High-end hi-fi manufacturer Naim Audio Ltd. has come up with a very special new addition to the Naim Uniti Series, the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition. As the name suggests, this is a version of the Naim Uniti designed specifically for headphones.
Naim Uniti, until now the smallest member of the Naim Uniti Series, was a high-end all-in-one. Now the English hi-fi manufacturer Naim Audio Ltd. is expanding this product series with the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition.
The Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is a truly exciting solution that was not previously expected from Naim Audio Ltd.
Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition – The Naim Uniti Atom’s little brother?
The Naim Uniti Atom is a compact stereo integrated amplifier that offers an amazing range of analogue and digital interfaces for a wide variety of sources, but with a clear focus on streaming.
The new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is a little different, because it’s not a classic stereo integrated amplifier, it’s a headphone amplifier, but a headphone amplifier that’s designed to be flexible and versatile.
Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition – the ultimate headphone amplifier
At first glance, the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition looks almost exactly like the Naim Uniti Atom, with only the connection options available on the front indicating the difference in purpose.
The concept is also essentially identical, with the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition designed to accommodate as many different sources as possible, with the focus once again on streaming.
Naim Audio Ltd. as sister company of Focal JMlab
But why has Naim Audio Ltd. suddenly turned its attention to headphones with such sophisticated systems? Well, the answer is to be found in the merger with the French loudspeaker specialist Focal JMlab.
As is well known, the French company has an extremely broad product range of loudspeaker systems, is very much involved in the automotive segment, but also devotes a great deal of attention to headphones. Here, too, they can point to an impressive product portfolio, whereby the focus is clearly on solutions in the premium and even high-end segment.
As with the all-in-one systems of the Naim Mu-so Series, the company is now drawing on the expertise of its partner. While the Naim Mu-so Series was based on the expertise of the French loudspeaker specialists, it is now the experience of the electronics experts from England that is being used for a joint strategy across the borders of the two brands.
A fully-fledged music system
Naim Audio Ltd is keen to emphasise that the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is not just another headphone amplifier, of which there are many on the market, especially in the combination of D/A converter and headphone amplifier.
Rather, the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is a complete music streaming system, offering unique versatility.
The new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition offers an analogue input in the form of a pair of RCA sockets, as well as digital inputs in the form of one coaxial and two optical S/PDIF interfaces. A USB port is also available for direct use of the corresponding storage media.
The full flexibility of the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is only available when it is connected to a network, which is possible via an RJ45 Ethernet interface or via the integrated WiFi module.
Once again, of course, the latest generation of Naim Audio Ltd’s excellent streaming platform comes into play. This allows you to access your own content on the network via UPnP as well as a wide range of streaming services. Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, Internet Radio, you can really draw from the full range here.
The Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is also compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Google Chromecast, and is also Roon-ready, so it can be accessed directly via the Roon media management and multi-room audio streaming software from Roon Labs LLC.
Signal processing is carried out with up to 32 bits and 384 kHz and all relevant formats are supported.
Unique operating concept
Control of playback or control of all functions is facilitated by the truly outstanding Naim Control App, which is available for Apple iOS and Google Android.
But everything has been thought of for control directly on the unit itself, too, as Naim Audio Ltd naturally employs the control concept familiar from the rest of the Naim Uniti Series.
At the centre of this is a rotary encoder recessed into the top panel, which not only allows volume control, but also input selection and playback control. For the sake of completeness, it should be mentioned that this is elegantly illuminated as soon as the user approaches and is recognised by the integrated proximity sensor. This also applies to the generously proportioned graphics-capable display on the front of the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition.
Trickle-down technology for outstanding results
Naim Audio Ltd states that the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition has been completely redesigned to provide optimum personal listening performance. Using trickle-down technology from its flagship statement amplifier, Naim has developed a new discrete headphone amplifier that can drive even the highest quality headphones effortlessly. Not surprisingly, the Focal Utopia is cited as an example.
The Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition features a completely new transformer design that, in the tradition of Naim Audio Ltd, provides the best power supply for headphone amplifier circuitry. Thanks to the new discrete transistor circuit design, the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition has balanced headphone outputs, on both 4-pin XLR and so-called Pentaconn connectors, maximising the performance of high-end headphones with these connectors. There is also, of course, an unbalanced, classic 6.3 mm jack connection.
Can also serve as a preamplifier for active speakers
Of course, as we would like to point out explicitly, the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition can be used not only for headphones, but also as a versatile yet compact preamplifier in conjunction with powered speakers.
Appropriate preamplifier outputs are available in unbalanced form as a pair of RCA sockets, as well as balanced versions as XLR connectors on the rear panel.
“We’ve designed this special edition of the mighty Uniti Atom as a premium music streaming system for solo listening – all you need to do is put on headphones to escape into your own world of high-quality sound.”Paul Neville, Director of Research and Development at Naim Audio Ltd.
The new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is said to be already available from retailers. The British company is quoting a recommended retail price of € 2,899 for it. This is, incidentally, the same as the current retail price of the classic Naim Uniti Atom.
Getting to the point
With the new Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, the British high-end hi-fi manufacturer is breaking new ground in principle, because it is a headphone amplifier. However, the concept is based on that of the Naim Uniti Atom, i.e. a highly flexible solution with analogue and digital inputs, but with a focus on streaming. The solution, which was developed with a view to the strong commitment of the sister company Focal JMlab, is not only used for high-quality headphones, but can also be used as a flexible preamplifier with integrated streaming client in connection with active speaker systems.