Naim Unity Atom HE + amplifier


I decied to join the NAIM family and purchase a Naim Unity Atom HE as 90% of my music listening is with headphone. However, I want to connect the Atom HE to an amplifier. It is clear, that that the Atom HE has a pre-amp, therefore a power amp would be the best solution. I checked the NAP 250, but do not want to pay £6k for the amp. Other optionc would be the NAD C298, but would prefer to stay withing the NAIM ecosystem. I checked the NAIT XS3, but not sure I could desable its preamp and use the one in the Atom HE. On top the XS3 has only RCA input. Does anyone has any suggestions what the best option could be? I will buy some new B&W 607 S3-s to replace my current Dali Zensor 3s. Thanks!

Hi and welcome.
Can I suggest you do a search of this forum first and read existing posts on this subject.
Some excellent suggestions and first hand experiences are there.

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As you’ll note from a review of past posts, I’ve tried the HE with the Benchmark AHB2. I strongly recommend.

It has a similar form factor, has balanced inputs, an excellent price and is very well reviewed in the media. The Benchmark website also provides comprehensive support and information.


How about some Acoustic Energy AE1 active speakers, for around £1,000. No amplifier required. Or, for about £4,500, the new PMC twenty5.21i actives.

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Nap 250 dr, around 2/3 k max. Most here have this pairing here.
Or ATC 19 active , 4,8 k. ( speakers with built in amp, also used by some here with 222 or Atom HE).

Less of a visual match, but remarkable sound-per-£ would be an ‘olive’ NAP250. Even fairly recently serviced (a good idea every decade or so), these can be found on eBay for little over (and sometimes under) £1K.

Compared to the version that replaced them, many here think that the older 250s are a bit less quiet in background noise (and so miss the last 0.01% detail), but make up for it with irresistible boogie and a great overall sound.

Hi, trust me I did it, but some of the threads are 2-3 years old and many consider the active speaker root I am hesitatn to follow. My preference would be to use any of the current NAIM integrated amplifiers, rather follow any other power amp route. Any particular thread do you suggest to read?

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I was thinking about this option as well, but somone in my local SO suggested it will impact sound quality. As I can have only bookshelf option, the PMC is not an option. I will check the AE1.

Thanks, I found some retailers offer the last NAP 250 DR units. ATC 19 is to big for me considering the room size, but will check some other active speaker options as well as other suggested.

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Thanks for the suggestion, TBH I am not big fan of used audio devices.


I have an old olive 250 on my Atom, serviced by Naim 4 years ago. It will go on for twenty more years I suspect. Great value/performance.

I think almost every bit of Naim kit I now have was purchased ex dem or s/h. The Atom probably the exception.


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That perspective is costing you a lot of money in life. One minute after you connect a brand new amp it turns into a used amp which you paid 2x the price for.

Don’t discourage us from buying new, you might be shooting yourself in the foot.

Plus, when spending a sizeable chunk of ones savings, having warranty makes us feel warm and fuzzy.

That, and you support the dealer, where one does go to listen to things before buying. I would not spend a sizeable chunk of money on something I haven’t heard first. So I’m happy to have a dealer in my city and it’s in my interest to keep him in business.


I bought a new XS3 to replace a 25 year old NAIT3, at the time I could have bought a SN2 for the same money, but chose a new XS3 in preference. It came with a long warranty and has the latest Naim developed power amp improvements also included in the SN3. I’ve bought used before as well. If everyone bought used then that would mean a dim future for Naim. There’s room for people to buy new or used IMO

The XS3 can run as a power amp, I’m pretty sure a RCA to appropriate DIN lead would be what @Gaborm1 needs to connect the Atom pre-out to the power amp stage of the XS3. You’d just need to disconnect the link plug in the back of the XS3

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The PMC is bookshelf sized. It sounds better on stands though, like most ‘bookshelf’ speakers.

Thanks for all the suggestions. Going back to one of my initial question, is it possible to disabble the pre-amp in any of the current integrated amps (

Thanks @gthack I just found in the What HIFI review as well the same. This is great news!

“There is still the choice of stereo RCA or Naim’s preferred DIN sockets for the four line-level inputs and the option to split the pre and power sections should you want to improve performance by slotting in something more sophisticated for either part.”

Sorry I mixed with the Prodogy5. Do you think, that this is a better audio experience than the XS3 + B&W 607 S3?

I agree with your comments. I am lucky as I can afford to buy a new gear particularly as 0% APR is back in the UK. My local delaer spent at least 5 hours with me to test different systems and options and I am pretty sure they will help me in the future as well. Plus I had some negative experiences in the past with second hand purchases, so try to avoid fustration.

Indeed used one is less expensive, but can bring surprises. I had some negative experiences in the past on eBay. On top if I buy a new one, I will get 5 years warranty and as mentioend before NAIM prodcuts are avaialble with 0% APR in the UK.

I’ve not heard the active version yet, but do own the passive 21i. The B&Ws are only £550 speakers, whereas the PMC passives are five times that, and are in a very different class. There is no point getting a Nait XS3 and using it just as a power amp with a Nova HE. It just doesn’t make sense. If you want passive speakers and a Naim power amp, you’d be much better with a used NAP 200, which can be found for under £1,000.