Electronics or Speakers

Firstly hello everyone. First time poster and looking to purchase my first piece of Naim hardware. I’ve settled on the Uniti and demoed the Atom with a pair of ATC scm7’s which, to my ears sounded brilliant and just ok at various points. I then asked to swap out the Atom for the Star and it was like switching on a light as they really shone with the extra power. Next was a pair of B&W 707 which sounded different but still very good. They sounded very similar on both systems and the difference to my ears was negligible. As I liked the sound of the Star/ATC combo I was wondering if it was worth going with that or going with an Atom and maybe a 706? From an expert point of view and bearing in mind I won’t change player or speakers for a long while will I get more bang for my buck from the better player and cheaper speakers or vice versa? I hope this has made sense? Thank you in advance everyone.


my opinion based on personal experience. The Atom is a lovely piece of equipment, I have heard it with, among other speakers, a pair of Polk Audio Legend L100 and the combo was wonderful given the cost of the Polks. Unless you only consider British speakers, as some seem to do here, that is a very reasonably priced, richly sounding pair.

The Star also rips and stores CDs: unless you are interested in that feature, the Nova to my ears sounds better and is a good match for almost any domestic, sensible speaker.

Hope it helps,


I would agree with Max. Having heard the difference between the Atom and Star, if you bought the Atom you would spend all your time thinking of an upgrade! I went from an Atom to a Nova and have never regretted it

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Thank you so much Max. I did forget to mention that my budget/wife won’t stretch/agree to a Nova unfortunately.

Thank you. I wish I could justify the Nova I really do

Have you thought about a secondhand Nova? You seem them about at roughly the same price as a new Star

I have a real issue with second hand anything TBH. Is it a safe route in your opinion?

That’s the beauty of Naim gear - a fantastic secondhand market due to the quality of the gear. Lots and lots and lots of people on the forum buy secondhand Naim gear and are delighted with it


Hello and welcome.
An interesting conundrum. Firstly with the Star and the more costly 706 speakers should, if you initially like this pairing sound very good - although you would find that everything sounds good. Perhaps not as insightful digging into the music - giving the sense that your listening to the same musicians in the same studio, but just playing different songs. If you were to play different bands in a rock genre for example. Although this might not be - all things considered a deal breaker.
With the little ATC speaker, they are playing ok at times when the music is only ok, but are asking as well more from the electronics to pep things up.
The Nova/Star with the ATC would be worth a more extended demo.

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Thank you, I’ll certainly keep that in mind. I am actually demoing a pre owned Star tomorrow at a local dealer so we’ll see what that brings. My budget really is the achilles heel here.

I have actually demoed the Atom with Monitor Audio Gold 100, KEF LS50 meta as well as the mentioned ones. My heart was set on the Atom until yesterday when the dealer played the Star/ATC. To me the difference was night and day but my feeling is the extra power of the Star just brought out the strengths of the SCM7 a little more. What I will say though is the 7 is a bargain with the right equipment and to me out performed the 11 which was too warm for my tastes.

The more limited the budget the more secondhand makes sense as it increases buying power (alternatively ex-demo if a good price). I have never had a problem with electronics or speakers secondhand. The one limitation is if you want to use online streaming services, for which the requirements can change quite rapidly and the most recent platform is likely to have the greatest longevity - however I understand the Nova, Atom and Star are all the most recent platform so secondhand should make no difference.

Of all system components speakers have the biggest influence on tge overall character of the sound you hear, so it is worth spending time and effort hearing as many different ones within your budget as you can As tgey all sound different (maximised by looking at ex-dem and secondhand). However, as I don’t have experience of the Atom, Nova and Star I can’t comment on which would work best with any given speaker.

Thanks. That makes perfect sense and I am slowly working my way through the available options. I am dreading hearing the Nova if it’s as good a everyone says.

I just knew as soon as I started on this journey I would end up with these issues. I never learn :neutral_face:

The Atom is a great piece of kit and with the right speakers may well be all you need. As others have frequently said on the forum, never listen to kit that you cannot afford!

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Wise words thank you. I’m now considering the Atom with a pair of B&W 705. I loved the SCM7 but I have to consider space, wife, aesthetic and cost.

Thanks again for your help

Very safe (assuming the seller is averagely honest). Naim is a superb company not just for its products but also for its commitment to its customers (and you would be a customer even if you buy second hand).

If space is a premium then another speaker suggestion for the Atom is a pair of Proac Tablette 10’s. I had a pair with my Atom and they are a lovely combination. Plus, the Tab 10’s are sealed (small) boxes and can therefore be place very close to a rear wall

As a wild card, though I don’t know how costs compare, there is always the active SCM7 with inbuilt amp perfectly matched to get tge best out of the speaker, for which you’d need a streamer with volume control (inbuilt preamp) without needing the amp stages of Nova etc.

Interesting, I didn’t even know they did an active version! Thanks I’ll check that out.

As an aside I considered the Atom headphone version maybe this would be the best of both worlds?

Are sure there is an active SCM7? Have not heard of it and can’t find on a quick internet search