New to the Forum naim preamp question

Hi everyone
I have a Uniti2 at the moment driving Neat Motive 1 speakers and for the last 8 years I have been very happy with the sound. I love the Uniti2 because I listen to a lot of internet radio mainly the Naim, Linn and Radio Paradise stations so need to keep access to internet radio.
Anyway I am looking at getting new speakers with ACT smc40a being the front runners as I need to keep my box count down so active speakers seem to be the way forward for me and the ACTs have wonderful reviews and match well with Naim.
The rest of my system is an LP12 with Trampoline, Keel, Karousel, A Radikal, Ittok and Dv 10 5 . With a Goldnote PH10 phonostage. The arm and cartridge will be upgraded soon.
Do people consider the Uniti2 preamp to be any good or is it a weak link.
Anyway thanks in advance for any advice or views. Matthew

Welcome to the Forum Matthew. As I feel you suspect, the Uniti would very much be a weak link and is hugely outclassed by the excellent Linn source and the very revealing ATCs.

If you want to stick with Naim, the 272 streaming preamp is probably where to look, ideally with an XPSDR or 555PSDR power supply. However its functionality is the same as your Uniti and isn’t up to speed with current developments such as onboard Qobuz or high res iRadio. Its discontinuation leaves a big hole in the Naim range, especially where people such as yourself want a great streaming preamp to match active speakers.

The Atom HE would do what’s required but again is a little out of its depth with the Linn and ATCs.

People on here seem very happy with the Auralic Vega G2.1 or the various Linn streaming preamps. Maybe a used Klimax DSM would work for you. An advantage of the Autalic and Linn is that they have balanced outputs; ideal for the ATCs.

1 Like

Matt -The Uniti2 as a preamp will be the weak link with the active ATCs. The ideal replacement would have been the 272, but this has been discontinued for a while now. There is an expectation that a replacement will surface, but when that will be is anyone’s guess !

If you don’t want to wait then take a look at something like the Auralic Altair G2.1, which is a very effective streamer and preamp.

Edit - Nigel’s beaten me to it !

1 Like

Hi and welcome,

@anon4489532 is correct those ATCs deserve a quality pre. I’ve often wanted to hear active ATCs with a Naim pre. Of course we’ve been waiting for an eternity but I suggest the so called and much anticipated 272/2 might be the answer?

Good luck,

Lindsay

2 Likes

Whilst the Auralic is good I choose not to go down that route and decided to wait for the 272 replacement. Hoping it will arrive towards the end of this year or early next year.

1 Like

The Uniti2 really isn’t bad at all iirc, but I am another voice suggesting you’ll probably upgrade sooner or later.

If upgrading now, the extra flexibility of the newer streamers may well sway you. The modern equivalent to the Uniti would be the Star, but I doubt that would be much of an increase in SQ.

Your LP12 will sound better with a material upgrade in amplification. You could get an 82 +Hicap from eBay for less than £2K, and that should be a very audible improvement via ATCs.

Of course, you would presumably also want a pure streamer- ND5XS2s can be had for well under £2K but NDX2s are rather more.

If you also want a CD player, there are lots to consider from lots of companies, but Naim’s range has been killed by streaming and ripping.

Does that help?

3 Likes

Hi everyone
Thankyou for the welcome and your advice you have given me food for thought.
My gut reaction is to go for the active ACTs first as this will sort out both speakers and matched power amps. Then look to upgrade the cartridge k and the Ittok last as although 40 years old is still giving great service.
Later as funds come available I will need to look and think carefully about what to do pre amp wise because I do recognise whilst the Uniti2 it is ok it is as suggested a weaker link. However internet radio is essential for me but streaming at the moment is the lowest priority although I will need to address that. I no longer play cds.
Thanks for your replies kind regards Matthew

It’s worth bearing in mind that the preamp is one of the most important parts of the system.

