Unity Star versus Unity Nova

Hello: This may have been addressed but I have a slightly different set of questions.
Two key differences between these two units are: power amp (Nova with a bit more power) and CD player (with the Star).
My questions are: 1. is the difference in the power amp significant since I would like to have the CD ripping drive in the Star?
2. Would the Star have adequate warmth in a big high-ceilinged great room without sounding hollow/dead? The idea is not to play the unit on high volume as this is a living/kitchen/dining all combined room.
3. Final question, what would be a good pair of speakers (bookshelf on stands or small footprint floor standing) for the Star without breaking the bank? I assume these speakers would work equally well for the Star and Nova. I doubt I will play my vinyl through this unit. I listen to mostly jazz, some western and Indian classical, and rock and roll.
Thanks very much.

Welcome to the madhouse, that are a lot of questions @promothes

First of all, the Uniti Star and Nova are 2 completely different designs, not just a bit more power with the latter. If you have a possibility to rip your CD’s with something like a PC, I’d certainly would try to stretch for the Nova.

There is nothing more personal than speakers … just do a quick search here on the forum to see what speakers other members use with their Star or Nova … quite sure that the usual suspects will show up … Dynaudio, PMC, Neat, etc. :wink:

Hi Promothes, and welcome to the Naim club.
I faced your decision 3 years ago when I decided to downsize my Naim system and go for a one-box solution. I previously had CDX, 200/202 and hicap. I did an audition of both Star and Nova.
I did notice the difference between the Star and my previous system, but not so much the difference between the Star and the Nova. I have over 500 CDs, and didn’t want to lose that capability, so I chose the Star. Yes, the overall sound is not as “rich” as my old system, but it still sounds fantastic. To be honest, I hardly use my CDs as everything I have has been available on Tidal anyway, but it’s good to know I still have that backup. I haven’t bothered ripping my CD collection, but again it’s good to know I have that option.
My speakers are Wilson Benesch Arcs, which are over 15 years old. Possibly a bit big/expensive for what you’re looking for, but equally capable with my old and new systems.
In summary, I expect most people here will advise you to go for the Nova, but I wanted to give you the benefit of my experience. Many will question my decision to downgrade, but I am very happy with the Star’s sound quality, and also happy not to suffer from “upgradeitis” anymore.
Good luck with your decision.


Welcome to the forum. I am sorry having to say this, but read here before buying a Star for ripping:

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I have auditioned both, and found the difference quite small. Not worth the price difference. Also appreciating the CD drive I went with the star.

Having said that, the speakers of course play a role here. Some speakers might simply appreciate the extra power more than others. I have B&W 702s2 in case that helps.

Are they? The pictures on the website seem to suggest they are very similar in design. Which would also make sense from an R&D and manufacturing pov. They were released at the same time after all.

Not sure what differences there are other than power, but evidence seems to suggest they’re not completely different designs.

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I bought the Unity Star, never tried ripping CDs with it (though would like to try and record some streamed music sometime), nor have I listened to the Unity Nova (so can’t help much there). What I can say is that I bought two no-name surround sound speakers from a high end TV/Video shop based upon their recommendation only and have been very happy with them, never once thinking that I should have spent more on them. Not like my analogue rig where I have changed everything (in part or whole) on several occasions.

I had a Star and two PMC db1 speakers for about two years. DB1 are Currently about £500. Used.
Sounded great but then as so often I got the itch to try other black boxes and it was traded in.
I transferred about 400 cds to an external drive without much trouble.
Sometimes you had to search for the artwork.
95 pc jazz.
Highly recommend.

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Couple of years ago I ran a Nova and a Star in different systems, after about 6 months I changed out the Star for a second Nova. The Star is good but the Nova is better, it’s not just the extra 10W, the Nova has a larger transformer providing better current delivery.
In terms of speakers a large number of options as others have mentioned, Neat, Proac, PMC, Spendor, B&W etc.

