Uniti Nova vs McIntosh MA252

Hi Guys,

My main speakers are Sonus Faber Olympica I powered by McIntosh MA252 for music listening. For movies, it is connected with a Olympica Center speakers to a Denon X4300H receiver for 5.1.2 Atmos setup.

I previously went ahead with the Naim Uniti Atom & subsequently changed to a McIntosh MA252 as I bought a turntable and wanted to try vinyl. Now, I am considering going back to a Uniti Nova as I miss streaming music & also because the McIntosh does not have a HT Bypass mode for me and I do watch movies quite often too so its quite cumbersome to always have to ensure the MA252 volume is set at a specific volume for movies.

So, I was thinking which would be a better solution:

  1. Replace the MA252 with a Uniti Nova
  2. Add a RPi4 with a Topping E30 DAC to the McIntosh for streaming.

Any advise ?

You’ve got quite a high priced impressive integrated amp and to use with a comparatively cheap DAC and RPi4 would mean a weaker source compared to amplification.

A more balanced system would be the McIntosh with an NDX2. If that’s too much an ND5XS2 is a possibility.

Or you could go NDX2 or ND5XS2 with Supernait 3 which has built in phono stage.

Nova all in one is good but your McIntosh will sound better I would imagine. Nova is not going to be as good with vinyl.

A Supernait 3 would integrate well with your home cinema as it has AV bypass allowing the Supernait to drive the left and right channels while your AV processor controls the volume.

If you went for Supernait 3 and NDX2 they can also be upgraded further by adding separate power supplies.

So if you want to keep the McIntosh go for NDX2 or ND5XS.

If you think a Naim integrated would be better go for Supernait 3 with NDX2 or ND5XS.

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I’d heartily recommend the NDX2 and SN3 combination, as suggested by Dan above. You can link them together so the Naim app and NDX2 remote control the SN3. The phono stage is also very good. With those SF speakers it would be a much better match than the Nova.

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Keep the Mac 252 and get an Nd5xs2. It would be a great combo.

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I use ndx2 with McIntosh c2300 and mc275.

Nova itself is a great piece of integrated system by its own right, though. I have it for my 2nd system.

Regards,
Sourav

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It would be sad to sell the Mac 252 and get a Supernait 3, because you will loose money, and the Mac is probably even better vs the SN3. However I have not compared.
The Mac 252 with Ndx2 or Nd5xs2 will be on another level the Nova.

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I think you’re right @frenchrooster. I would keep the Mac. It’s stunning and hybrid valve. Probably better than Supernait 3. Downside it doesn’t integrate into AV system.

You can get over that. If you love the Mac keep it and get a good Naim streamer. Job done.

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Seems like the general consensus is to keep the McIntosh. I’ll take a look at the Naim steamers to perfect my system then !

One last question, to achieve the same HT Bypass feature on the McIntosh, is it as simple as turning up the volume to the maximum ?

I own a Nova. I’d say get one for a trial. It’s like the perfect unit in my opinion.

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I actually demoed a similar combo a couple months ago. I demoed the ma352 with my NDX2. The SN3 was much better, sounded better in every way. I wouldn’t hesitate going with the SN3.

There isn’t a HT bypass on the Macintosh. So you have to control the volume manually. You’ve probably got it connected to your home theatre so you’ve got this set up.

You don’t want to turn the volume up to maximum as you’ll blow your amp or speakers.

This is why I suggested the Supernait 3 with HT bypass. Or another amp with HT bypass.

In fact how does HT Bypass work in the Supernait 3 ? It essentially puts the Supernait 3 into a “full volume” mode ?

I haven’t got a Supernait 3 myself. My understanding is there is a switch on the back of the Nait and if your AV amp is connected to the AV on the back then by selecting AV on remote and switching to bypass mode then your AV receiver will control the Supernait 3 volume. There are threads on the forum about this if you do a search and some have experienced hum which they have overcome with ground loops.

Personally I use my AV amp with my home cinema kit and my music all with Naim amps. I do use the same speakers for both and use a Beresford TC7220 speaker/amp switch which enables me to switch between the two amps with two sets of speakers. I have another set of speakers in another room where I can listen to music from my main set up.

This is the thread about the potential hum and ground loop issues with using AV bypass or HT bypass.

Kind of yes. The ht bypass disables the preamp stage, so, the AV feeds the power amp section. As the volume control is made by the preamp, the only option is full volume.
In this case, you have to be careful when connecting something to the AV input, as the blast of pure energy might ruin anything in the near field.

So essentially, by putting the SN3 into HT bypass mode, is the same as me turning up the MA252 volume to the maximum ?

Not exactly but similar. HT mode expects the preamp and volume control is on the AV receiver side. So, the one in the SN is disabled and signal bypasses it.
In your case the preamp is not disabled and you can overload the one in the SN.
And there is always a risk that you connect the wrong source to the HT bypass input. Say, if you connect fixed output, you will be hit by the sound blast and max volume. If you connect a poweramp, you will burn your integrated amp