Uniti Atom – any chance for fixed pre-out via software update?

I totally like my Atom and I never had any thoughts about exchaning it for something else relating to it’s sound signature. However, there is one huge drawback: the headphone output, which is miles away from the quality of the hole unit. Unfortunatley, there is no practical way of attaching a headphone-amplifier, as the pre-output will always work together with the loudspeakers, and will be muted when attaching something to the headphone input.
Does anyone know if there is a chance of changing this behavior via software update? Theoretically, it should be possible to mute the speakers without muting the pre-out, or am I wrong?


I fully agree that the headphone output is not on the same level of the speaker output stage.
No idea if it is possible do spend the current Atom a fixed output via a firmware update.
To be honest I doubt that Naim will do it even if it’s possible. The demand/request was mentioned a few times here in in the forum as well as outside of this community. As it was not implemented yet, I gave up the hope that we will see it.

And in my opinion with the introduction of the new awesome Atom Headphone Edition the chance decreased even more that Naim will invest in hardware changes or software-updates of the current Non-HE Atom for improved headphone enjoyment …


Thanks for your opinion. This means that one has either to use (and buy) another group of devices to drive headphones, or replace the Atom with something that has a fixed output … which is a pity, because actually the Atom IS a perfect-single-soultion-device, except this very annoying detail. I know about the Atom Headphone Edition, but I am at least sure that I will not have two Atoms in my listening room :wink:

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Instead of buying a separate headphone amp I would trade the Atom for an HE and buy a separate power amp. That would give you a great headphone solution, and potentially better sound from your speakers too.


I guess it’s a tricky decision for a manufacturer when specc’ing up something like the Atom. As a do-it-all box it probably had to have a headphone output, but spending a lot on it would likely have pushed up the price, perhaps significantly. And it has to be fitted into what is after all a pretty small case, perhaps with performance compromises. Personally, I’d have been happy without a headphone output at all and certainly wouldn’t have wanted to pay a lot more for a facility I wouldn’t use.


I completely understand that Naim couldn’t fit a high quality headphone ampflifier into this box, which does almost everything perfect already. However, the variable out, combined with mute when a headphone is connected, makes it unusable for extra amplification – and I seem not to be the only one feeling the need of that. Trading the “normal” Atom and buying a headphone edition plus power amplifier is, at least for me, out of question, as I am happy with the amplification as it is. Quite a lot of money for something that should be possible way easier …

It’s a shame the power amp section of the Uniti series can’t be configured to be off when you use an external amplifier or use RCA out to another pre - I believe the older streamers allowed this.

I’ve not tested to see if the RCA out is muted when you have a headphone connected at the front.

OK, just tested and a headphone icon pops up. (I use the variable out RCA to a NAC 282 and have no speakers powered by the Nova, don’t ask but it sounds great :slight_smile: ).

A different thought but would it be feasible in software to disable the poweramp section alone leaving RCA output active. We have been assured in the past that the variable output has no significant effect on audio quality due to the way the volume is handled in the digital domain.

If disabling the power amp section alone when headphones are connected is feasible/optional allowing RCA out you could drive a headphone amp via that - plug cheap headphones in, calibrate the output volume to the headphone amp by listening, set Atom headphone vlume low so the cheap headphones aren’t audible.

Might work, question is whether or not it’s feasible.

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That was exactly what I tried first :slight_smile: It would even work with a headphone adapter, with no unwanted sound anywhere. Right now, the RCA out is muted automatically. But as there is no “mechanical mute”, I don’t see why it should not be possible to change this behavior via software.

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Unless the power and analogue output sections are all closely tied/switched by the same relay or other circuitry - if independently controlled then perhaps possible.

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