Naim Uniti Atom: Qobuzissime for this all-in-one system that’s compatible with Googlecast and offers a beautiful sound reproduction!
Good news for the Naim and Qobuz enthusiasts: the British brand just integrated the Chromecast functionality into the network section of the devices belonging to its new Uniti range. It’s the case in particular with the Uniti Atom model, a very nice all-in-one system with an amplifier and an integrated network player.
The British brand Naim (bought by Focal in 2011, with the two brands being bought out by the Vervent Audio Group in 2014) enjoys an excellent reputation among some enthusiasts and many people frequently ask us if it was intended for Qobuz to be integrated to the manufacturer’s network players. Although they didn’t choose the Qobuz integration, you will now be able to stream Qobuz with the new connected devices from the Uniti Naim range, which was released only a few months ago, as the Chromecast protocol, with which Qobuz is compatible in Hi-Res, into their network functionalities. Aside from the Uniti Atom all-in-one system equipped with a network player and a 2x40W/8Ω amplifier—whose testing ground we’ll present you with right now—the new Uniti range also includes the Uniti Core music server and two other all-in-one systems, the Uniti Star, equipped with a CD player in addition to its network player, and the Uniti Nova, devoid of a CD player but equipped with a USB input to receive a compatible model and also possessing a powerful 2x80W/8Ω amplifier. It’s also worth noting that the devices belonging to this Uniti range are equipped with a Bluetooth connection integrating the new Qualcomm aptX HD, compatible with Hi-Res audio up to 24-Bit/48 kHz.
Presentation With its glass façade — whose pictures unfortunately don’t do its beauty justice — and its elaborately designed aluminum box with its slightly set-back base alleviating the overall aspect, the amplifier with streamer Naim Uniti Atom is a superb device which is sure to draw the attention of many people, even more when it’s on and displaying the menu icons.
A few commands are accessible from the facade (power, playback/pause, etc.), while a gigantic volume disc—including eleven circular arcs lighting up depending on the setting—is embedded into the top of the box, surrounded by a furrow allowing you to put your fingers in to ensure its rotating, letting a small light disc radiate in its lower part. You can plug in a USB stick to the USB A port located in the lower left section of the facade as well as a pair of headphones on the 3.5mm Jack, also located there. A nice remote comes with it, in line with the aesthetics of the device—a rare enough fact to be commented upon—this remote functioning via radio waves that you’ll have to pair with the Uniti Atom. Connectivity The surface area of the Naim Uniti Atom’s rear panel being relatively reduced, the connectivity isn’t abundant but should be enough for most users.
You’ll find six digital inputs, among which we find three S/PDIF (2 optical and 1 coaxial), an (optional) HDMI input, a USB A input (in addition to the one located on the facade) and the RJ45 port for the connection to the Ethernet network. A stereo analogue input sits next to the preamplified output for people who would find the integrated amplifier to be insufficient, the latter possessing any banana plugs coming out of the box that the manufacturer recommends you keep. You’ll also notice that the chassis ground can be isolated from the ground. Manufacturing The insides of the Naim Uniti Atom are drawn in perfectly straight lines with a very big toroidal transformer for the power supply, while the mains connection and the standby power are protected by a plastic hood equipped with fins for cooling. The electronics handle two cards set up on two stages as well as several other cards, among which the one in charge of the display module and the command keys located on the facade.
The digital card equipped with its Wi-Fi module is mounted in the top part of the box. You’ll find on it all the digital inputs and the processing of the signals streamed on the network or from the USB A inputs by a powerful Analog Devices ADSP21489 digital signal processor, as well as a Microchip ATSAM4E16L 32-Bit microcontroller.
The 24-Bit/96 kHz digital-to-analog conversion of the stereo input is made on this card by a Burr-Brown PCM1803 circuit, while a PCM1791 model from the same manufacturer is handling the digital-to-analog conversion of the signals coming from the network or from the other digital inputs, and this up to 24-Bit/384 kHz as well as in DSD. Below is the preamplification and amplification card, where you can notice two 10,000 μF/25V Kemet electrochemical capacitors to filter the supplies of the preamplification section, and two other 10,000 μF/45V capacitors from the same brand to filter the supplies of the amplification section. It’s some serious stuff.
The source communication is entrusted to DG411 analog switches manufactured by Intersil, around which you can see two Burr-Brown OPA2604 operational amplifiers probably working in buffer stages (one for the analog input, the other for the preamplified output). OPA2604 models are also used in buffer stages with the volume settings, a Texas Instruments LM1972 electronic potentiometer. The power stages use Sanken 2SA1386 and 2SC3519 complementary transistors, each one able to deliver a 130W output, in a symmetrical push-pull configuration.
Sound We have done our listening tests with the Qobuz application and Chromecast integrated to this Naim Uniti Atom, as well as streaming with the Naim application from our NAS server.
And in every situation, the sound quality wasn’t lacking, particularly audible with a beautiful reproduction of Henry Wood’s Fantasia on British Sea Songs , in which no brightness artificially tarnishes the higher spectrum - the Naim Uniti Atom preferring unadorned musical beauty to artificial exuberance.
It was also a beautiful restitution, with density and uncommon consistency, of Vivaldi’s Vespri per l'Assunzione di Maria Vergine performed by the Concerto Italiano conducted by Rinaldo Alessandrini, but maybe a bit tame and where the biting of the strings fades behind a more singing take, but very pleasant nonetheless. This type of sound reproduction agrees rather well with the album Chaleur Humaine from Christine and the Queens and enhances the depth of most titles thanks to its density and makes them even more captivating, sometimes even a bit too much given their natural tendency, but it won’t make you want to stop listening. The same goes for the track How To Fall In Love from The Bee Gees’ album Size Isn't Everything, and the warm sound restitution of the Naim Uniti Atom, still consistent in the bass and slightly softening the bite in the falsetto voice of the singer, gives even more depth to this very singing title. To conclude, as beautiful as the sound it restitutes, this Naim Uniti Atom all-in-one system is a complete success which, furthermore, will allow you to listen to Qobuz in Hi-Res thanks to the Chromecast integration, and we are happy to bestow it with a Qobuzissime.
To follow everything that happens on Qobuz, join us on Facebook!
If you are a manufacturer, importer, retailer or key player in the digital music industry and wish to contact us, you can do so through the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re enthusiastic about the Hi-Fi Guide column and wish to contact us, you can do so through the following email address: email@example.com For any questions or comments about this article to the Editorial Board, contact us directly, by adding its URL if possible, at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Namaz (feat. Emre Gültekin, Malabika Brahma, Sanjay Khyapa) Baul Meets Saz Songlines Five-star review