Atom vs Nova upgrade

Hello all; I’m new here. I’ve had an Atom for several months and I love it - it’s connected to a pair of Sonus Faber Olympica I bookshelf speakers and a Paradigm subwoofer, and placed in a largish living room/dining room/kitchen area with tall ceilings. We use the system for streaming Tidal/Apple Music, and we also use the system for our tv sound. It was a big jump in sound quality going from a Peachtree 1.0 Nova amp and using the same setup.

I do love the sound that this system produces, even in a large room, but I do wonder if the Nova would be a better fit. My question is - would I notice a significant upgrade in sound quality in going from the Atom to the Nova in this situation? I’m sure there is some difference, but is it enough to justify the extra cost of the Nova? Does anyone have experience in a similar situation?

Thanks for your help!

I had Atom driving Proac Tablette 10’s but have just swapped it for a Nova. The upgrade in sound quality is not subtle - it is a significant improvement in every area and the Proacs easily show this upgrade

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I have a Nova, and am now thinking I wish it was an easy upgrade to Classic series. I would suggest considering NDX/SuperNait or NAC-N252/NAP250 rather than Nova, I’m sure that will make a way bigger difference for a similar cost if buying used

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Depends what you want Nova for. Having had previous multi box system I wanted something that stopped upgrade fever! Nova is a great piece of kit outright

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I got an Atom soon after it came out as I wanted an all in one temporarily untikl I got older Naim stuff from storage.

The Nova was not available.

Soon after purchase the Atom developed a fault, by this time the Nova was out and I did an A/B of Atom vs Nova at the dealer’s store with my speakers.

It took one track for me to decide that the Nova was considerably better - overall detail was much better and bass far better controlled making it easier to follow deep bass lines in songs which just gave a more musical/rhythmic performance.

If you think you’ll want to upgrade beyond the Nova however I would start looking at separates, even using the Atom as a streamer with a Supernait or pre/power combo for example.

I’ve resurrected my active system and my Nova is currently a digital source into a NAC 282/ 2xNAP250/SBL - it does very well, so much so that I could not justufy getting an NDX 2 a few months back when I compared them which really surprised me.

You have many options but I’d recommend either home demo or dealer demo of alternative choices.

It’s also worth remembering you can add a NAP to the Atom/Nova which might be worth testing as a stepping stone.

The Unitis aren’t designed to be that upgradeable however and apart from a NAP, your only other tweaks are interconnect or power cables - I do wish the Nova could accept an external PSU, but it would then blur the lines with the classic series.

So in summary I think the Nova would beat the Atom decisively, it just depends then if you’d be consdering further upgrades in which case it might be better to go that route now.

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Alley_Cat, how do you connect Nova to 282 as digital source ? I do not see Nova has got digital out.

Sorry Andre1, bad choice of words, meant digital source in the broader sense rather than digital connections - should have said streaming source, you are correct that the Nova does not have digital out (a shame I think but understandable).

Many thanks for clarification !
Just thought Nova different to other all-in-one. Would be nice those will have digital streamer “out”. By chance have Unitilite and separates. With such out could use it as source till can afford NDX2 level. Today use analog out makes my pre-amplifier 202 …. :sweat:

Thanks for the replies! I thought about adding a Supernait but my wife and I love the clean look of the Atom as a standalone, which would be the same with a Nova. I’ll demo the Nova this week and see how it sounds next to the Atom.

Thanks again!


I would be very interested to hear back from you after you have auditioned the Nova. I use the Atom as a pre-amp into a NAP200 and it sounds lovely. But I was told the Nova has a much better sounding streamer and pre-amp built in compared to the Atom.

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Maybe it’s because I prefer vinyl over digital and always have, but not sure why analogue out to the 202 is such a bad thing? The analogue out is good enough for a power amp, and going to a pre should just give you more options. Admittedly a fixed level out would be nice, but so is controlling volume from the Naim app (something I never thought I’d want).

Analogue if not bad at all ! Just I would guess that pre amplifier of 202 is better than Unitilite.

Hi everyone - thanks for all the replies! To update you - I did audition the Atom and Nova side by side. To me, the Nova was a better sounding amp - clearer and more defined; however, we are talking about degrees of excellence here. At full price, in my opinion it is not worth the extra cost for what we would use it for. Fortunately for us though, I was able to find an extremely sweet deal on a Nova, which narrowed the price gap considerably, so I pulled the trigger! Very happy.

Thanks again!


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