About the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition
An all-purpose audiophile player, designed for headphones
An all-purpose audiophile player, designed for headphones
High-quality parts, hand-wired analog and digital circuitry, and a massive power transformer (lower right) ensure outstanding sound.
Unboxing the heavy-duty Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is quite the experience. This all-in-one headphone amp, DAC, and network streamer looks and feels the part of a modern, high-end audio component — before you even plug it in! But this rock-solid player truly impressed once I fired it up and completed the initial setup.
The Uniti Atom HE made a direct connection to my home network. From there, I could play high-res music and stream Spotify — or even lossless audio from Qobuz or TIDAL — and control it all from my phone. Gorgeous LED accents illuminated the player's frame as the 5" full-color display came alive. And when I connected a set of high-performance headphones and hit play, the vivid album art seemed to pop off the glass front panel.
Quality construction for amazing sound
The "wow" factor is as strong on the inside as the outside. To create this special Headphone Edition, Naim's engineers took their customer-favorite Uniti Atom integrated amp and optimized it for personal audio. It features a beefy, puck-sized transformer to keep the power supply smooth, stable, and noise-free. Naim uses Burr-Brown DACs (digital-to-analog converters), premium audio circuitry, and a robust headphone amp.
Works well with all types of headphones, but especially Focal
This versatile amp can drive any set of wired headphones with an impedance of 16 ohms or greater, including those with a super-high impedance. On the front panel, there's a 1/4" stereo headphone jack along with a balanced 4.4mm headphone output. The latter is quickly becoming the industry-standard balanced connection, and a growing list of headphones use it.
A really good match with Focal headphones like their premium Clear Mg open-back model (sold separately).
There's also an XLR 4-pin balanced output on the back panel. This is how I connected the premium Focal Clear Mg open-back headphones, a particularly nice match for the Uniti Atom HE. Focal is Naim's sister company, so they know precisely what the headphone drivers need in terms of power and damping.
Several ways to play and control.
The Uniti Atom HE has Wi-Fi built-in and it treats your streaming sources right. It can buffer up to five minutes of audio, which helps prevent playback hiccups — even when you're streaming high-res music. I placed it close enough to my router/modem to hardwire it to my network using an Ethernet cable, which is always the most reliable connection.
Naim includes a full-size remote for basic functions, but it really opened up for me when I downloaded the free Naim app to my phone (it's available for Apple® and Android™).
Right in the app, you get access to the streaming services, internet radio, and your music library stored to a network drive. You can play high-resolution music files up to 32-bit/384kHz for PCM, and DSD up to 5.6MHz. There are other wireless conveniences like Bluetooth, Apple AirPlay 2, and Chromecast built-in — those don't even require the Naim app when you're streaming from a compatible device.
My listening impressions with the Clear Mg headphones
The Focal Clear Mg headphones gelled really well with the Uniti Atom HE in balanced mode. I'll admit that at first listen, I thought the pair sounded a little too "analytical." But the more time I spent, the more I realized this was a feature, not a bug — this listening rig was giving me an accurate, unflavored sound. It was more true to the source.
So yeah, there were some poorly recorded tracks that seemed uninspired or fell flat. But then I pulled up Keith Greeninger's acoustic track "Looking for a Home" (24-bit/192kHz on Qobuz), and it had an almost three-dimensional feel. All the sudden there was real depth and layers, and I could hear subtleties like the natural decay of the acoustic instruments and a sense of the recording space.
Next, I moved to a Qobuz playlist of the late, great Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen. Everything had its right place in the mix and this headphone/amp combo delivered it effortlessly. I meant to only play one or two songs, but was so captured by vibe, I looked up and was 21 tracks deep!
Digital and analog connections for traditional audio sources
Physical inputs include one coaxial and two Toslink optical digital connections, along with a stereo analog RCA input. There are also a pair of USB inputs for plugging in compatible thumb drives. I should note that you cannot connect your laptop, PC, or smartphone to these USB ports to use the Uniti Atom HE as a DAC. This network streamer/amp is designed to be used in place of a computer as your main way to play tunes. (There are desktop USB DACs that are better suited for connecting a computer.)
I used this unit primarily for headphones, but it also doubles as a stereo preamplifier. On the back, you'll find unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR outputs for connecting a wide range of power amplifiers.
