Naim Uniti Star Review
If you love to experiment with new concepts and ideas and are open to embracing streaming music in this new era, then you’ll appreciate the Naim Uniti series. Naim has got you covered for those who value high-quality sound and refuse to compromise on it.
If you’re looking for fashionable but not overly showy equipment, then the Naim Uniti series is perfect for you. Additionally, Naim Uniti is the way to go if you prefer using a local area network architecture music playback environment.
The Naim Uniti Series
The Naim Uniti series comprises four products, each with its unique features. The Uniti Atom is a compact streaming integrated amplifier with 40W output, making it powerful enough to drive ordinary speakers. With its streaming function, digital input, and HDMI ARC input, it’s the perfect entertainment center for apartment families. If you’re looking for something more powerful, the Uniti Nova outputs 80W per channel and gives you more flexibility with your speakers.
The Uniti Star, on the other hand, builds on the Uniti Nova by adding a slot-loading CD drive. This not only allows you to read CDs but also rip them to storage devices in the path of your choice. Finally, there’s the Uniti Core, a music server with a built-in slot-in CD player. Files can be stored in the built-in hard disk and directly output to the DAC to play music through digital work. The Uniti Core can also be used as a music server in a local area network. You can purchase it with the Uniti Atom, Uniti Nova, Uniti Star, or other streaming audio equipment.
Are you looking for a simple, convenient, and affordable streaming solution? Look no further than the Naim Uniti series. With multiple options, users can purchase a streaming amplifier that fits their needs or a Uniti Core server to complement their existing system.
Those with a NAS or rely more on online services can opt for the Uniti Atom or Nova, while users with an extensive CD collection find the Uniti Star the perfect fit. Users can create a complete system by purchasing the Core with Atom or Nova. With Naim’s product planning expertise and deep understanding of streaming applications, you can trust that the Uniti series will meet your needs. Upgrade your audio system today with the Naim Uniti series!
In my previous article on the Uniti Atom, I called it the perfect audio product for the modern era of streaming and integration. It boasts stable streaming playback functions, top-notch digital decoding, analog amplification technology, and Naim’s powerful software writing, planning, and application capabilities – ideally suited for the needs of the streaming era.
With its small size, multi-room integration capabilities, and user-friendly app, Atom is the ideal all-in-one solution. And it’s not just the Atom – the entire Uniti range offers these benefits.
For those needing more power than the Atom can provide, the Uniti Nova is the perfect upgrade with higher output power and additional input and output terminals. However, the Uniti Star is the way to go if you’re looking for even more power.
Regarding specifications, the Uniti Nova boasts an output power of 70W, comparable to that of the Uniti Atom. This practical specification means it can easily handle most speakers. The Class AB amplifier circuit is derived from Naim’s highly acclaimed NAIT series amplifiers. Despite the maturity of Class D amplifier technology, Naim remains committed to using Class AB amplifiers.
The Uniti Nova’s many input and output terminals make it a versatile audio solution. It boasts five sets of S/PDIF digital inputs, including two coaxial, two optical, and a BNC input. Two USB type A ports allow for easy expansion with external hard drives.
The Nova also has more SD card slots than Atom, enabling users to store and play music from multiple SD cards. Additionally, it features a 5-pin DIN input to connect with other Naim sources. These flexible connectivity options make the Uniti Nova an excellent choice for those who demand versatility and convenience from their audio equipment.
Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS) is a technology used for high-speed data transmission over a long distance with low power consumption. It is commonly used in computer peripherals, telecommunications, and automotive systems applications. LVDS technology is characterized by its ability to transmit data with high speed, low power consumption, and low electromagnetic interference.
Naim’s use of LVDS technology in Uniti Star’s digital transmission interface aims to achieve ultra-low time base error and ultra-low interference, which helps deliver accurate and high-quality sound reproduction.
