Playing WAV from a SSD on a Unitiy Nova

Hello Naimers
I am planning to replace my Naim Unitiy (1st generation with CD drive) by a Unitiy Nova. (Reason: display no longer works). I would like to play my approx. 100 CDs from an SSD (500 MB) as WAV. What do I have to consider when ripping / formatting etc. so that the cover and the CD information is shown correctly on the display and the app? I don’t want to rip the CD as FLAC, as there are noticeable differences to the CD (with my ears and the system). I also don’t want to connect a NAS anymore.
I look forward to hearing about your experiences. Many thanks and best regards

Mazzi (Switzerland)

The latest Naim streaming platform has considerably narrowed the alleged gap (if you can hear it) between wav and flac such that it no longer exists/is perceptible.
So rip to flac, and utilise server mode with the attached drive on the nova.

Hi Mazzi, I think you will find, as Robert suggests, that the difference between WAV and FLAC is negligible on the newer streamers like the Nova, but you can easily test this.
100 CDs will require only a small drive for storage, so a USB ‘memory stick’ will be fine. You should have a backup, so buy at least two drives and put a copy on each. If you rip to FLAC, you can easily convert one copy to WAV and compare them. Then use whichever format you prefer.

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Hello Robert

Ok - that’s news I’d like to try out (FlAC vs WAV) on the Nova when i bougth it.

I don’t understand this sentence: …and utilise server mode with the attached drive on the nova.

Many thanks Mazzi

HiChrisSU In the meantime, I have also realized that my music should fit on a USB stick. On my “old” Unity I could only compare CD with FLAC. The difference was clearly audible. That’s why I decided to use WAV. I don’t understand why I should first choose a compressed format (FLAC) and then convert to WAV, if I can already hear a difference between the CD and FLAC, it can hardly be any better afterwards.

Hi Robert I’ve also seen that the display and instructions for replacing it are available on the Internet. I’m completely overwhelmed and will probably buy a new device now in the hope that it will last longer. :slight_smile:

Your Uniti has a UPnP input. On the Nova this is called the Server input, but it’s the same. In this input you will see any UPnP servers listed if you use them, but you will also see Local Music, which will be the contents of any USB drive you attach directly to the Nova front or rear USB port.

You don’t need to change any settings on the Nova to do this. There is a setting called Server Mode that is not relevant here. It is for use when you want to allow another streamer to access the music on the USB drive over your network.

You can save your CD rips in any format you want. As long as you use a lossless format (WAV, FLAC, ALAC or AIFF) you can convert between them with no loss. As long as you don’t use a lossy format such as MP3 or AAC you will not lose music data or sound quality by converting between compressed FLAC and uncompressed WAV.

Whilst flac is compressed, it is un compressed to the original quality prior to playing.

Thank you for this information. I always thought that compressed = data loss. Whilst flac is compressed, it is uncompressed to the original quality prior to playing. I did not know that. I’ll do a comparison when I have the new Nova. On the current Unitiy (1st generation) I can hear a difference in certain places. CD is more lively, FLAC a very little “dead”. For example with applause/clapping.

As I understand it, Naim converts to PCM before playing. The original streamers such as your Uniti (no y) find it harder to convert from FLAC to PCM than from WAV to PCM. That’s why WAV sounds better. The ‘new platform’ streamers, which include the Nova, don’t have this issue, so FLAC should sound the same. FLAC is just a way of storing the data, and all the data is there. You can convert from WAV to FLAC and back again as many times as you like and the data will stay exactly the same.

Thank you for the explanation. Now it is clearer.

When I streamed from a NAS to a 272 using MinimServer on the NAS, I set the server software to convert from FLAC to WAV “on the fly”. The logic was that the hit to SQ from playing FLAC vs WAV was said to be caused by the extra processing required in the 272 and converting to WAV in the server shifted that processing burden away fromq the streamer. To my ears, SQ from playing FLAC directly was inferior to WAV just as you describe, but converting to WAV in MinimServer sounded the same as playing the same file as WAV directly.

You can set Asset, and probably other software to do the same.


Many thanks for all the replies. I bought the Uniti for Christmas and would like to give you the following feedback. The Nova sounds much better than my old Uniti (1st generation). About the music formats. I have connected a USB stick with a CD as WAV as AIFF as FLAC (front as USB) with AIFF and FLAC the cover is displayed with WAV not. However, if you connect this USB stick as a server, the cover images appear for all formats.
In terms of sound, I find that the difference between AIFF and WAV is not audible, but with FLAC it is still not as clear as on the old Uniti. If I were to use wine rating analogies and classify CD, WAV and AIFF as 20 points, then for me FLAC on the new Uniti would be 19.5 points on the old Uniti 18.5 points. This is completely subjective and not clear if I would feel the same if the listening was blind. I am actually a fan of FLAC.
The test with FLAC continues with another operating system and another program. I am curious.