Neophyte: new in CD Rip + stream -> UNITISERVE 2TB

Dear All,
For some time now, in evaluating an upgrade of my cd player, I am also thinking of making the big leap, abandoning the cdplayer and moving on to ripping the cd to listen to them only in the files version.
Premise: I only listen to my CD collection and I don’t care about Hi-Res, tidal, spotify, etc …
Having the opportunity to buy a 2015 s/h UnitiServe 2TB, I have some questions (perhaps stupid for some of you) that I would like to ask about it:

  1. in order to perform the ripping, can I connect it to my computer (macbook) to manage it, or do I necessarily have to use it standalone with a keyboard and a screen directly connected to it?
  2. Once the cds have been ripped, with all the meta data and information, can I use the uniserve to listen to the files WITHOUT being connected to internet? Or must the internet connection always be active? I do not have a fixed connection at home and I would like to understand if once I have entered everything in the unitiserve (music and metadata) I can easily use it without internet …
  3. Can the CD files (with metadata) contained in the unitiserve be used to insert them into a portable player (for example, Sony Walkman), or are they incompatible with each other?
  4. In order to execute the back-up, is it sufficient to buy an external hard disk to manage by connecting both the unitiserve and the hard disk to my computer?
  5. I know that I can listen to both a cd and the files by simply connecting the unitiserve to a dac and controlling it through the Naim App (via iphone ipad (and computer as well?) ). If, on the other hand, I connect the unitiserve to a streamer (Naim NDX2 or other brands), I manage the inserted cd and/or the files through the streamer (and its remote/App etc…), right?

I apologize for the length of the questions, maybe I have other questions, but I believe that for the moment these above may be enough to get an idea about it.

If you do not want or can answer me, but you know how and where to have all the useful clarifications for a neophyte, I would be grateful.

Thank you so much in advance for the help,

Hi, to answer your questions, more or less…

  1. You can access the Unitiserve via the N-Serve app on your Mac or on an iPhone.

  2. You don’t need an internet connection, but you do need a local network over which the N-Serve app communicates with the Unitiserve.

  3. Yes, you can use the CD rips on other devices. I use them on a Sony portable player and in my car. You should save the rips in FLAC, not WAV, otherwise non-Naim devices may not be able to read the metadata.

  4. The Unitiserve has a very good automatic backup, but it only works over your network to a NAS. The only alternative if you don’t want to do this is to use your computer to manually copy the files to another drive. This is much the same as the way you would transfer any other file, to your Walkman, for example.

  5. Naim streamers use the Naim app. The Unitiserve uses the N-Serve app to control play from its SPDIF output into a DAC.

1 Like

Adding to what Chris says, all of which I agree with, you never normally need to connect a keyboard or a screen to a Unitiserve.



1 Like

Dear Chris and David,
thank you for the quick reply!
If I decide to take this leap, since my intention is only to listen to my ripped CD collection and nothing else, is it still advisable to have a complete streamer like the NDX2 or would it be excessive and “oversized” for my use?

Good though the NDX2 is, I think you would get much better value for money buying a DAC. You might get a used NDAC and a PSU upgrade for the same price, or a Chord DAC for less, for example.

1 Like

Dear Chris,
other question (perhaps silly for you):
I know it’s possible to control the Uniti Serve (or Uniti Core) playback via the Naim N-Serve App through a mobile phone, iPad, computer, etc…, if I want to use it as stand-alone-source with a dac.
You said I don’t need an internet connection, but a local network over which the N-Serve app communicates with it.
What does it mean Local Network exactly? Does not require an internet connection?

Apologize for my requests and questions, but I want to understand if I can do the this step into the “rip&play files” world without a fixed internet connection too…

Thank you,

Hi, I can’t understand why unitiserve is acting weird. I copied 44/24 bit roger waters us + them from the latest generation usb stick in the unit and even after 8 hours only the first 8 songs appear in the naim app. With other works or downloads everything is fine.

