Atom Hi-Fi?


This review of the Atom HE is positive like all others but seems to indicate based on measurements taken that the Atom does not offer Hi-Fi performance.

Not certain how credible the source is… Was wondering if anyone would explain or respond to the assertion for the benefit of a novice and new Atom HE owner.


The measurements taken by the reviewer may not appear to be the very best (no idea how they were done, or how well done)) but they’re reasonably respectable and bear in mind that Naim’s engineers are on record to say that given the choice between going for the best numbers/measurement or instead going for a measurement that’s not quite as good but with better sound, they will always take the latter. Also bear in mind that measurements on their own tell you little about how well a piece of hifi will perform sound-wise.

The most important thing here is that the reviewer seems to rate the sound performance extremely highly giving it 10/10 and obviously doesn’t find the measurements anything to be concerned over, otherwise it would likely be mentioned in the “CONS” column.

Nowhere in this article can I find that “the Atom does not offer Hi-Fi performance”, can you point out where? It does say “It does not offer hi-res. performance”, which, however, makes no sense at all

It does say in “5. Verdict” that “The Uniti Atom HE is highly- flexible, and sounds great with anything you care to play through it.” And it’s 10 points out of 10

The reliability of an article that has two typos in the headline, I leave up to you

I was going to say the same as Richard. The reviewer says the unit has a “sublime musically engaging performance”.

Clearly not all distortion is evil.

I haven’t heard a single bad word said about the performance of the Atom HE. I think anyone can buy with confidence.

1 Like

My apologies. You are correct. I definitely did a poor job of quoting the article.

It states: “It does not offer hi-res. performance.”

I appreciate the reply.

1 Like

:+1: And the problem with this is, what does it even mean?! :slight_smile:
In any case, the reviewer agrees with all the other reviews that it sounds fabulous, which surely is the most important thing

The atom can play all the hires material you want, either via local streaming or from tidal or qobuz. e.g. 24/192 no problem.

Can we get tidal to go beyond 44.1 with naim’s gen2 streamers???

Not unless you have an MQA decoder in the chain first.

1 Like

He’s not saying it can’t play it. He’s saying it might not resolve it. Not that it’s important as it doesn’t smear his judgement on how it sounds, a pretty balanced look at it if you ask me.

The measurements appear to be based purely on the optical connection - which you’d only use for TV or a CD player - as opposed to the built-in streaming which most certainly can handle files up to and including 32bit/384kHz.

On a wider note, i’ll check whether Hi-Fi World know their review has been reproduced- and errors introduced - by this website. Looks to be quite a lot of different magazines’ content on that site; i hope they have copyright usage.


A couple of technical comments on his technical comments in the review:

1 For distortion figures he’s comparing a DAC +analogue preamplifier to performance from DAC only components. In this given the analogue preamp included the technical figures stack up VERY well.

2 Analogue in → analogue out, a distortion of 0.35% at -60 dB is not perfect, but still quite reasonable for an analogue preamp and at -60dB 0.35% is effectively inaudible.

3 Optical (Toslink) specification itself only extends to 96kHz rate, so there are often compatibility problems at 192kHz. (I don’t know if the Atom can ever work at 192kHz, sometimes a specific pair devices rated for 96kHz will will work at 192kHz sometime they won’t. Just because a specific pair of devices don’t work at 192kHz doesn’t meant tat one of the can never work at 192kHz, so his test is invalid).

Other observation
4 Bluetooth clearly isn’t the primary optimisation, but then again it’s never that good compared to Network or S/PDif sources

5 Audio Bandwidth limiting to 22kHz is sensible to avoid problems of ultrasonic frequencies in power amps.

The figures are quite reasonable from a technical standpoint with the caveat that the Bluetooth isn’t intended as a primary source and is a bit more limited. Yes some of them aren’t as high as it’s possible to achieve in technical spec focused engineering, but it’s focused on audio reproduction rather than technical specs and for this use the technical figures are just fine.


its this months hifi world review…

It looks like a breach of copyright here. I’ve removed the link and closed the thread.

1 Like