Speaker change or Naim Uniti upgrade

Hi all! I have an Uniti Atom paired with Totem Sky Towers. I bought the towers given the many good reviews at an eBay auction. I did not audition them before and now that they had their proper ‘break in’ time, I’m very dissapointed in the bass. I am no techno-head, but I really find the bass absent and when it appears it seems not well integrated. In rest, they are superb and vocals in particular are amazing. Adding a sub is not really an option either.

I was thinking to replace the towers; thought of PMC Twenty5.22, Guru Q10s or Neat SX2s. Any thoughts? Alternatively, as I would love to have a DAB tuner as well, I thought to maybe sell the Atom and buy the Nova instead. Would that enhance bass with my otherwise excellent Totems?

Help!? :wink:

Never heard these but what hi-fi seems to have a favourable review.

The Atom is a great device, the Nova well worth the extra outlay if you can afford it - if the speakers aren’t right though the Nova may not help.

The best option would be for you to home demo a Nova from a dealer with the existing speakers - it’ll either tick the boxes or it won’t.

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May I ask why a subwoofer is not an option? Typically, this should solve your problem. You can use the Atom’s preamp outputs to feed the subwoofer, so that is easy as well. The main advantage of a subwoofer is that you can define the volume of the bass to your taste.

I suspect you have a synergy problem and not a speaker problem per se, you need to upgrade the Atom to a Nova or change speakers to something more suitable for the Atom

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That’s my hunch as well. What speakers you’d recommend in that case? Any thoughts?

Thanks for thinking along, much obliged. Had a sub and often it was too much and in my experience needed constant adjustment (cross over and volume) depending on the song/style. I therefore kept running back and forth to the sub. In short, I guess it just isn’t well integrated and is of course another sturdy item in the room. Perhaps this was all the case because it was an entry level sub by Cambridge Audio, but I’m reluctant to consider this again as I would prefer a more inclusive and full body sound from a set of speakers alone…does that make sense?

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I think the Atom is best suited to smaller bookshelf / stand mounters such Kef LS50’s, Neat iotas or maybe Harbeth P3’s, there’s lots to choose from but you’re not going to get loads of bass from these either but the overall presentation should be more integrated.

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The P3 arent an easy load despite their small size ! Their sensitivity is 83.5db.

The Atom is a good Naim product but without a lot of power, the star is a big step up ! Bigger than with the star-nova.

I would try the star with your speaker because for me the atom doenst have ennough “oupmhh” for me.

Personnaly price wise i would skip the nova and go directly with a sn3/nd5xs2 before a Nova.

I suspect you can get the bass to integrate with a bit of speaker repositioning. Search for “sumiko masterset” for a systematic method of positioning speakers. I used it to set up a pair of Thiel CS1.6s that only go down to 50Hz in the spec but I could get a satisfying bass response out of them with a little rear wall reinforcement (still 42.5mm away). I’ve also used it for Naim Alleas where the difference between a one note bass and a nice even integrated one was 5mm and when you’re adjusting to that sort of precision a systematic scheme is very handy for finding the nodes comes in very handy. It also gives a very wide sweet spot if you get it right. Have a go before shelling out.

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Thanks! I can hardly believe the LS50s would sound better but I can find those easily for an audition of course. Will keep it in mind.

Thanks! I have seen a Nova for less that 2700 GBP around me and a Star for considerably more. In addition, I want to stay with the integrated Uniti concept,so separate components isn’t really an a option. Also, the combination above still has no DAB receiver, right? You think the Nova amplification is really that inferior to the SN3?

I started out with an Atom and Spendor A4’s, it just wasent right and I opted for a Nova upgrade which was significantly better, I then made the same mistake again and upgraded the A4’s to A7’s at which point the Nova lost the authority over the speakers, I’m now on NDX2 and SN3! Probably should have stayed with A4’s and the Nova! It’s all about balance but you want your amp to have absolute authority over your speakers as much as possible

I’ve heard the Totem Sky Towers with a Nova several times and it’s a great combination. These are really good speakers, but ideally need more juice, so I’d suggest trying a Nova with them, especially if you want the all-in-one Uniti. The improvement should be immediate as it’s a well matched solution. I run Totem Hawks with a Nova, and it’s just a lovely combination. Good luck.

