Core vs Unitiserve: worth upgrading to?

I’m sure there must be few past threads on this, but a possible opportunity exists to swap my 2014 Unitiserve SSD->Netgear102 NAS for a much more recent UnitiCore for around £1k and I’m seeking experienced feedback on whether it is a worthwhile trade.
My criteria are:

Sound Quality- I may be alone in the Universe in preferring my US to Melco servers on the (for me crucial) ability to involve me in the music, so take it as read that I seem to side with Naim on how best to feed my NDS. How does Core compare to US sound wise? Is onboard storage an advantage over a separate NAS?

User Interface- is the newer interface a worthwhile improvement on US?

All thoughts gratefully received.
Kevin

1 Like

There are some things the Core cannot do, such as transcode flac to WAV, which may it may not be an issue. When I had a Serve I tested it against a Synology running MinimServer and the Nas was better. If you are able to rip new CDs with your computer, you really don’t need a Serve or a Core. I now use Asset on a Qnap and it’s far more flexible than the Serve ever was.

I think the Core is slightly brighter than the Unitiserve. I remember using the word brittle when I first got it, but that was before it ran in.

The Core is much more flexible than Unitiserve in terms of storage options. You don’t have a DTC or n-serve, which might be seen as good or bad depending whether you like using old user interfaces. The metadata editing is less flexible on Core than US and you lose the transcode on the fly options.

I know some (including no doubt @hungryhalibut) will tell you to get a NAS instead, but personally if someone were to steal my Core in the middle of the night, I would still spend the insurance money to buy another one.

Best
David

6 Likes

I’d never tell anyone to get anything, and merely point out that a Core is unnecessary and that cheaper alternatives may sound better. Certainly a Core is more convenient if one rips a lot of CDs, and it has a nice shiny logo.

Over the years I have read you consistently state this, and I thought ‘rubbish’. I had a silent low power server powered by LPSU with a number of widgets that was simply better; and this was true when I used a Sonore microRendu and ultraRendu, not to mention the SOtM trifecta. WAV being better than FLAC.

Then I bought a Linn Klimax. What was then best in my system? …my Synology NAS running ASSET with FLAC files!

Go figure! Context is king.

1 Like

Thanks David. So, Core being brighter you see as a good thing or a downside? Any other upsides you would flag from your move to Core?
Re HH point. I’ve not tried Asset, but I can run my Netgear either directly into the NDS or via the Unitiserve. In my system and to my ears there’s a very clear improvement with US. Could the fact that Asset is managing the signal bethe crucial factor I’m missing do you think?

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that, beside lacking support for transcoding, internet radio and internet streaming services, the Uniti Core also does not support exporting the metadata associated with the files of the Music folder (and stored in a proprietary database) to an open format. Thus, if you plan to migrate your collection from the UnitiServe to a Core, you might want to do so in such a way that your metadata do not end up being locked in a format that does not grant interoperability.

1 Like

Lots of better options out there that are considerably cheaper.

I didn’t see brighter as an advantage at the time, but it was something I got used to or maybe it ran in and settled down quickly. It doesn’t strike me as bright now. In fact it sounds great to me.

I saw it as a massive advantage to get away from the risk of a hard disc failure heralding a very expensive vacation in Salisbury.

The shiny logo mentioned by HH isn’t actually a consideration because it doesn’t have one. The bottom bar lights up in new Uniti style but only temporarily if you actually interact with it. If you just stream from it using upnp, the bottom bar stays unlit.

But one advantage over Unitiserve is that if you use an SSD in it, then it is completely silent except when ripping. And it isn’t bothered about power cuts…

Best

David

2 Likes

You need a decent nas and a decent upnp server. Whether your netgear is either I don’t know. Maybe you can run Asset on netgear and use the free trial.

