Uniti Nova volume damage and protection circuits?


I was using my Uniti Nova today to listen to Soundcloud using the built-in Chromecast on the Nova. I was casting to it, and then pressed the up button on my iphone 11 pro, to raise the volume a bit. Instead, the volume went to max (I believe it actually went to 100 but I’m not sure) and the speakers immediately started clipping.

I panicked, and ran for the unit since I didn’t see the remote anywhere obvious. At this point, sound had been cut to the left speaker and was only coming out of my right speaker, but it was still full blast. I noticed something written on the Nova screen, a warning, I believe, that the sound had exceeded 96dB or something (it went by really fast) but I didn’t really take full notice because i hit the power button as soon as I could. Anyone know what this warning would’ve said?

After that, only my right speaker was working, no matter what I tried. Confirmed by playing music in the Naim app, going to audio settings, and adjusting the balance full to the right (unchanged sound) and then full to the left (basically no sound).

I then actually unplugged the speaker cables, plugged the right speaker’s cables into the left outputs of the Nova, and it still worked (but was obviously picking up the left channel of audio). So I don’t think the left stereo output on the Nova is faulty.

I did many deep sleep and restart cycles, unplugged the power and reconnected a few times, etc. Nothing worked. Eventually I switched the speakers back to the way they used to be connected, and my left speaker came back on miraculously, and sounded mostly fine except I started hearing noise and interference on the left (not the right) when trying to play a source connected to the preamp ins. Only on the left channel.

I tried a few restarts of the Nova, and sometimes, it just does not start up with any audio going out the left channel until I unplug the speaker cable going to the left speaker, and plug back in. I’m not sure if it’s a fault with the amp/Nova itself or if my speakers are blown or partially damaged.

But things have now seemed to return to a semblance of normal, and that noise hiss present on the left channel seems to be gone, although I’m never sure if the left speaker is going to work when I power the unit on without my jiggling cables in the back. I’m also noticing audio hum when playing the preamp ins (unity gain activated, using my home theatre receiver as source for the L/R channels).

Is there a way to see if the left outputs on the Nova are working, some sort of diagnostics? Is it possible to blow one of the stereo circuits? Or is it likely to be the protection circuit on the speakers themselves?

Also note, I had set my max volume on the Nova to 85 — so this should have been avoided!! Very upset that this even happened.

Does the max volume setting only apply to inputs native to the Nova (like Spotify, Tidal etc?) but not the Chromecast? It seems very dangerous to allow a remote source like a phone control the master volume, exactly because of problems like this. It makes me afraid to use this thing. I was petrified I had blown the left speaker of a set of Dynaudio Evoke 50’s, which cost me eight thousand dollars :frowning:

I think this was a software issue. The Nova played at a sane volume when I began to cast, but then when I increased volume on the phone using the hardware button, it seemed to bypass the existing volume and go straight to max, i.e. synchronize the Nova’s volume with the phone’s volume, going straight to full. Super dangerous.

Just asking here if anyone on the forums knows of anything I can do to make sure the unit is functioning correctly and to protect against this happening in the future.


The volume range is always 0-100, regardless of the max volume setting. Your 100 is just at 85% of the volume of someone having set the max to 100. It confused me as well initially. My max is something like 45 (toddler protection), but my listening volume is regularly around that, or over.

You can completely check whether the problem is the speakers or the Nova by simply plugging the right speaker into the left socket on the Nova and the left speaker into the right socket on the Nova.

If the problematic channel is now coming from the right speaker, then the Nova has a fault. If the problem stays with the left speaker then the left speaker has been damaged.

But from what you describe, I suspect that the Nova now has a fault. Once it has cooled down from any overload, it shouldn’t behave differently if you do multiple restarts and it shouldn’t make any difference whether you unplug and reconnect a speaker.

I don’t know why the volume problem happened though.



I had a similar issue with my Nova last week, where I was using my iMac upstairs and wanted to send the music downstairs as well, as I was moving around the house. As I hit the button on my iMac, the Nova went to max volume (set at 85) and the speakers (Naim Credo) were distorting madly. I ran to the Nova and spun the volume dial to zero.

Fearing there may be damage, not least to my hearing, I methodically checked the Nova and the speakers, and luckily for me all seems to be fine.

It is very disconcerting that this can happen. I noticed later that the volume in the casting part of Qobuz was at max. Did the Nova decide to match the iMac volume? I don’t know but I did wonder. I’m a lot more careful to check the source volume before I cast the music now.

@pstare, I hope you get things fixed soon.

I think this might be largely an iPhone/iOS issue which I also see with Airplay for audio from AppleTV.

I have long been annoyed that many iOS volume controls only seem to have 4 bit granularity (or less) with a 0-15 range and you’ll see the Nova’s volume jump in steps of 100/16 - so even a short press of the iPhone volume switches can cause quick swings to max or mute. Say I’m watching a movie on TV/projector in iTunes and raise Airplay volume it is very easy for it to get to a very high level.

