bearing to minimise surface contact and mechanical noise.
Initially released in 1989, Naim’s Aro tone arm, with its single-pivot design and rigid aluminium tube, has been updated for Solstice. The Aro Mk 2 retains the unique pivot but is now constructed from even better materials, namely tungsten and carbon fibre. It also benefits from a new magnetic bias mechanism, as well as arm height and azimuth adjustments. Although the Aro Mk2 tone arm is compatible with a wide range of cartridges, Naim has chosen to pre-mount an Equinox MC moving coil cartridge on the arm. Featuring a solid machined aluminium body and a Microline tip mounted on a boron cantilever, the Equinox cell offers accurate reproduction of all the details etched into the groove of vinyl records, excellent channel separation and low noise levels.
The phono stage of the Solstice Special Edition set is a Class A design and is compatible with moving coil and moving magnet cartridges. Using technology originally designed for the iconic Naim Statement amplifier, the phono stage features discrete regulators to ensure a stable power supply. Input switching, load and gain are located at the rear and allow for quick adjustment with 16 resistance and 16 capacitive load adjustments.
The decoupled power supply is designed to supply the turntable and phono stage with power. However, the two circuits are isolated to avoid interference. Naim has developed a “smart” power supply, which can detect when the turntable is switched off and automatically switches to standby mode (0.5W). A small switch-mode power supply provides this standby function and is automatically disengaged when the deck is in use.
The Solstice accessory pack includes a digital scale, spirit level, screwdrivers, a protective cover and a cleaning cloth. The set also includes a book on the history of the company and the development of the Solstice turntable, and a Naim-produced True Stereo vinyl record.
Available from the end of July, the Naim Audio Solstice Special Edition is priced at £16,000 or €17,000.