I thought I would share my impressions of the new Atom here because I found the information on this forum very helpful in arriving at my decision to purchase a Naim product.
Before I purchased the Atom, my system consisted of an iPod dock and an Airport Express feeding an Arcam amp to a pair of Totem Arro speakers. The sound was decent, but the time had come to upgrade the digital conversion.
I went into a local dealership thinking I would purchase a class D amp or a good DAC. But after listening to a Qute2, I became attracted to the Naim sound and, after some further research, decided to wait for the newer technology in the Atom.
Listening to the two at the dealership, I can’t say I could tell a big difference between the Atom and the Qute2, but I preferred the features and the look of the Atom. For my purposes – streaming from a number of different devices in a number of different formats – the Atom seemed perfect and well ahead of anything else I had listened to in its category.
Set-up was quick and easy. A LAN is not feasible in the room where my speakers are located, so I connected the Atom to our home network over WiFi, without any difficulty. The connection has remained stable, with no dropouts except a few hiccups in hi-def internet radio.
Right out of the box, the sound was a noticeable improvement over my previous set-up. Music produced by the Atom is very open and smooth. It pairs well with the Totem Arros. The Atom is not dramatic or forceful. Nor is it particularly loud. It simply produces enjoyable sound. Complex music like My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless sounds great.
I really like the full color display of album art. I don’t share the criticisms I have seen of the display or the accent lighting. I think the look is excellent.
So far, I have been listening mostly to Tidal streamed directly through the Atom using the Naim app in combination with the remote for volume control. The app integrates well with Tidal for an enjoyable user interface (although I still prefer the Apple Music UI).
Airplay works well, and provides an alternative to using the Naim app. But the sound quality seems to be slightly better streamed through the Atom directly. Also, volume control in Airplay is awkward, as IOS captures the control and moves it in unpredictable increments. I would prefer if the volume control in Airplay remained with the Atom. I have not tried Bluetooth.
The digital inputs work as expected, although there are dramatic differences in sound levels between sources. Playing with the input trims resolved this issue. However, I would not recommend the Atom if your primary purpose is to add sound amplification to your TV. The Atom is clearly designed for music, not home theatre.
Despite what the website says, the Atom does not support Apple devices through the USB input. I am advised by Naim support that the only way to play music from an Apple device is over Airplay or Bluetooth, which is a disappointment to me.
I have already encountered the “No rooms found” issue with the IOS app. The only solution I can find is to delete the app, reboot the device and reinstall the app. I don’t think the problem is with my network, because I have no similar issue with any other application.
Also, once, when I switched the Atom into stand-by mode, the unit began turning itself off and on. The only way to stop this cycle was to disconnect the power.
I see from comments posted by others that the issues with the app and the cycling on shut-down are not unique to me. I am prepared to be patient for these bugs to be resolved with updates, because I really enjoy the Atom.