Recap vintage Naim or trade in for LS50W?

I’d second this. I used a Naim Nait in my shop for a lot of years, and I replaced my HK Citation II amp and custom preamp with an Atom and I love it. The atom is sweet.

The obvious answer is Quad ESL’s of some flavor. :smiley:


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Great idea. I’m going to demo one. Not sure how much I can get for my current system but fingers crossed!

That’s what I’ve been doing. But just a little bit be Ayse I hadn’t muted the input. Going to try that :+1:t2:
But also very interested in the Atom now![quote=“John_Mason, post:20, topic:114957, full:true”]

When I had a little crackling on my Naim XS volume, I muted the output and then vigorously turned the volume up (to max) and down again repeatedly. Seemed to do the trick for me.

I love my Atom, but be warned, it really wants to be set on a table or shelf so you have access to the top of the unit. The big velvety volume control is on the top, which is a departure from the usual controls on the front paradigm.


Although I said I liked the LS50’s I agree with your assessment that they are not really what you should base your main system on. They are ideal in the Kitchen (which is where mine are) or attached to your PC. I have an Atom in an other room and agree with what has been said about it, very good unit.
If you are going to save your pennies for a main system I can really recommend the Linn Selekt DSM.

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Btw the atom has the normal naim amplifier, seems underpowered but quite happy driving my floorstanders to neighbour worrying levels.

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How is that NAP100 on the end of your? Big difference? I think my Atom struggles to get the best out of my speakers.

I think it made the bottom end a bit more controlled and allowed it to go louder overall but I wouldn’t have paid full price for it given the difference it’s made. My nap100 was a cheap eBay deal. As was the Atom :slight_smile:
The Atom really is a great “whole is better than the parts” bit of kit.

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The real beauty if the Atom is that all the crap that you now have connected together can be tossed out. Your stereo can now consists of two speakers and a small box (which is reasonably attractive) with minimal cabling (1 power, 1 ethernet, two speaker cables). Toss a small 2.5" hard drive behind it with 4TB of music and your system is done.

I have one connected to a pair of Quad 2912’s in my main listening area, and when customers come to collect their repaired Quads, they often bring their significant others. I show them the atom and the wives always say “that’s the whole stereo?!” With lustful visions of regaining half of their living room back and all the cables and other crap leaving.

It’s a great little box, and as @ged_hickman1 said, the sum is indeed greater than the parts. It sounds good enough, and it works well enough that you can stop obsessing about your audio system and enjoy the music it produces.

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I swapped it in and swapped out
Pre amp with two power supplies
Power amp
Streamer and power supply
DAC and power supply

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I would very strongly disagree with the assertion that the Atom is better than separates system based around a 102/180 or similar. Obviously that assumes that there’s a digital source that’s well matched to the system, and equally important that the amp is in good condition and properly set up, much of which you don’t have to think about with an all-in-one box. Seriously though, a separates system of that calibre which is several times the price of an Atom should completely blow it out of the water. If it doesn’t, something isn’t working properly.

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I don’t think anyone claimed it would be better. But an alternative to the Kefs which was the original thought.

Also a 102 isn’t the best preamp ever made. I had one so know of what etc :slight_smile:

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I’m still in a dilemma. Called a Naim dealer on Saturday, he advised that I would be disappointed with the Atom after a 102/180.
He suggested a Nova would be more comparable.
I’m interested, as the ‘one box’ appeals to me (given it’s a Naim box).
All my units were pre-loved, so would be looking at a used Nova - how robust do you think they are? Would it be a good used buy?
Other possibility is service the 102/180 and buy a used ND5 XS2. Which would let me stagger the investment cost.
Thoughts? @ged_hickman1 @Sheldon_Stokes @ChrisSU

I’d go and listen. I “downgraded” from a 202/hicap and Exposure amp (somewhere between a 250 and 2x135s) and had already sold my nd5xs for an SMS and chord DAC, so not entry level.
I now have an Atom and it’s easily 85% as good as my previous rig, loses out a bit in ultimate bottom end and volume level but your Epos’s don’t plum the depths anyway.
I later added a nap100 but only as there was an eBay bargain. :slight_smile:
I certainly wouldn’t go by anyone’s, including mine own, opinions without having a listen yourself!
The other aspect of this is just how brilliantly it works with Roon and the wireless remote. Though the volume knob on the new kit is so lovely it’s tempting to go manual :wink:

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OK. Thoughts on Atom vs Nova?
I live in an apartment so can’t go crazy with bass anyway.
I assume a unit without HDMI could still be rigged up with an adaptor?

I’ve always bought my kit second hand including the Atom. I guess they may not be as bomb proof as the classic line but pretty reliable still I think.

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I really don’t know with regards to the nova. I don’t know if it is just an amp upgrade, my Atom drives these to china cabinet shaking volumes.

Hdmi can be upgraded

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Well, I generally build my own gear, so always take my advise with a big grain of salt. I am all about the circuitry and not high end mumbo jumbo. Also I am a Quad electrostatic guy, so all my observations are based on the amps driving those nasty reactive loads.

The only other piece of Naim gear I have is a Nait 5i-2 that I got for $600 and was using with a set of Quad 2805’s in my workshop. The Atom is every bit as good as the Nait and frankly better. Both pieces of Naim gear are quite good, but not in the same league as the latest nCore amplifiers from Hypex. Those class D amps are real giant killers.

I don’t like the nova and the star as much because they look goofy. The Atom is a nice tidy block with the screen centered. The nova and star have some growth attached on the side, It looks lazy and just tacked on. I suspect the nova is a nicer unit, but by enough to justify the significant price jump?

I also wouldn’t discount the improvements that come from new designs. You don’t hear many people waxing poetic about their early 80’s transistor amps. Time marches on and things generally get better over time. After all why is my Nait on the fifth revision?

I haven’t really said anything of value here, but I will leave you with the fact that the Atom plays anything you throw at it either via the network or by plugging in a drive or thumbdrive. The convenience factor is big for me. I had 24 linear feet of records and I was quite convinced of their superiority over early CD’s, but as time went on and my digital front end got better, I found that I was playing records less and less. They were and are a giant pain in the ass, so when I moved to New England I sold my turntable and all the records in one fell swoop. I miss a few things that you can’t get on CD, but in general I’m very happy. For that same reason I advocate for devices like the Atom because it’s one less bit of faff that is in between you and your music.

The volume knob on the top of the Atom also adjusts the volume in roon and visa versa. It’s the same way if you are streaming via itunes where the volume slider is really a hardware volume control on the Atom. You adjust the volume on the top of the atom and the slider in itunes or roon moves accordingly.


If you don’t mind the extra boxes, I would still go for the separates, and an ND5XS2 would be a decent source for your amp. Very much dependent on getting it serviced and properly set up though. You can, as you say, stagger the cost by doing this in stages. There is no HDMI ARC option here, you would need to use optical to connect a TV. (There is an argument for using optical anyway, as HDMI ARC can have reliability issues.) Still, if sound quality is your priority, this would get my vote.

If you want a single box, the Nova is quite a big step up from the Atom (with the Star sitting somewhere in between them as another possible option.) The Nova has quite a few differences compared to the Atom, not just a beefed up power amp, so it could be a good choice if you want to keep it simple.


Yes I understand what you are saying. I attached an old Apple Airport which I had to the auxiliary input and it allows me to group that with other stuff. Maybe not the best quality sound but it is Ok for part mode.