Naim + Audiolab

Just bought a pair af Spendor A5R’s and a pair of Audiolab 8000 monoblocks both as new and to my ears a bit of bargain .At the moment I’m using them with my Uniti 2 as pre amp . It seems a bit of a waste not using the Uniti for what it was designed , so was thinking of a 172 preamp streamer . I’ll use the system mostly for Flac files and I’radio . Any thoughts ?

Not a bad idea at all. A 272 would be a lot better if you can afford it.

I’ve got a 272 - 250-2-pmc 23’s in my living room , love it ! This is my experimental room , regards system . It’s kind of 50 - 50 . On acoustic albums its sublime , and very revealing , on lots of recordings its kind of lean . I’m just thinking a dedicated pre amp…Naim 172 would be better .

Ah, I see. I can’t help thinking that minimising the other system and using funds to add an XPSDR and getting the 250 DRed might ultimately be better. I suspect the A5R needs more welly than the Uniti can deliver. Maybe Uniti with easy speakers would be a better option. Do you need two similar systems?

The second system is in our extension and ideal for me when the missus is watching telly in the living room . I understand what you are saying about improving the main system but I am really happy with it and if it ain’t broke… I suppose I’m just enjoying playing around with the second system , but I do need a pre amp streamer with a USB input in front as I play mostly Flac files from portable hard drives and the Naim units fit the bill . I don’t mind experimenting and I would definately buy second hand .



In that case I think the 172 should be ideal. They are very good by all accounts.

Hi I’ve seen a good deal on a second hand HDX SSD , do you think this would be an improvement on a 172 preamp streamer ? I presume I would have to buy another preamp to work with the HDX . It’s all getting a bit complicated . Any advice welcome .


An HDX is something entirely different and needs a preamp. The preamp would need a power supply. If you want better than a 172 then it’s really a 272, but you already have one. As you say it’s complicated. And as I said, do you really need two similar systems? My second system is a UnitiQute 2 and Neat iotas. Works well for me. Simplicity is good.

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Yeah I think I might just keep the system as is : Uniti-2 , Audiolab 8000 monoblocks and Spendor A5R’s…at least for a while . Sorry for all the questions and I really appreciate your help . Just one more ;Do you think a 172 will sound better than the Uniti-2 .



The SSD version has no internal storage and needs to access to music stored on a NAS. It’s certainly capable of higher sound quality than your Uniti or a 172, but only with a preamp.

I use an Atom (i.e. new-gen Uniti) into a TAGMcLaren (TMA) 100p (i.e. an English-design/build development of the Audiolab 8000p (stereo poweramp)) for my second system. This has been re-capped by a well-regarded Audiolab/TMA engineer. It doesn’t sound ‘lean’ at all - I use TQ Ultra Blue speaker cables to bring a more rounded sound and it certainly retains the Uniti ‘boogie factor’.

I have had TMA 125M’s (i.e. English-built equivalent of your 8000M?? monoblocks) in my main system and they definitely sounded ‘lean’, even after re-capping. I use TQ Diamond Blue speaker cables in that system, but I moved the 125M’s on in favour of an upgraded TMA 250x2R which has the’full-fat’ capability to drive my ATC SCM11’s very well. The non-naim front-end on that system is in my profile.

Sorry, I can’t answer that question. It would simply be guesswork.

What would be the minimum requirement for a preamp if I wen’t for an HDX ?

I must admit I " cheat " a little by using a Loki tone control between the Uniti and the Audiolabs…I’ve never heard a system that can play all my music the way I like it . The plot thickens .

As you have a 272 and therefore upnp streaming up and running, the HDX seems the wrong thing to go for. Its real forte was as a stand along ripper and server, which you don’t need. An NDX would be more appropriate. But then you’d need at least a 202 and hicap, which leads to the idea of getting a 272…

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