Uniti Nova and USB port problem

Thank you ChrisSu. Can you confirm as a Nova owner: both USB ports should work the same? Nova manual refers allways with pictures to the front panel, so im not 100% sure if back USB port should eaven work for sticks?

Sadly on my unit when same USB stick is connected on back panel, data can not be found in either input in the app. I eaven tried to turn off server mode if it would matter. It did not.

Just wish to have first hand information from fellow owner before contacting the dealer.

I had trouble getting the USB ports to work the way I wanted to begin with. I found two things that seemed to sort it out. But I have no technical explanation to support this.

  1. Don’t fill your usb stick or drive more than 75% full.

  2. Switch OFF server mode.

I don’t know why this worked but my USB ports have been working perfectly ever since. Hope this helps.

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I formatted another stick and put only one mp3 album on it. Also disabled server mode. I noticed on my new stick that at least port is not completely dead due to blinking light it causes to the stick. But no reward.

Then another hard reset, and then: a miracle! Data was found! Now server mode is switched on again, and still rear panel USB port works fine, eaven with the original 30 gig stick.

This was the first odd thing happened with Nova after 6month ownership.

Thank you all for mental support:) I really like the community and attitude people have here.


My front and rear USB ports work the same. Roughly the same lag time from insertion to the Nova recognizing the file structure and displaying it. My Sandisk USB stick is a 250GB and I’m using about 80GB in flac format. Server mode is off.
From time to time it isn’t recognized immediately and I have to remove and reinsert it.

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The front and rear ports work the same for me.
There is a strange issue with the naming where the app and front panel display names both of the ports either front or rear but I’m not sure that is related to your issue.

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This may sound odd, but keep in mind that enabling server mode and playing the music off the USB stick through the network can sound slightly better than playing USB direct. Worth trying, in any case.


Hi Chris
Using usb mode on gen2 streamers gives a rudementary file structure.
Server mode via the usb gives a proper user interface in the Naim app with artwork and grouping by artist, album, etc.

A worthy difference. I have all my cds on a LaCie ssd (500gb plugged into front usb) which is absolutely silent and incredibly fast and sounds good.

Server mode as far as I can tell removes the need for a uniti core or other nas devices.
#lowerboxcount :slightly_smiling_face: #naimhiddengift :slightly_smiling_face:

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Teegeekay. Do you have an educated guess where that improvement is gained in SQ what you mentioned?

Is it related to the fact that server mode keeps the unit running and copper nice n warm what ever source you use, or did you ment benefits specifically for USB by doing that?

Back in the days (nait series)Naim owners were adviced not to turn off their integrated amps. It was written in the manual and part of local dealer sell pitch jargon. Now such mentions are not to be found in manuals, but dealers still give this advice. Maybe Naim does not see the difference or it is bad PR to give such official advice when the world around us is burning and begging to save energy in all ways. Who knows.

Using the Server input can be a great option as long as you can live with its limitations. If you remove the drive, which you need to do in order to add or edit the music files, the drive has to be rescanned, which takes a little while with a large collection. The same applies if you turn off the streamer.
The Naim server that runs on the streamer is also pretty basic, and may not suit everyone, depending on how you browse music.
Other than that it can be a good option for very little money.

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Saalem, no, I don’t think the benefit comes from the fact that server mode keeps the unit “warm”; I suspect it’s the general difference between USB data transfer on the one hand (including the fact that the USB socket needs to supply power to the USB stick) and Ethernet on the other. I also suspect that, in some systems, the benefit of Ethernet may not be so clear-cut.

Leaving your gear on is a whole other matter, and you can certainly test both modes on a level playing ground if you don’t switch your unit off for a few days.

As for the manuals and notes on keeping your system running: Naim still include a sentence to that effect in current manuals (eg Supernait 3). I wouldn’t attach too much importance to the fact that the “interactive” Uniti manuals don’t mention anything along those lines – IMO, these manuals were a shambles on several levels, a bloated, technically cumbersome system of providing fairly simple information.