- headphone amplifier/preamp with built-in DAC and wireless music streaming
- front-panel color display shows album art, artist and track information
- high-performance headphone amp:
- 1.5 watts RMS per channel into 16 ohms
- compatible with headphones with 16 ohms or greater impedance
- massive power transformer with tightly regulated power supply for stable, low-noise power
- built-in Wi-Fi® for wireless music streaming when connected to a home network
- plays MP3, FLAC, ALAC, AAC, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis,, and WAV LPCM audio files
- supports playback of high-resolution music (PCM files up to 384kHz/32-bit, DSD up to 5.6 MHz)
- instantly access up to 20,000 tracks from a USB-connected drive
Wireless audio options:
- Bluetooth technology for streaming wireless audio from compatible devices
- Apple AirPlay® 2 and Google Chromecast built-in
- Roon-ready — works with advanced subscription-based software for enhanced browsing and music selection
- Spotify Connect lets you play Spotify's streaming music library via Wi-Fi, controlled by your smartphone or tablet (requires Spotify app and a premium subscription)
- lossless streaming from Qobuz and TIDAL (subscription required)
- Universal Plug 'n' Play (UPnP™) high-resolution streaming
Naim control app:
- free download from Apple App® store and Google Play™
- control playback, volume, and EQ
- access streaming music services such as Spotify, TIDAL, Qobuz and internet radio stations
- connect to compatible Naim wireless speakers and components
- remotely access music stored on your PC or NAS drive
- group link up to four Naim systems to play the same song simultaneously, or control each individually
- two Toslink optical digital audio inputs (2-channel PCM up to 96kHz only)
- one coaxial RCA (up to 24-bit/192kHz)
- two USB 2.0 (type A) ports for playing music files from drives (one front, one rear)
- one set of unbalanced stereo RCA inputs
- one 1/4" unbalanced output
- one balanced 4.4mm output
- one balanced XLR 4-pin output (back panel)
- stereo RCA sub/pre output
- balanced XLR pre output
- AC power adapter included
- 9-11/16"W x 3-3/4"H x 10-7/16"D
- weight: 15.4 lbs.
- warranty: 2 years
- Our 60-day money-back guarantee
- MFR # UA HPAMP
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More details on the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition
Overview: The Uniti Atom Headphone Edition from Naim Audio is a headphone-optimized version of the Uniti Atom integrated amp. It is compatible with a wide variety of headphones, with two balanced headphone outputs (4-pin XLR and 4.4mm Pentaconn), and as a standard 1/4" unbalanced output. You can also use Uniti Atom as a pre-amplifier to connect to your home audio system. Connect it to your wired or wireless network and stream your favorite digital music sources to your connected headphones. Uniti Atom comes with a wireless remote control and a soft cleaning cloth.
Construction: The hefty Unit Atom Headphone Edition features a brushed and anodized black aluminum chassis with large heat sinks along the sides. On the front panel is a 5" color TFT touch display with adjustable timeout settings. It displays available sources, settings, and album art, when available. Its oversized rotary volume control on the top gives you precise control. As you adjust the volume, the segmented LED lights provide a visual display of the volume that corresponds to the numeric value on the front display. A full-sized remote is included with backlit buttons that light up when it is picked up.
Headphone Outputs: The Uniti Atom Headphone Edition lets you connect multiple pairs of headphones simultaneously so you can share with friends. It offers two headphone jacks on the front panel, including a 4.4mm balanced Pentaconn output and an unbalanced 1/4" jack. On the back is a balanced 4-pin XLR headphone output. For optimal performance, it is recommended to have only one headphone attached at a time. The headphone amplifier is suitable for 16Ω headphones and up, and produces up to 1.5W RMS per channel into 16Ω.
Headphone Button: The front panel Headphone Button lets you toggle the headphone outputs on and off. When the front headphone outputs are used (4.4mm Pentaconn and/or 1/4"), the preamp outputs are automatically muted. The rear 4-pin XLR headphone output is not automatically detected, so the headphone button must be manually switched to active. When you want to use the unit as a streaming preamp, you can use the Headphone Button to turn off the headphone outputs and unmute the preamp outputs. While streaming, it is not necessary to unplug your headphones, saving wear and tear on the headphone jacks.
Preamp Outputs: Uniti Atom Headphone Edition is equipped with balanced and unbalanced preamp outputs for connecting the unit to an external power amplifier or powered speakers. It offers a pair XLR balanced outputs and a pair of RCA unbalanced outs.
Digital and Analog Inputs: The Uniti Atom Headphone Edition offers a wide variety of inputs. In addition to its digital and analog inputs, it provides Ethernet and front and rear USB connections. You can also connect the unit wirelessly via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The inputs include:
- Two Optical S/PDIF (Toslink) with resolution up to 96kHz
- One Coaxial (RCA) with up to 24-bit/192kHz, DoP 64Fs
- Analog: Stereo RCA pair
- USB: Two USB 2.0 Type A (one front, one rear)
- Ethernet: 10/100 Mbps
- Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n/ac (internal antenna)
- Bluetooth: with aptX HD
Streaming: You can stream from your favorite music streaming services including Spotify Connect, Tidal, Qobuz, and Roon Ready. The Uniti Atom supports Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay 2, and UPnP (Universal Plug 'n' Play). In addition, there are thousands of internet radio stations and podcasts to choose from.
Supported Digital Files: The Uniti Atom Headphone Edition supports digital files up to 32-bit/384kHz, and lets you play back lossless music files in WAV, FLAC, AIFF, and ALAC formats, and DSD 64 and 128. You can stream MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis files.
Naim App: The Naim App, available for iOS and Android devices, can be used to remotely control your Unit Atom Headphone Edition from a smartphone or tablet. The app lets you connect to other music systems around your home for a mutli-room setup, all playing the same song simultaneously, if desired. It works seamlessly with other Naim streaming products, including Mu-so systems. It can also pair the Uniti Atom Headphone Edition with other AirPlay 2-compatible wireless speakers via the Apple Home app, or with other Chromecast built-in devices via the Google Home app. The Naim app is compatible with Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch devices with iOS 12.0 or later, and for Android devices (version varies with device).
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