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This is a great thread illustrating that frequent occurrence - purchasing a nice amp and nice speakers, that absolutely will not play nicely together.

The Atom like its predecessor the UnitiQute, is a fine product capable of making very pleasant music. Just have to pair with the right speakers.

@Bartos (nice name btw) if you really want big-ish speakers, significant bass thump, etc., do trade up to a bigger amp eg Nova. Or, get other speakers that pair properly with the Atom.

The Sky Towers are actually pretty small and are never going to provide trouser-flapping bass. A review suggested that biwiring would help: while this is a no-no with Naim I wonder if replacing the biwire links with jumpers may help. I don’t know what speaker wire you are using but Naim’s A5 is always a good bet and has good bass. Maybe borrowing a set is possible?

Bass expectations are also worth considering. Many el cheapo stereos have lots of bass, a wallowy boomy mush that many think of as ‘good bass’. A decent system has a very tight and controlled bass that is there when you need it but only when you need it. Have you listened to an acoustic jazz trio, does the double bass sound like it does when you see a band live? My Neat Iotas, which are tiny and driven by a Qute can give a very believable rendition of a jazz trio, so the Towers should be more than capable. Are they arranged properly, so you sit about 1.8 times as far from them as they are spaced apart eg 2m apart with you sitting 3.6m in front of them, with the speakers only very slightly toed in? Do they have decent space either side? I suspect a bit of work on positioning and maybe new wires might sort this out without spending big money.

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I’ve used to own a Uniti Atom with Neat Motive SX2’s and can confirm that this is a great combination. The SX2 provide sufficient bass in my room and the Atom controls them well. Biggest improvemnt that the NAP200 brought was an even better control, especially at higher volumes.

Many regards,
Michel

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Thanks for all your thoughts! Yes, they are positioned well. No jumper cables. Slightly toed in. Distance between them about two meters I would say. No naca5 cable, but proper isolated cable and plugs. Have also tried Goldkabel wires with plugs as this was recommended by retailer, but noticed no difference with current cable set-up. I am still to try filling the speakers with sand but I feel that won’t make much of a difference.

Of course, I don’t want ‚cheap‘ bass that is overkill. And yes, when listening to eg esbjorn svensson trio there is certainly bass. It’s just that it is not throughout the song as I think it ought to be present, and certain deep frequencies seem just cut off, when it heads to such really low bass it appears there is a cutoff point and bass reappears a few moments later. Annoying. Moreover, regular pop songs are hardly with any bass. I understand one shouldn’t expect super booming, air moving, concert hall performance. Yet, when playing massive attack or something similar there should be noticeable bass that goes -continuously- deep and enriches the overall listening experience. Same for hiphop and rock. I listen to a large variety of music and bass is present in all, not only in jazz :wink:

So far, seems the jury somewhat agrees that the Atom isn’t up to the task and an upgrade of the amp would possible solve my issues?

What is this ‘proper’ cable? It’s certainly worth trying A5 and if the Nova is affordable it’s worth trying that too. Of course the Nova isn’t just more powerful. It’s better all round and will certainly get more from the speakers. It may or may not solve the problem as so much comes down to comparability of speakers and room.

I own the he Sky towers and can confirm they go low in the bass department and very very tight, Totem are renowned for incredible bass from extremely small drivers, you only need to look at the Tribe towers to see what I mean.
Have a look at the frequency range specs, they are certainly not exaggerated!
The hearing is believing! I did extensive auditioning at the time again against all the usuals and they were far superior to Evan the likes of the PMC 25 range, ProAcs.
My Sky towers will be staying with me as I upgrade my system over the years and I truly believe they would not be out of there depth on a 500 level system. They are very special and advise anyone who has the opportunity to demo to do so.

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Brandless cable from amazon. 3 meters long as once was recommended by NAIM. Have had other cables and really hear no difference, certainly not in terms of bass. I guess I am from the school of thought that believes cables have a very limited impact on SQ. Interference is a different story, but the cables are well isolated and banana connections of good quality. Always worth a try to test another set perhaps…