Naim has announced the release of the Special Edition Solstice Collection, featuring the first turntable in the hi-fi brand’s nearly half-century of manufacturing.
The Special Edition Collection includes the belt-drive Solstice turntable; the Aro Mk2 tonearm; an Equinox MC cartridge; a Solstice Series Phono Stage; a Solstice Series Power Supply and bespoke accessories set.
Naim has teamed up with turntable specialist Clearaudio to produce the Solstice, taking advantage of the German manufacturer's extensive experience with record players.
Clearaudio will manufacture the Solstice’s deck, arm and cartridge while the phono stage and power supply will be built by Naim in Salisbury, UK.
The design of the turntable, conceived by Naim, features several levels of mechanical decoupling to block vibrations and reduce the noise level. Crafted from 47 layers of wood, the turntable plinth is a low resonance structure with an 'island' to maintain alignment between the platter bearing and tonearm.
A three-pronged decoupling system helps to isolate the island from the rest of the plinth. Meanwhile, the aluminium platter employs a ‘floating’ magnetic bearing to minimise surface contact and mechanical noise.
First released in 1989, Naim's Aro tonearm, with its unipivot design and rigid aluminium tube, has been revamped for Solstice. The Aro Mk 2 retains the unipivot but is now constructed from modern materials including tungsten and carbon fibre. It also adds a new magnetic biasing mechanism, as well as arm height and azimuth adjustments.
While the Aro Mk2 tonearm is more accommodating of third party cartridges than the original, the new Equinox MC is included in the package. The Equinox is a moving coil design with a solid aluminium housing machined from a single billet for rigidity and stability.
Naim says the Equinox's Microline stylus, which replicates the shape of cutting lathe heads used in vinyl production, enables a more accurate retrieval of high-frequency information. The cantilever is made from stiff-but-light Boron.
For the phono stage, the Solstice has a Class A design with dedicated moving coil and moving magnet head-amplifiers including a new, Class A moving coil design, which Naim says is configured to be ultra-low noise.
Using technology originally designed for the company’s flagship Statement amplifier, the phono stage has discrete regulators that provide a stable power supply. Fly-by-wire input switching, loading and gain have also been included. These controls, located on the rear panel, allow for for fast tuning with 16 resistive and 16 capacitive loading settings, with 256 possible tuning combinations for moving-coil cartridges.
Rounding out the technical package is the power supply that drives both the turntable and the phono stage, with the two circuits isolated. It’s a ‘smart’ power supply that can detect if the turntable has stopped and then go into a 0.5W power sleep mode. A small switched-mode power supply enables this standby function and is automatically disengaged when the turntable is in use.
The Solstice Accessories Set includes a digital stylus gauge; spirit level; hex drivers; vinyl adjustment tool; dust protector and a cleaning cloth. The package also includes a commemorative book on the company’s history and the Solstice’s development and a Naim-produced True Stereo vinyl. These extras are currently exclusive to Solstice customers.
Available from late July, the Naim Audio Solstice Special Edition is limited to 500 units and is available to pre-order now, priced £16,000 (€17,000, $20,000, AU$32,000).