Low volume hiss coming from speakers only when connected to Uniti Atom

Hi All,

Connected my B&W 805S by cables to the Uniti Atom and have a constant low volume hiss from speakers. Hiss level unchanged as music volume is changed. Hiss audible with or without music. Hiss is only noticeable within a foot or 2 from speakers and isn’t bothersome when listening to music at moderate volume…but still - I’d like to fix it. BTW, speakers do not hiss when connected to a different amp.

Ideas and suggestions would be much appreciated.

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A very low level hiss at idle is quite normal for Naim amps - it shouldn’t be noticeable from your listening position unless you’re placed very close. Some speakers exacerbate it more than others, especially if very sensitive or with a tipped up top end. It’s nothing to worry about.

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Just wait a few years. Your high frequency hearing will deteriorate and the problem will go away, :grinning:



Thanks, Richard. Disappointing to hear this is something I have to learn to ignore rather than learn to fix.

Hi Roger,

In a “few” years I’ll be dead. Would prefer to go out without an annoying hiss in my ear.

Generally, I believe strongly that dealers should advise on this, and it’s a failure if they don’t. It is simply a by-product of the circuit design that Naim chooses because they believe in its SQ benefits. Customers should know, and they should consider it in particular with more sensitive speakers, because they exacerbate it.

That said, I am surprised that you hear it so much that it’s worth commenting on it. The B&W 805S according to the specs I found have just 88 dB (2.83 V, 1 m) sensitivity, not very high.

How far away from the speakers are you when you hear it?

My speakers have 86 dB and I don’t hear the hiss at all, except very faintly if my ears are just 50 cm from the tweeters and I listen for it, in an otherwise completely silent room. And my hearing is good, for being 50 years old.

My previous speakers had 90 dB sensitivity, and I could hear the hiss from a bit farther away, but again only most faintly when concentrating on it in a completely silent room when at the listening position, which is 2.5 meters away.

Thanks for commenting Suedkiez. When the room is quiet (it is my office space) I can hear the hiss 6 - 7 feet away. It’s more of an annoyance than a catastrophe.

Previously, I used the speakers in my main listening room for streaming through a Mark Levinson integrated amp. Nothing but music heard from the speakers. Granted, at twice the price, the ML should sound better (and, it does) but the Naim isn’t a cheap piece of gear. So if I have the ability to choose between hearing a slight hiss or not, I’d prefer not - if there is a reasonable fix.

If you don’t have a USB device connected AND you have server mode switched off the settings the unit will shut down more fully in sleep mode and the hiss will be gone when not using it for music.

OK, I guess this sounds about right, 6-7 feet away if the room is very silent. As Kryptos wrote, auto-standby avoids it with Unitis as the amps turn off

disconnect the ethernet and see if the hiss is still there.

It’s not the ethernet. It is known that Naim amps have a slight background hiss and that Uniti devices keep these circuits on when a USB is connected or the device is set to server mode. This is the cause of the hiss here.

In fact, many here prefer connecting with ethernet over WiFi.

Then that’s poor design…
If the poster pulls the ethernet and there is a reduction or elimination of hiss it is the noise from his router/modem…

No harm in pulling it, but every Naim amp has the hiss, see second post in this thread.

As for poor design:

Naim customers typically like the way the Naim amp plays music. If this comes with a hiss during idling that is inaudible to most, so be it.

People who like the design of and the sound from other amps more, or who buy hifi to listen to silence, are free to buy other brands, thank you.

I’m just a Naim user with little knowledge on how to build an audiophile quality amplifier.

But, considering the quality of the sound and that Naim is known for its specialism in amplifiers I think this statement may be a little premature. There is no doubt a well informed conscious decision that led to this.

In general it is no bother. It seems that some speakers highlight it more than others. On my speakers at home I cannot hear it unless I put my ear 10cm from the tweeter and even on headphones it is barely detectable at idle.

So for the vast majority of Naim users this will be a storm in a teacup.

No harm I guess but it is 100% most certainly not this and a red herring. All of my three Uniti products hiss slightly when in standby with USB plugged in and do not hiss if not in server mode and fully off. An internet router will not make a device that has its transformer turned off start hissing.

Really very simple.
Try it… if it does not work, whatever…
I purchased my first naim kit in 1982 and still have piece… I owned the first 500 amp to come to the states.

Getting defensive over this garbage is silly.
Naim cases ring. Naim kit hisses. Naim transformers hum.
If it creams your twinky enjoy…

Just pull the silly ethernet while full on and no music and pull when idle. See if it even makes a small difference.


I agree, but just to remove doubt it’s an option

It really is, but if you know that all Naim amps do this, and you owned some, it also seems a bit silly to make comments about poor design.

A reduction in hiss or eliminate in his situation…
Don’t get me wrong i do believe there’s a fair amount of good enough in their design of most their kit including speakers. I’ve owned DBLS.

Not quite sure why it is necessary to use insult.

Perhaps I used too a too factual tone and not enough emojis.

I am most certainly not defensive. Just stating what I myself found out when I had this question and umpteenth other threads on this forum with the same question showed the result to be. Both from comments from dealers and Naim itself.

I am lucky that the hiss is undetectable in my normal listening conditions and all I get from the sound is joy. Does that mean everyone should agree? No. But does it mean it is instant poor design?

And each person can decide for themselves whether to live with it or not and to vote with their wallets.

Oh I don’t disagree here but I have also been here before. I think the strength of the forum that it can cut through all the stuff that does not work for a problem and home in on the job at hand.

But if you are sent on a wild goose chase of cabling and such early on it can become a very tedious and expensive adventure. It will also suck all the joy out of your device.

I mean what is next after pulling the ethernet and it still hisses cause it will hiss by design? An audiophile switch? A new router? What about a more expensive one. Oh and what about the power cord?

Yeah you may end up with an improvement that, on and atom, may be marginal but the amplifier will still hiss cause we know they do. You will also spend a lot in terms of time and money without solving the initial problem making you even more unhappy with the product.

So by homing in on known issues or design choices people can more easily find actual solutions (perhaps other speakers in this case or not using USB or server mode if it is not required) or make a choice to move on to another brand where their tastes may be better satisfied.

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Complete agreement from me

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