Long term reliability of Uniti STAR / ATOM etc

Dear all,

I have always enjoyed the NAIM sound especially with the ProAc loudspeaker but I could never afford it.
However, now I’m thinking about taking the plunge and going for STAR as it has more power than an ATOM and is just about affordable if purchased ex-dem or manufacturer refurbished.

I would like to ask your opinion on these products?
How reliable are these “all in one” boxes? I recall back in the day when we used to have hifi systems that were all in one. The tape deck would fail and chew the tapes, the turntable would sometimes work but we still kept them as the FM radio and speakers were fine.

I don’t want to be left with a product that is like the iPhone business model where after a couple of years isn’t supported with software updates or the drive has packed up or the screen is buggy.
Why are there so many Uniti’s littered on eBay?

If I could afford it I would go with the combination of : XS3 & ND5 Streamer.

Is a new line of Uniti products due to be released?

Please could you share your opinion.

Thanks

I just wonder how you can enjoy the Naim sound without being able to afford it ?

Sure there’s an explanation for this rather spectacular situation.

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I’ve had my Nova since the 2017 launch and never a moment’s problem. Prior to that I had a Uniti and a Superuniti both of which were 100% reliable. “Littered on Ebay” is a strange choice of words - many thousands have been sold and they are a gateway drug to higher end Naim products for many people.
Naim is a reputable company which cares for its customers and will service products they made 40 years ago. They are still releasing firmware updates for all Uniti products. Apple has other priorities…

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They will continue to be supported so no worries there, perhaps a Nova might prove more reliable long term as it has no mechanical cd transport which can fail over time, rip cd’s on to a drive instead.

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Much as people speculate it is almost never the case that anyone has any idea when or what Naim is going to release until they drop.

The models in the Uniti series have been extremely successful, the Atom/HE continue to win awards despite being several years old; very unusual in the HiFi world. I am sure some people have had issues but in general they very well made and reliable. Also Naim have an excellent record for service and customer support. It is one reason for the high cost-but a good one in my view. Not every manufacturer can say the same.

If purchasing the Star you need to be aware that CD player mechanisms do fail though, and some are becoming obsolete. I don’t know how long Naim will support the one in the Star, but I’d expect it to be for a good while.

I might be tempted to separate the CD player from my ‘one box’ streamer/pre/power amp because of this. It depends on your direction of travel re source etc; if you continue to buy and use CDs then fine, or are thinking or ripping your collection to a NAS and ditching the discs? If so then maybe just buy a streamer/pre/power one-box option such as a an Atom or Atom PE.

Bruce

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I’ve had a Star since 2020 and had no problems with it at all. Use cd player regularly as well.
You get updated over the air when available via the app.
Love the sound even with my failing hearing and hearing aids

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Thank you for this tip! I was actually thinking about the Nova with its extra power and no moving parts.

Thank you for the advice. If the Star was also a SACD player then I would have 100% gone for that. It’s only because it within my budget and more power than an Atom that I suggested it. I have quite a few CDs but I could easily rip them on my Mac and just save for a Nova.

Thanks for your reply. You can enjoy something without actually owning it. For example a test drive on a top end Mercedes. Or in my case when I was demoing hifi in my 20s as a uni student. Just to get a sense of levels of quality I would listen to various brands such as Tag McLaren Avant Garde, Arcam etc Naim would always get my attention. However, ones budget decides what we finally settle with.

Now…moving on … being married with kids , value for money and longevity of hifi products is important to me. With these Uniti series of products (star, nova) I see an opportunity to purchase Naim hifi and experience high definition music but I don’t want to have products that feel like an old fashioned iPhone that I wish I could upgrade.

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I have had literally many 10s of Naim units over the decades, perhaps 100 in all. A mix of new, ex-dem and used and I had never had any issues (other than CD drives failing after many years) until one 350 unit failed on installation last year. One friend had a faulty new Nova about 2 years ago and another a faulty refurbished Star last year, (all unquestioningly replaced), otherwise personal experience of issues has been minimal, but perhaps there is slightly more incidence of problems with the newer designs in the last few years…

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I’ve had my Naim Uniti Atom since May 2018 and had no problems with it at all.

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My concern with All-in-one devices is the streaming section and that it becomes outdated in the future. At the moment, it is comprehensive and up to date but who knows what technology will look like in 5-10 years. The reason why you see so many 1st generation Uniti devices for sale is probably that their streaming section is outdated.

For me it is to some extent a trade-off between convenience vs future-proofness. I have recently bought an all-in-one Lyngdorf TDAI 1120 which is cheaper than an ATOM or STAR which made it easier for me to go with convenience.

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Guys,
What speaker cables do you use with your Uniti ?
When I went for a demonstration, the dealer said Naim recommend a specific cable and we have to use this fancy plug to plug it into the Uniti.

The only major shortcoming of the 1st gen streamers is that the design predated web based streaming services altogether, and was therefore given a buffer that was way to small to cope. That aside, they take good old fashioned data using TCP/IP, as do all of the subsequent models. Sure, there have been some enhancements to both sound quality and functionality, but they still work, and with a basic proxy server they will also still work with streaming services such as Qobuz, Roon etc.

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NACA A5 is the ‘default option’. You could read several thousand threads on here about speaker cable if you wish!

It is a very sensible place to start your Naim journey with a good performing option designed for the kit. You might be able to find some s/h. Make sure lengths are symmetrical.

Bruce

I have a Nova and it’s very good indeed, and I say that having had lots of Naim separates since first buying a Naim amp in 1983. I’d be inclined to get a Nova rather than a Star, as it sounds better. If you want to rip CDs you can do it on a computer.

You don’t need to use Naim speaker cable, but it is very good. I use Kudos cable, but use the special Naim plugs at the Nova end, as they provide an ideal connection with the Naim.

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This is true - from someone that uses three 1st gen streamers daily. Sure, you can’t get Roon or HiRes off Tidal, but overall sound quality is still impressive.

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@ChrisSU I do not disagree. Depending on the use case the 1st gen streamers are still perfectly functional. However, they are lacking some features (e.g. Roon Ready, Chromecast) of the newer models.
Anyway, my only point is that technology will evolve and there is a risk that certain functionalities might not be supported in the future. If that risk materialises or is relevant for a purchasing decision is for everyone to decide individually.

I regret buying the Star only becuase I do not use the CD player and rip from my computer. I should have bought the Nova. Having said that it has been reliable since I bought it in May 2018.

::: NEWS FLASH :::

I have ordered a N O V A !

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