Atom and Audiovector QR5 - upgrade experiences with Nova, Audioquest, and Ansuz

Hi all,

I have recently bought a Naim Unit Atom paired with Audiovector QR5 floorstanding speakers (sensitivity of 91 db) with the thin Chord Rumour X speaker cables. I use the system in my living room (6.0m x 4.5m with vaulted ceiling of 5m height) for pop/rock music (such as Toto, U2, Metallica, Rihanna and The Weeknd).

I really enjoy the speakers, and the system plays loud enough for my use. However, older recordings with Toto, U2, etc. may sound a bit thin (in particular light on bass) compared to newer productions. The most obvious difference is that with the same volume, the old recordings are not as loud as the newer. There is no lack of bass with newer recordings.

I am considering which upgrades that could make the most noticeable difference:

First, a better power cable such as the Audioquest NRG-Z3 or Monsoon, or Anzus X2 for the Atom, and keep the system as it is. I can see in other threads that many have good experiences with Audioquest, but would like to hear from anyone that have compared them with Ansuz X2 on an Atom and/or Nova.

Second, I am considering three alternatives (that will cost almost the same):

  1. Replace the Atom with a Naim Uniti Nova (as I really like the one-box-solution) and a better power cable.
  2. Keep the Atom but buy a power distributor (either Audioquest Niagara 1200 or Anzus Mainz8 X-TC) and better power cables.
  3. Keep the Atom but buy one/two active subwoofers (e.g. Audiovector QR Sub) and better power cables.

Any feedback would be appreciated, in particular if you have experience with Naim Uniti Atom vs Nova together with the Audiovector QR5 and/or Ansuz entry level series (X2 and X-TC).

Many thanks in advance!

Are you sure it’s not just the older recordings being differently mixed and mastered?

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Yes, I agree that this could be the (main) explanation. However, I would be interested in hearing about experiences with noticeable tweaks/upgrades that I am considering.

Ah, you are looking for a reason, any reason, to upgrade. I understand :smiley:

If it’s the mixes, nothing worth its money will add bass that is not in the recording. Not even the subwoofers. A box upgrade from Atom to Nova is certainly a good step all around and will, I believe, beat fiddling with the mains, assuming that your mains is not very flawed to begin with.

I don’t know the speakers but read a review and they seem easy to drive and don’t seem bass shy. Your room with the high ceiling does have a lot of volume. So if it’s indeed a bit too much for the speakers & Atom, the additional power of the Nova may help but subwoofers may too, depending on details of the problem. But only if the bass is in the recordings to begin with.

I would try to home demo the Nova and the woofers

I agree with other respondents, I have a Nova with B and W SM8 S2’s thru’ telluriem Black 11, most modern recordings are spot on, but older, or those with a different engineered principal can sound very weak as far as presence and bass are concerned, even those I have on Vinyl, CD and streamed (all the same album on the three different platforms), it is disappointing, but it may have to be accepted!!

Many thanks, it is helpful to know that the Nova may not make up for a poor recording - thus I have to find other reasons for buying more gear :thinking:

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Many thanks, you are right, my old passion for HiFi has come back after many years with no room for that - initially, I thought that this would be enough, but can’t help considering a few minor upgrades :grinning: But I must admit that the Atom itself is a fantastic all-in-one-box that just draws the whole family to listening to music.

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If it emerges that the recordings are simply not mastered as you like, another option would be to play with DSP for these recordings. The Atom would let you do this with Roon. It is an additional cost, but less than the hardware changes. If the hardware changes don’t fix the problem, it is an option.

Spending money on tuning certain albums is a very dangerous path that almost will lead to more spending and disappointments! If you want to spend money either subs or the nova is the way to go. It is too early to spend on good cables in terms of what you get out of it. I wonder if we have the same dealer, based on your forum name, if so my dealer lydspecialisten has a used audiovector s3 AA speakers for a very good price, and this could be a 4th option. There is a facebook group for audiovector owners and a few people there are running your speakers, so it could also be a good place to ask.

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Hi Claus,
Many thanks for the alternative suggestions and Audiovector group reference, and our dealer is the same :laughing: However, the QR5’s fit really nicely with the rest of our interior (i.e. was approved by my better half :shushing_face:) and I got a really good deal on them.

WAF is important, however I would really check out if the used s3’s maybe by chance could be accepted. Otherwise it seems that there is a Nova in stock so maybe a listen to that can be arranged?

I’m afraid that I live a bit too far from Aalborg to demo, but thanks again for the suggestions. I think it is a bit interesting that the dealer recommends upgrading with better power cables and a power distributor :upside_down_face: …but that may be a matter of personal taste :yum:

I am a big fan of the Ansuz cables and darkz, but all these things comes at a high price. Of course the Ansuz people claims that any system will be bettered by the darkz cables and power distributor, and they are correct, but for the money it cost there are other o options for the same amount of money. Of course much depends on how much you want to spned on your system. this thread about the differences in the unity range may be of interest:
The Atom vs Star or Nova - is it worth the upgrade? - Streaming Audio - Naim Audio - Community

I read the thread before posting my question, and there are good inputs about the Atom to Nova upgrade. It would appear there is a noticeable difference in SQ by upgrading, but whether it is significant enough to take the step depends on personal taste and budget.

Therefore, I considered starting with a better power cable for the Atom, but couldn’t find any views on the Ansuz entry level (X2). I guess at least the cheap entry level Audioquest could be an improvement, which is just a friction of the cost of the X2.

The power distribution path would add another box and more cables which is contradictory to the elegant on-box-solution that I like, incl. the WAF. I think I will look further into the Nova (and possibly your speaker suggestion) vs. sticking with my current Atom and QR5 system.


I went down a similar path as you are planning: added a Niagara 1200, which is awesome and makes the Atom so much better. Also added a subwoofer, as better cabling can never give you the same experience. However, I did invest in better cabling (AudioQuest Z3 which arrived today, but unable to try them until tomorrow). Also I now use AudioQuest Caste Rock speaker cables: they are awesome. So much more dynamic and detailed compared to my previous cables. And I have also added another power amp as my Dynaudio’s like that so much. And even then, if I disconnect everything and listen to the Atom only, it still sounds very good. But through the upgrades I got a bit more of everything making my Atom the centre of a high-end system. :sunglasses:

If you want to try the power cable for a reasonable price you could keep watch on the second hand page at lydspecialisten. It seems that there are a used x2 cable for sale. Since they sell so much Ansuz there is often bargins to be found at the second hand or demo pages.

Hi @afgverhart how did the Audioquest Z3 work out with your Atom?

Hi @JamesBKK. This worked out really well. The stereo image is really nice and wide and the dynamics and power of the presentation has improved. Also it sounds a bit more detailed. I am very happy with it as the Atom plays more vivid compared to before. The combination of the Niagara 1200 with the Z3 works really well in my setup.


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From left field. A cheap s/h and rather ancient 250 really adds punch and bass definition to my Atom, amongst other things

I genuinely wonder if an expensive power cable is good value in your system.

I think a small sub could be interesting but I’d want a demo at home.

By the way, all old U2 albums were terribly thin sounding in my experience.


Very glad to hear. As a matter of interest, have you tried the Z3 on its own, without the Niagara 1200?