Streaming through a Uniti 1

I have a Uniti 1 and PMC GB1 speakers. I mostly stream Spotify through a Google chromecast audio using the optical output. It sounds great but i was wondering if I could significantly improve the sound with a max budget of £500, but preferably less.

Would I be better focusing on improving the quality of the receiver and still using the Uniti’s DAC (e.g. iFi Zen Stream to replace the ChromecastAudio) ), or getting something with an onboard DAC (e.g. Bluesound Powernode 2)?

Any advice and suggestions would be welcome.

Which model/version/firmware uniti 1 is it? Because Spotify is supported without extra hardware, at least on the 24/192 version.
Though for a proper upgrade, use Tidal as Spotify is lossy.
If you want qobuz and other streaming services, the simplest way is via a nas cs1 into the uniti dac. £219 at audiologica.

And indeed Naim doesn’t have any 192/24 boards left, also the processor is no longer made so they can’t build or buy more.

I’m assuming the use of the google chromecast is because it’s an early model uniti 1, but just want to have that confirmed. The post by ChrisSU saves me saying how to check.

Are you already using an Ethernet adapter for the chromecast? That would make your connections much more snappy and reliable.

If you are not using the streaming board or the cd player of the Uniti, I would replace it by a serviced SuperNait 1 which also has a dac hence can replace your uniti like for like. That would greatly increase the power. Chromecast will continue to work and meanwhile you can save pennies for a bettter streamer dac like the nd5xs2.

I do play those favourite CDs that arent on Spotify but this is definitely something to consider. Thanks

Im confused. It definitely plays Spotify through the ChromecastAudio toslink but i dont think it had the upgraded streaming board.

Thanks for the advice. No-one has recommended the other route of getting a separate streamer like the Bluesound. Is that because, despite its age, the Uniti Dac will still outperform the sub £500 streamers?

Im not using an ethernet cable. Just a toslink between the Chromecast Audio and the Uniti.

Ok from what you’ve said, this must be an early model uniti 1 that does not support Spotify connect or Tidal connect.
If you want the latest streaming services, then there are many streamers you can add:
Nad cs1
Wiim mini
Bluesound node
You have the choice of using the device dac or the uniti dac; I’d tend to think the uniti would be best, so optical or coax from the streamer into the back of the uniti.

If you are only streaming Spotify, then I’d stick with what you have already, because it’s lossy mp3.
Adding the capability to stream tidal or qobuz by adding a new box will give you cd quality or higher.

Primare np5.

If you don’t have the upgraded streaming board you can still play Spotify or Tidal through the Chromecast. It’s only native support for streaming services on the Uniti itself that need the board upgrade.
You could try a better streaming transport (with or without its own DAC) to see if it improves sound quality but I would suggest that you buy so with the option to return if you don’t find a worthwhile improvement.

You might want to have a read through this thread, where the conversation is about adding a front end streamer to a 272; same would apply to a uniti.

Many thanks for this. I just saw a used Naim NDX for a very good price. Would i notice an improvement over my chromecast playing Spotify?

An NDX, as long as it isn’t an early model with the same limitations as your Uniti, should give you Spotify Connect without using the Chromecast. It should also give an overall sound quality improvement. Presumably you would be using it as a source into the Uniti?
The NDX is still an old device that has its limitations. Another option might be to sell your Uniti and Chromecast and get a used Atom as it’s a current device, fully supported by Naim, and gives you a range of streaming services including Qobuz, Tidal, Chromecast and Airplay as well as Spotify Connect.

What @Ardbeg10y said…

Streaming transport and works great - available half price on fleabay for a used model.

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