Well done Naim - a story about a friend’s Atom

My friend is a music lover but definitely not an audiophile. She was never really particular about the sound quality of her music, but really appreciated all things looking sharp and with class.

I introduced her to the Muso QB2 and she instantly fell in love on how it looked. Without even hearing it, she bought one. She bought it for the good looks, and when she heard it play, was impressed with it. To her the looks took center stage, while the sound quality was just icing on the cake for her.

Last December, I mentioned to her about the Atom. I told her that it would give her proper stereo separation and all those “audiophile” stuff. As expected she was just ho-hum about the things I said and inquired a simple question; “So how does it look?”. I showed her some pictures of the Atom from the net, and mentioned the functionalities of it. Her eyes lit up, and she said “I want one!!!”

I delivered the Atom to her and lent her my old Mourdant Short bookshelf speakers. Upon powering up the Atom, updating its firmware to 3.8.3, and connecting it to her network, we started playing music. She was impressed and said “This is such a beautiful work of art! I love it!” She did not comment anything on how it sounded. It was all about the stunning looks. I left it at that.

A month has passed, and now she is hooked not only with the looks, but has really appreciated what I was mentioning from Day 1 about stereo separation vs. the QB2, and the enjoyment of having quality sound reproduction. Last month, we initially put the Mourdant Shorts on shelves, and now I was surprised to see them on dedicated stands in the middle of the room as she has started experimenting on the rule of thirds in speaker placement. She is now contemplating getting new speakers and cables. Our discussion has now graduated from mere looks of the Atom to how to maximize sound quality.

So there you go, a non-audiophile turned audiophile because of the Atom. It was originally purchased merely for its looks. But given its stellar performance, even the uninitiated can and will be able to appreciate the Atom.

Yes, Naim really did their homework in conceiving the Atom. This may be brand’s answer to entice music lovers and convert them to audiophiles. The Atom may be the entry point…. what’s next, proper separates…. NSC222….?


I think that you ought to line up a home demo of a Solstice (if you can find one unsold) and a full 500 Series set with the biggest loudspeakers that her listening room can accommodate.

And don’t hang about!

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I’ve helped friends and family set up starter Naim systems for years. These “mere-mortal’s” think you need golden ears to appreciate hifi. They are pleasantly surprised when they hear a proper hifi for the first time, you can see the emotional reaction on their faces. We all have the capacity to enjoy music, our hearing is better than most realize.

The hifi industry does a great job scaring people off with snobbery and aloofness. The Muso and QB are great gateway products into the magic of HiFi. I bet Naim has ROI numbers to prove this.


Great to hear she is happy with her system.

I have owned Naim gear since the 1980s and still don’t consider myself an audiophile. Never been sure what makes you one?


How about a long time listening and enjoying the piece of equipment she has bought?


I think we buy with our eyes, I once a pair of Ruark Sabres with lovely cabinet work .

Bought them unheard , to the dealer’s bemusement. Never regretted it, until I gave them away -to someone who blew them up


Statement is just a really big Atom after all, if they have the room for it, just get that and put the Atom in the kitchen?


So true. I was scared away for a few months but luckily persevered.

Unfortunately she hates traditional looking black boxes and prefers flashy looking things. But who knows, now with her seriousness in sound reproduction, she may now prioritize sound quality over looks….

So true on the snobbery. I too was intimidated in visiting high end stores when I was starting out decades ago. Resellers in our area had this high and mighty attitude before since there were very few stores. It has improved a lot nowadays due to competition and resellers now are more friendly even with new customers. But yes, I still hear some newbies feeling a bit uncomfortable entering music rooms of stores with serious looking audiophiles auditioning expensive gear.


That’s the plan, she has no intention in upgrading or changing the Atom (as far as I know) but wants to buy her own pair of speakers as the Mordaunt Short speakers is just a loaner from me.

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True, I too am guilty in buying with my eyes. I once bought an Audiomeca Romance/Romeo turntable without auditioning it just because I liked the looks :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I have a ClearAudio Emotion , bought in part because of it’s looks.

Both the Ruarks and the ClearAudio showed good design is more than skin deep , and provided sound I was very happy with/ am very happy with


Hi @fdm that’s a nice story and I’m a bit surprised at some of the sarcastic comments about it. When our children come to visit us, I also always hear a lot of interested feedback about our system (with Unity Atom). With the right set-up (matching speakers, speaker stands, cabling etc.) it sounds really very good. I’m happy when someone gets excited about music and hi-fi with a new system. It is a piece of life culture and a beautiful hobby.


An audiophile is the person who asks to look behind your system and remove your speaker grilles when they visit. They are to be avoided at all costs. The OP’s friend seems to have things exactly right. It should be perfectly possible to enjoy music on an Atom and a suitable pair of speakers, without the need to think ‘what next?’


Agree HH entirely and for this reason the poor lass should be kept well away from this forum! :smile:

Now that is definitely an artistic approach to speaker placement!

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Exactly what I was thinking. To already go to the “what’s next” question 2.5 months after buying an Atom gets all red flags waving. The path to the dark side.

Story of my (audiophile) life :grinning:

Purchased a Uniti Star merely for its look (and just so that my old CDs collection don’t end up in dumpster), now awaiting for my (almost) 500 Series being shipped all the way across seven time zones from Salisbury to my home :crazy_face: