The future is undoubtedly in streaming media, and the companies that recognized this trend early on are now producing arguably the best gear: Sonos, Naim and even Roku.
Hi-fi manufacturer Naim is now following up its popular mu-so wireless speakers with a rejuvenated series of Uniti streaming amplifiers, and they share the same distinctive design. But one of the most noteworthy things about these products is that they support an almost unprecedented number of streaming services and protocols.
Naim has announced three high-end amplifiers, the $2,995/£1,600 Uniti Atom, the $5,595/£2,999 Uniti Star and the $6,995/£3,800 Uniti Nova. It has also detailed a dedicated CD ripper/server with a "BYO hard drive" capability, the Uniti Core, which will retail for $2,595/ £1,650.
The devices will feature support for the company's Naim App which comes with it control of UPnP servers on the network in addition to Spotify and Tidal. Even more interesting is that it will support most of the important proprietary streaming protocols, including Google Cast, Apple Airplay and even Roon Ready. If you just want to stream from your phone, it can do that with Bluetooth aptX HD. The physical inputs include HDMI with ARC for connecting to a TV.
The range will feature Burr Brown DACs and, the company says, full native support for DSD files. The representatives we spoke to were still unsure about Meridian's MQA and said they're adopting a wait-and-see policy.
The "baby" Atom of the range is a straight streamer/amplifier and features a 40W-per-channel amp, while the Star features a 70Wx2 amp and an integrated CD player/ripper and the Nova is a stripped-back/high-end player akin to the SuperUniti at 80Wx2.
At an event in New York we listened to the Atom paired with a pair of midrange Focal floor-standers and the sound was dynamic and full. For standard-size living rooms, the amp seemed to be able to supply plenty of power.
The range features the same extruded heat sinks of the mu-so as well as a new black brushed chassis. The original mu-so featured a large, machined volume control knob that is echoed in the new Uniti range. The new volume ring is studded with holes and the device uses a laser to detect when the dial is turned.
The Unitis also feature a ZigBee remote control that echoes the changes in volume in real time through a series of LEDs.
The Uniti Atom and Uniti Core will be available in the UK and the US in December, while the Nova and Star will come later in February 2017. Australian pricing and availability is yet to be announced.