2017 was an exciting year for Witch Hat. Towards the end of the year, we saw the launch of our highly acclaimed 82 SuperLink Mod and the Phantom Speaker Cable. Both mods derived from our passion to breath a new life into old systems lest you have to unnecessarily buy new kit. The inspiration for these innovations came from the creative minds of our engineers JJ and Mark.
JJ, a physics and electronics graduate, first started his career at Naim where he rose through the ranks to claim the title of Senior Test Engineer. It was during the near decade he spent at Naim that JJ developed his passion for modifying and improving Naim equipment – sometimes against his bosses’ wishes!
This is also where JJ met our founder Mark, with their professional relationship and friendship continuing to this day. JJ then went on to work for Archer Technicoat where he furthered his scientific knowledge of materials before moving to Quantel where he worked on pioneering production equipment.
After working for Witch Hat for over a year JJ decided he wanted to further outside of the Naim scope and so he set up Dark Art Electronics. Whilst he still services amplifiers and collaborates on R&D, this company gives him complete creative freedom so he’s not restricted and can develop his own sound.
The first in Dark Arts’s new range is The Newt. The Newt is, in essence, a regulator board upgrade for the HiCap and SuperCap but it has applications elsewhere. It works by replacing the old regulator boards with a new multi-stage regulation board (something JJ had been working on since he was in the Naim factory). This creates a smoother transition from power supply to the preamp meaning a great uplift in sound.
Since it doesn’t alter how the amp produces sound the Naim note is retained but you get a much clearer presentation and detailed soundscape. Having listened to the whole variety of Naim’s amplifiers – including those fitted with Avondale boards – JJ was amazed at how big a difference this board makes. He noted that you could hear distinct features in instruments that would have previously been missed and a stereo image that extends beyond the capabilities of the original system.
For the time being, the Newt will only be available via Witch Hat. This way we can ensure that they are fitted with the care and attention to detail that Naim units expect. Though they will eventually be available for DIY customers at a later date.
If you would like to talk to someone about having these fitted in your amp, please get in touch.