Naim UnitiQute: Play your digital music on your high-end Hi-Fi
The world of the audiophile is different to the one us regular folk tread. That's not a bad thing, because it means that someone, somewhere, is making sure we don't get stuck with low-quality MP3s and rubbish-sounding DAB. Audiophiles want music to be as close to the original as possible, and so does Naim, which is where the UnitiQute comes in.
Think of this as the Rolls Royce of streaming audio, where Sonos is the Jaguar. Both do similar things, but one is aimed at people who like cars, while the other is aimed at people who like cars so much they spend more than the price of a house on one. The Naim UnitiQute promises the best possible build quality -- it's designed and built in the UK -- and a wealth of features, although, unlike the Rolls, it has no walnut trim.
What it does have, though, is a Rolls Royce price tag. At around £1,350, the Naim isn't cheap. But as with the car, it's the highest quality piece of equipment you're likely to find. There is a DAB radio, but the UnitiQute can happily tune in high-quality FM stations and access Internet radio, too. If you can't find anything on this wireless worth listening to, you really aren't trying hard enough.
Digtial inputs mean you can connect a CD transport and get the best possible sound from your discs. Apple Lossless and FLAC support round off the high-end audio support, but should mean that music lovers never have to suffer through a compressed song again.
Crucially, in addition to streaming things like 320kbps MP3s, the Naim can also take audio with sampling rates of up to 24bit/96kHz. That means it's capable of doing justice to everything you own, not just those Britney Spears MP3s you nicked off Napster ten years ago.
The Naim UnitiQute might be pricey, but it's a lovely piece of kit. Well built and well specified, it will appeal to those who want music moved from their computer to their Hi-Fi, but need better quality than you could ever get from other, cheaper devices.
As with many high-end audio systems, even small changes can have a big impact on sound quality. Your choice here is to either use the device's chassis as earth, or to use a floating earth. The choice is yours.
Both the display and the Naim logo light up when the device is turned on. It looks dead neat.
A compact machine, the Naim is stylish if a little weighty. We love the sharp, solid styling though.
Line-in and headphone jacks are available on the front panel...
...as is a USB socket.
The back panel has special speaker-output jacks -- adaptors are supplied -- and there are a host of digital inputs, analogue pre-amp outputs and the requisite aerial connections.
And there's a simple, well-made remote, too.
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