Nova, big SQ jump after 9 months!

Hi @Luc, yes the sound improvements have remained and it seems to have settled nicely now. It’s a lovely piece of equipment and I’d highly recommend it, at its price point.


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Agree with @darren_p on Friday evenings. Think that one is mains power related. Also health can impact. Thought the hifi was sounding a bit off last weekend then a day later had a mild cold for a couple of days. Better now and all is right with the hifi again.

There was a huge discussion about sound quality changes (for Nova and Atom) in old archived forums. Some people complained that firmware update 2.6 and 2.6.1 changed sound quality drastically. Also people reported huge amount of random quality changes for Atom and Nova (exactly as situations described in this post). Some found solution to fix the problem temporary with restarting or with unplugging unit from the mains several times. However I couldn’t find this post in archived forums. It seems that it is removed (or renamed) for unknown reason. Maybe forum administrator could help us to find this post again. There was really big amount of information about this problem, including some official information directly from Naim, as I remember.

I also have Uniti range player (Atom) and also I’m experiencing big sound quality changes.

In my opinion, SQ changes in Atom are because of static charges on cables. Atom and Nova are extremely sensitive to them, because they are all-in-one players, powered from single mains lead, using single inner power supply and also all circuitry are very compressed in small box. Separate systems are less sensitive to this problem.

Just search in Goole for “Audioquest Dielectric Bias System DBS” or “Insights Cable Break-in Cardas Audio”. All information provided here is exactly I’m also experiencing with my Atom.

For example:

— SQ drops immediately after repositioning mains extension block and also mains cable which goes directly to Atom. SQ becomes muddy and dark sounding (slow, boomy bass, very quiet mids and highs, unpleasant sound in general). As I understand moving and bending cables produces energy which becomes static charges on cables. After about 2 days SQ comes back, but on the condition that I don’t move cables. So if I reposition mains extension block with cables I have to wait 2 more days for SQ to come back.

—In most cases Atom has worse SQ in the morning and if to leave it playing music long enough, quality slowly becomes better. I think this is also because static charges accumulate on cables during night and playing music gradually eliminates them. I found several methods for speeding up this process (eliminating static charges) which work for me perfectly. For example to play electronic music (with very deep and low bass) on very high volume (almost before clipping limit) for about 5 minutes. This perfectly restores SQ, I think because high current eliminates static charges from cables. Another method would be turn off Atom and disconnect mains cable of extension block, wait a little bit, then connect cable back to mains, turn on Atom. Wait a little bit, and then do the same procedure (turn off, disconnect, wait, connect, turn on). If SQ is not restored, repeat everything third time. Usually 2-3 disconnects/connects restore SQ perfectly for my atom. And I think such procedures eliminate static charges on cables, because high current flows through cables at the moment of connecting cable to mains. This method was also discussed in archived forum post, which I couldn’t find.

—If SQ worsens at random moment (not in the morning and not because of cable repositioning) it is most likely because cables get some static charges because of other reasons. For example you have a lot of cables going next to each other (TV, router, Ethernet, computer, etc). And these cables are low quality. Above described methods work also for this situation, but how long SQ remains depend on how your cables are arranged and what quality your cables are. When I had low quality extension block with long cable (3m) I was experiencing much worse and much frequent SQ changes. But when I replaced extension block with Wireworld Matrix + Stratus 7 (1m), SQ became much more stable. Older extension block had long cable which had bigger contact with other cables and I think this forced to accumulate static charges on this long cable.

—I have 2 long Ethernet cables (~12m) going from my Asus router to Atom and TV. They are exactly the same Cat5e cables. Sometimes SQ improves just replacing cables (cable from TV goes to Atom, and cable from Atom goes to TV). The sound becomes clear and brilliant for about several hours (on the condition that mains cables are also treated with above description). So I assume it is also static problem and Ethernet cables, which are somehow remove just by swapping Ethernet cables. If quality worsens again, I switch the cables back again. And it really works.

—By the way, all these observation works if I use wired Ethernet connection. Using WI-Fi sound quality changes are much more frequent and SQ is much worse in general compared to wired, at least for me.

So in conclusion my opinion is that it is just nature of Atom and Nova. They are very sensitive to electricity because of all-in-one technology, very compressed circuitry in small space and single power supply for all unit functions.

I think it is possible to make SQ stable, but in this case it would be mandatory:

– to use extremely high quality mains and Ethernet cables. Also the cables should be arranged as much as far apart from each other, maybe raised from the ground.

–I think audiophile grade switch (like sNH-10G) would also help in eliminating cable noises and static charges (long cable should go from router to switch, and short from router to Atom).

–Mains filter like Audioquest Niagara 1000 (or better) would also help in my opinion, as Audioqest philosophy is much based on described problems.

