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Testing Ground

NuPrime Omnia A300: a Connected Mini Amplifier with an Excellent Music-to-Footprint Ratio

By Alban Amouroux |

With the Omnia A300, NuPrime is offering an integrated, connected amplifier which is both compact and powerful. The brand specialises in products with minimal footprints. The Omnia 300 is no exception to this rule: it doesn't show off by taking up unnecessary room. On the contrary, it offers maximum musical pleasure while making itself physically unobtrusive.

NuPrime is a fairly young brand in the world of HiFi. It has built its reputation around simple, efficient and reliable devices. It often does less than its competitors, but what it does, it does well. It can sometimes be difficult to find your way around the range with abstruse references and sometimes product designs that vary a lot from one series to another. At first glance it can be hard to tell whether a product is the entry level model, or the top of the range. In short, NuPrime products are not necessarily bought for the beauty of their casing. The brand leaves that to its competitors.

The Omnia series is a collection of the brand's HiFi connected devices. Apart from the Omnia A300, which is integrated, there is also the S1, a networked audio player/server, the WR-1 streamer and the SW-8 network switch. All digital playback devices which can access online music services like Qobuz require a network connection. The computer switch can be a weak link in the chain. It is for this reason that NuPrime has developed a HiFi switch that it recommends for use with devices in the Omnia range, including this A300 integrated amplifier.

Features

● Price: see provider store
● Power: 2x150 Watts @ 8 ohms (THD <0.01%, 1W)
● Signal to noise ratio: >95 dB (Digital input, 10W out @ 8 ohms)
● Frequency response: +0.6 dB/-1dB (12Hz-22kHz)
● Separation: >85 dB (1kHz AUX); >105 dB (10kHz Digital)
● Sampling: 768kHz / 32-bit, DSD256
● Protocols: UPnP/DLNA
● Connectivity: Ethernet, WiFi n, Two-way Bluetooth aptX HD, 1x USB-B port, 1x HDMI IIS LVDS input, 1x optical input, 1x RCA analog input, 1x coaxial output, 1x optical output, 1x RCA analog pre-out output, 1x 6.35 mm jack headphone output, 1x balanced 4.4 mm mini jack headphone output
● Others: infrared remote control, can be updated (MQA and AirPlay 2 are coming in the future)
● Dimensions (l x w x h): 280 x 250 x 55 mm
● Weight: 3 kg 

Overview of the Omnia A300

28 cm across is not a lot for a device of this type, which comes with amplification that can go up to 200 Watts per channel into 4 ohms. That's the advantage of living in an era when miniaturisation of components is constantly working miracles. The digital technology at the heart of this device is able to deliver great results both in terms of reading and amplification.

The front panel is uncluttered and the controls are limited to a single multi-function potentiometer. In the centre, a monochrome OLED screen gives a pleasing display offering information about the current source, volume level and sound mode. Unfortunately, despite its full network connectivity, the Omnia A300 does not provide any information about the current track being played: no title, performer, or time elapsed.

On the left are two headphone jacks: one asymmetrical in 6.35 mm format and one symmetrical in 4.4 mm. If that isn't enough, the NuPrime is equipped with two-way Bluetooth. This means that it is compatible with a wireless headset. This is still a rare feature, but it is gradually becoming more common in HiFi.

NuPrime provides a heavy and original metal remote control. It looks very classy, but it's also rather impractical because the keys all look the same. At least it allows the user to turn the A300 on and off at the click of a button. Once the device is in standby mode, it cannot be switched back on via the mobile application, there is no network standby. That means that its power consumption is even lower.

The back end of the Omnia A300 is every bit as full as you might expect. Apart from the gold-plated speaker output jacks for banana plugs, the different jacks are divided into two zones. On the left are the outputs, two digital and one analogue. This allows the Omnia A300 to be used either as an analogue preamplifier for a subwoofer, or as a network player or digital preamplifier connected to an external DAC.

Digital inputs cover optical, USB and I2S in HDMI format. They are complemented by an analogue input, which is generally intended for a vinyl turntable: the analogue source of choice at the moment. We finish with the Ethernet network socket and the two connectors for the mini antennas dedicated to Bluetooth and WiFi.

How the Omnia A300 works

A small switch, also mounted on the back, allows you to select 4R or 8R. This corresponds to the impedance of the speakers to be connected, 4 ohms or 8 ohms. But you should also carry out some tests because the 4R mode can be adapted to 8 ohm speakers. It depends on your tastes. NuPrime says that 8R mode is more neutral while 4R mode offers greater dynamics.

