I have recently sold all of my audio equipment with a view to acquiring a more high-end set up. I started with a pair of PMC twenty5 21 speakers which are INCREDIBLE. Next I always intended to purchase an amplifier or All-in-one so I went to my local audio shop to audition the Naim Uniti Atom and Nait 5si. I started off with the Atom because it’s a system that seemed to offer most if not all of what I wanted; feature packed, sounds great and looks awesome. However, right from the off, the salesman was having serious trouble getting the Atom to work with any sort of streaming, to the point that the Atom crashed and he was understandably embarrassed. After about 10 minutes we finally got the Atom to work and immediately I found myself having to crank up the volum to around 48/50 (half way) before any sort of excitement or soundstage would even begin to present itself. At this point I was a little concerned that I really didn’t like what was supposed to be a “hot” product! Could it be me I thought? So I listened to a few more tracks and another consistent issue for me was the serious lack of bass, literally non-existent. Track after track that had sounded incredible on my previous system and in my car etc, was on the Atom, dull.
So at this point I’m thinking oh no, that is what £2k+ buys you? Aside from all the features that we couldn’t get to work, the most important aspect, the music, really was in my opinion poor. I started to understand why so many Atoms were appearing on eBay after only being released for a few months.
We then moved on to the Nait 5si and at this point the Atom and my previous systems were my only points of reference. I thought I was asking to much of 2ch hifi and that I needed to lower my expectations.
Next came to Nait 5si and right from the outset it was engaging with incredible detail and an immersive soundstage that were all apparent even at very low volumes. All my views of the Atom were confirmed and compounded by the shear quality of the Nait 5si. I started to think that if an entry level amp for circa £1k can sound this good, relative to the Atom in particular, then how good does the Rega elicit or Naim Nait XS2 sound?
I am going to audition the Quad Artera Solus all-in-one next and fingers crossed it delivers, otherwise it’ll be the Nait 5si for me.
Now I am aware that Naim has packed a lot of features into the Atom and that a stand alone amp will often come out on top. I just wanted to share my experience and voice concerns contrary to the hyperbole that surrounds the Atom.
All I’m saying is that I really didn’t like it but you might, and given my experience you should 100% audition the Atom before buying or else you may find yourself selling it on eBay.
Before anyone wades in with technical and financial rationale for the difference in quality and any other justification that supports a purchase, the above review is based on my real world listing experience.
Just please audition the Atom alongside other products.