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Naim Uniti Atom Review (Streamer & Amp)

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  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 260 70.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 87 23.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther

    Votes: 15 4.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 9 2.4%

  • Total voters
    371

DSJR

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Since my friend Julian passed away, Naim has lost the plot. Shame as they had a decent R&D department until they were sold to the French.
They were pretty crap then on the bench (why they 'sounded' different to everything else, especially in the CB era of the 80's) and they're not hugely better now. I suspect this dismissal of measurements was actually to hide shortcomings in these updated but old fashioned designs back then - Julian wasn't an electronics chap I remember, but was very well educated enough to adapt old established designs to his purpose. Been there with the brand since 1975 and boy, were we led a right dance in that time as to what we were told a 'good sound' was! It's now bought by new retirees with healthy pension pots who missed out on the 80's subjective 'flat earth 'fun'.' The 'feel' and basic looks are good in units like this though with the sexy rotating 'disc' on top.

Like the Hegel and Rega amps measured here, the performance of this thing is 'good enough for purpose.' By 80's standards, it's very good for a subjectivist product... I can't get past the arrogance this brand has always had, especially after I 'fell off their tour bus' in the mid 80's. The products started to gradually improve, but every new model meant a huge price hike over the internally pretty similar previous one and as I just don't get marketing for the sake of it, I despaired and ultimately, more than a little contempt took over.
 
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RandomEar

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tt keeps surprising me how bad the measurements can be for hifi items while still getting rave reviews all around. After getting an idea of how distortion sounds, I'm beginning to believe most of us can easily get used to a distorted sound (for example in a car). The looks, user experience and price seem to be the 3 factors that matter most in a sighted review. More than sound quality. Although ime a less distorted sound gives a more satisfying experience in the long run.
After doing the Klippel distortion listening test, this doesn't surprise me anymore. The vast majority of people tap out below -45 dB of distortion with real music in a direct A/B comparison. That value might be slightly higher when listening at very high volumes and for different types of music, but then again, it will be significantly lower without a possibility to do the direct A/B switching.

In a sighted test, you can get away with pretty crappy performance and very, very few people will notice.
 

voodooless

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3 pages in and unless I have missed it, nobody is saying the unit must be defective or the tests weren't done properly.
I guess expectation bias just works well ;).

I read the title and just knew this would be a dud.. some scrolling later it confirmed it.

But don’t give up yet, usually the new members start jumping in at page 5 or so :cool:
 
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Ra1zel

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But since C21 I can’t think of any “high end” manufacturer that measures to a very high standard. More shiny and intricate casework, more hefty, definitely. Buy perhaps only a handful, like Bryson, Classé, and Halcro, but never Naim.
McIntosh MC462 is pretty much up there with Benchmark AHB2 or well implemented Purifi.
 

digicidal

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Briefly considered this unit for a bedroom... until I came to my senses regarding the price (granted it was a refurb on ac4l - at basically half the retail price). HDMI is appreciated and rare in the segment, but even if the performance were fantastic... it'd be a really hard sell for the nicer footprint over a midrange AVR with far more versatility.

On the other side, in regards to power in a compact footprint (with streaming and amplification)... it's not worth the premium over the likes of the Marantz M-CR612 or Denon CEOL-N10 - both of which include a CD player and more power. Admittedly I can't confirm that they're any cleaner as far as signal or output... but the provided specifications would seem to indicate they both are. Unless you really want to see the Naim logo on your devices that is... then maybe it doesn't matter.
 

Ra1zel

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Pathetic how bad it is relative to competition, something like Matrix Element range does everything better by orders of magnitude and you are still left with money to build yourself some hypex/purifi
 

Katji

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Is that the volume control on top? Seriously?
I had to check for a clearer picture, in case it was on the front, hidden in the blackness of Amir's photo...


1656148969367.png


:oops:
"coffee coaster"?...on the roof. :-o



1656148806506.png



...The rest of the What Hi-Fi story is just...o_O :rolleyes: incredible...Stunning.
 
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DSJR

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You know, B&O have always sold on their aesthetic and finish, but I now believe that even in the 80's, they were way ahead internally and technically, not that we 'flat earthers' then even looked at that brand remotely seriously, regarding it as a rich man's Technics or similar stack system (I was pulled up short later on I remember, hearing so many Beosystems 'sound' really very good in owners' homes in a good-all-round kind of way)
 

nyxnyxnyx

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I think people who bought these kinda products usually falls in one or more 'subgroups' below:

-Don't care about objective performance and measurements at all
-Think the more expensive, the better something is ('you get what you pay for' mindset)
-Got hooked by overwhelmingly positive impressions and remarks on the internet
-Believe in reliable brand names bringing reliable quality (it works sometimes)
-Long time fan of said product line/brand.
-Got hooked by the marketing buzzwords and 'stories' behind the product
-Didn't know what they were actually getting into
-Care about objective performance but have low threshold/standard (easy customer)
-The product is just too aesthetic to not buy
 

CapMan

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Naim is a cult of sorts - I was on that bandwagon for 15 years . You start at a level you can afford and usually find something that isn’t right in the sound (it’s too hard or harsh) - the advice from the cult is to get an external power supply, or the next box up in the range and all will
be well. Until that change wears, then the same wisdom arrives and around you go again. Then it would be your mains power supply that needs to be reworked, and the mega buck Fraim rack that will get the best out of everything, or endless cable dressing with ridiculous burndy cables - oh, and insanely complicated wiring diagrams between boxes … and don’t mention the humming transformers, leaving everything powered on 24/7, sounding different based on phase of the moon and humidity - I could go on

I ended up with two racks and 6 boxes just to play a CD. The positive is that the resale market was great and people take care of their gear so cost to change was llower. The service department was also great and would be able to recap old gear.

