Looking for adivce : Uniti Atom + Focal Aria 926: buy now or wait for next version?

Hello,

this might be a strange inquiry but I’m still very new at audiophile equipment and I’d be happy to receive any advice from anyone familiar with Naim products (or Focal) and their product release cycle.

Two months ago I purchased a Bluesound Powernode 2i and connected it to a set of Triangle Heliade speakers. I’m very happy with it : it does all I want and sounds great, considering the limited budget. But in the back of my head I knew sooner or later I would want an upgrade, obviously … I’m planning to move to my first house in a year, so that would be a great moment to upgrade, after I moved in.

But … I can have this amazing deal right now : a Naim Uniti Atom + a set of Focal Aria 926 speakers for less than €3.400, normal price would be around €5.000. Both products are in my list of wanted upgrades. So this a great deal of course, so I’m very tempted to take it. But I promised myself not to make any big spendings before my move, especially since I just got the Bluesound. At the same time it would be stupid to pass on such a good deal …

So my question is : how often does Naim release upgrades or new products ? If I buy now, will I regret missing out on a new upgraded release from Naim within the year ? Or is this deal worth it even if Naim releases a new model very soon ?

Has anyone been in a similar situation ? What did you do? I’d love to hear a few opinions before I make my decision.

Thanks !

I have the Atom, they don’t release new kit very often and they release updates reasonably regularly to add and fix features. This range of Unitis has been out 3 years but has a long life they don’t stop support on devices usually for quite some time. Paired with the right speakers the Atom can sound phenomanal. I just updated speakers to ProAc Tab 10 signatures and it sounds so good.

What I would say is that those speakers are not a good match for the Atom, it will struggle to do them justice as it doesnt have much power and that is a lot.of drivers to push.

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Thanks for your reply. Good to know they keep releasing updates and have good product support.

Concerning the pairing with Focal 926, I understand your point but I’ve read many reviews that state the atom can “easily” drive floorstanders despite the fact it’s only 40W, thanks to it’s quality class A/B amplification. Also, the atom is actually suggested on the Focal 926 product page, so I kind of expect them to be a good match since Focal themselves say so.

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Anyways, your point is valid and I’ll look into that some more.

The first generation of Naim streamers ran for about 8 years, and they don’t tend to push out new products all that often, although they do release firmware updates to fix bugs, and sometimes to add new functions. I very much doubt that the Atom is anywhere near the end of its life cycle. (Not that it would sound any worse, or stop working, just because a replacement was released.)
Regarding speakers, personally I wouldn’t have a pair of Focals if they were giving them away. I’ve heard quite a few, and they just don’t sound musical to me. The reason you sometimes see Naim/Focal deals is that the two companies have a joint owner who is trying to push Focal in the UK by using Naim’s reputation and dealerships.
Anyway, regardless of my opinion of Focal, speakers are a very personal choice, as well as needing to match your room acoustics, which I would say is at least as important as matching the electronics. I would suggest trying to find a good dealer who will let you listen to some different speakers and see what works for you, rather than chasing a cheap deal that you may or may not like.

On the other hand, with such a good price it should be possible to sell the 926 without too much loss (or any loss…) if it turns out they are not a good match for the future room.

They would they are owned by the same group. Personally I have had floorstanders with mine and only just got rid off them, they where easy to drive but again the Atom didn’t really give them justice and I feel it works better with decent standmounts or at smaller floorstanders with two drivers.

I had an Atom and an Aria 926 two years ago and I was very pleased. Full sound, pretty solid sound scene, but a little weaker bass. I also used the Focal sub for bass support. You can, of course, wait for the new Uniti series to come out, but I’m sure it won’t be the same offer then.
Afterwards I changed the Atom for a Star and only then did I manage to hear the Aria 926 in full quality.
Now I’m listening to Nova with the Spendor A7, but that’s a different story.

Do you have these standmounted?

Speaker design is always a balancing act… but… there are some fixed costs so, for any given price two drivers and a smaller cabinet are likely to be far higher quality than four drivers (and a more complicated crossover) in a bigger box. Whether that results in a presentation you prefer is subject to many more variables though!

I’d lean towards the ProAc - sealed box, thin wall damped. But that’s my preference.

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Obviously you don’t get the deal, but there is a star for the price of an atom for sale right now on this forum. USA model if that works for you.

Yes on SolidSteel SS6 stands

Ooh they look great. Any advantage of those over the normal Atacama style stand?

No idea I just preferred the look of them compared to the Attacamas as they are not all massed together as one lot of black metal and my dealer uses them to demo all smaller standmounts. I 3/4 filled them with Attabites though and it helped lift the bass and midrange more compared to my dealers loan ones which where empty. I also added some Audioserenity isolators on the base board and I use Iso Acoustics Gia iii isolation feet

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I have had an Atom since they first came out. The software was flakey at first but has continually improved, becoming more reliable with so many access options eg casting, blue tooth, Roon, air play etc. They drive Kef LS50’s and sound superb in a difficult room (the kitchen) stuck high on the wall. Thoroughly recommended.

I know you weren’t really making a recommendation, however i’m a sucker for first hand user experience! I’ve followed your path and paired my Atom with some lovely Tablette 10 signatures (and SS6 stands of course :relaxed:).

It’s only day one, but these really sing! Such a sweet sound compared with the over-sized (for this room) Tannoy DC6T SE floorstanders.

Strangely they also got a comment of “ooh they look lovely” from the better half. She has no interest in audio and has never commented previously :man_shrugging:

Thanks for the recommend @CrystalGipsy!

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Not sure what that all means.

As to whether 40 wpc is enough, that would depend on the size of your room and how loud you want it.

I’d take that with a grain of salt. Sometimes these companies have mutual agreements with each other.

And there it is. Act in haste, repent in leisure.

FWIW

That’s funny as mine have replace some Tannoy floorstanders to. :slight_smile: Not the same ones though. Glad your enjoying them they are especially good. What finish did you get? I strongly recommend getting some Attacama Attabites to fill the stands to give them some more mass and some simple isolation on the base plate , the Audioserenity ones are less than a £10 and really help.

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I went with the oak. My Tannoy were very dark ‘espresso’ and I was fed up with dark wood. Loving the oak.
I filled the stands with sand and they seem great so far. I’ll take a look at the isolation feet :+1:

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I wouldn’t worry too much about new Naim products being released. As it’s been said the products have a long life span and are well supported even after they have been discontinued.

I’ve not heard the Focal speakers you are interested in but Focal speakers do seem to divide the crowd within the Naim user base. Presumably you can listen before you buy?

I have heard the Atom once, at the Naim factory driving Focal Sopra 1’s. A completely inappropriate combination! What it did teach me about the Atom was how capable it was and it had no issues driving them in quite a large room. Given the 926’s are more efficient I don’t see why they shouldn’t work well, assuming that you like them.