Just called my dealer. He expects the Atom HE today, so I should have it by tomorrow afternoon.
Wow, this just makes me think how lucky i was. I ordered mine in the days within its first release and in 2 days it was at my front door. I guess that lockdown did me a favour.
Make no mistake, I am very lucky that my dealer had several in pre-order, otherwise I had to wait for it much longer probably. Anyhow, I am happy and will post pictures and experiences here tomorrow.
I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, listening to mine right now.
Funny as here in the States the new HE are a dime a dozen. Amazon even has them available for overnight delivery.
I am seriously into headphones and run a number of high end systems which battle for playing time vs. my 552/500. I have to admit I am tempted to give the HE a try to use with my Utopia headphones.
I’m looking forward to demo’ing the Atom HE this weekend in my system as a streaming preamp. I currently have an NDX2/XPS DR so I’m realistic that this will not be in the same league; however I am interesting in seeing how the performance measures up directly into my Luxman M900u, and as a streaming DAC, running into my preamp with the volume set to “100.”
You could buy from headphones dot com
They have a 365 day return policy if not satisfied.
Also, you right, all the US retailers have the HE in stock. Only saw out of stock in the beginning. I bought from Headphones .com before but actually got the HE from Moon Audio, since they had in stock in this first few weeks.
Yes - aware of headphones .com
I have seen your posts on Headfi about the HE. I go under the moniker buzzlulu. I have been a member there since 2003 - back in the days when the only headphones around were Sennheiser and Grado.
My have things changed!
That’s about the same time I started. I was already chasing high end, rare headphones. Had the Grado PS-1 and then the ATH L3000 for more than a decade. I ended up at the Focal Utopia which led me to the Focal Arche and then Naim HE.
I learned from the ATH-L3000 that there can be great synergy when you buy products that were designed together. I thought the matching DHA3000 dac/amp got great results from the L3000.
With the Utopia I tried the ifi idsd, Hugo, Hugo 2, and Dave with mscaler. Dave with mscaler was amazing but the Focal Arche had me wondering if I could get synergy at a much cheaper price than the Dave. Turned out it was great match. I really was only interested in the Naim because of how sleek it looked and got tired of all the different boxes and upgrades. The Naim also sounds great with the Utopia, retaining the fun sound with more texture than the Arche and a slightly warmer sound to my liking. I think it’s one of the best hifi products I’ve bought as far as easy of use, price to performance, and enjoyment.
In the absence of a line out, of course you will have to route the signal through two preamps in your second setup, which is not ideal in theory, and also means you will lose use of the Atom volume control via the app.
I wouldn’t necessarily set the volume to 100 in this case. With a traditional analogue volume pot you may find reducing the input level a bit sounds better……or not, but worth a bit of experimentation I would think.
Wait, they send you a kid with every new Atom HE??
Two nice things!
I’ll definitely experiment. I cannot find a manual online but one thing I was hoping for was the ability to set one of the outputs as fixed. In the Naim app with the Nova (at least as far as I can remember) you could select an output as fixed or variable. Not sure if the Atom HE is the same.
As I’ve thought about this more I am wondering if there may be some advantage to having the NDX2/XPSDR and Atom HE separate, where the NDX2 is the streamer out via SPDIF to the Atom HE’s DAC or using the Atom HE as the streamer and out to the NDX2. Seems it may be the ideal way to test the fidelity of having a streamer and DAC separate.
I have a tube preamp so I am also curious to see how the Atom HE stands up as a solid state streaming pre direct into the M900u versus routing it through the tube preamp. Unfortunately although the dealer was only 90 miles from me, and serviced by the same local UPS terminal, the Atom was picked up yesterday and sat there all night and now won’t deliver until Monday so there goes my weekend plans.
With the NDX2 you can set it generally to fixed or variable volume, not each output separately. And the variable volume uses the 32 bit digital volume control that is not state of the art and only really there for Apple compliance. The Atom HE has the more sophisticated volume like the other Unitis, I suppose. I don’t know about separate output settings
As for having the NDX2/XPS and Atom HE separate, you would only use the pre and headphone amp of the Atom HE. Not sure that this is the best allocation of resources. Though it might make for an interesting experiment
Yes this is a total experiment. I have no illusions that the Atom HE is going to make me want to downsize and sell off my NDX2/XPSDR. However since they got back in stock at a retailer with a 60 day return policy I thought it would be a fun little exercise to work through some comparisons and see how it works in my system without any commitment. I have owned both the original Atom and the Nova as well as a SN3 so I’m interested in how Naim’s tech and fidelity continues to improve in the Uniti line.
I am very happy that I switched from the Atom to the Atom HE as I used the Atom as a pre/dac/streamer only.
My system now looks like this: Atom HE > RCA-XLR cable > Dynaudio Sub 6 > XLR-XLR cable > Purifi EVAL1 power amp > AudioQuest Castle Rock cable > Dynaudio Contour S 3.4 LE
Plus an AKG K702 for headphone listening.
The Atom sounded already superb as a preamp, but the Atom HE (out of the box) already sounds more refined and open. Also the bass performance has improved I think.
I do need more time to evaluate, but I am for sure not disappointed!
Edit: the RCA-XLR cable will be replaced by a XLR-XLR one soon.
Some pictures for those who like that
Thanks. I am enjoying it right now. As a preamp the Atom HE sounds (much) better than the regular Atom. The sound is cleaner in a way and I now realise that the Atom was actually less neutral sounding than I thought. Don’t get me wrong, the Atom sounded very good, but a bit ‘heavy and dark’ compared to the Atom HE. I am listening to a playlist with all kinds of songs and everything sounds good! That is quite an accomplishment. At this moment Marcus Miller plays ‘Cousin John’ and it sounds more vibrant and alive compared to my old Atom.
I did change the cabling a bit compared to earlier today: XLR-XLR from Atom HE to pweramp and RCA-XLR from Atom HE to subwoofer. Works perfectly.
Is using both pre outs supported, I mean, in a safe manner? I was told it could lead to overloading the pre in another thread.