5 Likes

Matthew, I love my Naims (and my ATCs) but would an ATC preamp not fit the bill with the best streamer/internet radio box you can afford?

CA2?

Hi
I agree that the pre amp is very important but I am at that stage of upgrading where I need to deal with the weakest part first and the speakers for me are it. I then have the dilemma of having a one box solution, the Uniti2 that needs to be separated into its component parts and to decide which way to go. Seperate preamp and internet radio/streamer is a possibility but then my wife will want it all to look neat and tidy and matching which is another quandary. I think slow and careful will be required after the speakers to decide on pre amp and other boxes later. Decisions decisions. :smile:

Hi Matt
This forum has many posts by people who have found a very expensive pair of speakers, often a second hand bargain (I have the impression that some speakers depreciate a lot more than Naim amps, which probably doesn’t help here) and want to know what Naim amp and source they should buy to match it.
The price of a well matched preamp and source can come as a bit of a shock, and some take offence at the suggestion that they should choose cheaper speakers rather than partner them with electronics that are not up to the job.
When I listened to some SCM40s at my dealers his choice of Naim system for the demo was NDX2/XPSDR/252/SupercapDR, which might give you some idea of how capable these speakers are. All I would say is that you should consider where you want to end up before committing to a speaker that may or may not be right for you. A good dealer can be invaluable in helping you to get this right.

1 Like

Hi Chris you are totally correct in what you say. My LP12 will soon be where I want it to be, my phono stage is to my ears and wallet excellent. However my speakers are probably the weakest point and I have the opportunity to upgrade them. I know my Uniti2 is a compromise but for now one I am willing to make. The pre amp is better than a lot but will not be up to the rest of the system but for me the real sticking point is the internet radio.

I have a medical condition where I am often on very strong pain relief which means I dare not risk using the LP12 for fear of damaging it. The internet radio stations I listen to offer me high sq music, often new music which I can listen to without having to think about downloading to stream. It is an easy option for me. So my future dilemma will be getting a good pre amp and a good internet radio source as well as meeting my wifes esthetic tastes. The speakers are the easy part, upgrading the rest to match my unique criteria and my wifes esthetic tastes is slightly harder hence my thoughts to pause after the speakers. Hope my ramblings make sense, kind regards MattF

Hi MattF, Those look like great speakers and if you think they will work for you, then go for it and enjoy the great sound. As has been pointed out, there is no Naim 272 mark II you can buy, but another possibility is the Moon 390. That is a very modern streaming preamp + DAC, with inputs for all sorts of things including phono and iirc balanced outputs. Simaudio do upgrades for their products so if the streamer section is improved at some point, you can get the upgrade done. Plus a 10 year warranty. I don’t own any Moon components so this is not experience talking. Just a suggestion to take a look.

1 Like

You’ve asked for advice and the responses you’ve received have been consistent and sensible, namely that the Uniti isn’t up to it. The amplifier in the Uniti is the standard of a Nait 5i, so ask yourself if you’d run a Nait 5i with ATC SCM40s.

Your demands aren’t unique at all, in fact they are very common - a good streaming preamp that looks nice and is easy to use. A 272 would do it and if you can live with its limitations - functionality matching your Uniti - it may be all you need. You can get a 272/XPSDR for around £4,000. The Moon or Auralic would also do it. The Linn would do it. A 282/Hicap and ND5XS2 would do it. The point everyone is making is that you need to have a good strong heart to the system. Do you, or will you, have the wherewithal to get that heart? If the answer is no, you may want to think again about the ATCs.

4 Likes

Welcome to the Forum. There’s lots of good advice above. Unfortunately in the Naim camp it’s the non-existent 272 replacement you would ideally want for modern usability for streaming, so its wait it out, or one of the other brands.

One thing to think about though, is the Uniti2 also has a line out, so you can use it as a streamer and radio source into a pre-amp with the active speakers, as a stepping stone in the meantime if you wanted.

