Uniti Atom + Boenicke W5 - Help me fine tune :)


I just got back in the Naim and separates game after using active speakers for a couple of years (Beolab 9s and Devialet Phantoms) and I’m very excited!

I was looking for a versatile, fun, musical and compact system and ended up with the Atom and the wonderful Boenicke W5s bookshelf speakers. The system is awesome but as always the journey doesn’t end here. So, I’m planning on doing some minor upgrades to the system, still keeping it compact and clean.

First I’m thinking about adding a REL T5i sub. How would you connect the REL to the Atom?

What would be next in line and why? What would make the biggest improvement besides switching out the Atom or the speakers. Powerline, NAP, speaker cables, HiCap?

Please help me fine tune this setup :slight_smile:

I’m not entirely sure that it’s cost effective to pimp an Atom with cables etc. If you’re not careful, you might end up spending quite a bit of cash which might be better saved towards, say, a Star or Nova.
The effectiveness of a sub is very much down to how you can integrate it into the room. By all means try it, but be prepared to experiment with room positioning of both sub and speakers. If it doesn’t work well, a larger main speaker may be a better bet.

I’m not convinced that matching €6,000 speakers with an Atom is really a great idea. A Nova with speakers such as PMC twenty5.21 is likely to give a far more satisfying result and not require a subwoofer.

Standard Naim A5 cable is all you need. I certainly wouldn’t start adding posh cables and PowerLines. If you want a REL you connect it to the back of the speakers and not to the Atom.

Thanks I was thinking about that too. I’m not going to go crazy with cables, just thinking if for example the Powerline would make any difference at all to my system. Maybe not then.

Hopefully it’s easier to get better lows with a sub rather than with bigger speakers. It’s easier to move a sub and I prefer standmounts + sub above bigger speakers for many reasons. The RELs are supposed to be awesome so I’m very tempted to try that route anyway.

You should try the combo, it sounds great :slight_smile: Why wouldn’t it be a good idea to pair an Atom with €6K speakers? I was actually thinking about the PMC for a while but ended up with the W5s.

Why wouldn’t I connect the sub to the RCA sub/out?

The Naim A5 cable works great with my Atom and it was definitely a good upgrade.

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You could connect to the preamp output, though it may be better connected to the back of the speakers. Whatever you do, don’t connect to the Atom’s speaker outputs.

What is your room size? That is a key factor for deciding which REL sub (or subs) will work in your space.

The room is quite small and asymmetrical since it’s connected to the dining area. Probably about 4,5 times 7 meters. I was thinking about the T5i since its speed is supposed to be excellent. If one isn’t enough I was thinking two t5is instead of a bigger one. What do you think?

I tested the W5SE as well with a nova and a nap250dr/nd5xs2 comination. They need, more than the w8s a very strong amp. Nova is absolutely minimum. I can‘t imagine, that the atom has enough power to drive the w5s precise. The Sound of the w5s is amazing and very special, i would be afraid, that adding a sub will destroy their fantastic harmonic sound. In my opinion Boenicke‘s are more wooden instruments than speakers. Unbelivable good work, call them the stradivari of the speakerscene…
Cheers from Germany

Do you listen nearfield or do you have a standard configuration?

In any case, I’ll share my experiences, as some of it might be helpful (although I don’t have any experience with the W5s)…

My room is a similar size. I have both a main system, and also a desktop system, in that room.

The desktop system has small, full-range Audience ‘The One’ loudspeakers, so has limited low-frequency extension. I first added a REL T-Zero, but it was too small, at least in my space. It sounded overstrained and would not integrate in a satisfactory manner. I changed it to a REL T-5, which was a notable improvement. But then I added a second T-5, and it really came on song. So with dual, left-channel/right-channel T-5s, each subwoofer expends less effort (esp. helpful with smaller subwoofers), they integrated seamlessly and expanded the soundstage.

However, for my main system, with Dynaudio F260s, I use dual vintage REL Storm IIIs. They integrate effortlessly with the bigger loudspeakers, and provide much deeper, room-filling extension. For my own preferences, using the small RELs here would not be satisfactory, even though they are totally suitable with my desktop system.

