Splitting the Atom

An upgrade question…

To keep it short 'n sweet, I’m currently running a Uniti Qute 2 (minus screen - dammit Naim) through a NAP100 powering some Focal 926’s. Very happy with the sound but want a little more. More being defined as AirPlay 2 (jeezuz Apple why don’t you licence Apple Music to Naim?), detail, separation and all-round musicality.

Upgrade options (based on :moneybag: pot):

  • Atom + NAP100 + 926
  • Atom (w/HDMI) + NAP100 + 926
  • Atom Headphone Edition + NAP100 + 926

First option: Nice replacement and prolly gonna give me a decent sound U-P-G-R-E-Y-E-D-D (1)
Second option: Like first, with added benefit for the AppleTV box (and sat TV - don’t laugh, I live in the Caribbean) which is used for TV sound. No other device is used for TV sound output.
Third option: Is it a much better upgrade in 'tronics, given the fact that the NAP100 is nicely paired for the 926’s?

Other infos. I have very limited access to hi-fi gear. But the local dealer does his best for me. I’m intrigued by Active speakers with the Atom Headphone Edition, particularly the Buchardt Audio A500 - has anyone tried them or others?

Budget doesn’t allow for active speakers yet but could come in the future (1-2 years).



  1. See Idiocracy (Film)
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Hi @MatthewC and welcome,

That’s an interesting conundrum you have there. Generally the Atom HE would be the way to go for that setup but you would lose the HDMI port, so no option to get your TV sound relayed since the Apple TV doesn’t have optical out.

No clear solution for that one i’m afraid…

Going from a Qute to an Atom this year I can assure you it is very impressive sonically, and a lovely thing to use.

I think you might find the NAP 100 is not required with the Atom , so you might be able to sell that. Your ears will tell you.


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Good point! I forgot to detail how I get sound from the AppleTV currently.

TV ➔ Uniti Qute 2 via optical

Which I could continue with, regardless of the Attom I choose.

Hope that clears up confusion.

Personally I find Airplay from the Apple TV into the Atom much more convenient. You can switch it on and off using the Apple TV remote and you can adjust the volume of the Atom using that same remote. Works like a breeze for us.

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Ah wonderful, then the Atom HE would probably be the best option in terms of sound quality, either with the NAP100 or with future active speakers.

As @BruceW mentions with the normal Atom adding the NAP100 would probably not bring much profit. So a standalone Atom would also be a nice option but would give you a bit less flexibility in the future when going active.

Indeed, but the Headphone Edition unfortunately doesn’t have a HDMI port

And that is the whole point, my current Atom doesn’t have HDMI either and I have never missed it. Also ordered an HE myself recently and the fact that it doesn’t have HDMI is no issue for us. Airplay from the ATV into the Atom works brilliantly, is very stable and it sounds awesome.

Oh sorry my bad, i completely missed the Airplay part in your reply for some reason and was still thinking about HDMI! :crazy_face:

Good idea. I hadn’t thought of that.

LOL. No problem. Actually HDMI gives so many issues with incompatibilities and handshake problem, which is never te case with AirPlay. Hence I prefer the latter.

Some background: I have had several high end surround setups, also separate stereo and surround systems, and I got so fed up with all the handshake issues that I threw it all out. Couldn’t be happier as with the Atom and TV sounds great via the Atom.

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Best B-movie ever.

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Is there an opinion whether the Atom HE + NAP100 would sound better than the Atom either alone or with the NAP100?

Ok for audio but you can get lip sync issues with TV/Films.

Airplay is better than people suggest these days.

Never had audio sync issues with AirPlay.

Your are fortunate, or insensitive to it.

Most would probably say the HE + NAP100 option will likely sound better. The preamp in the HE is a new design and should be better than the one in the Atom, and the 50W NAP100 should probably somewhat outperform the integrated 40W amp in the Atom.

How big the difference is is difficult to say without trying out both. But if you were to move to active speakers in the future, then the HE which omits a power amp in lieu of a better preamp would generally be the best option.

Thank you. Sounds like a good plan. The HE is around the same price as the HDMI Atom give or take a little shrapnel. I’ll talk to the dealer and see if he’ll have either in the near future to listen to. I doubt it, but worth a shot.

I live on a small island and there is 0 stock for these types of things. Ordered when needed with a 2-6 week delivery delay :frowning:

Fortunate in this case. I can go mad over a 2ms difference. Trust me.

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