2 Likes

If it was me I would take my Uniti to the dealer and dem it against the HE and a 282/Hicap with your ATCs. They might also have other options for you to try. Decide what suits you best and work towards it.

2 Likes

Hi all
I really do appreciate the Uniti2 preamp will be the weak link in my intended new system but i cannot buy everything at once due to lack of availability of funds. So whilst I will be looking for my “end system” and auditioning equipment to that end it just wont be purchased all at once.
Now, the advice to use the unity2 only as the radio source is something I had not considered and certainly addresses my immediate internet radio concern :+1:. With this as a potential radio solution I will be able to look at a suitable new and better stand alone preamp or with streamer etc with a lot more confidence. I have a Linn naim atc dealer relatively close by so the search can begin.

3 Likes

Hi Matthew and welcome to the forum.

By way of background, I have run a pair of active ATC SCM 40s for a few years now and love them. They are by far the best speakers I have had in my house, at least for the type of music I enjoy. I used an Auralic Vega G2 with them until a few weeks ago when I finally scratched an itch I’d had for some time and ended up with a used Linn Klimax streamer upgraded with their new DAC. Before that I ran a Naim 272/XPSDR. That was mostly with a NAP 250 and PMC speakers but I did try them briefly with the ATC 40s. So I have a bit of experience with various streamer combinations with those speakers.

That leads me to agree with the general tenor of what posters above are saying. The ATCs are very transparent to the signal they receive. Indeed that’s part of their DNA as ATC have long been in the business of making speakers for professional use, often for studio monitoring applications and the entry-level 40s inherit that presentation. I love that faithfulness to what is fed to them, but not everyone is so keen, so if you’ve not heard them yourself, I would strongly recommend auditioning first. That revealing nature also means that to hear their true potential they do need a front end of sufficiently high quality and they will show up any improvements in that area quite clearly. You also need to be sure they’d work in your room.

Personally if you want to drive them with a single box as your ultimate system, I’d be looking at Auralic G2.1 series, a Linn streamer at Akurate or, better, Klimax level or a successor to the 272 if one ever appears. That’s only considering streamers I’ve used, there are several from other manufacturers at a similar level and cost. Realistically, I don’t think a Uniti is up to the job except perhaps as a very short term solution.

One Naim/ATC possibility that does occur to me as an alternative would be to pair an Atom HE edition with active ATC 19s (or even 20s) rather than 40s. That combination would cost a little less than the active 40s alone and might work better in some rooms, though I have not heard the Atom HE myself, but it might be worth considering. I think you do need to work with a good dealer to listen to some options in order to get the best outcome.

One final point: given how much you like listening to internet radio, I would urge you to look into a streaming service such as Qobuz, assuming it’s available where you live and once you get a new streamer. You’d be able to choose from a vast selection of music of all genres available at a quality mostly above that from internet radio. All the newer streamers such as the Auralic, Linn and Atom HE have Qobuz built in and a subscription is just over £10 per month. Qobuz has certainly given me much listening pleasure.

I hope some of this helps and that you end up with a system that gives you as much enjoyment as mine has over the past few years.

Roger

4 Likes

Hi Roger
Thanks for such a comprehensive reply and its really appreciated. I contacted a local dealer this afternoon who stock Linn Naim and ATC. They have spoken with ATC who are sending a pair of 40a’s over for me to demo. I will be using the shop LP12 which is very close spec wise to mine and will be trying out an ATC CA2 preamp as well as a Linn streamer and a yet to be decided Naim set up. I hope this will give me an idea of the 40a’s and if they suit my ears and music tastes. The demo will be in a couple of weeks so,I will report back once I have heard all the different variations. Regards Matthew let the games begin!

3 Likes

A few years back I heard a pair of active ATC 40’s. and 50’s at a dealer and they were fantastic.

I believe they were using a NDX 2 with XSP DR and 252 with Supercap.

Enjoy the demo and report back your findings.

1 Like