A few questions on Uniti vs Naim XS 3

Hi there,

I currently have a Uniti Star and an Atom. Since I’ve been working from home during Covid, I have the Star in my home office and listen to CDs, streaming and records (but mostly records these days). I have a Rega P6 which I am very happy with but will likely upgrade that to an LP12 as a retirement present in a few years. The Atom is downstairs with a pair of Living Voice Avatar speakers.

I have read that the analog inputs in the Uniti range are converted to digital for signal processing etc then converted back to analog.

My local hi-fi shop has some refurbished XS3’s at a very good price and I know that Naim is about to increase its prices.

So my questions:

  • Does the Uniti convert analog signals to digital?

  • Has anyone done a comparison between a Uniti and something that I assume is all analog, ie the XS-3 or the Supernait 3. Is there a noticable difference between the two? I realise it might be hard to compare given there are two different phono stages?

  • I’m currently using the Rega as a phono stage - would the XS3 be an upgrade on that?

  • If I bought the XS-3 could I use the a Uniti as a digital source (I think I can but just wanted to check).




I have had both Star and Nova. I previously had a XS3 which is fantastic, much better than Nova, Nova and Star are very good but XS3 was way better again. I have now the Supernait 3, although it is better than all previous, the value for money is definitely the Nait XS3.

Thanks for the insights. The Supernait is just too pricey for me at the moment. I see that the new price of the XS3 is now 2.5K, which makes these refurbed units even better value.

The Uniti as a source is not ideal. Not only are you wasting its power amp, you are still using its preamp and it lacks a fixed line out. You’d be better swapping it for an ND5XS2, which can link to the Nait XS3 via system automation.

The XS3 is fully analogue. It has a good phono stage on board, enabling you to lose the Rega. It only caters for MM though. As you thought, the Unitis convert analogue sources to digital and then back to analogue.

I replaced my ca. 9 years old setup (based on 1st generation Uniti and UnitiQutes) last summer - 2020 -and my first inclination was to get a Nova…

I got in touch with the nice people at the AudioBarn and they kindly demoed the Nova with various speakers and also do a comparison to separates (NAITXS3, SuperNait 3, ND5XS2 and NDX2). As soon as I compared to separates, the Nova was pretty much no longer the main contender.

I settled on ND5XS2 and SuperNait 3 (with a beautiful pair of Focal Kanta 2 in bright yellow - one of the last 2 or 3 back at the factory in France, after they changed the colour range !). I managed to get a good deal from the Audiobarn, who offered part exchange money for my old Uniti and one Unitiqute, plus a pair of B&W floorstanders. Taking that into account, the overall price tag ended up close enough to the list prices for the Nova + speakers that it was a no-brainer, and I went for it!

The SuperNait 3 is what made most of the difference here, I believe, as well as having 2 separate units probably: more authority, clarity and definition all round, compared to the Nova. Don’t get me wrong: I think the Nova is a great piece of kit, but the price difference with the ND5XS2 + SN3 was feeling quite small for the material sound quality improvement I felt. In comparison, the NDX2 SQ benefit did not match the hefty price jump compared to the ND5XS2… Probably worth checking with the new list prices, too.

And although I have enjoyed (and still do) the practicality of the single box units - I have an Atom in the dining room, a Muso 2 that I am using as a TV Soundbar, a Qb in the office and an old Unitiqute in the bedroom after all - I now think it also makes sense to keep the “most likely to become obsolescent first” part of my main system (i.e. the streamer) as a separate box, to be fair…

I don’t think this was explicitly answered yet: yes it does. (That’s why you can also send analog inputs to other Naim boxes via the multiroom feature)

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