Is there any difference between the Uniti Nova or Atom preamp out?

Just wondering what are the differences between the Nova and Atom regarding DAC and Preamp. Is there any difference at all?

Has anyone compared the pre-amp out of these two kits?

My understanding is that other than the streaming board, all other aspects are different, preamp, poweramp, dac used and implementation.

Thx Gazza.

But does someone actually know of any review that details the differences.

What dac‘s are used.

I struggled to find them…perhaps send a question to Naim or your dealer

Recall when I started Atom, the Nova followed and getting a straightforward answer from Naim was tricky, recall @Richard.Dane mentioned something along the lines of ground up circuit board design and lots of other unit specific routing etc… so more than jump more amps.

Oh plus he said it was special and he was DAMN right :sunglasses:

I have been using the Atom as a preamp with a NAP200 for some time now and it sounds fabulous. Honestly I find it hard to believe that a Nova as preamp would add that much more.

Even if the components in the Nova and Atom were identical, there is a significant benefit to housing them in a larger box with less compromises in layout, cable routing, isolation etc. I think it’s better to ignore paper specifications and just use your ears.

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I’m with @Gazza . Almost everything in the Nova is different. The Atom is a pretty good entry level unit but I think the Nova is in a different league altogether.

But what anyone “believes” is irrelevant. Have a listen and make up your own mind what Is right for you.


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I agree. I come from a high-end Esoteric/Shiit DAC/preamp combination and the Atom is simply better as a preamp: more musical, more dynamic, more fun. Just give it a try.

Interesting posts here. That is actually why I asked…

My main system is a SN2/NDX/XPS DR on Sonus Faber speakers. I am missing some things like Airplay2, Roon Ready, max volume limiting etc though - these have now become more important as wife and kids also want to use the stereo.

So I started searching, and actually said to myself I would evaluate also non NAIM for the first time after 15+ years. So I looked at Auralic - sounded ok, but not more then ok and had a few big usability problems. I looked at the LINN Selekt (with the better dac and amp) and actually fell in love with it. Much more tunefull bass then my NAIM system, and also more details. Maybe not as “musical” as the NAIM, but searching for a new sound I would immediately trade; if only LINN would support Roon Ready, AP2, etc. But they are so far behind NAIM in terms of software. And so I’ve come back to NAIM. Now, the NDX2 might be very good, but as long as NAIM has no digital preamp, so that I can control volume of the preamp in the app using a slider, set max volume, etc- it makes no sense to invest that much money to me. From a user experience perspective, the Uniti series are the best by far ATM…

So I bought a used Atom and have been playing around with it for the last 2 weeks. It is fantastic. But so far behind the other setup. So I questioned what would have most impact. I see most “naimies” like to say source first. But I recalled how tuneful the bass of the LINN was and recalled that even my AirPods have a more tuneful bass then the SN2 paired with my Sonus Faber. And I could not believe that the AirPods DAC is better than the Atom’s or NDX’s :slight_smile: So I decided to take a look at amplification. Connected the Atom’s preamp-out to the SN2 after the right cables arrived. And WOW! The NDX is still better to my ears, but the Atom now is a lot closer to it. Soundstage is wide again, and has depths, complex music can be followed, really really good. So my little experiment has shown me that at least for my speakers and ears, the weakest part of the Atom is the amp. And I must say I am surprised that an amp has SO much effect on sound quality.

Reminding how good and tuneful the bass of the LINN Selekt was, I am tempted to connect the Atom to a LINN power amp just to see what happens. This will be interesting…


Likewise often wondered what a Nova paired with a 250dr would be like compared to say a NDX2 & SN2? I suspect the amp might be the weak part of the Nova too.

I actually have a Nova connected to a 250DR. The improvement in SQ was quite significant. Very musical with heightened detail.

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I eagerly awaited the NDX2 and SN2 combo, intent being upgrade from the Nova.

Sadly for me it offered very little more. I can’t say in 20yrs I ever had a Naim demo and walk away being content with what I had.

It’s still almost impossible to read what is inside Atom.

Definitely the amplification is the weakest part of the Atom. I played a lot with different amps in the past weeks just to find out that while my SN2’s power amp greatly enhances the Atom, other amps do an even better job. Last one I tested is actually a class D based on Hypex NC500 modules and it is stunning how much better controlled the bass is compared to the SN2. Sure, it is not bettering the SN2 in every aspect - it’s a tradeoff as always - but I am liking it a lot so far.

Have you got the Atom preamp connected to AV IN on SN 2?

No. I bought an rca-din4 cable and was using that to go directly to the SN2s power amp section.

Try Atom preamp to SN 2 AV IN and AV Bypass switch ON. I use RCA to RCA cable. Bypassing the SN 2 preamp sounds better to me, volume controlled on Atom.

Which brand/model of Hypex nCore Implementation are you using ?

I was connecting it directly to the SN2 poweramp, so really disabling the preamp completely (more then using the AV input i guess - this really only has a fixed gain - it does not bypass the preamp…)