More power from Atom?

I am very fond of my unity atom, however with orchestral music (e.g. Mahler) it lacks power / depth. Is there a cheaper way than replacing it by a Nova? Thanks

Somewhat open ended question!
Sell the Atom and buy a used Nova?

That could indeed be a solution, but using the atom as pre-amp and add a power amp could also be an option I believe. So I am wondering whether someone has more informed ideas on what would be pros/cons or alternative solutions.

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What are your speakers?

Home built, see link: SBA-761
90db, 2,5 way, 1st order cross over
See link of pictures of speakers i built:

Addition: buying a second hand nap 200 or 250 might be an option I am considering

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Reproducing a large concert orchestra through a hifi located in a domestic setting is a very demanding task. I have an Atom in my small office driving rather inefficient Neat speakers and, although it is great fun, large-scale orchestral music is much more convincingly reproduced on my main system.c

The first thing I’d look at are your speakers. As @conlegno asks, what speakers are you using at the moment (and what size is your room?). You probably need something easy to drive and full range. Suitable choices may well depend on what is available locally. (Apologies your previous post came in while I was composing mine.)

If you do decide to go for a power amp such as a used NAP250, an Atom HE edition would be a more appropriate source than a basic Atom I would think. It has a a much better preamp section than the standard model.



Thanks Roger, food for thought. This is the type of experience sharing I was looking for.
Indeed my Atom is in the living room (4,5x6 meter en-suite and another 4,5 x 6 meter). When i am listening seriously I move some of the furniture away, so not ideal.
Do you have a guess whether there is a significant difference between atom and nova w/r to additional ‘body’/punch? Investment is quite large and listening in a listening room in a high end shop is not really representative.

I have an Atom HE into a hicap dr : snaxo : 2xnap 200 and it’s a very good setup. No lack of power! I’ve also used a SuperNait in my living room and that works well too. Room filling and dynamic. I did not have the same with lesser amps.

I can recommend the Atom HE in a poweramp. That would imply you have the same convenient experience and more power available. A nova would be an other option indeed but that would financially probably be a bigger outlay.

Thanks Ardeg10y, by the way nice picture of 25 gulden (if I recognized it well)

Sweelinck, Jouke. Are you from Friesland?

Yep, but now living in Den Haag

Ah! I studied at the royal conservatoire there back in the days. Sweet memories.

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I agree with @PeakMan and @Ardbeg10y. I am running an HE into a NAP250DR here and it will easily outperform Nova.

And after the release of the new classics range I will almost think that if you trade in the Atom on an HE you should still be able to find a very good 205DR on the pre-loved market for a total cost less than a new NOVA. The 250DR gives real grunt. Ok it should be fronted by something better than the HE but with what the HE offers in terms of headphone performance you are then looking at an NCS 222 which is a significant larger outlay.

In short I am very happy with HE into 205DR.

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I’m in admiration of your speakers, and would have thought they are well capable of the dramatics you seek. Tagging in @Mark84 (hope that’s ok!?) - who at least at one point ran an Atom and Troels Gravesen CNO-4s.


Speakers are indeed very capable and sound great. Yet for the big dynamics and full force of a symphony power is lacking which results in a more blurred sound (over exaggerating). Therefore I am believe the solution is more in the amplifier than in the loudspeakers.

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Thanks Kryptos. Combination of HE with power amp looks like a combo to test

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Sorry, I have not directly compared Atom and Nova at home, so any comment on how they would compare would just be speculation on my part.


Hi, I’ve run both an Atom and a Nova with a number of Troels speakers. Ellam xt, sp95, fusion, and latest CNO4. There’s not a great deal of difference between the Atom and Nova but with a nova I think you would certainly find the difference you are looking for. Every aspect of the sound is just (forgive the pun) amplified. I was very happy with my Atom. I ran it mostly with the Fusion. Looking back, there was an excellent synergy in that system. Some of which I never got back after changing. With all of the speakers, the nova just allows me to play louder with less distortion and some extra detail/depth etc. My CNO4 uses Hypex plate amps for the 12” bass so this helps to lower distortion further. At one point I also added a nap 200 to the atom. This would also help achieve what you want.

To get what you are looking for, I see a few options.

1 - Sell the Atom and buy a Nova.
2 - Add an external power amp to the Atom.
3 - You could build in Hypex plate amps (up to 500 watts) to your speakers and just run from the pre outs of your Atom or an Atom HE via xlr. This would be the cheapest option, and give you the most control of the drivers. Your speakers would still be passive. You set the plate amps up to run as power amps.

Nice speaker build.
I see you went for the amber z cap. Very nice.
My fusion speaker used the same sba tweeter. It’s very nice. Very smooth and natural.


Mark, thanks for sharing your experiences snd great advice. Also glad to read that you are happy with using Troels in combination with unity. Your option 3 is most appealing for me to explore in more detail. Doing some DIY is always nice. Would - hypex-nilai-stereo-kit - be an option I should explore further or the mono block version, but might be a bit too much. This is new domain for me. Thanks, jouke

Mark is definitely the guy who knows about building your own speakers .

The entire forum watched his speaker building .

On a much more mundane suggestion , the pre-out from the Atom could be used with a Quad power amp , it can be bought new if you can’t find a second hand 200NAP

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