Naim Uniti Atom £1799
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