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Not a very scientific comparison between the EverSolo A6 Master and Naim Uniti Atom

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Jun 27, 2022
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I have both of the streamers in the title, and decided to see if I could detect any difference between them in my system. I was only really checking the streamer/DAC in each. I had the Atom and A6 streaming from internet radio to start. The Atom was connected into the RCA inputs of my Topping A90 Discrete, while the A6 was connected to the balanced inputs. (The A90D was connected to a Moon 330A power amp and was driving B&W 702S3 speakers). I simply adjusted the volume on each to sound about the same (as I said, not very scientific!) and switched back and forth using the Topping remote. I could hear no difference at all, but the A6 was some 5 seconds delayed – which is odd.

This was just low res radio, so I brought in my Naim Uniti Core (which is a CD ripper and NAS for those not familiar). The Atom was streaming from the Core over the house wi-fi, while I had the A6 (which can of course also stream on wi-fi) connected by 75 Ohm cable directly to the Core. Given that the A6 did very well on Amirim’s tests and the Atom not very well at all by comparison, I was expecting to hear a distinct difference in sound quality in favor of the A6. I was playing a track on one device and then re-listening to the same track on the other device. I was not able to convince myself that I could hear any difference, but I was not able to convince myself that I couldn’t hear a difference either, if that makes any sense. Perhaps the A6 was better, but I couldn’t be sure that this was anything other than my bias. Or perhaps if I listened while switching quickly back and forth I might have heard a difference. I soon found that I got tired of the testing and was just listening to the music. Not much of a tester me!

If I posted this on a Naim forum I’m sure many would claim that my hearing is deficient, my cables not ‘dressed’ or poor quality etc. etc. Could be all of the above, but for me the bottom line is that if I can’t hear a clear difference in sound with my ears and my system, I will choose using other criteria. I will probably leave the Atom in my system as a streamer/DAC as I prefer the user interface and display over the A6, and it certainly integrates better with the Core. I’m coming to the conclusion that we might be placing too much emphasis on SNAID, and not enough on other features.
 
Components have to be really pretty poorly designed before you can hear a difference, the threshold of audibility is really an interesting question.
Keith
 
I have both of the streamers in the title, and decided to see if I could detect any difference between them in my system. I was only really checking the streamer/DAC in each. I had the Atom and A6 streaming from internet radio to start. The Atom was connected into the RCA inputs of my Topping A90 Discrete, while the A6 was connected to the balanced inputs. (The A90D was connected to a Moon 330A power amp and was driving B&W 702S3 speakers). I simply adjusted the volume on each to sound about the same (as I said, not very scientific!) and switched back and forth using the Topping remote. I could hear no difference at all, but the A6 was some 5 seconds delayed – which is odd.

This was just low res radio, so I brought in my Naim Uniti Core (which is a CD ripper and NAS for those not familiar). The Atom was streaming from the Core over the house wi-fi, while I had the A6 (which can of course also stream on wi-fi) connected by 75 Ohm cable directly to the Core. Given that the A6 did very well on Amirim’s tests and the Atom not very well at all by comparison, I was expecting to hear a distinct difference in sound quality in favor of the A6. I was playing a track on one device and then re-listening to the same track on the other device. I was not able to convince myself that I could hear any difference, but I was not able to convince myself that I couldn’t hear a difference either, if that makes any sense. Perhaps the A6 was better, but I couldn’t be sure that this was anything other than my bias. Or perhaps if I listened while switching quickly back and forth I might have heard a difference. I soon found that I got tired of the testing and was just listening to the music. Not much of a tester me!

If I posted this on a Naim forum I’m sure many would claim that my hearing is deficient, my cables not ‘dressed’ or poor quality etc. etc. Could be all of the above, but for me the bottom line is that if I can’t hear a clear difference in sound with my ears and my system, I will choose using other criteria. I will probably leave the Atom in my system as a streamer/DAC as I prefer the user interface and display over the A6, and it certainly integrates better with the Core. I’m coming to the conclusion that we might be placing too much emphasis on SNAID, and not enough on other features.
SINAD is simply used to create a comparative list. You will notice that the reviews cover far more, including noise, IMD, multitone etc.
 
SINAD is simply used to create a comparative list. You will notice that the reviews cover far more, including noise, IMD, multitone etc.
Yep,and specially in the specific case where Atom's SINAD is determined solely by it's high H2 which is almost never audible unless it competes with the test tone itself.
On the other hand these 11-bits of Multitone is not encouraging but in the end is what user hears.

So...
 
Since the A6 is connected by balanced outputs perhaps can be the difference, more than other component.

I can plug my DAC either with RCA or XLR, it sounds slightly better with balanced, not measured though. The voltage of the signal is double, so have to compensate with the knob volume so non scientific neither
 
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