Read on to find out why!
My present system is a late 90s Marantz PM66 KI amp, CD63 MkII KI CD player and a pair of Mission 752 floor standers. Or at least it was - my amp mysteriously vanished whilst recently moving house. I’m now in the market for a new amp, and as I want one with streaming capabilities, the Uniti Atom is high on my list of possibilities. So my (probably impossible to answer!) question is: does anyone have experience of an Atom/Mission 752 combination? Or at the very least any Naim amp with 752s, assuming that Naim amps have a sufficiently unique sonic character to make such a comparison valid. If a bunch of you throw your hands up in horror and shout “NOOOooooo” then I’ll rethink my choice of amp or find some means of extending my budget to include new speakers as well. If you think the combination might well be ok, I’ll arrange a home demo of the Atom.
Another quick question: given that the 752s are a pretty easy load (8 ohm impedance, 90 dB sensitivity), my listening room is about 18 sq m, and I don’t tend to listen to music at foundation rocking volume, am I right in assuming that the Atom’s output of “only” 2x40 W would not be an issue?
My taste in music is very wide - all the way from classical to metal, excluding only jazz and rap.
Any help/opinion gratefully received!
Read on to find out why!
Not familiar with the 752’s but my first “good” speakers years ago were mission 710’s so I think highly of the company and their products. I’m guessing a lot of recommendations will be to change speakers at the same time. Yes, they’re old and (only to a certain extent) technology has moved on BUT good sound hasn’t. Instead of seeking out ultimate sq, especially by making endless comparisons, is as useful as trying to travel on a treadmill. If you were happy listening to music thru them before, you should still be able to. The 752’s seem to be pretty efficient, so I don’t think it will be a problem. You may still have instructions or find them on-line as to what mission recommended as a minimum.
No specific experience of your exact combo of
speakers and amp but I have had a pair of Mission floorstanders in Naim NAIT based systems many moons ago, and whilst it was ok, it wasn’t the last word in sonic excellence either.
A few questions to pose yourself. What’s your long term goal with the system, if you want to do it all best you can in one box and be happy with that an Atom is a great place to find yourself and will give you a lot of enjoyment. You’ll almost certainly want to refresh your speakers eventually as well as getting suitable speaker cabling, Naim’s own NAC A5 cable is almost universally considered a good match for practically any Naim amp, old and new.
You don’t need to go spending lots to get decent speakers with modern construction and materials, I expect you’ll get some feedback from current Atom or Uniti range owners as to a good match, depending on your room size and layout that will help determine a good match.
Also factor for your budget overall both now and later down the line, an Atom does a lot for what it is but of course a lot more is to be had even with other uniti products, the Nova is a great product with more power and polish with the same design and functionality as the Atom it is of course somewhat more expensive as a result of that.
Good luck putting it together, the Atom is a great product.
I think you are.
The 752s were highly regarded for the qualities that you describe.
I think a sensible approach here would be to purchase a replacement amplifier which you then use for a period of time with your existing speakers before deciding on making any further changes. I don’t have any experience of Mission loudspeakers myself, but from my understanding they were well regarded in their day, and I don’t think they should present any challenge to an Atom.
Before going down the one box system route, I agree with those who have mentioned that long term goals for your Hi-Fi should be taken into account. Were you happy with your previous system or looking to upgrade anyway? While the Atom is a great product, its upgrade potential is more limited as opposed to separates. I believe your CD player is still very well regarded - would you be looking to fully embrace streaming, or would CD replay remain a significant portion of your listening? If you are not interested in moving towards streaming, and want to stay with CD, then a Nait 5si or Nait xs3 might be a better option. This would then enable you to either move to Naim CD player or streamer, and would also open up a wider range of possibilities when it comes to loudspeakers.
I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I had a pair of 752s on the end of a Nait 3/CD3.5 and NAT03 in my office years ago. They made up a really enjoyable system.
I’ve no idea how they compare to more modern stuff, having sold them just before I got married, but they were certainly the best of any of the Missions I ever heard through the late 90s/early 2000s.
