I have a loudspeakers system that consists of Naim DAC, Naim Supernait 2 and Focal Aria 926s (i am missing a good transport but that’s another issue).
Recently I have bought a new headset, Focal Utopia (2022 one). I have connected the Utopia to headphone out of Supernait 2 which is connected to nDAC and it sounded pretty good to me. I was thinking of ordering a new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition for the Utopia before trying it with my existing setup.
Now what i am wondering is, will it be an upgrade to use the Utopia with Uniti Atom HE? With Atom I can use balanced XLR cables, and it is dedicated to headphones, but I don’t think its internal dac is as good as the nDAC. On the other hand, I am not sure about SN2’s headphone amp.
If my current setup is better, I will think of buying a longer cable for the Utopia. Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the board. I’m actually interested in your question as well. I don’t have any headphones yet but I’m curious about the headphone amp in the SN2/3 versus the dedicated Atom HE. Separately I think the nDac DAC section is superior but the entire package of the Atom HE could be greater than the sum of its parts.
Your Utopias are rated at 80 ohms and 104 db sensitivity so your SN2 will easily drive them.
If you add a HiCap DR to your SN2 this should also improve the sound quality of the headphone output because it improves the pre-amp performance in the SN2.
Dont know how good that would then be compared to the Atom HE SQ performance as never listened to it but my experience with SN2 + Hicap DR with B&W P7 and Beyerdynamic T5 Gen 3 headphones is very good.
I trialled an Atom HE vs Hugo2 about a year ago, for my main system source as well as headphone use. I preferred the Hugo, just personal taste but I now use that direct to my headphones or output of my Supernait 3 depending on where I am in the house. There’s not much in it as my phones are easy to drive but I do prefer it through the SN3. It just adds a little extra bite to the delicacy of the chord.