Naim Uniti Atom review | What Hi-Fi?

There comes an age where it’s no longer a compliment to be informed you look older than you might be. Generally, it's not all that lengthy after you’re legally old enough to shop for a pint.

We doubt very much Naim can be overly disgruntled when we say this about its earlier line of all-in-one streaming methods – the Uniti Qute 2, for instance. But that's only because when we sit one subsequent to the Uniti Atom, it appears multiple era at the back of.

And, fact be informed, that’s the case with just about anything you set alongside it – the Atom is just a little like that annoyingly good-looking buddy who commands the entire attention.

Build and design

While often we generally tend to desire a unit that blends into the room, there’s no averting our gaze from the Uniti Atom. It is in reality a triumph of design.

From the coffee-coaster quantity dial at the roof – the pleasure of taking part in with it, as we found with the Naim Mu-So, is almost sufficient in itself to justify buying this system – to its full-colour LCD front panel display exhibiting album art as it performs, Naim has nailed the crossover between way of life product and premium hi-fi.

You might see the Uniti Atom being described as a streamer, however to take action is to do it one thing of a disservice. In impact, it’s a gadget to which you want only connect a suitably gifted pair of speakers.

The onboard amplifier is Class A/B, derived from the NAIT built-in amps. Naim says this presents quite a lot of technical difficulties in the case of manufacturing and integration, particularly in so small a unit, however its efforts are evident within the musical performance liberated.

Naim claims 40 watts per channel into 8 ohms. If that implies little to you, then suffice to mention it powers our ATC SCM50 reference audio system with headroom to spare. So with a more likely pairing (a couple of speakers such because the KEF LS50 Meta or Dali Oberon 5, say) – it proves ample.

Connection

Moving directly to connections, we’ll start with the bodily ones as it gives us every other probability to ogle the Uniti Atom’s easiest form. Starting on the rear, from left to appropriate, first you’ll to find your kettle-lead berth for Naim's new, improved mains cable.

Dubbed the Power-Line Lite, it has floating pins aimed toward making sure a greater connection, whilst its decoupled mechanical design is intended to forestall damaging vibrations travelling from one component to the next.

After that, there are speaker terminals, with Ethernet connection and USB input subsequent alongside the road.

The HDMI input used to draw a top rate, but now it is a same old fit, which is good news. Naim says this HDMI enter is galvanically isolated to make sure no noise from the TV energy supply (or anything else connected to it) is handed via to the Uniti Atom.

To the right-hand facet now, and Naim has positioned its digital inputs above two analogue connections – one is an input, with 3 selectable sensitivities (1v, 2.5v and 6v), and any other outputs to a devoted energy amp.

As a ways as the ones virtual inputs are concerned, you get two optical and one coaxial.

Features

The entrance of the Uniti Atom is slightly naked by means of comparability, with only a USB port and headphone output to the left of the LCD screen.

As well as with the ability to play USB-stored song and pick out up media in other places in your community, the Uniti Atom benefits from having Google Chromecast, Tidal Connect, Spotify Connect and Internet radio in-built, with further wireless connection available by the use of AirPlay and Bluetooth aptX HD.

With so much choice on be offering, it is smart Naim also offers choices when it comes to controlling the thing as neatly.

Firstly, in the box comes its redesigned far off regulate. It's marginally larger than the closing generation of Naim products came with, and it's also unarguably flashier.

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From the shiny plastic used for all but the back and very tip – which, be warned, carries smears and finger prints like lipstick on a dress blouse – to the backlit buttons and volume indicator on the navigation wheel, it is a appropriate complement to the Uniti Atom’s aesthetic.

Mostly, regardless that, we expect other folks to use Naim’s keep watch over app, during which you'll attach for your streaming accounts and root around your music collection hung on different devices.

You can configure the Uniti Atom as part of a multi-room gadget the usage of the app, too. Plug a turntable into the analogue input (the usage of a suitable phono stage, of course) and have the same document enjoying in as much as five rooms via the home.

We’re constantly the use of this app to keep watch over our reference Naim NDS/555 PS streamer, and its operation is solely as intuitive now beef up has been added for this newest line of models. It merely displays extra choices consistent with the Uniti Atom’s further services and purposes.

If you’ve totally read this review so far, it probably took you as much time because it takes to set up the Uniti Atom at least a couple of instances.

The new coloration screen, round two times the size of that of its predecessors, handiest serves to make the menus more uncomplicated to navigate. So you get to the purpose of enjoying your music sooner.

Performance

In only a couple of minutes we begin playing The Streets’ A Grand Don’t Come For Free, and a couple of mins after that we’ve unfolded a spread-sheet to determine how we’ll get our arms on nearly double that quantity with the intention to take a Uniti Atom home for ourselves.

The maximum instantly noticeable improve from the UnitiQute 2 is the extent of clarity and perception.

The former is still an outstanding product that is found a house on our non-public hi-fi racks since we reviewed it two years ago - however the Atom is like opening a door and now being attentive to the music from throughout the room.

From the hole brass parps of It Was Supposed To Be So Easy to the hazy tremolo synthesizer hook of Blinded By The Light, via percussive snaps and Mike Skinner’s iconic conversational vocal, you'll virtually really feel the textures via your arms.

And to say it sounds lean does no longer mean the Uniti Atom is lacking weight. It simply doesn’t lift any fats.

Okay, so kicks don’t thump you in the chest as they could in a membership, but the balance is spot-on and there’s more than enough low-end presence here to interrupt your neighbours’ viewing of Coronation Street.

Timing used to be a area of expertise of the last era of Naim’s all-in-ones, so we’re happy to find none of it sacrificed this time round.

Return to Blinded By The Lights and that steady kick- and snare rhythm is so actual it's essential to set your watch by means of it. It's juxtaposed by way of however concurrently entwined with those off-kilter tremolo synth chops.

Meanwhile, accomplished dynamics act as midwife for the delicate inflections of Skinner’s vocal – there's a level of detailed expression right here that rivals can easily omit, mistaking his nonchalantly informal supply for pedestrian boredom.

We make an try to wrong-foot the Uniti Atom with a grander arrangement, via Tidal, the usage of Sergei Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No1 in F-Sharp Minor, but have about as a lot luck as a camel at a swimming gala.

The Naim is entirely unfazed by the dimensions of the recording, the rate or depth at which the pianist's fingers are running, or with setting up an orchestra round him.

There more than likely aren’t two a lot more disparate pieces of track we could use for trying out, but the Uniti Atom treats each with the same level of insight, regimental timing and contouring dynamics – and that's true of the whole lot else we play that stylistically falls in between.

The only method of enter we could say presentations any true distinction in persona is the analogue input – the level of clarity is marginally less sharp, and it provides up a generally hotter total performance.

This is basically a product built to a digital blueprint, but those that covet what we may describe as a extra conventional analogue sound from this type of element shouldn't be alarmed.

Verdict

In some way, it could be easy to understate simply how nice a performer the Uniti Atom is, insofar as it's kind-of what we've got come to expect from Naim.

But when you are listening to one and fail to be excited at the prospect of possession then, moderately frankly, there’s little hope left for you.

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