Naim Uniti Atom £1799

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

Rarely does a prod­uct look and sound as good as the Uniti Atom. No won­der, then, Naim is pick­ing up its sec­ond Award to mark its ex­cel­lence.

The Atom is truly a tri­umph of de­sign. From the im­mea­sur­ably pleas­ing cof­fee-coaster vol­ume dial on the roof to its full-colour LCD front panel dis­play and su­perb build qual­ity, Naim has nailed the cross­over be­tween life­style prod­uct and premium hi-fi.

You may see this unit be­ing de­scribed as a streamer, but to do so is to do it some­thing of a dis­ser­vice. In ef­fect it’s a sys­tem, to which you need only at­tach a suit­ably tal­ented pair of speak­ers.

It con­sists of 40W of Class A/B am­pli­fi­ca­tion (de­rived from the Nait in­te­grated amps), and around the back are speaker ter­mi­nals, eth­er­net and USB in­puts, a sin­gle dig­i­tal coax­ial and a pair of dig­i­tal op­ti­cal sock­ets, and two ana­logue con­nec­tions.

One is an in­put with switch­able sen­si­tiv­ity (1, 2.5 or 6v) and the other an out­put in case you feel like adding a power amp. For £100 Naim will add an HDMI in­put, which should give your TV sound a sig­nif­i­cant shot in the arm.

Be­yond those phys­i­cal con­nec­tions, the Naim has Google Chrome­cast, Spo­tify Con­nect, Tidal and in­ter­net ra­dio on board, with fur­ther wire­less en­joy­ment avail­able via Air­play and aptx HD Blue­tooth. It’s all con­trolled via the sen­si­bly laid-out re­mote con­trol or equally log­i­cal Naim con­trol app.

Open the door

Once up and run­ning, the Atom is an ab­so­lute treat to lis­ten to, no mat­ter what the source or ma­te­rial. Bal­anced, dy­namic and ex­pres­sively de­tailed, it com­bines just the right level of at­tack with an open and even-handed at­ten­tion to the en­tirety of the fre­quency range.

The Atom is like open­ing a door and now lis­ten­ing to the mu­sic from in­side the room. There’s a level of de­tailed ex­pres­sion here that ri­vals can eas­ily miss, mis­tak­ing non­cha­lantly ca­sual de­liv­ery for pedes­trian bore­dom. And to say it sounds lean does not mean the Uniti Atom is lack­ing weight; it just doesn’t carry any fat.

Tim­ing was a forte of the last gen­er­a­tion of Naim’s all-in-ones, so we’re pleased to find none of it sac­ri­ficed this time around. Play Sergei Rach­mani­nov’s Pi­ano Con­certo No1 in F-sharp Mi­nor and the Naim is en­tirely un­fazed by the scale of the record­ing, the speed or in­ten­sity at which the pi­anist’s fin­gers are work­ing, or or­gan­is­ing an orches­tra around him.

Whether you’re lis­ten­ing to some club­wor­thy beats or a full-scale sym­phony orches­tra, the Naim has the poise and au­thor­ity to make the most of it. It’s no won­der the Uniti Atom has held on to its crown for yet an­other year.

The Atom is armed to the teeth, though Naim also of­fers an HDMI in­put for £100

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