Unity Atom v Unity Star


Like a few folk on here I’m taking the first tentative steps from CDs and some streaming via iPad with Spotify etc, to a high quality fully streaming based system. So I’m just bracing myself for the inevitably slow and painful step of ripping hundreds of CDs!

I’ve been looking at Unity Atom and Unity Star, and weighing up which to go for.

Putting aside amp power etc, one of the main questions for me is whether it’s worth spending the additional £1,500 on the Star, to get the incorporated CD-player and ripping capability, or whether I could use my Mac to rip the CD collection just as effectively and with the same quality, and then achieve an interface between those ripped CDs and the Atom that would be as good as that the Star will provide?

Thanks in advance for any responses thoughts, shared experiences on this.

I’d say forget about the CD player on the Star. Rip the CDs and store them on a NAS. Cheaper, and with ripping on a computer it is far easier to edit that all-important metadata and get it right.
I’ve recently gone through a similar exercise replacing a Sonos Connect and Naim CD5si CD player with a ND5XS2 and a NAS. I don’t miss the CD player at all and love the convenience of having all my CDs available instantly from an app on my phone and not cluttering up the listening room. You might also find an ex demo Nova if you’re lucky for about the same price as a new Star, that would be worth doing

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Just had a look on google, ex dem Novas for the same price as a new Star are easy to find, in the UK at least

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Hi I have the Atom & thousands of CD’s.
I have not played one cd or needed to since streaming Qobuz @ 96/24.
I personally would save up & get a Nova. I will be soon, just need a bit more clout to drive my speakers.
My CD’s are going to be sold!



Looks like refurbished Stars are available for about the same price as a new Atom…that might be an easier save-up than stretching for the Nova!

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Additional comment:
I use my Atom (when not playing internet radio or streaming via Airplay or audio from TV via Toslink) with an external USB-Drive. (512 GB portable SSD; does not have to be extremely fast. But SSD is silent, compared to a hard drive. Could also be a stick, … depending on the volume of ripped music.)
Just copy my iTunes library 1:1 to the drive, plug into the Atom, and all music is available.
I know, there’s more advanced rippers, meta-data editors than iTunes. I also admit, that for large sizes, continuous updates, or streaming to multiple devices/platforms a NAS is a good thing.
But for me this “just works” - I don’t rip new CDs often. (When I do, I need to carry the USB-Drive to my Mac, delta-copy the new rips, and re-plug to the Atom.) - And it was cheaper to buy, uses less power, and takes less maintenance than to run a NAS.
(I don’t have other uses for NAS currently; and if I would get additional Musos or stuff, the Atom could serve the music to them as well.)

Just for consideration as an alternative.


My cd collection is also on 132gb stick ( 2 back ups also) plugged into nd5xs2

Simple answer, no, not worth it.
Ripping will be just as good and likely easier using a computer. For less than 1500 you’ll be able to buy a very good CD player to hook up to the atom.

Reasons it would be worth it:

  • One box solution (if you also want to play CD’s and not just rip them)
  • Better and more powerful amp. So also the ability to pair it with better speakers

I think the Star is worth the extra money compared to the Atom, I don’t think the Nova is compared to the Star. That’s unless your speakers could really do with some extra power, although the difference isn’t that big. Do note, that many don’t seem to share this opinion. I’m the minority here.

Atom + Tidal = Everiting I need :slight_smile:

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I have about 2000 CD’s or HiRes downloads sitting on a NAS. The vast majority are CD’s and all ripped using a MAC desktop with a Apple USB SuperDrive. The software used is dBpoweramp software to rip the CD’s. I have no complaints about the capability or performance over the past three years. Pretty much faultless. Time consuming for the initial load of CD’s but not that difficult to rip new material as it arrives.

Current System: NAS > XPS DR > NDX 2 > HiCap DR > SuperNait 2 > NAC A5 > ProAc D30RS. The model of the NAS: Synology 8TB DS716+II 2-Bay

Good luck with your decision and have fun along the way!

I have about 800 CDs. I have a Nova and a CD player in the den. I just replaced a UnitiLite in the living room with a Uniti Star and intend to rip CDs ad hoc to an attached 1 tb SSD (which already has about 100 on it) (appreciate the firmware update to recognize exFat) as I play them. Just my solution to avoid a massive ripping project. I can’t distinguish the Star from the Nova from the audio perspective; both are wonderful.

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Something I am thinking about doing is possibly going down the streaming route but unsure about as I have a large collection of cd’s and other music stored on HDD’s

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to get it all consolidated in to one place. Ripping a large collection of CDs is a bit of a chore but it is a one time job and well worth the effort to have all your digital music instantly accessible.

The main issue is though I have approx 17tb of other music on HDD’s with some really rare stuff on them so I think I would possibly need a large NAS drive (can’t say I know huge amounts about streaming so forgive any ignorance)

17TB? Good grief that’s a lot of music. How do you listen to it all now? You could get a NAS to store all that but it won’t be cheap.

A UPnP server will find music stored in multiple locations on your network, and combine them into a single library for you to browse and play. So there is no need to combine then onto a single storage device, although that’s something you could do later on if you prefer.
Most people run the server software on the same device that stores their music, but this is not a requirement.

I also have an Atom and recently took out an annual subscription to Qobuz. But there are big gaps in what Qobuz offers and I would not want to rely just on remote streaming for my listening. To take one example from the classical repertoire (one of my main areas of interest) there do not appear to be any Hyperion CDs available. Hyperion are a major player in the classical scene and many of my favourite discs are on that label. For other genres this may not be an issue, but, as usual, caveat emptor applies.


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