UnitiServe Owners - worth it?

Hi all - happy bank holiday to those in the UK. I’ve just increased my CD collection and have had some fun ripping CDs to my Mac laptop. But got me thinking - should I get a SH UnitiServe? Most of the forum posts on the US seem to be about software / ripping errors and technology issues.

Just wondering, from those that have one, would it be worth it to jump into one at this point???

TIA as always

forgot that I had another question on this one…can you now control the US with the new Naim app? Or does it still use the N-Serve tech?

The Unitiserve is old now, although mine still works flawlessly. Control is via N-Serve, not the Naim app. You only need that for ripping and editing, the Naim app accesses the music via the NDX.

If you’re using a Naim streamer, even the 1st gen, the Naim app controls that, which in turn offers you the contents of the U/Serve. Working well for me with both NDS and a ND5XS v1.

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Desktop client controls the ripping etc.

If you’re happy ripping CD’s to your Mac, I assume you’re reasonably OK with the IT side of things.
In that case, don’t go for a UuniServe.
Get dBpoweramp (ripper) on the Mac, so much better than anything else, then store the rips on a NAS (Synology or QNAP) and stream (play) using either the basic installed UPnP software, or better either Asset UPnP or Minimserver.

All the above is so much more fun, IME so much more reliable and even more cost effective.

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Won’t argue with any of above, however if you’re not a Mac User … I’ve got a Windows version of DB Poweramp … use it on the odd occasion when the U/Serve won’t read a CD … make a CD copy on Poweramp and US always seems to read OK from those.

The short answer is no. It’s old, outdated and may well become a doorstop if it goes wrong. If you are happy ripping with the computer, just get a NAS. If you’d prefer a bespoke ripper/server there are plenty out there, including Naim’s own Core.


Agree, a nice new Core would be better for sure.

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I had that though exactly…A 2TB HDD constantly spinning doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for a long term solution

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Thx for the suggestions Mike - will have a look.

I think some of the issues I’m trying to solve for can be solved with any mix of software/hardware. for example:

  1. My Mac is going to be space constrained at some point - it’s got a 256GB SSD and I have it partitioned for Windows as well (Intel-based Mac) so external storage like a NAS makes sense

  2. I’m paying monthly for external UPnP software as there’s no native functionality on the Mac

  3. Easiest way to rip RN is through Apple Music - not great at keeping things organised, album art is all over the place (most not found), some CDs don’t rip, etc, etc. A dedicated piece of software to manage music streaming would be much better

  4. Lastly, I’d rather have a dedicated box that’s Roon ready in case of future Naim upgrades.

End of the day, It’s fun to do stuff like this. Which is why some may call it a hobby?

If you buy Asset it’s a modest one off payment to buy it, and it’s one of the best upnp servers out there. We rip using a Mac, with an external CD ripper, using dbpoweramp. Once ripped to the mac, we move the music to a Qnap nas. It’s all very easy.


Hi @Maury_Finkle … I use dBpoweramp for ripping & that will (if used properly) not give you any problems with album art & the metadata. I’m not a fan of Apple/iTunes due to past problems similar to what you have. The best software for fixing your existing art & metadata problems is Mp3Tag or dBpoweramp.

dBpoweramp includes AccurateRip software which verifies rips for accuacy against www data, or you can choose Secure Rip which will copy & then verify against the CD data.
I rip to FLAC using the default (5) compression, also I rip CD’s & also & download purchased albums to my Windows laptop first just to be sure the Folder details are as I like them before uploading to my Synology NAS.

My Synology has Asset UPnP loaded & this is interface with the Naim NDX & the Naim app (iOS or Android))
Asset & dBpoweramp are from the same company ‘Illustrate’ & link to a whole raft of other software packages.
Asset includes a transcoding option (play as) to play FLAC as another codec, I play as WAV which has a small SQ improvement over straight FLAC, so I get the best sound with WAV & the storae space saving of FLAC.

There are other threads on this.

We spent several hours with three listeners doing a blind test a couple of years ago. We compared rips done my Mac to rips done on a Naim Core.

We also compared both to the same CDs played through a CDS2, and various streamed options of the same albums on Tidal and Qobuz.

The rest was NDX2/XPSDR/ 52/ SC/ 300DR/ B&W 804 D3s, and the second system for which the question was actually being asked - ND5XS2/ 82/ HC/ 250/ Neat Xplorers.

The single biggest difference heard was the degree to which the Mac rips were worse than any of the other options. One of our listeners was firmly of the view that, with just 1s and 0s to consider, that couldn’t happen - until we actually did the comparison.

The result was that I then spent hours ripping all over again on a s/h Core and shipping it to Tasmania. I had hoped for a more convenient test result but couldn’t argue with what we all heard.

I’d be wary of the really old machines whose mech may no longer be repairable, and your ears are what counts in any SQ test, but we found the results in favour of the dedicated machine very clear.


Is the HDD in the Serve swappable to a SSD? Or is that just the Core?

It’s a fixed HDD. You can use it to access other storage located on your network, but the built in drive can’t be changed.

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We bought a UnitiServe. Didn’t have it very long and the HDD failed. Cost to fix is far more than the device cost to buy.

Traded it in via the UK scheme to get discount off a Core.

Wouldn’t recommend sinking funds into such an obsolete device.


The n-Serve app is only available for Apple products (iphone, ipad) and not Android devices. Personally, I’d rip with Exact Audio Copy (free) or dB power amp (cheap). I gave up my Naim HDX ripper/server a couple of months ago for an NDX2 and now use EAC to rip any new CDs I buy.

Do not buy a UnitiServe in 2023. It’s very old tech, with limited support from Naim, and IMHO nothing to offer vs. a variety of other solutions.

You cannot swap the HDD yourself, in part because the way it needs to be formatted and the OS are not designed for the end user to manage. And as far as I know are not supplied by Naim (they certainly weren’t when the UServe was a current product).

If you MUST get a Naim ripper/server solution, get a used Core. But there are many other solutions available.

Be aware there is an internal battery in the UnitiServe. Eventually it will need replacing. This not only requires a new battery but also a (period correct) mouse, keyboard and monitor to reboot it.

It’s a good sounding server, I feed my 172XS via Naim BNC digital cable. The results are quite good.

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