For parties and background music duties, Sonos is worth consideration.
I don’t think you’d find the user experience lacking in any way and you can always enhance it by adding something like Roon in to the mix and using that to drive the Naim source which can act as a Roon Endpoint.
I’ve owned and lived with a number of combinations of these products over the years and currently have a SN3 + NDX2 in the main system I use. I also have Roon and use that with other equipment and systems elsewhere in the house including multiple Sonos stereo pairs and a Sonos amp + speakers as well as Chord DAC’s and it all integrates nicely and is manageable from within one front end, namely the Roon control application on a desktop or mobile device.
I do often use the Naim iOS app standalone to control my NDX2 and find that works well enough but falls short overall vs Roon given the mix of equipment and services I rely upon.
I’d expect your best choice to really come down to overall system complexity and budget. To go beyond what a Nova can offer you in a single box solution you need to invest in a system with more cost and complexity, at least a NAIT XS 2 or 3 + an ND5 XS2 to get to the same level of features supported in a Nova and with that it opens up the door and temptation to go to increasingly costly and complex alternatives in the pursuit of improvements in the performance of the system and your enjoyment of your music.
The Nova is very much a premium product and the basis of a simple, enjoyable and well integrated offering. Having owned all the Supernait’s and both a ND5 XS, ND5 XS2 and currently an NDX2, I’d have to say that if I was where you are, unless I was prepared to go to a system level of at least a SN2 + NDX2, that you’re better off focusing on keeping things simple and trading in what you have for a Nova, getting a noticeable improvement in the performance and enjoyment of your system compared to your current system, and keeping the system as simple as possible whilst gaining the benefits of all the features supported within the Nova.
Gosh, I’ve been away from this forum for too long…What’s Roon?! never heard of it.
Just to complete the picture, my music is ripped and stored in an iMac, linked via ethernet to the Squeezebox. Is Roon something to install on my computer or iPad, or both?
Roon? Nobody should be without it. It will transform your life. Or not.
Look at roonlabs.com and all will be revealed.
My view on the NS5XS and Sonos into a SN1
Every option seems to have a compromise, so decided to stick with the Sonos for now and revisit another day. My reasoning.
- could tell the difference to the ND5XS
- I find the native tidal app very good, connects directly to Sonos, no need for Roon and yet more kit. Sonos app is still v.good.
- solid platform and Apple Music compatible (minor but nice)
Downside - still no high resolution
A little research and a free trial perhaps in order but essentially it’s a tool you run as a server application on either a dedicated PC, known as a Roon Nucleus or as is the case in my setup, on a computer I already had and which I dedicated to running the Roon server. This is a Mac Mini in my case but any fairly recent machine will run it unless you intend using it’s more advanced features like room correction and upsampling.
It’s also helpful where you have a mix of equipment from different manufacturers and want to put all your music sources in one place and to have a consolidated view of not just your own local library but also other streaming sources, namely Tidal and Qobuz, of which I subscribe to both and use them frequently.
It’s main feature and one which almost anyone using it will find of use and benefit from, is a comprehensive metadata database that enables you to search, discover and cross reference all your music as well as being able to find new material that will be of interest based on your own library and the things you listen to most frequently.
It’s by no means compulsory and gives the most value when you add in streaming sources like Tidal or Qobuz but certainly worth further thinking and something that is integrated with the current Naim ND and Uniti products well and gives a positive enhancement to your overall listening experience.
Wow, thanks a lot! I feel stupid when I think about the time spent ripping and classifying my CDs…
I have a Nova and absolutely love it - looks great and sounds even better. Like many people here I did not compare it against Linn, Devialet, Sonos etc so can’t help you with that one
You mention the convenience/app, but that bit of the Uniti range is not that great. Certainly not better than some of the apps for your squeezebox. Of course, one of the beauties of the Uniti range is the plethora of ways to connect (Spotify Connect, Airplay, Chromecast etc) so you can mostly get by with using the native apps of many services.
If you can live with those limitations, I would recommend getting a Nova.
I have no experience with the apps of Sonos, Bluesound etc. but have heard good things about the latter in case you want to explore an alternative source.