I have the Star paired with a pair of Neat Iota Xplorers. These are really small floor speakers but The sound is really good.
I recommend you get a home demo with several speakers if possible

I auditioned all three of the Unity units, spent most of my time between the Atom and the Nova. Decided on the Nova based on the sound more headroom for sure. Checked the units out on both B&W stand mounts and the Focal Arias. For me personally I liked the Focals.
I had already ripped my cd collection to my Mac mini so I didn’t need the built in CD player in the Star. Turns out 90% of what we listen to is either streamed or vinyl.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my queries. I think I know what I am leaning toward. Anticipating a Nova, I started ripping some of my CDs on a USB using MacAir. Now when I connected the USB to my Arcam CD/network player, Arcam did not recognize the music (although it did play Rolling Stones magazine’s top 500 songs that I downloaded from their site a couple of years ago from the same USB). Could someone explain what’s going on? Is the MacAir the problem or Arcam the problem? Would the Nova then pose a similar problem, that is, not recognize the music on a USB ripped using a MacAir and copied onto the USB?

Thanks again.

…when you ripped the CD’s using the macair was it in a format that is supported by the Arcam CD/Network player?

I rip with iTunes/Music on macOS, and my Nova reads all formats “preferred my Apple“ (AAC, ALAC) just fine. (And the whole current platform from Naim has the same capabilities here.)

i found the nova a more muscular darker presentation than the star, kind of like an xs nait vs a supernait. just a bit more control and drive.

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Don’t know which Arcam Network player you are using.

My Arcam AVR850 supports various formats, but the only Apple one there is AAC (MPEG-4), which is lossy. Plus the usual suspects MP3, FLAC, WAV etc

Looked online and the Arcam CD/SACD/Network player I looked at supported AAC (lossy) and AIFF (lossless).

Check the format of the files you have ripped. There are, as you probably already know, applications to convert one digital format to another, so you could convert unusable files, or just re-rip the CDs using a compatible forma

I used my Arcam to stream from my NAS for a couple of weeks while my NDS was away having a new display fitted. I use FLAC, and it worked perfectly, although my NDS was undoubtedly preferable.

If you’ve only just started ripping CDs (so not too much wasted time), you might be better off starting again using a programme like dB PowerAmp.

This allows you to rip direct to FLAC files (or Wav, which some prefer) which tend to be the most user friendly lossless files for streamers to recognise.

dB PowerAmp also lets you do multiple rips of the same CD - so you can rip straight to you main storage device , and to your back up, plus an MP3 for use in the car etc.

There is other ripping software out there too.

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Exactly that. I have both and would always prefer the Nova in the main System.

Speakers: I had Dynaudio Contour 1.3 they played great.

I heard Spendor A4 and Linn Majik, both are great with Nova. I chose the Audio Physic Classic 25, for me and my room the Perfect Match

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Thanks to everyone again. Yes, I figured out the problem. I have a discontinued but as good as new Arcam CDS27 network player. I checked the manual for the media formats. It does accept WAV and AIFF among others. The problem was the setting on my iTunes on my MacAir, which was set at Apple Lossless. Arcam does not seem to read these. So yes, I will re-rip the CDs while I am idling. Cheers.

Did exactly the same downsize, but went for Nova instead.

I wanted the flexibility of internet radio, needed to reduce box count - very happy :laughing:

I had my CDX 2 serviced and changed to digital input, it’s a one way trip . The key for me was the Powerline which uplifted the Nova’s performance .

I still have my NAT 03 - and that too is good, not as good as my Magnum Dynalab but still very good

did you think the power line showed improvement over the lite version that comes with the Nova? I too have down sized from NAP 200, NAC 202,etc etc £15k sold it all off two years ago and just came back. I was going for the Atom but changed it for the Star, had it three weeks and just couldn’t get to grips with the CD player being half baked, gaps and dropouts in all the rips so I am now the proud owner of a Nova as of last week. Big step up in sound, running with Meta’s and REL TX/7. I am feeding the Nova with a Audiolab Transport as I have over 2000 CD’s some not on any streaming site and to be honest I like to load up a CD. What are you running with for speakers?