Buying used kit..hidden settings

Earlier this year I, with the permission of the Style committee , decided to have a modest second system in our main lounge. The condition was that it didn’t dominate the room and looked cool. The decision was an Atom plus a pair of KEF LS50s. I bought a two year old traded in Atom from a Naim dealer on a well known auction site.
I was really pleased to grab it at 50% of the usual retail price and the speakers at an open box price of 25% discount.
Unfortunately the sound was really underwhelming and under powered. I knew the KEFs were lower sensitivity, but this was really disappointing. After a week or so I was playing with the Naim app and noticed that the volume was limited to just 55%. A light bulb moment! The previous owner had set it to limit the max volume.
I wonder just how many of us have missed a little important detail like this in this age of streaming and mistakenly thought the gear was pants.


It’s best to do a complete factory reset when buying used gear that allows for it. For the Atom:

Yes, that would have sorted it. Naively I thought the Naim dealer had done it before sale. Anyway all good now.

Sounds like unacceptable performance by the dealer.

Dealer, or maybe just read the owners manual, or better yet perform a aystem reset on the unit. No one is perfect, except of corse me

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I was watching YouTube yesterday and this fellow’s recent video post. I think there’s quite a bit of common sense here and was what prompted me to post about this obscure setting on the Atom. He’d made a similar error.

I never even suspected this setting existed, so why do a factory reset? Obviously, with hindsight I should have read the manual front to back, but I wonder how many of us seasoned Naim owners do that? Anyway all is good now and the Atom is excellent.

The problem is that there is no manual to read through in a linear manner, only an ‘e-guide’ which requires too many clicks to navigate through ‘front to back’ - while I’m sure this must have seemed a modern thing to have I’d simply prefer a printed manual/downloadable PDF with the online guide as a secondary tool if needed.


I agree with this generally, not just hifi kit. Normally well after I’ve driven a new car home, set up a TV or cut some branches with a new chainsaw after following the ‘start up’ instructions, I like to sit and read a manual cover to cover just to get some background info and understanding about the product.

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In fairness to the dealer, this setting is one they may not use that much and they may well have overlooked a factory reset, though that would be good practice to ensure any user specific settings/account logins for streaming were removed.

The setting can be quite handy however to limit volume output as people have occasionally ramped the volume to 100 accidentally - so in your example although appearing to be at 100 it would only have been 55% of that. From memory the default max vol level is 85.

Naim assured us a few years ago that the processing of this setting does not affect sound quality. So maybe for the previous owner they’d determined that was the max they needed with their kit/room.

One thing to watch out for if you use Spotify (which I don’t) and let guests use it via their devices, is that people have reported the spotify API allowed remote playback initiation from guest devices which were no longer on the LAN. Hence people suddenly found their systems blaring, or when they’d been out had complaints from neighbours due to inadvertent playback from guest devices. I think this max vol setting has been used by some to mitigate such effects.


Very easy to do I’d imagine, I think it’s only when you play with the app a bit you realise there are various potentially hidden setting. There are some settings you probably initially ‘skim through’ either as they seem to be not of immediate interest or they don’t seem relevant but might be later on.

I find mobile devices to be far worse these days, iOS in my case, with so many hidden features/gestures and assumptions made on your behalf.

Really? That’s crackers. I had to dig around to find it and set it to 100%. My next thought is just how many Atom owners are not getting the best out of this great little amp/streamer. There are a lot of mail order sales and I’ll bet a lot of owners not getting the best out of them.

I have to say it popped up on the Naim network straight away as well as Tidal. Roon was a bit reluctant at first but eventually picked it up. I don’t have Spotify and I’ll be careful not to allow my son stream it from his phone. Thanks for the tip.

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Precisely to avoid forgetting settings or having to know every one

It really does sound counterintuitive but I generally don’t have my Nova set above 90, often lower, but I use the Nova as a streaming source to other Naim kit (long story).

As I mentioned there is no paper manual/PDF apart from the quick setup guide:

If you haven’t seen it there is a sort of interactive ‘Support guide’ which goes into a lot more detail if you click the support section here:

I can’t see any mention of the max vol settings but it’s hard to know you’ve entered the correct search term - searches often give several links to info but annoyingly when yoiu choose one you can’t go back to the search results AFAICT and have to search again.

Direct link to support page is:

While it can sometimes be awkward, I find the keywords very reliable. I this case, for instance, “volume”, “max”, “maximum” and combinations all find it:

One other thing (which does show up if you search for ‘max vol’ or similar) is ‘Input Trim’.

Each physical input can generally have the gain configured and some have voltage settings.

Might be worth checking the settings if you ever hook up any external sources in case previous user may have changed these too as they may have needed to.

But why would setting it to less than 100% mean owners “are not getting the best” out of their Atom? Mine is in a small room I use as an office, and the max vol, set at 70, is more than enough to blast my ears if the music is loud. Naim say that choosing a lower max volume does not impact SQ and my experience confirms this. And I get a bit more fine control at lower volumes.


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That’s in a small room or office and probably near field. Our lounge is 25ft x 18ft and definitely not near field and the KEFs were definitely not performing as their sensitivity isn’t the best. They are now. Everyone has a different room and expectations.

If you need to set the volume on your Atom to more than 85 you are going to go deaf very rapidly :open_mouth:

My point was that setting max volume below 100% does not impact sound quality, at least according to Naim and my own experience. So I doubt there are many Atom owners suffering sub-optimal performance because of this.

I do agree, though, that the dealer should have reset the unit before sending it out to you. Mine was a demo unit and was reset before I received it. And the documentation is far from perfect IMHO.


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