It’s only part of the story, but it’s interesting to compare the frequency response…

  • T5: In-room at -6dB: 23Hz
  • Storm III: In-room at -6dB: 16Hz

I also have a bedroom audio system with Audience The Ones. I had ended up with a spare Storm III, so figured what the heck, I’ll try it in this system. I didn’t really expect that the big REL would integrate properly with the little ‘The Ones’, but was surprised that it actually worked superbly once I got the positioning and settings of Storm III correct. It may help that the REL is much closer to the listening position than the ‘Ones’, thereby counteracting the group delay of the big, ported REL. So the Storm III has remained there ever since.

Ok, interesting. I feel that the Atom is driving the speakers just fine, but I haven’t tried a really powerful amp with the W5s. I will try and see how it compares. But the then I might not be looking at Naim, more power, maybe something like Hegel H360 would suit them and would be fun to compare with.

Regarding the SUB, hopefully it would integrate fine, it’s just going to be covering the lowest notes at very low volume. Hopefully it can “disappear” and just give the extra bottom/kick without colouring the sound.

It’s a standard configuration.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I’m definitely interested in trying dual T5is but if it’s possible I might try one of the bigger ones also if I get the chance.

It may take some patience with REL’s set up steps to get it right, but with a good match, positioning and configuration, you should be rewarded with extra extension, possibly an increased soundstage, and no ill affects.

There are differing opinions, but I recommend connecting via the high-level inputs. And you may already know this, but for Naim, always connect at the speaker terminals, not the at the amp terminals.

Correction on specs. T5 & T5/i are rated at -6dB at 32 Hz, not 23Hz. Forgive me for the sudden bout of dyslexia.

Here’s a more extensive comparison:

Survey from current (and near-current) Range

T5 & T5/i (8" down firing, sealed, Class A/B): -6dB at 32 Hz
T7 & T7/i (8" down & front firing, Class A/B): -6dB at 30 Hz
T9 & T9/i (10" down & front firing, Class A/B): -6dB at 28 Hz
S/5 SHO (12" down & front firing, Class D): -6dB at 20 Hz
Carbon Limited (12" down & front firing, Class D): -6 dB at 20Hz
212/SE (12" down & front firing, Class D): -6dB at 19 Hz
G1 Mark II (12" down & front firing, Class A/B)): -6dB at 15 Hz
No. 25 (15" down & front firing, Class D): -6dB at 14 Hz

Vintage ST Range

Strata III (10" down firing, sealed, Class A/B): -6dB at 18Hz
Storm III (10" down firing, ported, Class A/B): -6dB at 16Hz
Stadium III (10" down firing, ported, Class A/B): -6dB at 12Hz
Stentor III (10" down firing, ported, Class A/B): -6dB at 11Hz
Studio III (2 x 10" down firing, ported, Class A/B): -6dB at 9Hz

I myself have a preference for the smaller driver (up to 10"), down-firing, class A/B models. So I like the T5(/i), but am particularly fond of the vintage ST series. Only the top 2 models in current Reference Series can match the extension of the ST Series.

I have a question about that: since I have one sub (Rel Stampede), which speaker would be best to connect it to? Left or Right? Right now, because I had no idea, I made connectors which clip around the speaker banana plugs right at the terminal, so I can drive the sub from left/right signal.

You need to connect it to both speakers or you will only get the bass from the one channel directed to the sub. As I understand it, REL subs come with three wires: two go to one speaker and one to the other. As has been said above, do not connect to the speaker outputs on the amplifier. Maybe your preamp has low level sub outputs that could be used.

This is a bit of a conundrum… I can wire it from both speakers, but then the wire from one will be much longer, unless I place the sub smack between the speakers, limiting my placement options again. I have an Atom, by the way.

Also, can I then still use just one black terminal on either one of the speakers?

If I were to use the preamp output (connecting it to the LFE input of the sub), would I not run into problems with volume control?

I am also wondering, how wrong was it of me to connect to the speaker plugs at the terminal?

I’m not sure of the detail but you will have two wires to one speaker and one to the other. The Sub’s instructions will tell you. You can also take a low level signal from the preamp output, which is post volume control. You need to ensure that you use both left and right.

You are most unlikely to have caused damage, so I wouldn’t worry, but do it correctly from now on to ensure that you don’t damage the Atom.

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sorry,didn’t read all the points here…are you happy now with Boenicke and Naim? I really like Boenicke…tx!