Flavour of sound

Hi to All,

I’m not sure if this post should be posted to Streaming Audio or Hi-fi Corner so apologies if I’ve got it wrong.

I have a Unitiqute connected to a pair of Neat Motive SX2’s with NACA5. Without going into too much detail as it’s already been discussed many times on here but the unitiQute is old tech and doesn’t do streaming reliably. It does however sound wonderful.

I have a Uniti Atom which I purchased to replace the unitiQute but it doesn’t sound the same. I don’t like the sound it makes and despite much listening, has been reboxed ready for part ex or resale. To my ears it sounds quite lightweight and forward. There’s very little of the richness of tone that the unitiQute produces.

I will be upgrading the UnitiQute and with an eye on budget, my thinking is either

ND5 XS2/Nait 5si or

ND5 XS2/Nait XS2 or

ND5 XS2/Nait XS3

Will any of these combinations have a similar flavour of sound to the unitiQute?

Any advice gratefully received.

All the best


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It’s all very subjective and you really must try them. On paper, and to most people, the Atom is better than the Qute. But that’s not what you found, which shows that in your situation you can’t rely on the opinion of others.

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You might consider looking at used or pre-loved items, as you will then get more Bang for your Buck…

When you say “doesn’t do streaming reliably“, can you clarify? It’s possible to use qobuz etc with the unitiqute, you might not need to replace it. The simplest solution might be adding a streamer up front eg nad cs1, or there are alternatives.

Thank you for the replies so far.

Just to add to my original post. I am not in anyway trying to suggest that the Atom is somehow sub par. It has many wonderful reviews and I know many people are enjoying it. I can hear that it’s a quality piece of kit. It’s just that I miss something that the unitiQute does. Is it warmth or weight? I’m not sure.


Is the Atom new? If so it will need to be run for a while before it sounds at its best. Even a used one will benefit after its been sat unused.
Keep the Atom running for a few days, and enable Server mode to keep it warmed up when in standby. If you still don’t like it after a couple of weeks, try something else.

Thanks Robert_h. A few months back I put a post up called Fault or Foible which explains the issues with the qute. Essentially it does tidal ok but comms between the iPad app and qute fail very regularly. I have explored the non naim front end idea but I have decided that I’d like to stay with all naim if possible. The separates route seems the best option if it can be done.


Thanks ChrisSU. I’ve had the Atom in service for a few months now and it’s well and truly run in I think. Please believe me I have tried to love the machine and I can see/hear it’s very good but not the sound I’m after. It sounds thinner, more forward, more lightweight than I’m used to. I’m not saying that those traits are wrong but just that I want the warmth or richness back. Perhaps a separates system built upon naim’s latest streaming platform might fit the bill.


Short story: network issues though not resolved. What’s creating your WiFi network?

Thanks for the advice so far.

The qute is wired into the network as was the Atom while I had it running. The Atom was perfectly stable but alas the Qute is not. Having examined this extensively, I have concluded that the issue is not with the network but the Qute. Being old tech in terms of streaming, I think now is the time for it to be replaced. Perhaps at a later date, I might use it as an amp connected to an external streamer for the office but right now I’m interested in replacement options. Given that I have tried the Atom for enough time for it and my ears to be fully adjusted, I feel confident that separates are the way to go.

All the best


I’d first try a ND5xs2 into the UniQute to see if it’s the UniQute’s amp section that is what you like.

If this is the case I’d be looking at a s/h SuperNait from the same era (SuperNait 2 I think).


Thank you sjb.

I’m pretty certain the ND5 XS2 is the only viable option given budget constraints and my wish to keep it naim. I’ve never actually listened to any of the supernaits but they certainly look the part.
I have a slot booked in for Tuesday at a dealer in Devon who will let me listen to a few combinations and compare to the Atom and Qute. I hope I don’t end up with information overload with too many variables in play! Anyway an exciting prospect.

In the mean time, I feel an extensive internet search for supernaits coming on!


I really think your network is the issue. The old streamers like the Unitiqute are totally stable when connected by Ethernet cable. That’s what you should look at.


Agreed, mine works perfectly. I’ve always used it wired to the network, and running upnp it’s faultless. It might not natively support qobuz (which didn’t exist when the uq was released) but tidal/spotify are both built in.

