U-Serve - time to move on?

Thanks Trevor.

Just out of interest; if the scenario was that the UServe failed and all that was left was a backup of the Naim WAV’s on a NAS. How would the WAV’s on the NAS get converted to Flac?

Would that be to install dBpoweramp on the Nas and use that?

You install dBpoweramp on laptop/PC/Mac & use that to access NAS

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They would not. This is the problem others have had and only found out when it was to late.
You would have to put them onto a working Unitiserve. Naim WAV files only work on a Unitiserve and can only be converted on a Unitiserve.
If the backups were Flac they would work on anything. Play them back on a pc, phone, any streamer, anything that recognises Flac format.

Thanks Mike.

You do need to do the WAV to FLAC conversion on the Unitiserve, but once done, you do not need a WAV version for continued use on the US if you keep it.
Just set the US to convert FLAC to WAV on playback then you can have your cake and eat it. You get the reduced file size and metadata advantage of FLAC, but when you play via its UPnP server, your streamer sees WAV. WAV was widely considered to give slightly better sound quality on 1st. gen. Naim streamers, and most Unitiserve users here did it. Asset and Minimserver can also to this FLAC to WAV conversion on playback if you decide to move to a different server.

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Hei Chris,

I was around when the debate went on about WAV and Flac and why Naim chose WAV, part of the reason I went with the UServe at the beginning, almost 10 years ago. I have not regretted my decision on purchasing the UServe at all as it does everything I need to play music and I am pretty confident the UServe is an integral part (including WAV files) of a very good sounding system.

Hence I am keen to keep my WAV library files as I trust Naim on this point. But at some point I need to plan for the inevitable, now seems to be a good time.

So now I have a general plan in my head sketched out thanks to you guys. :+1:t3:

Hi Jof,
I wouldn’t advise you the N100. The real benefit starts with the N1a2. With Covid times, you sound find some ex demo at a good price.
I found the N1z2 for 3k last year. But recently my dealer was selling one for 2,5 k euros ( N1z2).
For 1k you should find an N1a2.

PS : I had the Unitserve, then with linear ps. The combo sounded similar to the Core, maybe a little better. Then Melco N1a2 and finally N1z2.
Each step was an upgrade in sound. Used in UPNP mode as Nas only.

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There is nothing special about wav. Transcoded flac sounds exactly the same. Unless you have hundreds and hundreds of CDs to rip you really need no more than a decent nas. When I started using a nas it actually sounded better than the UnitiServe. There is nothing magical about it, and its rips are no better than those done on a computer using dbpoweramp.

I think the point is Naim preferred to rip to their WAV format using the UServe because they believed it to sound better, nobodies talking about magic. You can take that up with Naim.

Maybe you experiencing better sounding files on your bog standard Nas was placebo based on your experience with the UServe, possibly magic, who knows.

I am certainly not adverse to going Flac, as I mentioned.

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MP3TAG will extract metadata tags from the track names of the naim wavs. Once done you can they convert them to flac with the relevant metadata in there makes it much easier down the line for the next app that reads them.

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I went through the exact same process as Trevor. I used my UnitiServe to convert all my WAV rips and WAV downloads to FLAC, and then copied these to a new QNAP NAS on which I installed Asset. I primarily got the QNAP as a back-up to my UnitiServe, as it had been in for repair a couple of times and is getting a bit long in the tooth.Both the UnitiServe and QNAP are set to convert FLAC to WAV during playback, so you can retain WAV on playback if you perceive a benefit.

My UnitiServe is now set to rip CDs as FLAC files and I only download FLAC files from the internet music sellers. The QNAP automatically (over night) copies all new CDs rips made on my UnitiServe. So in effect I have a FLAC catalog on both my UntiServe and QNAP if I ever need to move on from the UnitiServe and copy over the FLAC files to a new Server.

You will of course need to repair your UnitServe to convert your WAV files to FLAC. If/when you do this don’t be in too much of a rush to get rid of the UnitiServe. I have compared many (of the same) albums served from the UnitiServe and the QNAP, both converting from FLAC to WAV during playback. I happen to prefer the SQ of my trusty(?) UnitiServe. I know others feel differently but I strongly advise you carry out this comparison for yourself before you decide to sell your UnitiServe.

The last time I had to repair my UnitiServe was many years ago and it has been rock solid ever since, says he looking around desperately for some wood to touch. But if my UnitiServe ever goes kaput, I have a back-up on my QNAP to get a new Server up and running.


Thanks Nigel,

It seems this is the way to go for me.

I do wonder how realistic it is to expect money back on a 10 year old UServe though. I suspect not much. Therefore, in my head, I am thinking to repair it, and keep it until it dies, as you say. Then consider the server options later.

As a side note, historically, with all this talk about the unreliability of the UServe, it would make quite an interesting survey with current and past UServe owners on reliability issues.

Mine will be 10 years old in April and it has had 2 PSU’s fail, 1 CD mech. fail and now a wobbly power button on the back, with the result that I need to make up to 5 switch attempts for the unit start.

Overall, that’s probably not too bad for that time period.

If you use the transcode on playback thing on the server, you simply don’t need to store as WAV. The streamer still gets WAV from the stored FLACs.


I’ve had mine for about 6 years and only ever really had on minor issue that was resolved by my dealer (thumbs up to Audio Genesis in Sydney). I do expect it to die soon and would probably look at Innous Zenith or similar as a replacement.

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Pete, with regards to your future plans, are you currently ripping to Flac?

No I’ve always ripped WAV (a) I always thought that was Naim preferred format and (b) I’ve always thought it was the best option.

That’s a high risk strategy if the Serve conks out. Presumably you have a back up of the WAV rips on a nas, but should you load a upnp server on said nas, you won’t be able to play the albums. It would be wise to convert to flac just in case. You then set the serve to transcode (use the ‘decode’ option in the DTC to WAV when albums are played.

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Cheers, I always thought WAV is Naim preferred format it’s the default setting. I’ll check with my dealer and see what he thinks (I trust him completely) he’s already told me that he could rebuild my library. I do have my music backed up on a NAS which is visible on the network. All my my hi res files are back up on my Mac.

With the legacy platform WAV does sound better but you can achieve the same with transcoding. Quite a few of us have been through this and I wouldn’t want to be trusting anyone outside to rebuild my music database. I’d want to know it was rock solid and that I could continue to play my music without help.

You can set the DTC to convert the whole collection, which then backs up to the nas, should you choose to go for it.

This is the preferred option and is perfectly fine…until something goes wrong. If you read some of the posts above, you will read some reasons why it might be a good idea to plan for a time when the UServe dies.

I am in the same position as yourself, my entire library is WAV.

Nigel, Trevor et al have some good advice.