U-Serve - time to move on?

Chaps, I have been a very contented owner of a U-Serve for nine years but it has had some recent mechanical issues.

  1. Wobbly power button.
  2. PSU failure.
  3. CD mech. needs replacing.

My dealer is able to replace the standard PSU and the CD mechanism for around 3190nok all in. He has suggested upgrading the PSU with an Linear Power Supply for around 4295nok. And he has also suggested, as an alternative, sell on the U-Serve and buy a Melco N100 as an upgrade over the U-Serve.

Therefore, I see I have a few options presented to me.

  1. Keep the U-Serve and get it repaired with a CD mech and standard PSU for 3190nok, or
  2. Keep the U-Serve and get it repaired with a CD mech. and Linear Power Supply for 6590nok or
  3. Buy an Innuos Zen Mini for around £1000.
  4. Buy a Melco N100 for £2500 (dealer will transfer rips over)

The other point here is that I can’t sell it without it being repaired anyway, so my gut feeling is to make the repairs and keep it until it dies outright. I don’t know what the second hand market is for a 9 year old U-Serve, not that much I would think.

I guess my main concern is whether to spend money on the U-Serve to keep it running, or use that money towards a new ripper/server now and assume that I get nothing back on the U-Serve. Frankly, I think the Melco is out of my price range at this time, but I could happily buy the ZenMini Mrk.3 if I needed to.

I could also get the U-Serve fixed with a new Linear Power Supply, then use that on a new Zen Mini Mrk. 3 later.

I have no listening experience on using this Linear Power supply on the U-Serve, or hearing the Zen Mini or Melco in my system.

So I would be interested on hearing some thoughts from the floor on any aspect of what I have written.


Hi, first things first! Probably best not to discuss the third party PSU options, you will soon find your thread getting moderated as this would constitute an unauthorised modification. Besides, I think you will find it incompatible with the Zen Mini.

It could be worth considering the Uniticore although I am not sure how it compares in price with the Melco and Zen. I found the sound quality was better than the Serve and it is seamless to use. Best of luck.


I have taken the name out. Thanks,

Userve runs embedded XP. In computing terms its time to move on.

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Most of the problems can be fixed by a computer technican. The Teac slot-in CD drive can be found on ebay sometimes, PSU is no need of a special high-end one. You should make a sector by sector copy of the harddrive in case of a future failure.

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Do you already have the files backed up to a nas in flac? If so, you could load Asset on the nas and stream from there, without the need to buy anything else. Just make sure you have a backup of the nas.

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No, have not saved in Flac, just a standard backup in WAV to my WD.

That more or less forces the issue of getting the US repaired as you will need it to convert the unique way that Naim format WAV files to FLAC or another format. You will not be able to use these Naim-WAV’s with a Melco or Zen, or any other server except a Naim.
Exactly the same thing happened to a friend of mine, once repaired I converted everything to FLAC, he then bought a Synology & learned how easy it is to rip with a regular computer.

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There is that Mike,

My general feeling is to repair now (with standard PSU) and make plans for a future without the UServe.

As my entire music collection is WAV, is it possible to batch convert WAV to Flac so that I have two copies? Maybe this is possible using Asset, for example?

My dealer is very smitten with the Melco and he is willing to transfer the music over as part of the purchase. However, under the current circumstances with COVID and me working for myself, I can’t justify spending £2500 now.

Hi Hugh,

A consideration. My dealer did not mention the Core as I believe he seems to be very much taken with the Melco. But it’s certainly a valid option.

The Core retails at the same price as the Melco N100.

I am pretty sure I can demo the Core and the Melco at my dealers set up…one for the future perhaps.

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Hi again JOF, good idea to move away from U.Serve, the ripper server concept is good for ripping a whole CD collection, but once done I don’t see the need. I’m also not at all convinced why Naim have chosen to rip WAV there own format.

Re is it possible to batch convert WAV to Flac so that I have two copies? Maybe this is possible using Asset, for example?
Yes - its possible to have two copies, don’t see any reason for it, but yes its possible.
No - its not possible to batch convert using Asset, the tool for this is dBpoweramp.
However - it can’t be done with Naim ripped WAV files, Naim have chosen (see previous paragraph) to rip WAV in their own format that has separate metadata. They do not use the Microsoft/IBM standard that embeds metadata in an attached INFO chuck.
The only way to convert Naim WAV files is with a Naim server such as your U.Serve.
You will first need to convert the WAV files to FLAC. FLAC is a non-proprietary format & can be played on any application. It has metadata tags & cover art is embedded in the file itself.
Once you have FLAC, that can be played on anything & converted back to MS/IBM standard WAV if you want to.

Re your dealer & Melco, I wonder if he realises its not a question of just transfering the files over as Melco will not play Naim-WAV.
But £2500 vs £500 (or less) for a pukka NAS (Synology or QNAP) needs thinking about.


That’s interesting, I must have forgotten about this ability. But is this what I mean?

I know that the UServe can convert WAV to Flac on the fly during the listening experience, but can it convert WAV to Flac as duplicated files. The reason for this is so that I am prepared with my music library in Flac when the time comes to choose an alternative solution.

The UServe can convert all the WAVs to Flac, but you then have Flacs instead of WAVs not as a duplicate set of files.

Incidentally the UServe can do this but the UnitiCore can’t.

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Ok, not necessarily ideal then.

So there isn’t a way to copy the WAV’s from the UServe onto my pc, batch convert the WAV’s into Flac using dbpoweamp, then?

I should have payed more attention in class.

I did a batch convert of all my Unitiserve music and download folders from WAV to Flac and changed the Unitiserve so any new rips are saved as Flac after reading quite a few messages on the forum from members who had problems because of WAV files on faulty Unitiserves and not being able to access them any other way. The Unitiserve also backs up its Music and Downloads folders to a Qnap Nas. I put Asset onto the Qnap and pointed it at the 2 backup folders along with creating a Recordings folder where i now save downloads to save filling the Unitiserve hard drive. The Unitiserve also accesses this folder so the music accessible from the Unitiserve and Asset is the same. As a belt and braces the Qnap Nas is also backed up to another Nas in the garage. Another advantage of Asset is i can use Android or IOS to operate it via the Naim app where the Unitiserve can only use IOS. I am seriously thinking of parting with the Unitiserve while it is still working as Asset is as good if not better.


This sounds like a sensible approach Trevor.

How did you do this initial step Trevor? Was it done in the UServe?

Yes the Unitiserve is the only thing that can do the conversion and retain all the metadata. Depending on how much is on the Unitiserve the conversion may take several days to complete but it needs no user intervention it just gets on with it. Once complete all your music will be in Flac format on the Unitiserve. Remember to do a backup of the newly converted files when it is complete and change the format of future Unitiserve rips to Flac. Any WAV backup can then be deleted. All this needs to be done via the Desktop app.

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Ok. Then that’s clear. Thanks Trevor, Chris and Mike.

I wonder why the UServe can not make a ‘copy’ of an existing WAV file into a Flac, ie. it must simply replace the WAV file. I mean writing new files in any format is quite basic, so is this inability to do with Naims manipulation of the source (Naim WAV) file?

Probably because the Unitiserve is meant to be a streamer and not a pc. If you want a second WAV copy for some reason you could use dbpoweramp on a pc to convert the Flac backup on a Nas and save it in a separate folder. I would be more inclined to stick with Flac for master and backup.

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