UnitiQute1 to NAC272 - Sonic improvement I should expect

I’ve put on my tin helmet for the possible abuse my question might solicit - “dumb questions” apparently don’t exist. Lets test:

If I upgrade from my UnitiQute(1) [which otherwise is the streamer to my NAP140(pimped) >SBL’s ] to a NAC 72… what in actual real terms do I expect to hear as improvement. Fully appreciate the cost differnetial on the boxes but interesed to know what I might expect? Obviously I create an upgrade path with PSU and superior NAP however that is ‘future’ and I’m keen to better convice the finance committee

In the past, I Connect a Qute to a 72/hc/140.
It was good.
But when I put a nDac between Qute and 72.
It was very good

A s/h Atom? I think you are intending to still use the Qute as the streamer so why not upgrade the source/pre/power together. You could buy an HE and still use the 140 if you wanted. The Qute’s limitations are not just as a pre/power but as a source too. Plus the screens tend to die!

I went from Qute to Atom. Class difference. The Qute was decent but for the money the Atom is exceptional.

The 72 route will also deliver better sound, but you’d still have to address the source in my view. Plus a p/s for the 72. I think an Atom woud give a naked 72 a run for the money. Different but not worlds apart? Never done it back to back but that would be my thought.


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Currently my Qute MK1 (new screen 2018) is acting as the streamer and pre-amp. Hence I am looking at the (currently crashing in value) NAC N 272 which I think is limited to being a streamer AND pre-amp. Then my NAP140 providing the power

Overall then I am looking at the idea of upgrading my source (streamer) and pre-amp… and wondering what this might bring to the party above the Qute Mk1

Just checking, the NAC72 and NAC272 are very different preamps, do you mean the 272 in the subject title and initial post?


OK, 272 not 72. Totally different option.

You might like to edit the references to modded kit too, before the moderator does. See the Forum rules.


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The 272 has both digital and analogue line out, so you can use it as just a streamer/DAC into a separate preamp, or just a preamp with separate analogue or digital source. So no, it’s not limited.

As you have SBLs, changing to a 272 will make better use of your power amp and speakers. At the moment the limitation is definitely the Qute; good as it is it’s not in the same league as the 272 or 140 or SBLs.

Unless the 140 has been serviced in the last 10 years, to get the most from the 272, you’ll really need to get that done; an unserviced 140 will limit the sound more than a 272
A 140 in good working order is not that far behind the 272 in overall sound (it’s a little better in some ways but not so good in some others - it’s a reasonably balanced coupling, although the natural partner for the 272 is a 250DR).

We would expect (in no particular order):
Better defined bass (more attack, better distinction between bass instruments)
Better sense of organisation in the sound, less muddled.
Better separation of tonality of different instruments
Clearer subtleties in vocals
Better distinction & organisation of backing vocals
Hearing new things in familiar tracks that you simply didn’t know were there!

The better the source material the greater the improvement. For instance you won’t get a big improvement of resolved detail in MP3s or Spotify, because the detail has already been lost in the compression!

We should however declare that, personally, I’ve never been a fan of SBLs they never sounded quite ‘right’ to us.


Thanks! This was exactly the answer I was seeking.

Finally to note I retained my Nsub and have that spliced into my L and R speaker cable for some added bass.
Ideal world I’d add a 272, upgrade to chrome 250 (serviced) and maybe a PSU.