Uniti Nova for highish end vinyl

Hi I am new here. Nice to meet you.

I am very interested in the Nova and have heard it at a dealer in U.K. but only streaming Tidal and Spotify. I have a high end LP rig and this is an aspect that I would like to find out more about.

It is very hard for me to get to demos in Portugal where I live most of the time so hoping that you guys can give some guidance. I have been searching this site but there is little comment about using the Uniti Nova for LPs. It seems that the Nova automatically converts analogue to digital and back to analogue again. This seems strange.

Am wondering if anyone with a very good T/T and very good phono stage has compared listening to LPs compare via the Nova vs a comparable Naim amp eg SuperNait 2 or others. FYI my speakers are Harbeth SHL5.

The Nova is perfect for us on digital because of the screen and small footprint. But if LPs are compromised greatly then it’s a no deal.

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Many thanks
Dom

what is your high end turntable / cart / phono? If it’s something like Vertere, Kronos, Brinkman, SME…no integrated you mentioned will be enough. At least it’s my point of view.
A Nova is good enough for something like a rega p3 or p6, clearaudio emotion or linn majik. But a limiting factor for a 20 k turntable/ cart / phono i think.

Hi Dom I think I might be more concerned with the Nova and the Harbeths, I tried my Nova with SHL5 plus and as good as the Nova is it could not drive them well imo. Did you demo it with the same speakers?

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Doesn’t the Nova convert the analog inputs to digital? Seems a waste of a high end turntable to perform ADC and then DAC on the inputs. Vinyl is my thing so the Uniti line would not be a consideration for me. I’d rather think more along the lines of a SN3 + ND5XS2, which leaves the option of using a higher end turntable to better effect.

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Yes, that’s also my understanding from reading about the Nova in this place.

I am a vinyl guy; note the Verdier in my avatar to the left. I like the idea of the Nova for a secondary system, or a primary digital system in one box, but vinyl straight to digital seems sub optimal to me. I have not heard it so I don’t really know.

I would recommend a zigzag for now if vinyl is a priority. I have been advised to get a SuperNait3 and add a Chord DAC and Roon for streaming. This does confine you to moving magnet for the on board phono stage, but you can upgrade with an outboard phono stage later. You could get a SuperNait2 second hand and add a Stageline or Superline right away.

I tell my son and niece and nephew to stick with streaming and skip the whole vinyl thing. Go light and stay mobile. Analog requires a lot of space, time and effort, and accessories, none of which are cheap. It is hard to move and often requires an expert to set up. Of the three, two have turntables. One word from me…is one too many. They do as they please. They have minimal non-Naim equipment.

But for highish end vinyl, everything has to be optimal. A relatively expensive digital-only Nova may not be your best bet.

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Welcome to the forum @DomT.

I see your system in your profile, are you considering replacing the Marantz with Nova? Can you just add a streamer to your current system?

ND5 XS 2 (no screen but great streamer) or NDX 2 (if screen is a must). Other streamer include used NDX / NDS. Now replaced by NDX 2 and ND555.

As you mentioned already demo will be the only way for you make this decision. But as demo sounds like a hard task I wonder if there is any Star/Nova users on forum living in Portugal close to you, can you connect and help each other out. Or can you arrange a dealer in Portugal to send you a unit to demo even if you have to pay a holding fee / shipping for example. It’s a lot of money to spent and not hear it with your turntable/speakers.

I actually listened to a Star yesterday with a entry Rega turntable and it sounded great, but was it an end game for frequent use of premium turntable…No. I think Naim designed Uniti models with new customers, great sound, easy streaming and small footprint in mind.

As others mentioned above, Harbeth’ aside, and thinking of footprint, SN 3 (80W) now comes with integrated phono stage. Not sure how good the phone stage is, I doubt its premium turntable material, but better than Nova I am sure. Compromise you might accept and footprint is similar. All else fails add your phono stage to SN 3. Other option is used SN 2.

Another approach is active speakers with NAC-N272 + phone stage. But that means selling speakers etc.

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Thanks for the replies so far. Please forgive a slightly long response but it will make it easier for you to know where I am coming from.

I do not want to make a theoretical decision and discount the Nova if it sounds at least 90% of a comparable Naim amp. Hopefully someone here has tried the comparison and then I can do about a demo on my next visit to London.

I used to have Audio Research pre-power valves but bought the Marantz as my wife was too scared to damage the ARC. I don’t miss the ARC. The Marantz has less separation and heft and it’s clearly not as good but the enjoyment factor is still high.

