Naim’s Uniti Atom is an all-in-one system replacing the award winning Uniti Qute 2, it features UPnP, hidden wifi antennae, CD playback, amplification and a full colour display in a single box.
Naim’s new exclusive streaming board is a co-design introducing Naim’s design philosophies into an existing design to shorten the development time for this eight-layer board and to ensure approvals of the various key features.
Naim’s research indicates more customers even of its NDS high-end streamer are choosing to use Tidal and Spotify. Partnering allowed Naim to add its expertise in audio board layout and also to move the digital connectivity to I2S over LVDS meaning the digital signal has the benefit of a separate clock signal resulting in lower jitter.
Low voltage differential signalling allows digitals communications with high accuracy but with a very low radiated field. Given the mixed analogue/digital nature of network players keeping radiated fields as low as possible is an essential.
State of the Art Wi-Fi
New Uniti Atom has significantly superior Wi-Fi capability (802.11b/g/n/ac) that is five times faster and much more stable compared to the original platform. The Wi-Fi processor supports 2.4 and 5GHz speeds making it the best in the market. Alongside this, all have a much larger internal buffer and memory resulting in far fewer dropouts compared to the old platform that could only store up to a minute’s worth at CD data rates. The Uniti systems have a patented hidden and integrated Wi-Fi aerial behind a slot machined in the heatsink between the fins.
New Uniti delivers bit-perfect CD ripping to create accessible files that can be served to any UPnP streaming system on the network. The system uses the designed in EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software to extract the files which can be stored as WAV or FLAC lossless files.
Uniti’s internal databases allow easy transfer of your music library to your preferred storage devices. Uniti Atom incorporates an option to plug in a USB CD-ROM drive and rip to an HDD in the other USB socket. The database has a limit of 20,000 tracks.
A/B Class Amplification
Uniti uses Class AB amplification, with technology derived from iconic NAIT integrated amplifiers. A/B is costly to implement and has many technical parameters to overcome especially in highly packed cases but in spite of these challenges, it was selected to offer best musical performance. Uniti Atom uses a combination of hole film capacitor and SMD. The power amplifier sections have been updated with substantial transformers and run from linear power supplies.
The power supply for the power amplifier sections was also further increased to the biggest linear size that would fit. When in standby a relay switches over to small SMPS to bring power consumption within regulations. On power up this SMPS is completely out of circuit electronically and mechanically.
DSP & DAC
The new Atom features an incredibly powerful new 4th Generation 40-bit SHARC DSP processor, the ADSP 21489 capable of 2700 MFLOPS running at 450Mhz. The SHARC processor implements Naim’s RAM buffer (first used in the DAC and NDS and called zero S/PDIF) then 16 times oversampling and digital filtering. The oversampling and digital filtering software in the DSP is Naim written.
This allows the digital filter section in the Burr Brown DACS to be bypassed delivering significant sound quality improvements. All three new Uniti player products use premium Burr Brown DACs and analogue filter sections and output stages constructed from similar high-end components to those in their respective preamplifier sections. Using an extremely powerful SHARC also allows for future updates both in performance, formats and features.
The heart of any good preamplifier is the volume control. Uniti Atom has a digitally controlled analogue volume control. It provides an interface directly with the buttery smooth and beautifully illuminated top surface volume control, first conceived for Statement. The illuminated volume segments are reflected in the same fashion on the remote control and will adjust accordingly on the top surface ring if the volume is changed remotely.
HDMI Audio Return
HDMI is the 21st Century’s SCART lead, it carries video, audio and control signals but where SCART was analogue, HDMI uses digital technology. HDMI ARC carries the digital audio signal. Plug a HDMI cable from the TV’s HDMI ARC connector to the Uniti and whichever input on the TV is selected the TV sound will be sent digitally to the Uniti and Uniti will decode (PCM Stereo only) and play it.
The HDMI cable will also send TV remote control volume commands: the TV remote will control the Uniti’s volume control making the process easy for the whole family to use. It can also control the inputs of Uniti, for example: turn on the TV and Uniti will turn on and select the HDMI ARC input automatically.
