The Atom is Amazing

I just got into speakers as a long time headphone dude. My last headphone was the Susvara, and it suppose to be one of the best endgame headphones. I was driving them with Pro iDSD and Soundaware P1, an unknown but excellent headphone amp.

I paired the Atom with KEF LS50. The improvement is astronomical going from headphone to speaker. The Atom may be one of the best engineered and thought-out piece of audio hardware. Switching from Tidal to Coax input to UPNP server happens instantaneously without a hitch. Most of all, its synergy with the LS50 is just purely gold.

I may go up to one of the Focal offering later this year like the Sopra N1 or Kanta 1.

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The Atom may be amazing, but the Sopra No 1 is still to much of a speaker to expect it to drive them well.

Driving s £6.5k speaker from a £2k all-in-one box doesn’t really make sense (we refer to such unbalanced systems as mullets!).

Even the Kanta 1 at £4.4k is still way out of the league for the Atom… look at speakers that cost less than the box that’s driving them.

The Atom will be able to drive these speakers, it’s just not enough to make the best of what the speaker has to offer. A Nova (also about £4.5k) driving the KEF LS50’s is likely to sound better than the Atom driving the Kanta 1s or the Sopra No 1s, ans so is probably a better use of your hard earned cash. After upgrading to the Nova then if you wanted another upgrade, you could be looking at speakers in the £1k to £2k area.

(You could also consider a ND5 XS 2 and a Nait XS 3 rather than a Nova it would be a good idea to audition both to see which sound you preferred!)

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If you’re finding everything amazing at the moment then i’d be tempted to just leave everything as is and enjoy… To keep all fully fettled and If you have not done so already then i’d purchase some NAC A5 speaker cables at the recommended lengths and then to ask your reputable Naim dealer to make them up for you, with all the correct plugs soldered on either end. Then sit back and smile even more…

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The official line from Naim is that the Atom does not have to use Naim speaker cable. The inductance and capacitance thing, and minimum length requirement, are recommended for separate Naim power amps, not integrated and Uniti. But having said that, I was pleasantly surprised at the big improvement I heard from my Atom when I replaced my non-Naim (but still Naim-compliant) speaker cables with NACA5.

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KantaN1 and Sopra N1 are sensitive speakers, with recommended amp power 25-150W, and I am sure that Atom will drive that speakers very easy.
#Xanthe you have experience with Atom and Sopra, or you just give your recommendation regarding price? Matching is is much more than simple comparison of price. Atom have weak point of amplifier but huge musicality and with sensitive speaker can do a lot.

I am using my Atom with Focal 1007be speakers and it’s great sound

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Matching is also about more than sensitivity and power. The Atom is of insufficient quality to match well with the Sopra 1 and yes, I have listened to the combination.

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I have experience designing power amps, and as HH says, the power amp of the Atom may have enough power in terms of RMS watts, but that’s a very different matter from driving a speaker to the best of its ability.

Sensitivity does not indicate how easy a speaker is to drive, that’s a complete myth.

In my experience, your amp, Atom in this case, needs to always have complete authority over your speakers for the synergy to work. It’s easy as Xanthe said above to look at pure rms output alone and completely over step the mark with speakers. You’ll then end up dissatisfied and will inevitably end up upgrading to say a Nova or whatever and the cycle continues - I know, I’ve been there!

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What about something equally dinky but as refined as the Atom some Harbeth P3ESR much more in balance in terms of cost than the Sopra No1

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yep I’d agree, P3’s or Neat Iotas, or even better, stick with the Kefs!

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General conclusion is- Atom is Naim’s confection and cant run SopraN1, just cheap speakers?

That’s not what was said at all.

It can run Sopra No 1s, but there’s no point in doing so. Pairing such expensive speakers that are designed to be driven by amplifiers in the NAC252 / NAP300 class with a £2k all in one; you simply won’t get £6.5k worth of sound from them (and in fact they may also be too a difficult load for any lower prices amps, further degrading the SQ that the amp could achieve with more compatible speakers).

The PS3ESRs, Neat Iotas and many others are far more suitable and you wouldn’t be wasting the difference between £1.5k and £6.5k for little or no gain in SQ.

This effect isn’t unique to Naim amplifiers, but is a factor with all brands who sell a range of amplifiers at different price and quality points.

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The founder of Computer Audiophile reviewed the Atom, and he was impressed with its performance with his Sopra N1s. I probably should go up to the Nova, but I really like the one small box setup. Tired of so many components. It’s Future-fi and life-style-fi.

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Very enthusiastic review.

I get the feeling that he used the Sopra No 1s just because he had them (either his own speakers or to review at the same time), and he was impressed how the Atom managed to cope with such expensive speakers, but as he said “hook it up to a decent pair of speakers and…”.

I don’t think he was specifically recommending the Sopras as a particularly good match for the Atom, just observing that the Atom was so good that it actually could drive something in that class; so it’s capable of driving more price and performance compatible speakers with ease.

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or audio note an e speakers for example, around 100 db, easy to drive. around 6k.

you should read the new thread : athom with focal aria 906. Can be informative.

" A Nova (also about £4.5k) driving the KEF LS50’s is likely to sound better than the Atom driving the Kanta 1s or the Sopra No 1s"
That is chalange that I must to review, but its not easy to find combination…

What’s the recommended length for NACA5 cable? I found some used ones locally. It’s like 6 m long. I only need 1 m.

It doesn’t matter for Atom or Nova etc.

For the legacy Naim power amplifiers it’s 3.5 m minimum and they should both be the same length.
Best

David

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