Hello Airdavid.
The Unitiserve doesnt have any wireless wifi ability, so needs some other way to connect to your home network.
It needs this so you can remotely control it and to pull information about what’s ripped and cover art if used as such.
When I got my serve and Ndac a few years ago, I also bought an Apple express to extend my network and connect it all. Being a tech numpty I couldn’t get the Apple device to recognise my home network. Ended up using a long Cat5 cable connected to the router and trailing across the room to the serve (much to the annoyance of the better half)
When the Sky engineer came to upgrade my old Sky box, which also didn’t have wifi ability and needed a separate device - for one that does. It left me with a surplus unit.
Since this was already configured to work with my home network, I just swapped it over to the serve.
As no music is sent through this connection, if using the Unitiserve spdif to dac - it doesn’t need to be too elaborate and complicated - just secure enough.

With dac pro ject pre box S2 digital… :grinning::grinning::grinning::smirk:

1 Like

Thanks TobyJug,
so, all in all, once the cds have been ripped and the metadata have been downloaded (I know that an internet connection is obviously required to do that), in order to make the unitiserve work with a dac or streamer (using the Naim app via iphone, ipad, pc, etc …) does it need an internet connection/network or not?

You need your local network connection to control the Unitiserve. If playing direct to a DAC via SPDIF connection that means using the N-Serve app on an iPad or iPhone (not Android) or on a Mac. Or on a Windows computer you can use Naim’s Desktop Client app.
For a network connection to a streamer, you control the Naim streamer using the Naim app on iOS or Android and the streamer will find the Unitiserve music files over your local network.
So either way, you need a local network but not an internet connection.

1 Like

Yes. It does still need an internet connection.
I don’t know why ChrisSu is differentiating between internet connection to network connection ? Perhaps he has a higher level of understanding over such things.
To the best of my knowledge, the Unitiserve will put different demands over how it’s connected in a system.
With spdif to dac, you want a top notch BNC cable as that is how the music is sent.
With the Unitiserve used with a streamer, you want a top notch internet/home network/switch etc as that is how the music is sent.

1 Like

I think he is differentiating between the usual Internet type of router (for example as supplied by the Internet provider), and a network router with wireless capability to which the UnitiServe is connected, thus enabling a device running the app to connect to it wirelessly, or a computer using a wired connection.

The Unitiserve would connect to this router via Ethernet, and the wireless device (ie a phone or tablet) can then ‘see’ it over Wi-Fi. Such routers don’t contain a modem for Internet/broadband services, and indeed many use them as their main wireless access point. with the Wi-Fi in their Internet service provider’s ‘hub’ (whatever the company calls it) switched off, so the ISP’s hardware is only acting as a modem for connecting to the Internet service. Apart from anything else, such an arrangement usually offers better Wi-Fi coverage in the home.

For example, I use my Virgin ‘Superhub’ in modem-only mode, connected to an Apple Airport Extreme via an Ethernet cable. The Apple device acts as the router and Wi-Fi provider.

The set-up ChrisSU is suggesting can be a closed network, ie it can be used without access to the outside world via a connection to the Internet – though, as already noted, an Internet connection is needed to download metadata, artwork, etc when ripping the CDs.


It needs to be on a network - the Unitiserve wired to the router and the control point (iPhone etc) connected wirelessly) but it does not require the network to be connected to the internet. If you were to control the UnitiServe using the Windows desktop client on your wired PC, you don’t even need wireless. You could connect the PC and UnitiServe to a router and with just those two wires it will work and be totally isolated from the outside world.

1 Like

Sorry, but no it doesn’t. Once CDs are ripped, there is no further need for the internet connection (unless you use it for iRadio) and all its control and play functions are over your local network.

I’ve never been inclined to set up a separate home network. (as Andrew so generously explained) I just use my Sky hub.
Maybe my reasoning is similar to some calling the vacuum cleaner “The Hoover” :upside_down_face:

Then your local network is no doubt controlled by your Sky Hoover, but even if the internet connection fails it can still control your home network via which all your devices connect with each other as well as to the broadband modem inside it.

Yes that makes sense.
I was once asked about something by someone who said " explain it to me like I’m an idiot "
Not saying anyone’s an idiot here, but useful advice nonetheless.

Very diplomatic :wink:

Thanks again to all of you!
Step forward:

  1. once the unit is connected directly (i.e. through a cable) to a digital player or streamer (for example Naim NDX2 or other brands), the music inside will be directly managed by the digital player / streamer through the remote control or digital App player / streamer, correct?
  2. Unless you want to connect the untiserve to a simple DAC, so in this case the music will be managed by the unitiserve through its own App, correct?

Thank you so much for the clarification!