Using Atom HE as a streamer only

The moderators may wish to move this post to the Streaming Audio category although despite the title I think it’s more about Hi-Fi than streaming.

I have a CD 555 and NAC552 and would like to add a streamer but only have half a free shelf on my equipment rack. I don’t wish to trade my CD555 fro an ND555 before anyone suggests I do so. An Atom HE would fit but how would members suggest I controlled the volume? I understand that the pre-out on the Atom is variable only and cannot be fixed. Is there a setting in the app I could use? Should I use Unity Gain on the 552 and control volume solely using the Atom and app? Are there any alternative similarly sized streamers I should look at? I don’t have room for a separate streamer and DAC.

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I use my Atom HE all the time connected to a line input on an integrated amplifier. Simply set the HE output level fairly high–I use 85–and it sounds fabulous. Some people here worry about an “extra preamp” in the circuit, but it’s a non-issue in my opinion. And you don’t need to worry about blasting your headphones when shifting to headphone output, as that circuit automatically saves its own separate output level.


Its a brilliant device.


Would an Nd5xs2 fit in your rack?
It’s only a streamer, without headphones and pre functionalities you apparently don’t need.

Thanks. And having set the output level n the Atom at 85 are you then using the volume control on the integrated amplifier to adjust volume to suit what you want? I agree that an “extra preamp” is something of a first world problem but Unity Gain would fix the volume on the 552 and might be a more elegant solution for me. Just wondered if there were other options.

I know. I’ve got a non-HE Atom in another room.

Sadly not. An Atom would only just fit so would need to be no bigger. And I don’t need the pre functionalities but if I did go down the Atom HE route I might find myself looking at headphones but that would be a bonus rather than essential.

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Yes, I use the volume control on my integrated amp. I wouldn’t use the AV bypass—enjoy the magic of the 552 sound, which flatters inputs of all sorts.

Do others agree that using Unity Gain on the 552 and controlling volume on the Atom would sound worse than a set volume on the Atom and using the 552 to adjust volume? The 552 cannot improve the signal from source; it can only interfere with it less than other amplifiers.

Just used my UnitiQute as a streamer into my Nova

If that sounds daft, I bought the UnitiQute simply for it’s DAC functionality and attached it to my Sky Box, so that I have a high quality signal to the Nova from my Sky box

In a fit of boredom this afternoon , I tried the streaming function and the Nova as a straight amp.

Worked fine -it’s on about 85 for output

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I can’t help thinking that there must be non-Naim streamer/DACs that are a suitably small size and wouldn’t have you paying for a load of redundant features, like an amp! I’m not actually sure what that would be if you’re looking at Atom prices, but it’s something I would be looking into. It’s not as if the Atom is a visual match.

Moon Neo mind 2 comes to my mind. All in one streamer/ dac. Little size.

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I use my Atom as a source through a NAC 82, with its volume set at 50, fixed at that level, and then use the volume knob on the 82 to add volume. The upshot volume wise is that I have the 82 up at the 10 o’clock to 11 o’clock level, whereas the CD rarely goes above 8 - 8.30. The reason for the Atom was that if I did or didn’t like streamers, as a self-contained unit, it would have been very versatile to repurpose. However, I have found it to be really excellent as a streamer, and as my space for it is also a shoebox size, it ticks all the boxes. When I first wanted to try this, others on the forum had already done this with positive feedback. It is a great device.

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Amazing news I did some research following Chris’s idea above, and other streaming solutions do infact exist!

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Who’d have thought it! I’m aware of a few small streamer/DACs such as the Bluesound Node, Innuos Zen Mini and a couple of Yamahas, but they are much cheaper than an Atom, so I thought the OP might set his sights a bit higher given the quality of his system. Do tell…….


No DAC I think???

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That’s great to know. I know it can be done, just trying to work out how best to do it!

An ND5 XS2 wouldn’t need to be on a rack, it could even be in a cupboard if you could get internet to it and run the output to the 552, as it doesn’t rely on a screen or remote. Otherwise, as Chris recommends, a shoebox streamer.

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No, this would be a second equal or third source after CD +/- vinyl. It would be for albums I didn’t already own, so while I would want decent SQ, aesthetics and functionality at least as important. So completely open minded about ChrisSU’s suggestions. Had already looked at the Bluesound options.

Given the quality of your system, how much cash are you prepared to throw at this? Also, what streaming sources do you want to use. I’m trying to think outside the box here……