I’m very happy to be off that merry go round .
 
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restorer-john

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You know, B&O have always sold on their aesthetic and finish, but I now believe that even in the 80's, they were way ahead internally and technically, not that we 'flat earthers' then even looked at that brand

It was beautifully built, although covered in horrible DIN connectors, recessed and impossible to wire up terminals.

The two pin DIN (speaker terminals) is arguably the second most evil connector on the planet, behind the EU Scart. Oh and the SVHS connector. And the HDMI.... ;)

The internals were wonderful, although primitive in some areas and brilliant in others. I had a Beosystem series 5000 with all the components I picked up for not a lot of money at auction, including the wonderful tabletop 2 way master control panel remote, horizontal loading cassette deck and the 2nd generation CD player based on a Philips mech (CDM-1). The TT was a glorious piece of art and functionality, although the MMC cartridge was nothing to write home about, sound wise.
 

Triliza

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NAD m33 would probably be a much better choice (Dirac included) if someone want a all-in-one unit and can afford the price. One can get much superior fidelity (if it'll be clearly audible is another question) for less money than what these cost, but if money is not a problem, sure.
 

PeteL

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But after the founder died about 2000 the marketing guy took the reigns. Sales tripled, and NAIM was seriously high end by this time. Now I really couldn’t afford them; I could only drool about them: due to Shakespearean lyricism that the hi-fi press used “reassuringly expensive” and “worth every penny”.
And the looks were, well, industrial looking; well before we had industrial designers dabbling in audio or computers; which is fairly commonplace now, ala Apple.

Amir probably remembers this too- remember in C20 when virtually all computers were big ol’ beige boxes?

But since C21 I can’t think of any “high end” manufacturer that measures to a very high standard. More shiny and intricate casework, more hefty, definitely. Buy perhaps only a handful, like Bryson, Classé, and Halcro, but never Naim.
Interesting thought, and I do not have the insight you have on the full history, but at least to me, I have been around the audiophile circles, people that would sometime pay way too much if they think is good, often wrongfully but still passionate about HIFI, Naim is not really considered a high end brand. They don't try to appeal to pure audiophile. Those who purchase that probably think it sounds better than it does, but they are not into "Hi end" audio. To me Naim, or maybe B&O are brands that try to do luxury lifestyle products. Ornaments that produce sound. They do look very polish have many features, impress by their look, design and finish. It is relatively expensive, but many can afford that, their couch and their kitchen table are probably priced 5 to 10 times that. Not worth it to me but I wouldn't buy a 30 000$ couch neither. If as you say sales tripled, they must be doing something good, it's just not a product for us.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

From this and similar reviews of HEA products, the audiophile should retain that a good AVR, provides more features than most (any?) of these High End Audio offerings. At a much better price.; perhaps in a less "lifestyle" form factor:rolleyes:...
At around that price, $3500, one can begin contemplating a good, fine sounding 2-channel system complete with subwoofer with a Denon AVR-X3700...
Denon AVR-X3700 ...... $1299
KEF R3 ....... $2000
SVS ....... SB1000 $500
Oh! and DRC comes in the form of Audyssey ... It is included with the X-3700...

Peace.
 
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mcduman

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I still keep the original naim uniti which the late art dudley said was the product of the decade. it is still a sensational piece of audio device and i intend to keep it until the end of my days. i never heard the later iterations including this atom here.
 

CapMan

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Interesting thought, and I do not have the insight you have on the full history, but at least to me, I have been around the audiophile circles, people that would sometime pay way too much if they think is good, often wrongfully but still passionate about HIFI, Naim is not really considered a high end brand. They don't try to appeal to pure audiophile. Those who purchase that probably think it sounds better than it does, but they are not into "Hi end" audio. To me Naim, or maybe B&O are brands that try to do luxury lifestyle products. Ornaments that produce sound. They do look very polish have many features, impress by their look, design and finish. It is relatively expensive, but many can afford that, their couch and their kitchen table are probably priced 5 to 10 times that. Not worth it to me but I wouldn't buy a 30 000$ couch neither. If as you say sales tripled, they must be doing something good, it's just not a product for us.
Some would say Naim is is high end - their ‘statement’ stack is £200k

 

xaviescacs

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Do you think the filter is done on purpose to cause some rise in distortion in high frequencies? This and the amp roll of in high frequency may indicate some intention to prevent the unit from sounding harsh to some listeners. What do you think? It doesn't looks like an accident.
 
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