It’s worth noting that the Uniti Star also has a dedicated phono input for turntables, which is an excellent addition for vinyl enthusiasts. This input supports both Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges, which cover a wide range of turntables on the market. The Uniti Star also has a built-in FM and DAB radio tuner, allowing you to enjoy traditional radio broadcasts without additional equipment.
Overall, the Uniti Star is a versatile all-in-one system that can satisfy the needs of a wide range of users, from streaming and digital playback to vinyl and traditional radio.
The standout feature of the Uniti Star is its integrated CD-Rom, which not only plays CDs but also allows for bit-perfect ripping to a specified path for storage. While amplifiers with CD-reading capabilities are standard, those that also support ripping are rare. Naim opted for a TEAC slot-loading CD-Rom and developed custom ripping software for the Uniti Star, resulting in audio files exhibiting remarkable clarity, transparency, and three-dimensional depth.
In addition to this unique feature, the Uniti Star boasts a 40-bit SHARC DSP processor with a buffer memory and a processing speed of 2.7 million calculations per second. This provides ample power for decoding high-resolution audio files and ensures smooth operation and control. Combined with Burr Brown’s decoding chip, the Uniti Star supports a sampling rate of up to PCM 32bit/384kHz and DSD 128 and can read almost all standard audio formats.
Uniti Star is a versatile device that offers wireless transmission through dual-band support of 2.4GHz and 5GHz b/g/n/ac. The Naim NP800 network streaming module is integrated with a powerful 40-bit SHARC DSP processor to create an efficient digital stream processing platform. Furthermore, Uniti Star can keep up with modern needs through software upgrades.
The device is powerful on the inside and boasts a sleek and stylish exterior. It features an all-aluminum alloy body, a thick metal plate, and low-profile heat sinks on both sides for high-efficiency heat dissipation. The strong fuselage structure, with its thick aluminum alloy and high adhesion, offers excellent resistance to external electromagnetic interference and a stable foundation against vibration.
The surface of the aluminum alloy has undergone anodization with a hairline texture, and the right half of the front panel is fitted with a high-resolution full-color screen that displays menus, functions, and album covers (during streaming).
Uniti Star is user-friendly and offers a first-class operating experience with its top-mounted disc audio control. The audio control dial on the top is smooth and feels great in your hands when you turn it, and if you want to adjust the volume, you can use the mobile app or the physical buttons on the front panel.
The appeal of Uniti Star extends beyond its audio-controlled turntable to its exquisite and ingenious design, which draws people in the more they use it. From the moment the unit was brought home, it elicited inquiries from family members.
No other piece of equipment has captured the attention of the user’s wife, quite like the Uniti Star. She was initially drawn to the album art displayed on the screen, followed by the white LED volume lights on the audio control disc above, and the Naim brand lettered in white lights in the lower left corner, all of which impressed her. She sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the sound stand, admiring the Uniti Star from every angle while the user remotely controlled it from their laptop to play music on Roon. The changing screen left her amazed, and she couldn’t help but exclaim in awe.
Uniti Star’s impressive 70-watt output quickly powers Naim’s flagship floor-standing speaker, the Graham Audio VOTU. The amplifier’s aesthetic complements the neutral style of the Graham speakers, providing a transparent and sweet charm while enhancing the high-frequency extension with excellent resolution. During testing, I used Naim’s app to operate the system, which has an attractive interface and operates smoothly and quickly.
High-resolution music files stored on the NAS were used for testing. In the jazz album “Cannonball Adderley-Something Else,” as soon as the music starts, you can hear an open and fan-shaped sound field emanating from the back of the speakers. The background is quiet, and the instrument’s texture is delicate. The amplifier can interpret the high-density and detailed dynamics of high-resolution music. Miles Davis’ opening trumpet sounds soft, with a metallic luster and a touch of dusk color, and it’s not too exciting.
Even in the white-hot treble performance, the sound is charmingly thick, and the original sharp feeling disappears, replaced by the details of the sound of metal friction and breathlessness.
