Advice on upgrade!

Hallo there all,
I want to upgrade my Unitilite and I was thinking about a Superuniti or an Atom. I only use Tidal (cat7/ network, no Wifi or bluetooth) and my current speakers are Kudos C20 super. What will suit my speakers best? With the Unitilite I miss some ‘oomph’ and was thinking that a Superuniti with more power can get more/most out of my Kudos. On the other hand there I only use Tidal, maybe the Atom is more up to date for better streamaudio quality? I’m looking forward to some advice where to spent my money one…

That’s an awful lot of speaker to drive with a Unitilite. I had the original C20s some years ago and found an XS level system was the minimum I needed to really exploit them. And even then a SuperNait opened them up a lot more.

So it all depends on your budget. A ND5XS2 and Nait XS2 or 3 would be my starting point. A used SN2 in place of the Nait would be even better if you can get one at a decent price.

Within the Uniti range, I wouldn’t go for anything less than a Nova, but I’ve not heard one with C20s so can’t speak from experience.

Roger

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A Superuniti will give you plenty of extra power as well as being an all round upgrade over your Unitilite, so it may well be the best option for what it would cost. Just be aware that it will be a few years old and may need a service at some point.

A Mk2 streamer will be an upgrade in many ways, but an Atom will not give you the extra power of the SU. You really want at least a Star, and preferably a Nova for that.

For a bit more money you could also consider a separate streamer and amp. The same points apply regarding new vs. old platform streamers if you look at the ND5XS or NDX.

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ChrisSU, thanx! What are the biggest differences in streaming platform old vs new? Does this also concern me only using ’ wired’ Tidal?!
I’m aware of displayissues and the offered SU (2014) has just got a new display.

Did the SU have a full service or just a new screen? At 8 years old it may well need a service/recap within a couple of years or so.

Main differences with the new platform are:
Overall improvement in sound quality compared to their equivalent old models.
Better WiFi performance
Native Qobuz support (many of us jumped ship from Tidal to Qobuz when this was released.)
Native support for lossless FLAC iRadio stations
Native support for Roon, Chromecast and AirPlay

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Thanks PeakMan! Unfortunately I can’t stretch it to a Nait XS2/3 together with ND5xs. I had a realy good offer for a SuperUniti and I thought the it woyld match my Kudis (I have Chord Epic Reference speaker cables). Would the Nova or the Star sound so much better than a Superuniti?
I’m living in the Netherlands , had a lot of different hifi stuff before but Naim’s musical sound/ approach just hit me!

I went from a su to a nova, the SQ is different between the two and you need to listen to both to see what is right for you.

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What are the main differences in SQ?!

It was 2019 when I had the Superuniti and I have found the Nova to be a bit more more polished and a little bit smother. The Nova sound has evolved slightly with a couple of the firmware updates and the general consensus seems to be that the latest firmware is the best yet.

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I had a SuperUniti for three years and very much enjoyed it. It has quite a full sound, which could be considered a little slow in comparison to other Naim equipment. The Nova is a cleaner, perhaps more modern sound but also maybe a bit leaner in the bass.

With your speakers, it’s it’s a straight choice between SU and Atom, you should pick the SU because it has the greater power to control the speakers.

On the other hand, if you can stretch to a Nova, it will be far more future proof. It’s still being improved and you can, for example, listen to high res internet radio with it, which you can’t with the SU.

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The SuperUniti is a gem of a unit.

I had one in a second system and during refurbishment it was my main system performing admirably into Shahanian Arcs.

I did once put it it the main system (552/300 → SL2) and the difference considering the respective cost was much less than one would have thought.

The only danger is Tidal changing something and becoming incompatible with older Naim units but it wouldn’t make business sense for Tidal to do that and a simple Raspberry Pi would get it back for you.

I recommend you snap it up it was definitely one of my better Naim purchases down the years.

.sjb

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A bargain price in a recently serviced SuperUniti could be exactly right for you.

I had one for several years and enjoyed it very much. With Kudos S10s (bookshelf I know, but same basic family), I think the Nova has more control than the SU, rather than showing leaner bass as @hungryhalibut suggests, so you would likely need to form your own opinion. But the SU definitely had a “warmer” (more bass-y?) character versus a “cleaner” (but not “cold” or “shrill”) feel with the Nova. That said, when I put the Atom in place with the S10s, it was the first time I really understood how a lower spec amp (not just lower power overall, but lower current capacity as well) fails to get an engaging sound out of some speakers. On Kudos X2s, the Atom has a great feel and presentation; but it wasn’t something I enjoyed with the S10s. Is that a floor standing versus bookshelf difference, or an overall drivers / design / price point difference? I don’t know.

You can always upgrade to the Nova in future, but you won’t always have an as-new SU bargain to tempt you. With Tidal (but not Tidal Connect), you have what you want for streaming today. With the first-gen iPhone USB dock input, you have optional Apple Music using hi-res (not yet available on new platform like Nova and Atom). With bridge software on a Pi (as @Sloop_John_B says), you can test the waters for other services (like Roon and FLAC iRadio), or future proof against further Tidal login or protocol requirements.

Sometimes a bargain is really a bargain, and you can be really happy while saving some cash. I don’t recall many voices saying the SU is/was anything other than a really beautiful listening experience.

Best wishes however you decide to proceed!

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Thanx Alan33!
I heard before that the SU is a touch warmer compared to the Star or Nova and because I find my Kudos Super 20 revealing enough, in combination with the bargain aspect, I think I am in for a treat!

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I called the distributor in Holland (Latham Audio) and they told me they normally don’t do/ there is no need for recaps for SU…
I’m a bit confused now because Latham doesn’t do recaps themselves…Is it in the (Naim) UK normal to recap a SU after a couple of years?

Thank you all for the advices. I will get me a SU very soon! Just another question: I have now a Chord Shawline powercord (finally burnt in!) a Chord Shawline streaming cable connected to an English Electric swith ans a Shawline Digital Coax cable for connecting my TV. Currently I am using 2x3.0m Chord Cable Epic Reference (not the XL or Signature) speaker cables with the old gold banana plugs. Would it be an upgrade to switch to the Chord Ohmic plugs or be wise to get another (Chord) cable with a lenght of 2x2m? Wich one suits the SU en Kudos Super 20 best?

I think the SU purchase is a sensible move in your position. If more funds become available in the future, I suspect you’ll find that investing them in your electronics will pay big dividends.

On cables, ideally I’d start by looking for either Naim’s NACA5 or Kudos’ KS1 and if possible 3.5 m or more per side. The Kudos is more flexible and easy to accommodate. You’re best off withe Naim plugs at the amp end and IIRC the C20 speaker terminals are not gold plated, so probably wise to avoid gold plated plugs.

Roger

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I’m sure Latham know what they are talking about, but the oldest Superunitis are just past 10 years old now and there are an awful lot of components squeezed into that box. I can’t believe they will last forever without needing a bit of attention occasionally.

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Hi Chris, they told me that if it was absolutely necessary, they could send a SU for recap but rather expensive (about €750). So…

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