The HDMI inputs on Uniti Atom is galvanically isolated to ensure that noise from the TV power supply or indeed any other devices connected to the TV do not affect the Uniti’s performance when playing any source.
New Uniti all-in-one players can be controlled via the supplied remote control, or via the Naim Control app for iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android. The Control app puts a world of music at your fingertips. If you have other Naim streaming products on the same network, you can select rooms and enable party mode directly from the app.
The new range improves dramatically over the original Uniti range concerning updates. The new Uniti all-in-one players feature wireless updates that are controlled via the Naim app. The app will notify the user when an update is available, the user can accept, at which point the update will commence seamlessly
RF Remote Control
All aspects of Uniti’s design were considered holistically, including the design of a new bi-directional remote control. Very early on R&D realised that passive IR remote technology was not going to deliver the targeted intimacy. So, a ground up solution, both from a technological and a user point of view was sought and found with the bi-directional remote control. Beautiful white backlit buttons, a round volume display with segments that light up in harmony with the volume knob on the player and easy pairing to any Uniti player, the remote is an intrinsic part of new Uniti.
Materials & Fabrication
The material choices and the construction solution were crucial for new Uniti and are in complete service to the thermal and electrical requirements placed upon the internal componentry; in order for electronic components to perform at their very best, Naim approach the design of our mechanical enclosures in a very unique way.
Naim’s four engineering fundamentals of circuitry, space, purposeful materiality and technology played a huge part: each component of the Uniti system case has been rolled or extruded and then machined with computer controlled, liquid cooled numerically controlled cutting equipment (CNC) for absolute dimensional precision. The substantial side heat sinks present in all Uniti products are directly coupled to the individual product floor pans to provide excellent thermal contact and heat transfer. This ensures that heat is removed from the circuitry quickly and efficiently, especially when the amplifier is operating under heavy loads. Thermal stability ensures consistent performance and long component life, two key parameters to Naim design.
The 15mm top plate covers present on all products are CNC fabricated, brushed and cosmetically anodised to offer a beautiful muscular appearance as well as tough scratch and dent resistant cladding suitable for the many years ahead. An amalgamation of beautiful design and delicate engineering, the precision CNC machined volume knob sub assembly delivers absolute volume control and is a joy to use. The thick aluminium wall sections absorb unwanted vibrations and help protect the core internal electronics from detrimental magnetic influences. Even the mounting of the printed circuit boards to the chassis is controlled to limit the effects of microphony upon the components.
Over the last forty years Naim has been honing a minimalist purity in the design language of its electronics. Recently they have explored the limits of this language in the statement amplifier which truly represents the pinnacle of Naim design and engineering. So the intention has always been to draw on the precision and purity of their wonderful black boxes and to never lose sight of their function and purpose whilst at the same time looking to stretch the visual identity so that they discover and express purity of form, as well as performance in the product language. The aim with the new Uniti all-in-one players has been to raise the bar of every single feature and design aspect.
New Look Design
All functional elements are as embedded into the core design DNA of Uniti as much as possible. The CD slot feature is presented as a bold split line, the display is presented as a whole cheek, the heatsinks are captured within the overall footprint and the logo bar embedded into the base.
The combination is a visually clean, beautifully finished enclosure built to the highest levels of precision. The end result is the perfect amalgamation of where we as a company have come from and where we are going. Hand build products designed and manufactured in Salisbury to provide many years of musical satisfaction whilst being completely in tune with the demands of the modern music lover.
New Uniti Atom uses antennae to connect to various sources. Naim engineered a system of housing flat aerials into a specially machined slot in the heatsinks at the side of the machine. What seems like a simple process is actually tremendously complicated as the mechanical dimensions of the slot have to work together to fine tune the Wi-Fi frequencies. There is also an additional Bluetooth antenna underneath the central dial. The end result of both of these features is a seamless aesthetic that doesn’t lose any of the connectivity that we strove for at the beginning of the process.
Full Colour Displays
With this range Naim wanted to deliver total connection to the user’s music collection. A very high grade full colour display provides rich imagery of album artwork and content. The screens have proximity sensors and thus will wake up as someone approaches the machine to display music data, audio input information and more. There is also a selection of front panel convenience buttons, including Favourites, Stop and Play.