The Uniti Star’s warm mid-frequency is ideally suited to Graham Audio’s steamed bun midrange, and the saxophone’s brass flavor is simply unique. The energy is direct and cohesive but permanently neutral – not overly thick or blurred – with just the right amount of luster and thickness, delivering a distinct sense of the musical instrument’s shape. In terms of the rhythm group, Bill Evans’ piano texture in this album has always felt rather lukewarm.
Still, under Naim’s analytical power, I could hear better density, more transparent grain, and more weight when the keys were struck. The plucked bass strings have a moderately fluffy feeling, and the speed is just right without unnecessary rendering, resulting in a delightful sound full of tendons.
Next, I played the Schubert-Trout Quintet led by Mutter, and the Uniti Star truly shone. The separation of the instruments was outstanding, allowing me to identify the playing positions of the four violins and present a very three-dimensional orchestra shape, even in the quiet music background.
The delicate lines of the violins had a refreshing wood taste, and even in the fast phrases, the details of the strings could still be heard clearly. The piano was equally impressive, with a very transparent and rounded sound. The treble keys, originally slightly rounded, now had more end rhymes and overtones, resulting in an agile and elegant resonance of the piano sound, with the expression of the keys falling more delicate.
Moreover, the double bass sound was intense and precise, with a pulsating string vibration that gently massaged my chest. The tight wooden box resonated powerfully, and there wasn’t a trace of fuzziness or lukewarmness. Overall, the Uniti Star’s exceptional resolution and cohesive energy truly shone in the Schubert-Trout Quintet, rendering a dynamic and engaging performance.
Toward the end, I listened to Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic. The strings at the beginning of the second movement were simply breathtaking. It was evident that the dynamic performance of Uniti Star was quite sharp, and its transient effect was remarkable. The sense of energy was sent and received freely without any delay or flooding of power.
Additionally, the performance details of the instruments emerged without any reservation. It was amazing to witness that no matter how complex the arrangement of the devices was, Uniti Star always sang calmly, and the layering of each part’s performance was heard distinctly. From the small details of a violin rubbing strings to the soft elasticity of the bass drum, it was evident that the Graham speaker’s loose characteristics and the sound quality’s beauty were well-preserved.
The sound quality of this all-in-one streaming machine was comprehensive and equal to the Hi-End integrated amplifier that I usually listen to. It is hard not to fall in love with it!
The Naim Uniti Star proves that an all-in-one streaming machine can deliver high-quality sound without sacrificing convenience and functionality. With its advanced circuit design and powerful 70-watt thrust, this machine can quickly drive even the most demanding speakers.
The Naim Uniti Star also offers excellent resolution and exceptional clarity, bringing out the nuances and subtleties in every piece of music. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a beginner in the streaming world, this machine is an excellent choice for those who refuse to compromise on sound quality. So, if you’re looking for a high-end streaming solution that delivers uncompromising sound quality, the Naim Uniti Star is worth considering.
Specifications of Naim Uniti Star
- Amplifier output: 70W per channel (8 ohms)
- Digital inputs:
- 2 x Optical TOSLink (up to 24bit/96kHz)
- 2 x Coaxial RCA (up to 24bit/192kHz, DoP 64Fs)
- 1 x BNC (up to 192kHz, DoP 64Fs)
- 1 x HDMI ARC
- Ethernet (10/100Mbps)
- WiFi (802.11 b/g/n/ac with internal antennae)
- Analog outputs:
- 1 x Stereo power amplifier
- 1 x RCA sub/pre output
- 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack
- Analog inputs:
- 1 x RCA
- 1 x 5-pin DIN
- Chromecast Built-In
- Apple AirPlay
- Spotify® Connect
- Bluetooth (AptX HD)
- Internet Radio
- UPnP™ (hi-res streaming)
- Roon Ready
- 1 x Type A USB port (front)
- 1 x Type A USB port (rear)
- External hard drive up to 1TB
- Flash drive up to 128GB
- Memory card: SD card up to 32GB
- Dimensions: 95 x 432 x 265 mm (H x W x D)