– Maybe treating all cables (including Ethernet) with antistatic treatment (like Nordost ECO 3X) would also help in eliminating SQ changes. I didn’t try it yet, but I’ll try.

–maybe using some kind of “Dielectric Bias System (DBS)” on cables would also help.

In general the price for stable sound quality would be Naim Uniti Atom (Nova) price ~3000-4000 Eur price for the possible treatment methods described above.

That can also explain why firmware updates change SQ (described in archived forums). This is because unit begins use electricity different than before. New functions, different CPU usage introduce different power consumption which in turn is dependent on cable problems like static charges. This is why some people see no difference after updates (they do not have static problems maybe of some reasons described above) and some see difference.

By the way, I’m not electrician. All the information provided is only my opinion, based on my experience with Naim Uniti Atom.


I haven’t expected so much difference in SQ with my Nova. You can try to update your main cable for better SQ.

I am not totaly agreed with Luc. There is so much parameters which can change the sound. For sure, it’s an all in one product, but I don’t think so sensitive to statical electricity.
What you have experienced could just be the ‘burn in’ method. The uniti are always in ‘sleep mode’ whereas the classic line is always powered on. It’s a fact that the classic line need some days to stabilize and to open up the sound, I think it’s the case for the uniti line too. You can try to adjust the setting to let the amplifier on all day long. Personally, every time I switch the amplifier on it make some hours to go to full potential.

Concerning firmware, I had also opened a post on the older forum. The 2.3 was better for me and the 2.6.1 changed the overall presentation. I have asked many times to Naim to downgrade firmware but they don’t care… In fact, this is very frustrating for me…

But if SQ is changed by repositioning mains extension block, how else it could be described if not static electricity?

Burn-in is also rejected. I have Atom for about year and a half. I work at home and I listen to music everyday all day long, only the volume differs. So it should be already burned-in. However, maybe Atoms have temporary burn-in, I’ve read somewhere that it is possible also. For example, it could take several ours to burn-in and after several hours everything returns to previous state. And next time we’ll need burn-in again.

Leaving it on also does not help. Actually there is no difference if I turn it off, or just level down the volume. After several hours it sounds much worse. I have to do the methods described in my previous post, to make SQ come back.

Of course I understand and agree with Alex that there are much more parameters which can change the sound, including mains noise or Ethernet cable noise.

My next purchase will be audiophile grade switch, maybe AQVOX or OCXO. I hope that it will reduce SQ fluctuations in Atom. Has anyone tried audiophile switch with Atom? It would be interesting to hear a feedback.

I agree. We all are like detectives here. It would be great to hear some suggestions from Naim how to eliminate these SQ changes. If it is switch – no problem, I’ll buy switch. If it is cable – no problem, I can buy cable. If it is mains filter, also no problem - I can buy it or anything else. But now we do not receive any advice, and that is frustrating.

My Nova did the same. it is in the sitting room driving the front pair of my AV sysytem. Took nearly 5 months for the jump in SQ. My NDX2 is in the sound room upstairs where I can really turn the volume up as it is on the other side from the neighbours. I got the NDX2 January 2019 and I kept it on 24/7 with internet radio. Took about 10 weeks before it started to really ‘sing’. Hope you have the same experience.

I which way does the SQ change?
My Nova is connected via HMS DSC power plug and cable and for me was a clear improvement. I mean the reason should be a wasted power network. The Nova normally can’t change the sound quality.

The Nova started to have better imaging and female voices became much sweeter than before. (Ana Moura is in the room LoL). As I said this improvement takes a lot longer than the dealer suggested period of a few weeks!

For me, it was a generally more cohesive sound image and more solid bass.

I hope I understand right. The SQ is better with the time? In my experience, this is rather worse.

Yes, over 9 months though. How long have you had your Nova? Mine did go up and down over quite a few months from new.

Since January 2019.

To change the power cord and the power distributor (HMS Energia MK with DCS blocker) was defintely an update. The sound is quite different (the bass is more precise on low volume, voices and instruments are clearer separated).

My understandig for the next FW update is that they will change the SQ again. Let’ see. I mean the SQ changes always :-).

I wouldn’t panic then, just look forward to it getting better.

:small_blue_diamond:Luc,…You can buy a cheap Cisco WS-2960 and try it out.
You’ve probably seen,.that there is a lot of information here on the forum about this switch.


If the upgrade was a step up for musicality I would be very happy.

In fact it’s a side step on musical presentation.

I have bought a uniti nova which was very good for me, beautiful sound. I have now payed a uniti nova and don’t have the same quality… l had never buy it if someone told me that before!!!

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Similar sound improvement with my Star the sound has really opened up over the last few months with a marked Improvement in the sound quality.

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Interesting. How long did you have your Uniti Star before sound quality improved? And what is your listening source? (Tidal, Spotify, etc)

I think I‘ll try it, but I‘m a little bit skeptical about it…