The Atom is a great product. I am just running one in in my study and very impressed by the sound it produces. As for compatibility with your Missions, I think it’s a mistake to get hung up on numbers: sensitivity etc. I am using Neat Iotas which are not particularly sensitive (84 dB) and without whacking the volume up massively I can hear the music all round the house and partway down the garden. Other things are more significant, though. Very revealing high quality speakers may simply highlight any weaknesses of the Atom rather than its strengths. It is also quite “lean” sounding so very dry speakers might not be an ideal match.
More significantly IMHO, you are replacing a CD/amp based system with a streamer. The streaming section of the Atom is excellent – one of its strengths – but are you planning to jump into streaming and will this include your CD collection? If so, you will need to rip them and buy a decent NAS. In your situation, I wonder if a better option might be replace the amp initially. Say a Nait XS 3 or, perhaps even better (financially), a used XS2 since you don’t have vinyl, and budget for a ND5XS2 and speaker upgrade in the near future.
In the mid/late 90s my Pioneer A400, Marantz CD63 and Mission 753s (752’s big brothers) sounded good until I first heard Naim Audio equipment. I moved the Pioneer and Marantz into the dining room with a pair of Royd A7s and bought a Nait3 and CD3. My Naim dealer said that the Mission speakers would be the weak link but I found the sound good although the bass was a bit boomy and wooly. When the Nait 3 was converted to a Nap92 and paired with a Nap140 things improved but the Mission speakers were definitely holding the system back. I auditioned many different speakers before settling on the rather obscure Piega TS5. Such was the improvement across the entire frequency range that the Piegas are still in use, as is the now serviced Nap140. A recent Nac202 has made things even better. Not long ago I dug the Missions out of the cellar just for fun but the sound certainly was not fun and they quickly went back down again! Maybe a better pre and power combination could control the Missions but somehow I doubt it.
Many thanks to you all - I really value your input.
I fully concur with the advice that I should consider the long term when making choices, however, being 71 years of age, I strongly suspect that my idea of what constitutes “long term” may differ from yours!
I wasn’t actually planning to update/upgrade my system, but the theft of my amp has forced it on me! Unfortunately, the unbudgetted cost of a new amp on top of all the associated costs of moving house means that in the short term I cannot afford new speakers as well. Hence my original question; I wanted to avoid a speaker/amp combination that sounded dreadful - I’m going to have to live with the 752s for a little longer!
So here’s the plan: I do want to go down the streaming route. I already have a 4-bay Synology NAS currently loaded with 4x 3TB drives (I do a lot of photography and shoot in RAW: each photo is around 25MB), so I can rip my CDs to that. As this is an all-Apple household, I’ll probably use the ALAC format, Apple’s version of FLAC capable of the same resolution and natively supported by MacOS and iOS (Anybody have any caveats with this choice? I see the Atom is ok with ALAC). Although I have a very robust wireless mesh network, I’ll use a wired connection to the streamer - you can’t beat wire for speed and consistency! I’ll arrange a home demo of the Atom to check I’m happy with how it sounds with the 752s and maybe in another 6 to 9 months or so consider auditioning some new speakers. Any recommendations for floor standers, btw? I know everyone has different tastes, but it would be good to have a handful to put on the audition list.
Once again, thanks all.
Sounds as if you have plenty of Storage space. I’d recommend that you Rip to AIFF, it does seem to sound a bit better and you could easily convert to ALAC if you don’t hear a difference.
Also for ripping I use XLD it’s free and very good. Or DBpoweramp which is less bare bones but costs about $40.
As for floor standers I’m a ProAc fan. I’d recommend D20R. Easy to drive and decently efficient
@88.5 db … 40wpc isn’t a whole lot so what ever you get make sure that they are reasonably efficient .
Are your speakers the original 752s or the later freedom model? The later ones had the woofer located above the tweeter and, from memory, was considered quite an upgrade from the original. If the latter, they are considered to be one of Mission’s best speakers of the time. If you went for an Atom, could you not run your CDP through one of its digital inputs to see which you preferred, the well regarded CDP or the DAC of the Atom?
Thruster04 - from memory the 753s were quite a different beast; larger and pretty much top to bottom with woofers - more of a rocker’s speaker whereas as the 752s were considered more ‘cultured’. Interesting to hear your opinions of the Piega TS5s - I have the bookshelf TS3 version in the bedroom system and they are great speakers for their size - a very underrated brand in the UK.
