Atom Heart , Baby! ( Happy New Atom owner impressions & PSA)

Its been just over 30 days no hyperbole just that iam a believer in the Naim sound, Just wow! I moved up from an 8 year old Rotel receiver which is great in its own right but no comparison to the musicality and punch of this little atom. My speakers have taken on a new life , More bass, detail and for lack of a better word More Alive!

My current setup Atom 2021 version/Bowers Wilkins Cm6 s2 / van Damme cables

A few observations and PSA as I had to stumble on these solutions by trial and error so hopefully other newbs stand to gain from my experience.

  • Digital inputs/HDMI As a stereo receiver it cannot down mix any multi-channel signal. I was surprised to not be able to get sound from my Cable box using Optical in. Luckily AirPlay is solid and works flawlessly with Apple TV.

  • Initially movies downmixed in 2.0 channel stereo sound strange not so much voices but the background , Surround and loud bangs & explosions. After a few weeks I got used to it but feel like the Rotel can do this better?

  • Connecting a turntable to the Analog inputs was a journey in itself. Since there is no real manual I did not realize to change the Analog input sensitivity ( Settings in the Naim App)to match & it took me a few weeks to figure that out. So if you get a hum/crackle sound on Analog this might be the fix.

  • I did not discern any difference in sound by switching from regular good quality speaker cable to VAn DAmme LC-OFC. So apparently this unit does not require the upgrade to NAC cables to deliver great sound.

  • Amplifier over current condition detected. Atom did not like that I used the bi-wire to plug in 2 amps to switch between them to A/B test. I forgot to turn the other Amp off it must have sent a passive signal to the speakers which ended up making it very hot and bothered and eventually displayed the above warning. Happy that it did and saved it from any damage.

So there you have it , I love love the sound this little beast can create and have been re-enjoying all my music for hours on end, So much so it might be causing a problem in my marriage. Now I want better speakers …

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And how is the prostate?

Ha, beat me to it HH!

Glad that you like your Atom, enjoy! For what it’s worth:

Usually you can change the signal in the source device output settings to stereo PCM

I don’t have an Atom am are using TV optical out (PCM stereo setting) into an NDX2 and have no complaints

Good point, there was recently another thread where this caused much confusion as well.

Welcome to the forum @glunge and thank you for sharing your findings!

Ignore the miserable old farts glunge. Glad you are enjoying the Atom. It certainly is a talented little box. You are right about the speaker cables - only the older stuff needs the NACA5 (but not all - my Nait2 works fine with TQ cables).


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@badlyread & @afgverhart
Thank you both!

Thanks , Unfortunately changing source on my Spectrum Cable box only gives me the option of pcm or hdmi so I have to pick the latter to watch basic tv.

The subtleties of the joke are lost on me :slight_smile:
But if its a reference to going down the rabbit hole of upgraditis … Iam already deep in.
Infact my next thread will be the usual asinine Speaker recommendation one .

Did you try PCM? Although PCM as a format can deliver more than 2 channels, the “PCM” that is offered in the settings menu of many devices often means 2.0 channel stereo. If the Spectrum has an optical out and a “PCM” option for it in the settings, it might just work

hey thanks so much for this , Forced me to pursue a solution .
basically their DVR Box is antiquated and only offers PCM / HDMI or DD out for audio. So I just have to switch the settings when I want to listen to something on the Atom.
Much appreciated

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Have you tried optical (or eARC) out of the TV with the TV downmixing to stereo?

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