Between the power supply, digital/analogue board, amplifier modules and large filtering capabilities, the Omnia A300's interior is packed. The components chosen by the manufacturer meet audiophile quality standards. The conversion is entrusted to a Cirrus Logic CS43131 DAC. Overall control of the device is entrusted to a quad-core 64-bit ARM processor. Meanwhile, the amplification uses class D, which we didn't expect given the limited space available in the unit.

The driving application in the (blue) colours of the Omnia range is based on the well-known Linkplay engine. It is unique in that it can handle Hi-Res audio and comes with Qobuz natively integrated. Installation is almost automatic because the device is recognised on the network immediately.

All you have to do then is enter your Qobuz account information. Then, all the usual content is presented, segmented mainly according to recommendations: latest releases, Qobuz playlists, most-listened, etc. You can access your personal content, i.e. playlists, favourites and purchases, via the menu in the top left corner. The search engine can also be found up here.

During playback, the screen displays an image of the album which rotates like a vinyl record. Information is provided about the file being listened to. The pop-up menu next to each track allows you to add it to your favourites or to a playlist. This refers to Qobuz playlists and not to the player's internal playlists.

Listening

For listening, we simply connected our usual Dynaudio reference speakers to the Omnia A300. We started by navigating between funk and acid jazz with the track Rhythm in Your Mind from the album Aspects by the British band STR4TA. The rhythm section is centred, as if we are at an intimate gig. But this does not prevent the NuPrime from picking out the large drums in the background from the prominent and ultra-centred bass and the percussion on the left. Everything is compact and clipped at the same time. The Omnia A300 does what's necessary to bring out the best in every instrument without diminishing any of them. We are able to enjoy a tightly-played bass with all the speed and dynamics that it deserves.

On L'Impératrice's latest album, all of whose tracks are now available, Submarine is a typical track for determining the quality of the bass. The waves from the impact of the drums fill the room while remaining taut, and they provide a very good hold for our speakers' woofers. The power delivered by this amplifier perfectly meets the requirements of this type of excellent modern production. In addition, the Omnia A300 is able to produce a sound stage which is as wide as it is deep, with elements both in front and to the rear of the speakers. There is also a real pitch effect with the bass supporting the other instruments. The vocals multiply and echo out on the wings during choruses, opening out the sound space even further.

The Omnia A300 is not just a device for modern and dynamic music. It can also cope with classical music. While listening to the work A Night in the Tropics by the composer Gottschalk and in particular his Souvenir de Puerto Rico, the soundstage extends impressively. The different sections and stands are easy to place spatially as soon as you close your eyes. We imagine ourselves sitting on the first balcony, enjoying the concert to the full, thanks to the realistic ambiance which makes the walls of the room fall away.

The Omnia A300's ability to make us forget all about the speakers is in full effect when we put on Melody Gardot's Ninguém, Ninguém. Her warm voice benefits from a background resonance that adds depth to the restitution. The accompanying instruments spread out from left to right, each rendered quite precisely, with respect for timbre over the entire range of registers. Everything is in its place, and nothing is over the top. The NuPrime offers various sound modes, starting with three levels of loudness. There are also rock, jazz and classical equalisation types. They allow the user to adapt the restitution to suit their tastes, by putting more emphasis on bass, or on vocals. But in any case we opted for the most natural, balanced, default "flat" mode.

Pros:
Compact all-in-one format
Qobuz integrated in Hi-Res
Stable and natural sound image
Respect for timbres
Limitless power
Audio modes to adapt the sound to your taste

Cons:
The screen could display more information
Impractical remote control

Conclusion

The NuPrime Omnia A300 is a practical all-in-one device which faces little competition. All it needs is a pair of speakers, and your digital music. We appreciate the presence of Qobuz in Hi-Res to enjoy your favourite tracks, and the recommendations have been integrated brilliantly into the Omnia mobile application. You can, of course, connect this device to other sources: there are enough inputs to accommodate most systems. The Omnia A300 stands out for its sound quality, with amplification that is both punchy and calm. That is to say, it can support the greatest flights without ever becoming aggressive, thanks to an exemplary respect for timbre. The feeling of spacious gaps between the instruments and the different planes is the main characteristic of the Omnia, and this makes itself felt very quickly. If you want to get up close and personal with your favourite performers and musicians, it's hard to beat the NuPrime Omnia A300 in this price range.