John Darko reviews NAD M10 (& compares to Unit Atom)

Thought this was quite interesting; NAD show a clean pair of heels to Naim wrt software. IMHO it “looks” quite competitive.

Wonder why streamers don’t hook up with Shazam to display artist name / track name etc when playing analogue audio? Would be so easy to do, even if not 100% reliable…

Interesting review and comparison. John Darko usually does very good videos. I would still choose an Atom for the ‘Naim sound’, because it has a Class A/B amplifier and for the better build quality. Naim has to catch up in the software department though, the BluOS platform is better (although Roon solves that problem for me).

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John Darko may be a reasonably well respected YouTube reviewer but at the end of the day, it is just another opinion.

And who knows whether the Atom was in a good or a bad mood…


That’s a bit of a worrying statement, what do you actually mean? If you are saying the Atom sound quality can vary (depending on who knows what) then why on earth would anybody consider buying one?

I’ve had personal experience of an Atom with varying SQ and there are others on the forum with similar experiences. I ended up selling my Atom and changing it for a Nova, which still has good and bad days but overall is an improvement over the Atom.

The variability of the sound quality may not be limited to Uniti models and of course there can be external influences as well. If you are addicted to the Naim sound when it’s at its best, you may have to put up with a few days when it’s below par.

Not sure what the big deal is. I’ve always thought NAD made very decent stuff. It’s not like he said the Atom was bested by a Pioneer micro system.

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John comes across as a nice guy and does a great job promoting Hi Fi in general.
If you have been following him on YouTube you know he has always stressed the “ your room “ “ your speakers “
In this video like his others he more just creating a interest in products then saying what’s “ absolutely better or best” ( unless I missed that one )

Also don’t for get in the video he has a Audio Quest power cord on the Atom and we all know that’s a “ No No “
But I think John did that on purpose lol

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These “below par days” could answer a few questions that I have about my own system (172, 250.2), sometimes wonderful, sometimes harsh and almost unlistenable.

Does anybody know what causes them? I’m guessing mains will be a prime contender for taking the blame because it certainly causes an intermittent loud hum on my 250.2. However, the hum does not coincide with the intermittent harshness I experience…

I’ve read in the past that Naim do not advocate any form of mains conditioning, is that still the case?

That’s interesting
Is the 172 cabled to the net ?

Yes, ethernet cable direct to Virgin Superhub 2.

@HiFiFoFum - Why? What are you saying?

I have a few friends with great non-Naim systems. Their systems sometimes sound “very” bad, to their ears. And then the day after everything is back to normal. Perhaps it has something to do with the electricity, or their brains. These friends also have issues with positioning and cables. I think all of these things are noticeable for people who are trying to get the most out of the systems they have and not exclusive to us Naim folks.

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Hey Adam, I can remember you putting me on a short leash for being less rude then that lol

Anyways, try playing music off a USB stick but while doing so disconnect the Ethernet cable from your 172
I’ve come across a lot of home networks that are super noisy at times of the day and this really plays havoc on the streamer.
Lots of posts on this forum about networks to read and worth while.

This is partly why I won’t use Roon exclusively on my NDX 2 but rather an SSD connected directly to the NDX 2, controlled by the Naim app.

Really? That’s just the sort of post I didn’t expect as I’m genuinely trying to understand, but thank you anyway.


Thank you, I’ll give that a try.

Hey John, it most likely noise on the network causing these ups and downs.
The learning curve is steep…
When you look at network players compared to other sources we really are at the tip of the iceberg, I.T. guys will say ethernet cables and network switches don’t matter and it’s “ 1’s and 0’s “
But I find there is much more to it and all networks in homes are different and respond to different things.
I use a inline galvanic isolator one before my modem and one close to my Cisco switch.
I have removed the SMP from the Cisco due to it injecting noice into the network and then making its way into my streamer.
This has resulted ( for my system ) a improvement in performance that is very audible but my network is vary noisy so finding out where the noise is coming from is very import
Most of it seems to be coming from SMP that are used on other things around the house , cordless phones and phone chargers all use SMP and even though the audio system is on a dedicated sub panel these SMP pollute the electrical lines and get into the network via the modem
Once the noise has been dealt with my system is consistent all day and doesn’t go though the ups and downs that some report.
Again not all homes are the same and your mileage may vary.
But the bottom line is noise on the ac lines and on the network is the enemy and it’s best to experiment.
Line conditioners I’m not a fan of for Naim amps and power supplies I feel it’s better to find out where the noise is coming from and deal with it locally.
Again all homes / networks are different.
I hope you find this useful.


That really is very useful, thank you.

This new NAD looks rather lovely, that touch screen is nicely done and the software looks well thought as well. Good review from JD (I like his approach). If was in the market to replace my UQ2 with another all in one, I think I’d still rather have the Atom, but I would want to listen to the NAD to compare closely given its rather elegant design.

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