I switched from a Unitiserve to a Core a few months ago. When I had the NDS I tried using my Synology NAS running MinimServer in place of the Serve and preferred the Serve.
I think it sounds better with the Core compared to the Serve.
nbpf makes a good point about importing music into the Core.
All my rips other than those in the Downloads folder were Unitiserve rips. When I set up the Core, I did the “import Music” function on the App. This is what I found:

  1. All the Unitiserve rips were put into the Downloads folder
  2. The Core or the App seems to mess around with the metadata of the rips. For example, on many Serve rips that originally did not have any metadata, I manually entered all the metadata on the Serve. On import, I found
    (a) that some albums now show no titles at all. Just the track numbers
    (b) two albums ended up as “Unknown” – one was by Ray Charles “Genius Loves Company”
    © albums with the same or similar names (like Greatest Hits or Duets) ended up being shown in the App under another Artist. Example: Linda Ronstadt’s Duets appeared under Emmylou Harris’s folder as she also had an album called Duets. This occurred many times
    (d) The Core or the App ignores the manual adjustments made to the Serve rip. Example: on compilations, I would insert the name of the Artist on the Song Title so I would know who the performer is when listening. On Import, all those manual insertions of Artists’ names disappeared and only the song titles remained.
    (e) I tried to overcome the problem under © above by re-ripping those CDs that were appearing under another Artist. For some reason, the Core or the App would keep listing the album under another Artist. Example: I have a CD titled Songbook Vol. 2 by Joao Donato and another called Songbook 2 my Marcos Valle. I re-ripped the one by Marcos Valle and even changed the title of the album so it does say Songbook 2 only but it is still being shown under Joao Donato and not Marcos Valle even though when you select the album, the track listings show Marcos Valle as the Artist. This is not the only case as there are a few more CDs with the same problem. Very frustrating.
1 Like

Reading these comments I feel much happier sticking with my CD collection and vinyl .

1 Like

I have ripped all my CDs on a computer and my music collection has perfect metadata.

I can search for a piece of music by composer, conductor, work, genre, musical form, musical era and much more. I can open the booklet of the current album from my control point. All works seamlessly and very fast.

It is just Naim’s software that is awkward and very limited. With standard software ripping and streaming is not anymore problem today, although perfect metadata still require a lot of manual work. Or Roon, if you do not like taking care of your metadata yourself.

Regarding your 2 problem, you should find that if you go into metadata editing for an album imported to Core from Unitiserve and select the “Legacy” tab, all your old edits are there.
Best

David

David,
Because all the Serve rips ended up in the Downloads folder (that was done by Core or the App, not me) I can’t edit the metadata of any of the albums imported from the Serve.
The Edit Metadata function is not available for all the imported Serve rips.

I am quite happy currently with my US for ripped CDs and NAS for backup and downloads except that the metadata drives me mad.
I have all my files in FLAC format and spent ages cleaning up metadata but after a US repair they all went back to the original state, in fact they were even worse than that for some reason!
Don’t know if this is the 2nd reply or not … this is not the most accessible site when using a screen reader :slight_smile:
I have given up on my metadata since the US seems to override it sometimes and removed all my hard work on it when it came back from a repair.
Thus I will not be replacing my US with a core since I do not want to be restricted to a proprietary database.

I think I will be going raspberry PI from NAS and keeping all my metadata in the FLAC files; I have prepared for this by already converting all my US files from wave to flac.

Rhoon seems a perfect fit for what I want but unfortunately, and I am disgusted at this, it is totally inaccessible to screen readers because of poor design decisions when they developed it and they do not seem interested in creating a modern accessible UI when I have contected them.

In preparation for my US going south all I have to do now is find some server software that is accessible.

Given all that avove, I may end up having to go with a core, even with my metadata misgivings, because at least the app seems accessible.

Still seems a lot of money for something that is just a file explorer and converter from ethernet to spdif for my DAC!

Allan

1 Like

To me the sound of Unitiserve like it, it works well and inside there is the substance … At the moment I hold Unitiserve …

Ah well that’s interesting. If you import rips from a Unitiserve then the rips will be placed in the Music/MQ folder. The edits you made are fully respected. But if the Core isn’t sure they were made in a Naim server, it defaults to “playing safe” as Phil Harris said at the time and puts them in the downloads folder and all the user edits are lost in that case.

I imported twice from my Unitiserve into my Core and each time the Core did what it was supposed to. But if you imported from a backup on a NAS or something like that, then you may have to work harder to get the Core to accept them as genuine US rips.

Best

David

I won’t argue with you and I appreciate that it is all a lot easier if you can see what you are doing, as it were.

But if the rips are in flac, then the Core handles the metadata like anything else and it is completely transferable.
Best
David

I can’t comment on the Unitiserve, but my Core sounds cleaner and more detailed than high resolution rips on my Mac. I also like the simplicity and separation of my music source from my office computers.