Whatever you do don’t rip to ALAC. Rip to FLAC. Considering one can get a 10 TB drive for a little more than $200 these days saving space doesn’t make much sense, and ripping is a time consuming chore so you never want to have to do it again. And if you subscribe to a service such as Qobuz or Tidal, you may find a large portion of your cd’s already there for your listening pleasure, without having to do anything or taking up space on the NAS.
Also, I do hope you have multiple backups made of your NAS drives, and at least one kept offsite in case of fire or theft.
I was in simular situation like you, my Marantz PM68 replaced with Atom but still keep Marantz CD57. CD is conected with digital out and use dac from Atom. For me is ok combination.
AlexP - My 752s are the Freedom models. Your suggestion regarding connecting the CD63 through one of the Atom’s digital inputs is interesting, although I’d have thought that the Naim DAC should be better than a 20+ year old design, as good as it was in its day. Still, it could be an interesting experiment!
charlesphoto - I get what you’re saying regarding Qobuz/Tidal subscriptions, but I don’t understand your aversion to ALAC. “Whatever you do don’t rip to ALAC” sounds like a pretty dire warning to me, yet you offer no explanation. As far as I can gather, both ALAC and FLAC are compressed but lossless file formats, with FLAC files being slightly smaller. Nowhere can I find evidence that one is audibly better than the other. I’m a great believer in the KISS principle, so given that I can rip CDs to ALAC with standard software supplied with my Mac and play these files on not only the Atom, but on my Mac, iPhone and iPad, why would I want to install additional software to rip files to a format that I can play only on the Atom unless I install yet more additional software so I can play them on my iOS devices? The only “complaint” I’ve seen regarding ALAC is compatibility, but since the Atom can play ALAC files this obviously wouldn’t be an issue. If, for some reason, I need the music in a different format, there would be no need to re-rip the CDs - I could simply run a conversion utility from ALAC to whatever other format I needed. Since such conversions are done purely in the digital domain, there would be no degradation in quality.
Regarding backups, I learned the hard way back in 1980 with my shiny new Atari 800 computer: I lost a BASIC program that had taken me the best part of 2 weeks to write and debug. So, my Synology NAS is configured such that one of its drives can fail entirely without my losing data, I additionally back up to a multi-drive Drobo (also with redundancy), and to a cloud service, and to a small disc array at a friend’s house!
We’re an all-Apple household, but I still rip to and download in FLAC. I use dBpoweramp for ripping and Metadatics for tag editing. Both work well for me. Consensus seems to be that FLAC and ALAC sound the same but ALAC works with iTunes (which I don’t use) and produces slightly larger files. I’m settled and can’t be bothered to make the comparison.
As for AIFF you can set Minimserver and Asset to convert from FLAC to WAV on the fly so I guess you can do something similar with ALAC. TBH on the Atom (unlike my previous 272) I can’t hear a difference between FLAC and WAV.
Ref the speakers, this morning I unearthed The What Hifi guide 1997 (time goes!) which stated ‘With 90dB/W/m sentitivity these speakers are easy to drive, but their high level of detail means a pre/power set-up or a very very good integrated amp is really minimum’. That was back in 97 mind but it gives you an idea. I think they have more in common with the 754 freedom speakers than the 753s. Hifi choice also really liked them - I have a group test review somewhere. Whether their sound would work with a Uniti Atom I would not know but the quality could well be there. Not in the same league but contemporary with the 752s I have some 731is and they get better the further up the source/amplification ladder you go. They come alive when fed with power beyond their middle wattage rating, but I think many speakers do that.
Ref the CD/Atom interface, just to clear things up, the coax digital out from the CDP will use the DAC inside the Atom. Using the CDPs analogue out will use the CDP’s DAC - you could always use both according to which sounds best with particular discs.
Just one thought, and others will know much more than me on this, but, with extra power, could a S/H Uniti 2 (70wpc) or a Superuniti do what you want it to? Alternatively an ex-demo Star if you want the latest gen machine?
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