I am not familiar with this product. My question is if Naim Unitiserve would add any vales to my existing setup. Can it t be used as a transport or it’s only a CD ripper helping users to transfer ripped files to NAS ?
Does it make sense to get it for two functions:
using it as a transport and SPDIF out to Ndac to play real time ?
what’s the purpose of the PS2 mouse/keyboard output ?
Yes, you can use it for both those purposes. Before Naim bought out their streamers I used an nDAC/XPS and tried both the NS01 & Unitiserve for this purpose, I bought the NS01, but it was a slight difference in flavour rather than an absolute slam dunk.
That said, the world has moved on a lot. The US will be perfectly pleasant, but it will not have the detail or dynamics of a more modern streamer.
As for the US as a server …I find that depends. Currently I am finding that my Synology NAS is streaming flac to my Linn Klimax, and this is as good as my NS01, or a more modern music server I bought …with a different front end I have found that this is not the result. The only way to know is to try it.
As a former UnitiServe owner, I typically do not recommend the product. I recommend a standard NAS.
In your case, as a Naim Dac owner however, a standard nas won’t provide what you’re looking for with respect to a direct digital (SPDIF) connection to the Dac.
But there are other products, produced by Melco, etc., that do provide a very high quality digital output for direct connection to the Dac.
Problems with the UnitiServe: it’s an old product, with just legacy support from Naim. It runs a very old version of Windows that Microsoft no longer supports. Its ability to handle metadata (the information such as genre, album name, album artist, cover art, etc.) is very limited and well behind the times. Again, a newer product from Melco etc. should be much more satisfying.
Cosmetic match - excellent
Performance - v. good
Functionality - adequate
Reliability - adequate, although all units getting on a bit now, so beware system board battery failure, a Naim service ~£380 or so. Hard disk based so disk failure almost inevitable eventually
Operation - complex; web interface + Windows/Mac app. App not updated for some considerable time so expect current OS compatibility issues now/near future. Web requires Adobe Flash…
VFM - poor
Worth checking the market for viable alternatives, Melco, Innuos, NAS + app, etc. I chose Innuos Zenith, can’t complain about anything.
Yes, I quite agree that the Innuos Zenith and Audiophilleo + PurePower can make a good streaming solution into nDAC/555. The Audiophilleo gets the jitter down to the low picoseconds. It’s a 500 series sound IMHO.
Most of the latest crop of quality one box ripper/storage/server solutions only output through USB, meaning you would need an additional USB to SPDIF converter to be compatible with the Ndac. That’s ok if you don’t mind another box and more cables, but in my view that’s defeating the purpose of the simple setup of server and dac combo.
In which case the new Naim core could be more suitable.
There are some that have SPDIF output, but can be costly.
Aurender N100C. You would need another device to burn CDs.
Answering a question that no-one else has, the PS2 keyboard/mouse connections are not normally used. The Unitiserve runs Windows XP Embedded and you can use the keyboard and a display to interact with the unit, for example the battery change is trivial if you are used to doing it on a PC and then you need the keyboard and display to select Naim default bios settings. Some dealers know this and will change a battery for you but if it gets sent back to Naim then they do a full service which costs a lot of money.
You could use the keyboard/mouse/display option to interact with the US if you wanted to, but this functionality pre-dates the different software control options, so in practice no-one does.
The biggest problem with US is that a hard disc failure (which seems strangely commonplace) means the US has to go back to Salisbury for a service. For whatever reason, Naim will not supply the disc image that you need to put onto a replacement hard disc, even when the US is in use in some part of the world where return to Salisbury is not realistically an option.
The UnitiServe could replace/complement your CDS3 as a source for the nDAC.
Connected to the nDAC via SPDIF, the US would effectively act as a HDD (or SSD) player.
That said, the software of the US is hopelessly outdated. The quality of its SPDIF output is good but not leading edge.
An Allo DigiOne Signature with a 1 or 2 TB SSD and a good PSU should give you a comparable or better sound quality, a much more flexible software system and seamless access to Tidal, Qobuz and other internet streaming services.
If you go for the US and use it to rip your CD as .wav files, be aware that the US stores the metadata of the rips in a very limited proprietary format. Exporting this format to standard formats is possible but not completely straightforward.