Hi @Davo. You’re not alone in your preference for the UQ vs the Atom. I think there’s a thread on it somewhere.

As for your suggested alternative amps to go with ND5XS2, the amp section of the Atom is based on the Nait 5si so I’m not sure that would change the sound signature in the direction you want. More generally, ‘warm’ and ‘rich’ are not the first words I would use to describe the sound of Naim’s recent boxes I’ve heard.

For an offbeat suggestion in the Naim family you might want to consider the original SuperNait. It has a rather darker sound than recent gear that might just give you what you’re looking for. They’re pretty cheap these days, but you’ll probably need to budget for a service.

Enjoy your audition.



Perfect email Roger. I was thinking the same reading this topic and then you perfectly wrote your post.

Thank you Peakman.

I’ve been thinking about the difference in sound between the Qute and Atom and I’ve used term like rich and warm when describing what it is I’m looking for or indeed what I hear in the Qute. Perhaps if not better but another way to describe would be that the Qute seems to make the music appear from an inky black background which hangs between the speakers. I get a sense that the speakers disappear. There is a flow to the music and the only way I can describe it is to say it sounds analogue and organic. It’s not especially detailed or airy but my goodness does it get to the heart of the music.
The Atom on the other hand, again to my ears, is very detailed an forward sounding and this is at the expense of cohesion. Notes, be they high or low frequency start and stop brilliantly. It times like a metronome but somehow misses the flow. It sounds hard and perhaps digital to my ears.

Anyway, please excuse my random thoughts today. Perhaps they make little sense.


Of all the naim kit I owned I think the unitiqute 2 was probably my favourite piece of kit and the one that offered best vfm so I’m not surprised you like it’s sound. When I sold mine I replaced it with a supernate 2 which fitted in well so that might be an option for you but my recommendation would be to find a good dealer who will let you try kit at home before you buy anything, although that won’t help with used kit

Hi All,

Just a quick update.

I think the last time I posted here, I had arranged to go and listen to a ND5 XS2/Nait XS3 combo connected to a pair of Neat Motive SX2 speakers and compare it to the Atom connected to the same speakers at a local (100 mile round trip) dealer.

I had a great time comparing the two systems with a playlist I’d put together on TIDAL. Even though I was in an unfamiliar environment I could hear quite clearly that the separates combo had the advantage over the Atom in terms of the richness or warmth of the sound. There seemed to be more body and I thought I could hear a hint of the speakers doing a disappearing act just as I’d enjoyed with my old Unitiqute.

Unfortunately, I was unable to take the combo home for trial on that day in case other potential buyers wanted to have a listen. I was offered the chance to come back to collect one late Saturday for a home demo while the shop was closed over a weekend though and that’s quite understandable but with the help of Google and a slight lack of patience, I developed an alternative plan.

I found an ex demo ND5 XS2 and a used Nait XS 3 and decided to order them. A risky strategy perhaps but I’d liked what I’d heard at the dealers so in my view the risk was minimal. Anyway, both components were shipped by their respective dealers and arrived with me within hours of each other. They are now connected to my Neat Motive SX2’s and after a bit of fettling with speaker positioning, the whole thing is sounding really quite special. For the first few days, I was a little underwhelmed but one final tweak of the speaker placement and everything has locked in to focus. That focussed, holographic stage that the Atom seemed unable to create for me at least is now present and correct much as was the case with the UnitiQute but on a larger scale, especially depth. In short, this is one fine musical sounding little system and I very much doubt I’ll be wishing to change it for something else anytime soon.

I do feel I must defend the quality of the Atom though. It should not be a surprise to me that separate components will likely out perform an all in one system and the Atom really is a fine piece of kit. I think it’s fair to say that it does have a very different tonal character to my old UnitiQute though. Perhaps no better or worse, just different but the purpose of my upgrade was to try and approximate the sound characteristics of my old and unfortunately, unreliable UnitiQute. The Atom did not achieve this but I think the ND5 XS2/Nait XS3 has and improved on it too.

Anyway, if you’ve managed to get this far, thank you for reading.

All the best



I recently made the same “jump in good faith” to the ND5 XS2 / Nait XS3 combo. Was a bit disappointed the first days, turned out it needed a week to come on song.

Both were ex-demo machines from my dealer so I didn’t expect that. The streamer took longer than the amp. Now both sounding lovely together as you describe.