Atom upgrade question

Hi guys and ladies.
Quick question, I am planning to upgrade my Atom and I am taking into considerations two options. I can get XS2 for great price and then after selling Atom will have combo - XS2 + ND5XS2 or the other option would be Uniti Nova.
In terms of sound differences and quality which would a better choice?

Hi Bull,

Simple answer I’m afraid, only your ears can decide. Ordinarily separates should be better but the Nova has real musical impact. You really need a demo. I’ve heard the ND5XS but only with the SN and it was hugely impressive even with the Focal Sopra 2 but equally I’ve heard the Nova with Kudos 505 and 606 and equally impressive.

Good luck.




The XS2/ND should sound a little better, and is more flexible should you wish to upgrade further. Against that, it needs two shelves, the ND has no remote so you are dependent on the app, and the Nait has a far less user friendly volume control.


As much as I love practical aspect of the Atom I got an itch for an upgrade, so more than likely I will go with XS2 + ND5XS2. Can volume control be operated from the app?

You can use ‘system automation’ to control the amp from the app. You add an extra cable to connect them and then the app can be used for input selection and volume control.
The volume control is not as slick as it is on the Atom or Nova, but it works.
The Nait also comes with a remote control.

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Thats why I am in two minds between XS2+ND5XS and Nova, my TV is connected to the Atom full time and don’t want to loose any functionality, however I would like to gain some quality when listening to music.

The XS2+ND5XS2 looks to me like a sideways move at best. I doubt very much if it would sound any better, but you would loose the color display, convenient volume control, and of course compactness. You might get an improvement in sound quality with the Nova depending on your speakers, room, and music choices. Only you can judge.

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I think I will book some holidays today and problem solved :wink: but to be hones I have make my mind up over the coming days. Thanks for all the suggestions.

In no way is ND5XS2/NaitXS2 a sideways move from the Atom!! It’s a bit of a downwards step in convenience, and a big step up in sound quality.


There is no HDMI on the ND5, you would need to use optical for the TV. This loses you a bit of convenience but it’s generally more reliable.


Well I have few days to decide what am I doing then. Hard to know… no option to listen first… Is the volume control via the app comfortable to use and accurate or is a bit of a pain? I don’t mind optical for TV sound, actually I am not using HDMI on Atom anyway.

With your Atom you have the choice of a slider, or +/- buttons for volume control. You cannot have a slider when using the volume control on a separate amp. The buttons will physically turn the volume control knob on the amp up and down. Precise volume contol, especially at low volume levels, is a bit more awkward than the slider on the Atom.

The XS2 & ND5XS2 form a large part of the Nova’s constituents … If you want a turntable I would go for the separates


The weakest link of the Atom and also (but to a lesser extent) of the Nova is their power amp sections, so they heavily depend on speaker matching as they are one unit with not much in the way of flexibility. So if your Atom is just about ok and only slightly insufficient to drive your speakers, the ND5XS2/XS2 and the Nova (similarly, as @Ian2001 mentions) would help, otherwise it’s paying a good few bobs for essentially a side move indeed. I would get the Atom HE (just no HDMI) and, if you can, a NAP250 (any, depending on your budget, or even another power amp) and have a true and significant upgrade and own an adaptable system if you change speakers and/or room.


My Nova is matched with Harbeth P3ESR a notorious speaker for matching , and it does very well

My main listening room is about 3.75 metres by 6 metres and I like acoustic + classic with the odd film and sporting event thrown in.

I was slightly underwhelmed by the Harbeth/Nova combo until I added a Powerline at which point it became very, very acceptable


Folks I really appreciate the replies, now I have to dwell on the choice and just wanted to ask one final question…
If you would have JUST two choices:

  1. XS2 + ND5XS2
  2. Uniti Nova

Which one would you pick. Please reply with number 1 or 2 if you dont mind. Just want to see the odds :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Thanks so much for all the info.

For me, it would be # 1…

My journey began with a Nait XS 2 + ND5 XS…

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If I had a rack, I would go for the separates. If I had a tv sideboard, I would put a nova on top.


1 for sound

2 for convenience and wife appeal