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Does the Naim Uniti series convert analog inputs to digital?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by nightenrock, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I’ve been considering one of the Naim Unit series units, but noticed the following in Stereophile’s measurements report at the end of its review of the Naim Uniti Nova, which feels like a dealbreaker for an analog purist like me.

    “The overshoot and ringing indicate that the Naim converts its analog inputs to digital, apparently with a sampling rate of 48kHz.”

    Unless I’ve missed it written elsewhere, this is the first I’ve read about the Naim Uniti converting analog signals to digital. Is this true or am I misunderstanding what Stereophile is saying here?

    Here’s the link to Stereophile’s full measurement report: Naim Audio Uniti Nova integrated amplifier-media player Measurements
  2. Davey

    Davey the blue of distance

    SF Bay Area, USA
    The hi-fi+ review of the Nova is a bit more direct ...

    Nova, however, stands out from the Uniti range as a showcase for the amplifier platform and the changes that can be brought to Naim’s old centre of excellence. This 80W Class AB amplifier is very much in line with Naim’s traditional power amplifier design, but the platform’s front-end is a radical departure because it operates in the digital domain, converting the two analogue inputs into the digital domain, and ‘D/A-ing’ the preamp outputs. Whether this is a presage for future developments in the Classic line, or simply the best way of handling analogue inputs amid all that digital domain, only time will te
  3. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I wonder if it is just the Nova that converts analog to digital or if the Naim Uniti Star and Atom do this conversion as well. Initially I was interested in an Atom after hearing one recently at a dealer’s, so must of my research was based on the Atom. Then I got intrigued by the Nova knowing I’d eventually obsess over what I was missing.
  4. JMAC

    JMAC Forum Resident

    PDX, OR, USA
    The Atom does convert to digital, yes.
  5. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    If you could stretch somewhat farther than the Nova and don't mind a two-box solution a SuperNait3 and ND5XS2 would give you both excellent analog (with no D/A conversion) and digital sections, an excellent amp, and the same new-generation Roon, etc-ready Naim digital transport found in the Uniti.
    JMAC likes this.
  6. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bummer. Thanks.
  7. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. Looking for a one box solution for this particular system. Would likely go another route if forced into separates.
    Josquin des Prez likes this.
  8. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, I’ve been auditioning a Uniti Atom at home and the thing just sounds amazing (even the analog converted to digital and back to analog). I think I’m hooked on the Naim sound — so addictive.

    I’m now contemplating the Atom, the Nova or going the separate route you mentioned above. Decisions, decisions.
  9. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    You should hear my NDX2 with XPS-DR. It is amazing with Roon/Qobuz. Sounds almost as good as my analog front end.
    nightenrock likes this.
  10. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I bet it sounds great. Who knows, maybe an NDX2 will be in my future too. I’ve been playing with Roon for the first time on the Atom and having more fun listening to music than I have in a while. Such a nice piece of software and it syncs up so well with the Atom.
    Josquin des Prez likes this.
  11. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    Yeah, Roon and Qobuz are a game changer for me. I listen to digital a lot more than I used to and have discovered a lot of new things I really like with Roon Radio.
  12. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    An update to this thread...

    I was thinking of getting a Naim integrated (probably either a Supernait 3 or Nait Nait XS 3) and a ND5XS2 streamer. The problem for me is I could not power outdoor speakers or a second amp to power them with the Naim integrateds and I would need an outboard phono for my current MC cartridge (Hana SL) or "downgrade" to a MM cartridge. I'm currently running a vintage Yamaha CA-810 (has a nice MC phono stage and can power two sets of speakers) into Klipsch Cornwalls in this system. It was a purposeful downgrade from Kef Balde 2s powered by a McIntosh MC452 controlled by a McIntosh C47 due to this room now also being shared with a toddler and needing it to be toddler proof or at least anxiety proof for dad (me).

    Am I losing my mind thinking of running the ND5XS2 into the Yamaha CA-810? Would it be complete overkill? I love that Naim sound and the fun I had with the Naim app and its integration with Roon on the Uniti Atom. Unfortunately, auditioning the ND5XS2 at home isn't an option. I suppose if I could get the Uniti Atom back home for an audition, I could run a CD player as a source into both the Atom and the Yamaha to get a sense for the SQ differences of the two amps.

    I know some of my thinking is heretical in these circles, but the room being toddler friendly is a main objective, so there are certain limitations in terms of number and size of boxes/electronic equipment, etc.
  13. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    The ND5XS2 is a fantastic digital source, no matter what you feed it into, and it serves as a great basis if you decide to upgrade the rest of the system later on.
  14. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. That's what I'm thinking too.
  15. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    I saw your post on the Naim forum so you should be able to get some other opinions from members there as well.
    nightenrock likes this.
  16. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    UPDATE: I ended up getting the Nait XS 3 integrated and ND5 XS 2 streamer/DAC. Burning it in right now. I have a head cold, so I can't listen too critically without getting a headache.

    I'm currently using a Quad 24 P phono stage as I run a low output MC cartridge and the Nait XS 3 only has MM on-board. Thinking of getting a Naim StageLine phono pre-amp to make it an all Naim system. It looks like the E series one could match well with my Hana SL cartridge.
  17. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    FWIW: while the Naim phonostages are fine, there isn't really pick one just to stay with the brand. 3rd party phonostages can integrate with Naim gear very nicely. In fact, I have an all Naim electronics system, except for a tube phonostage, and it has great synergy. For about the same money I could have gone with a Naim SuperLine phono. I wouldn't limit myself to Naim for choosing a phonostage.

    Congrats on the new system. It should really boogy for you.
    nightenrock likes this.
  18. nightenrock

    nightenrock Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks. The Quad 24 P is a tube phono pre that retailed at about the price of a SuperLine.

    Although I was listening with a head cold last night, I thought the Quad 24 sounded damn good through the NAIT XS 3.

    I’m actually borrowing a StageLine right now. Long story, but I just need the cable to connect it to the amp, as it’s MIA. I should have that soon and be able to A/B.

    For this system, I was thinking the simplicity and clean aesthetic of an all Naim system could be nice.
  19. ejlif

    ejlif New Member

    As a recent Nova purchaser (I also have the atom) I decided to try my turntable. Sad to say this leaves me cold, magic is lost, not terrible but there is a beauty you get with the vinyl that is missing. I was bummed to find that analog inputs are not analog inputs at all. I'm kind of surprised as vinyl is such a big thing these days I would think anyone playing vinyl is not going to want to digitize it, what is the point of vinyl if you do that.
  20. Pmds55889397

    Pmds55889397 Forum Resident

    A s/h Supernait 2 would be a better choice indeed for difficult speakers, cheaper than XS3 and will power a stageline.
  21. Josquin des Prez

    Josquin des Prez Forum Resident

    I have an Atom for my office, but it will never get a turntable. It's used 100% as a Roon with Qobuz endpoint, and for that it's brilliant. I have a Superline/252 system for vinyl.

    I think it's pointless to invest much at all – if anything – in a vinyl front end, if the electronics used to play it are going to do ADC and DAC to the input.

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