Naim Uniti Atom and Uniti Core Review Page 2

For this review the Uniti Atom and Core sat on Butcher Block Acoustics three-inch maple amplifier stands with spikes. I ran AudioQuest NRG X AC cables, TelluriumQ Black II speaker cables, and Diamond Ethernet cables into my reference Harbeth M40.1 loudspeakers on Skylan Stands with AC power provided by an AudioQuest Niagara 5000 .

Listening

The ’T’ in ‘PRaT’ stands for timing, and through the Atom music bounces with the ebb, flow and propulsive cadence I remember from my time with that Nait 5i all those years ago, and every piece of their kit I’ve heard since. That addictive dynamic drive and transient speed alternately has you leaning forward as you catch details in guitar fretwork and falling back as the weight of a kick drum pushes squarely against your chest. Lars Danielsson/Marius Neset/Morten Lund are a trio whose work I’m loving, and on their 2016 outing Sun Blowing (Qobuz, FLAC 24-bit/96kHz) the crazy dynamic swings the trio pounds out require peak-power reserves to kick Danielsson’s slappy, richly textured upright bass notes down the road with Lund’s percussive stickwork. Imaging here is also of note, as the Atom keeps the players clearly siloed from one another and deep set in the 3D-plane between the Harbeths.

Swish remote.

Sticking to the more experimental side of modern jazz, I throw on Sebastian Studnitzky/KY, Live in Berlin (TIDAL, 2019, FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz) to see how the Atom fares with the more computational side of things. Here the German pianist deftly weaves a melody through classical, jazz and electronica with the driving programmed bassline of “Watergate” through the little Naim hooking me in immediately with its gravity. The energy and spatial proportions of the venue where the concert recording took place revealed the amp/DACs ability to impart realistic scale as well. The mix of acoustic and digital instruments is butter smooth, with a wide sound stage extending well beyond the left/right sides of the loudspeakers imparting a warm analog envelopment. Trumpet blaat on the track is spot-on tonally with guitar timbre distinguishing itself with fretwork detail and woody body weight.

Cayley Thomas, Midnight Hours (Qobuz, 2019, FLAC 16-bit/44.1kHz) is another artist I came across listening to the radio while driving and Shazam’d. Simple chord progressions and lilting, overdubbed harmonies utilizing gated mics give the S/T single an ethereal vibe. The myriad instrumentation of the track is laid out with transparency and insight into each player’s performance, yet it maintains the seamstress trick of sewing up the cohesive whole of the cut. Thomas’ elocution is less of the throaty varietal through the Atom, and more of the chesty, with exhalations translating as real and corporeal.

Conclusion

Getting to the Core of CD ripping.

When I took delivery of the Atom I had expectations that even though its sleek, futuristic guise was not the serious livery of the Naim I remembered, it was still a Naim and would give me what I needed from it; technically satisfying sonic reproduction coupled with a heightened level of excitement while listening to music. This it did palpably and without disappointment. While the digital resolve of the Atom made it easy to hone-in on the minutae of a musical performance, time and again I found it impossible to maintain that focus because it kept reeling me out to take in the whole picture. Regardless of whether it was emotronic, avant-garde jazz, classical, bubblegum pop or punk rock, the individual brush strokes of the artist renditions were there if you wanted to get your nose a few inches off the paint, but the Atom kept begging the question: Why do that when you can take in the whole canvas?

Specifications

  • Physical Dimensions: 95mm x 245mm x 265mm (HxWxD)
  • Finishes: Brushed and anodised aluminium
  • Weight: 7kg
  • Power Auto Standby time: User selectable: adjustable from off up to 2 hours
  • Amplifier Output: 40W per channel into 8 ohms
  • Mains Supply: 115V, 230V; 50 or 60Hz
  • Power Consumption: Typical use: 90W, Network standby mode: <2W, Deep sleep: <0.5W, Network Standby (with SD Card and/or USB devices attached): > 15W* *Actual power consumption will vary depending on the size and type of attached SD card or USB devices
  • Ripping and Storage: Store up to 20,000 tracks to a local USB connected storage device and serve to a network-connected player
  • Supplied with: Remote control, Power-Line Lite mains cable (UK denominations only), cleaning cloth and quick start guide.

COMPANY INFO
Naim Audio
Southampton Road Salisbury SP1 2LN England
info@naimaudio.com
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COMMENTS
skikirkwood's picture

I see the "Add our comment" section here but haven't seen any comments posted on your site in a long time.

Rafe Arnott's picture
Sometimes it takes a day to show up is all.
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