I used to have a three T/Ts. The Raven AC/Phantom/Dynavector DRT1 compared to my custom Lenco had more detail but less drive so I sold it after 18 months because the Lenco was more fun. I seriously don’t miss anything about it at all. At the same time I also had at home an SME Model 10/SME V on trial. Clearly the SME was different to my Lenco but again didn’t displace it. If I ever wanted a smaller T/T though I would buy the 10.

At this point some of you may think that I am deaf if you are not familiar with what can be achieved with an idler. I am not into hifi detail stuff. I also have a custom Audion phono stage that made a Linn Uphorik sound compressed and lifeless in comparison (listened to at home). But again there are more detailed and quieter phono stages…

So I am happy with my vinyl front end. I am happy to compromise a bit but not to strangle the music.

But our digital adventures are very exciting because we are discovering so many new artists and the quality of the digital doesn’t really matter. We are enjoying music. I like how the Naim Nova streaming sounds but the stand alone Naim streamer does not have a screen (very important) and my total budget is c5000€ form amp and streamer.

I have no interest in upgrading and power supplies and all that stuff nor hifi attributes like imaging and sound stage. These things to me have little to do with music but there are of course many who appreciate these aspects. I value the musical performance and tone more than anything else.

Hopefully that gives you more of an idea where I am coming from and I look forward to your thoughts.

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Recently I got to listen to a Sondek/Akito/Lingo4 ( about 7kUSD-ish spec ) + Superline/Supercap* and found NOVA’s ADC excellent. ( personally I prefer this better than Urika’s AD probably due to i just love the Naim sound )

Got me thinking why Naim won’t release a one box ADC for digitising vinyl!

Good luck with your search. Nova is excellent, tho I struggled with those large volume dial on top. I am an old school. Prefer a conventional knob.

*My dealer originally had Stageline hooked up to this. But it sounded not too good so I asked to hook up the Superline. Music is back! Nova is good enough to differentiate difference in phonostage. It does not homogenise like some other.

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I have a Nova and used it with a decent spec LP12 - lingo2, Cirkus, Ittock, Troika and Stageline K - and was very happy with it. It sounded much better on vinyl than my previous Superuniti which did not convert analogue to digital. Previously I used the LP12 in a good olive Naim system - 52/SC/135s - so I know what a good rig sounds like. The only reason I went to a Rega RP3 was that I rarely play vinyl now as I love streaming so much and prefer to listen to new music more than replaying the same LPs ad infinitum.
In my opinion, based on experience, the analogue/digital conversion issue is a complete red herring - vinyl still spounds like vinyl through the Nova - Trust your ears not a spec sheet!

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With your detailed explanation and budget, I think you’ll find the Nova a great solution. It’s an extremely competent and powerful amp with a full musical sound that is fun and engaging. I run an old Rega 3 with mine and vinyl sounds just fine.

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Thanks again. Some good encouragement there for vinyl on the Nova! Anyone else?

I have Avid Diva 2 with their Pulsus phonostage.
I’ve had other recorders like Rega Planar 6, Goldnote, Well Tempered, etc. My experience is that the better recorders I connect to Novan, the better it sounds. I am very pleased with how my Nova sounds together with my Avdid diva 2. It is fascinating sound. Very analogous to emotion and magic. What I thought was important is which signal cables are used between Novan and Pulsus and Avid Pulsus. I have experimented with many and there were huge differences in audio experience. Right now I’m using a silver cable braided with cotton insulation. (DIN Switchkraft and RCA Furutech CF-102 R) interconnections. The cable is made by Svalander Sweden.


Naim Nova has high potential with the right turntable and the right signal cables. I’ve had the Classic series before and I won’t be back to it.

Greeting Vladimir

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I use my LP12 with a Rega mm pre and high output Dynavector MC cartridge through my Star and am very happy with it. I moved to the Uniti because I no longer wanted lots of boxes, so got rid of my 32.5 with 72 boards, Hi-cap and 140. The star sounds better than this classic set up and the Nova would be even better.

Paul, I have edited your post. Please ensure you have read and understood forum rules. Thank you.

Thanks everyone for the replies. It’s been very useful to get these examples and opinions. One point that someone made was that Naim made a great ADC. Was just wondering if it was possible to record LPs to hard disk as is possible with CDs? Anyone tried this? Thanks

Dom, you need dedicated software for A to D recording so not within the current capabilities of the Nova. Best done through a dedicated recorder or through a computer and good quality sound card or USB device.

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Thanks Richard I was hoping that it was possible as it it for CDs. That would have made it much more interesting like the NovaFidelity range.

At the moment for the price of a new Nova you can buy an NDX/SN2 and have an excellent streamer and an excellent one box amp with dedicated analogue inputs.

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No disrespect to those of you with vinyl / Nova set ups but turning the analogue signal of a turntable to digital and then back from digital to analogue again seems a bit strange.

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