I don’t think this is Naim’s fault but an iOS one.

Also I think from a post regarding the older platform, it was stated by Steve Harris, that it is possible for multiple connections to control the Uniti series’ volume - hence you could start playing in Roon/Audirvana then change volume in Naim app or lock screen on iOS, then flip and control using a Chromecast enabled app - soemthing that was perhaps not possible control wise on the older platform?

There is clearly a potential issue with touch devices/apps where changing from one app to another can unintentionally raise/lower volume or by user error swipoing and inadvertently raising volume quickly.

Appreciate this is all very frustrating, and I’ve been close a few times myself, though more often hitting play in Roon late at night when I had volume high in the day, and I’m scrambling to turn it down to stop waking family/neighbours.

I suppose the ideal is to set max volume very low, maybe 40%, so that a volume of 100 would only be 40%, and adjusting upwards gradually (testing with different sources as some may be louder) to the absolute loudest you’d want.

I’ve also wondered if Naim could provide an option for a slow gradual volume adjustment on the Nova itself but if that lagged behind the volume you’ve seen on a device you could still overshoot, or maybe some kind of warning if you dragged a slider very rapidly before proceeding, though it might not be feasible for things like Chromecast/Airplay.

Good point about swapping speaker cables on the Nova itself. I actually did do that, but by the time I did, the strange noise/interference problem went away. I’m still getting audio hum on the audio coming from my AVR receiver into the Nova through its pre-outs, but that may have already been there.

As for the issue itself, is the max volume setting actually applied across the board for the Nova? Or only when playing audio sources on the Nova itself through the Naim app? Would it apply to chromecast built-in, and Airplay2 audio as well?

If so, then my setting of 85 is probably still too high with the 4 ohm Dynaudio Evoke 50’s I’ve got. It sounded so bad and the left speaker immediately shut off. I should set this to lower, and am happy to if it does indeed apply across the board to all sources.

Someone however posted about sound quality degrading when you do this. I hope it’s not doing bit reduction or anything strange like that, and instead just changing the digitally-controlled range on the analog volume control. Anyone have any ideas. I don’t want to set the limit if it’ll really impact sound quality.

But if I don’t there’s a risk of this happening again.

I’m off chromecast built-in for now, the Airplay works WAY better and always shows track art and metadata. It’s annoying but I’d rather avoid the buffering problems with chromecast, and I find that volume control integration is just better on iOS devices with Airplay rather than chromecast only in certain apps.

I would probably set max volume to 50. Right now, with it set to 85, I don’t even really go beyond “55” which should be 64.75% of max. So if I set max volume to 65, then I should be able to get into the 90’s before it gets too loud for my ear, and 100 would just be 65% of max.

Unless I’m understanding the feature incorrectly?

Also assuming this max volume range does not affect inputs where “unity gain” is turned on? I.e. for the audio from my home theatre.

Yes, I believe so - simple way ot test would be to set max vol ridiculously low then see how loud you can get various sources to go.

Airplay is often frowned upon as it’s CD quality max for stereo, but it works well and a big advantage over most Chromecast implementations is that it handles gapless audio properly.

In the old forum it was noted by Naim engineers that max vol does not affect audio quality.

I’d have to assume max vol affects all inputs equally, just that if you select AV fixed volume for an input the volume defaults to ‘max vol’, and you control volume via the source not the Nova, but I’ve not tested this feature.

My experience of Chromecast is that its performance is variable across different apps, and I have a nasty feeling that Google are not rigorous in testing third party apps that want in on it. Apple have a reputation for being a PITA for making developers jump through too many hoops to gain certification, and still, there are problems. But Chromecast clearly has more problems in my experience. It never managed to fry my speakers, but a single click of an iPhone button might raise the volume of a Naim streamer by 1, or by 10 increments, depending on whether you are using it for Soundcloud, Qobuz, Deezer, Tidal, or whatever. My solution is to avoid Chromecast, Airplay and Bluetooth altogether, and use apps that are properly integrated through Naim or Roon. I still have access to more music than I could ever have time to listen to, with better sound quality and a reliable UI that works properly.

(And never forget: most mobile app devolopers are using, designing, and testing against phone internal speakers, phone headsets, or maximum some “smallish” Bluetooth speakers. All of which are built to safely operate at “max” level. These kind of tech does not expect it could damage anything, so won’t take much care about this.)
EDIT: Maybe the kind of… glitches, which you get, when you marry different worlds? :wink: / :frowning:

I’ve set my max volume on speakers and headphones to 50. Kids with smartphones in the house, so I can’t afford to take the risk. Besides it’s loud enough for me anyway tbh.

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