Naim Unity Atom HE + amplifier

607 requires a powerful amp. 706 less so.

The NAD C658 gets some poor reviews and replicates much of the functionality in the Atom HE, so I can’t imagine that is any use to you. The NAD C298 on the other hand gets great reviews and would work well with the Atom HE. I wouldn’t have any hesitation is using that combo. There is no technical reason to stick with a Naim only type of system. (I have used my Atom HE with a Moon 330A with excellent results driving B&W 702S3 speakers). The Atom HE is excellent value for money, but the Naim power amps – not so much. And if 90% of you listening is via ‘phones, then it makes sense to use your money accordingly.

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Just another thought. The B&W 706S3 and 607S3 are quite different, but if this is for occasional listening (10% you say) and in a small room (bedroom you say) then I would lean toward the less expensive 607S3, but you have to listen of course. There are many options in this price range. The Sonus Faber Lumina 1 for example gets lots of enthusiasm.

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Sorry it was a typo, the correct is 706 S3.

I agree, but I am in a journey and came here to get advice from others. :grinning:

706 S3 is the correct.

If possible I would borrow the Nad C298 and the Naim 250 dr, or bring the Atom HE to the dealer and compare with Nad or Naim amp. If not I don’t know how the OP can make the right choice.

Thanks @cephas for the feedback, this is very valuable and agree with your last comment.

Thanks, I want to first select the ammplifier and than the speaker. As mentioned above I tested the Sonus Faber Lumina II with some of the NAD gears and was positively surprised, so it is on the potential speaker list. The 706S3 and the SF were my picks with the NAD gears.

Hi @Gaborm1, it would be really helpful if you could give an approximate idea of your budget and other constraints such as on size. Making a few deductions I guess it’s not enough for any of the current Naim power amps if it has to be new. That seems to leave three options.

Firstly, you could use the power amp section of an integrated amp. But buying an integrated only to use half of it seems rather a wasteful route. Secondly active speakers, which would be the way I would go. Simple, high quality and absolutely not a sonic compromise. I have recently acquired a new pair of active AE1s which I use with an Auralic pre/streamer in a second system. They are not in the league of my active ATCs but are still great toe-tapping fun and an excellent bargain in my view. Finally, you could get a non-Naim power amp of which there are of course many. One possibility I would look at would be ATC’s excellent P1 power amplifier with ATC bookshelf speakers such as the SCM7s or 11s, possibly the wall mounted versions.

Roger

I have an Atom HE playing through Naim 135 monoblocks into super-demanding B&W 800 Signature speakers, with fabulous sound quality. 135s can drive almost anything. Sure they’re second hand, but you’re looking at a 500 (or two 350s) to better them. 135s better than a 300, and much better than a 250 in my own personal view.
V best,

ADRIAN

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Thanks @PeakMan. I wanted to spend on the amp + speaker around £4k. I will check the ATC options you suggested. Would you go for ATC active or the ATC P1 + 7s/11s option?

This is a good suggestion and makes sense.

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Thank the monoblock option is an overkill in my scenario.

£5k, a little over your “about” budget figure, would buy secondhand ATC SCM40A active (sealed box) speakers, with their wonderful dome midrange driver, and no worries about amp suitability. They’re a bit under 1m tall, and width/depth on their sides (with plinths removed) within your shelf space limits. You’d need taller rear supports than front as their sides aren’t flat, curving inwards towards rear. Choice of which sides to lay on would depend on listening distance and shelf positions. Novel setup and a ‘long shot’, probably not what you thought you were looking for, but an example of how far you potentially could go (and might convert you to speaker listening). Unlikely to be able to try in situ before buying - though you might be able to audition at seller’s location before buying, when try them positioned right against the wall. Should be easy to move on at minimal loss if they don’t suit.

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The ATC active 19 and 40 are very large floorstanding speakers. The idea of putting them in bookshelves on their sides is left field in the extreme. In this case, music corner in the bedroom with 90% of listening by headphones, surely the little AE actives are more than adequate. Maybe the answer is to leave the system in the living room, in which case lots more speakers come into play.

@Gaborm1 Since we’re talking leftfield, I would suggest you (have someone) build the Troels Gravesen Bookshelf 3WC. A speaker designed to be placed in/on a bookshelf.

If you build these yourself I suspect you’ll end up around 1k-1.5k, depending on what level off crossover components you choose.

If you’re not comfortable building them yourself, google ARKE audio. Jason builds Troels Gravesen designs to a very high standard (judging by the pictures, haven’t seen them in person). Customisations can be discussed, and you can choose to, for example, do the finishing yourself to save cost. Or perhaps you can find someone local who can do it.

Based on my own experience you’ll end up with better speakers than you could buy.

Yes, I recognised and acknowledged that (though I omitted the word ‘extreme’!

Neumann KH310A would fit nicely…

The only active ATCs anywhere near your budget are floor standers so ruled out. But an ATC P1 power amp driving SCM7s or 11s should be doable within budget. If they fit, the 11s have a rather fuller sound than the 7s and are reckoned to be slightly easier to drive. The wall-mounted versions are perhaps a little more expensive, but might improve the sound over putting them on shelves which is never ideal, if you have wall space available, that is!

Roger

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