Not sure I would agree with that. The fact that very low power consumption in standby mode is required under legislation means that Naim cannot really allow you to have the unit fully powered up, as recommended by them for optimum performance. They have pretty much admitted that server mode, or an attached USB device, is a workaround that allows you to keep the main PSU warmed up should you choose to prioritise performance over electricity consumption.

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Hi Chris, of course it is possible that keeping the unit powered up as a result of server mode contributes to better sound quality, but that will then apply to every mode of playback. Obviously, if someone has their unit set to “enter standby after x minutes of inactivity” and listens to USB direct for weeks, then activates server mode and listens to USB via Ethernet for another few weeks, they may could to the conclusion that a better SQ comes from having kept the unit warm for the latter scenario.

It’s simple to eliminate that uncertainty factor, though, and to compare USB direct vs indirect via Ethernet – either on a unit that’s been powered up for ages or one that’s just been turned on. You can even deactivate server mode for USB direct without switching the unit off if you want to keep the comparisons fair.

They have pretty much admitted that server mode, or an attached USB device, is a workaround that allows you to keep the main PSU warmed up should you choose to prioritise performance over electricity consumption.

Perhaps I’m missing something, but why would you need server mode as a workaround? If you want to prioritise consistent sound quality over energy saving, just set your unit to never go into standby. And make sure your pets can’t reach the power button :slight_smile:

It does, from the horse’s mouth:

If the display is set to “always off”, you are right - in this case you can simply disable standby and don’t need to use the server mode for keeping it warmed up. However, if the display is enabled during playback, there is a problem and this was the cause for my questions that Steve answered in the above post:

  1. If you have the display set to be enabled during playback, it does not turn off when you pause the replay, because “pause” is not considered to be the same as “stop”. Therefore, in this case it only turns off after 12 hours, which is the display timeout to prevent longevity issues. The streamer is visible to me when watching TV, so I don’t want it to stay lit up for 12 hours when I hit pause. (If, however, the album/playlist plays through to the end, then it is considered as “stop” and the display turns off after 10 minutes or so. But I can’t always do this, in particular with multi-hour playlists)
  2. To get around this, you can enable standby after x minutes. Then the streamer goes into standby after the configured time, even if the play is only paused.
  3. But then, of course, it is not kept warmed up.
  4. To get around this, Steve said to enable server mode because it allows to combine the display being on during playback, but still turning off during pause after x minutes due to standby, and still staying warmed up due to server mode.

I do agree that it’s a convoluted way to achieve this :slight_smile:

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I should really have worded my first sentence differently. Yes, of course server mode keeps the unit warmer (it demonstrably draws more power).

Saleem’s question aimed at whether server mode resulted in better SQ for USB via Ethernet owing to what is a side effect of server mode (= keeps unit warmer than auto-standby). I believe that, if you take this effect out of the equation (eg by keeping the unit powered up for a few days) and do the comparison, USB via Ethernet will sound better than USB direct and that it does so because of protocols, power management and physical interfaces.

Ah! We agree there, sorry for not reading more attentively

??? Can someone explain what usb via internet is?

In the past I used a synolgy nas on the same network via cat 6 cable.

I now have a 500gb ssd connected to front usb on nd5 xs2 and use server mode.

Why would a long cat cable or Wi-Fi to a nas be better sq?

Actually, the non-Uniti manuals still says this. (The leaflets for the Uniti don’t say a lot of things)

Edit: I see teegeekay already mentioned that

Richard, not “internet” but “Ethernet”, ie your home network. If you stick a USB stick into one of the ports on your Nova/Star/Atom there are two ways of playing the music that’s on the stick:

  1. Selecting the USB input (music played directly from the stick)
  2. Selecting the Server input. The music is pulled off the stick, fed into your local (Ethernet) network with the Uniti acting as a UPnP server offering the data to any UPnP player. The Uniti then serves the music to itself, it goes through the router/switch and back to the Ethernet input on the unit.

My bad yes intranet not internet.

Hot or cold Naim unit aside:

Ssd into Naim front or back usb using usb in app is local.

Ssd in synology nas is local.

Ssd into naim front or back usb using server mode in app is local.

Ssd in unity core is local

User interface aside what are the technical differences and pros cons of the different routes.


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