No shame in that and when it comes to CD rips, I actually redid the bulk of my CD’s recently as WAV files and let Roon handle the metadata and management of them and can say it did a very good job with only the need to modify or edit the imported files on a few occasions and that was roughly 700-800 CD’s worth done over a number of days!
I do also find I use Qobuz primarily and less frequently Tidal as the library is generally pretty good and it also gives access to higher quality versions of material which go beyond what is possible from just ripped CD’s.
I find the streaming support of my NDX2 is very good and the quality of the playback is exceptional, I’d expect the same level of listening enjoyment and ease of use from a Uniti integrated in that sense.
I would go with the ND5XS 2 and trade the SN 1 and HiCap for a Nait XS 3 or used SN 2 to go with the ProAc Studio 140’s.
Good luck with your decision, and have fun along the way!
My point about Roon is that you may be able to run it with no additional hardware purchase at all as long as you have a suitable computer to run it on, and still get a big sound quality uplift by using it to run Qobuz.
Obviously it depends if you like the UI or not, but if you do, there’s nothing else like it. Maybe worth a free trial.
Nova was my first recommendation, but you could always consider an Atom and retain your SN1.
I just installed an Atom in my second system yesterday, and it’s an impressive sounding and handsome device, whether standalone or (as I did this morning) added my no-Naim 100wpc power amp and a full-fat Naim Powerline cable to it to obtain an uplift.
Playing Qobuz direct, or as part of my 3-endpoint roon setup, it is a very good value (and it currently retains 75% of value should you want to trade it for an upgrade later on).
I have a similar system, based around a SN1, which has CD, AV, Vinyl inputs being used.
I recently purchased a Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer, which uses it’s onboard DAC into another of the analoge inputs on the SN1.
I have plans to use the tape output on the SN1 for our outdoor entertaining area (I have a NAIT5 sitting around unused), which would allow kids to be watching a movie inside while adults stream outside.
At least for me, I don’t think the NOVA would allow me the flexibility to do what I want, and I was not prepared to outlay the expense for a naim streamer. For that matter, the SN2/3 may not do that either as I don’t think they have a tape out.
Personally, for the purposes you describe, I would buy two Sonos Play 5’s and run them in a stereo configuration. The app is slick enough and when you setup they will run with room correction to suit their surroundings. They will punch well above their weight for the outlay, have tone controls and loudness controls and it’s only when you want to start listening critically that you may need to consider something else [read: more expensive!].
What happened in the end? I bought a brand new ND5XS 2 and I’m very pleased. The trade-in option for a Nova was not really feasible where I live (in other words, would have cost me a fortune), so I decided to pile up another black box. The ND5 is opening up nicely, but already shows very nice traits. It seems a good match with the SN1+HC. The convenience is there, I’m amazed by how many ways you can use to stream stuff. So now the challenge is not to get lost in the multiple options. Two questions for you gurus: Spotify vs Apple Music (Tidal and Qobuz are not available where I live). I have an all Apple infrastructure, so inclined to go that way. I’m testing both at the moment to make my mind, but please flag things I should maybe consider. Given the cost, I could live with both for a while and let the time decide which one I prefer…Second point: ripped music on my iMac. At the moment, I’m still using the old Logitech Server installed on the iMac, but it’s far from ideal: many Flac files are not seen, artworks are gone, interface not great. Shall I get another server (Asset?) or it will be the same? is Roon the answer? Thanks in advance
Bravo! Nice to hear a happy ending.
Tougher call on Spotify vs Apple Music, either will work reasonably well through the ND, I’d expect the Apple library to be a little better, doubt you’d be able to tell a real difference in the quality as they’re about the same overall.
Roon is an additional cost so have to bare that in mind, but i’ve been using it successfully for a number of years and would find it hard letting it go given how good a job it does to manage metadata and discovery of new music.
Unfortunately Roon does not work with Spotify or Apple Music, actually I don’t think the ND5XS works with apple either, so Spotify is prob your best bet.
I’d say you probably don’t need Roon - Naim software should be fine but does sound like you may need a new server or file storage.
You may be able to sign up for Qubuz or Tidal via VPN and then use normally. I did this with Qubuz in Singapore for a while with no issue.
Apple Music works as far as I stream from iPad via AirPlay. Re Tidal or Qobuz, yes I need to install a VPN on my router…which I’m not convinced to do for other reasons.