Changing from Superuniti to Nova

I've had my Nova for just over a week now and thought it might be worth posting about my experience as I gather there are a few on here considering this move and the Nova thread in the Streaming Forum is mainly about individuals' particular issues.

Some background: I moved from a multi box olive system (CDS2/52/135s) to a Uniti and then Superuniti pretty much as soon as they came out and have been very happy, especially with the SU. Listening to the SU just before I did the deal I thought how good it sounded but the improved streaming platform and capabilities were my main motivation for going with the Nova. I heard it at the Bristol Show and also on a visit to the factory so was happy to place a pre order.

Things I like: 

sound quality - whilst it sounded very good when I heard it on dem, it has way exceeded my expectations now I have had it at home for a week. It seems to me that the pre amp and amp are a big step up from the SU, this being demonstrated most convincingly by the very obvious improvement when playing vinyl (in spite of the Nova using an ADC on analogue inputs according to reviews). Whatever they are doing it certainly works! I am not one for inky blackness yadda yadda, but the sound is much clearer and more spacious with greatly improved bass definition but most importantly that urge to just keep on playing more music with new insight into familiar tracks. It was clearly better straight out of the box and has steadily improved over the week so hopefully there may be a bit more to come.

the design: it is a lovely looking thing to my eyes and seems to be very well built (but the heatsinks are sharp and it's heavy so be careful when moving or positioning it). 

the screen: it's way better than the current streamers which (HDX excepted) look rather like a 1980s calculator display. Being larger it can be read from a reasonable distance and the colour display looks lovely. I would still like to be able to edit the font as it could be made even more legible given the size and colour options but I guess that's a matter of taste.

improved digital platform: I've never been plagued with the Tidal dropouts or other glitches that are sometimes raised in the Streaming Forum (nearly always network or ISP related) but it's nice to know the new platform is future proofed to a greater extent and probably more tolerant of implementaion issues. The addition of Cast is the big one for me as it opens up a huge range of sources, particularly Qobuz and I am looking forward to getting into hi res streaming in the near future. Improved usb capability and the SD card slot are also useful. There are more goodies that I may well get into using - there is even lip sync adjustment for AV sources.

I have mixed feelings about:

the remote: I love that you don't have to point it at the box - I never realised what a pain it was to have to have a direct line of sight to the SU. It's more logically laid out and simpler than the old one and has a very nice look and feel....  but it's much less capable - you have to scroll through the inputs rather than each having its own button as on the old design and there is no UPNP control and no access to Settings unless I am missing something. In short it's great for basic operations but you really have to use the app as well whereas the old type remote could do everything even if it was a bit clumsier.

the volume control: it looks very cool but I prefer the one on the old SU. In my rack the Nova sits in a shelf under the LP12 so top mounting is not ideal although there is sufficient clearance to reach it. I think it looks too much like a CD and I can never remember which way it goes - I guess I would get used to it but fortunately I very rarely have to touch it as the app and remote are both so responsive.

"support" - there is no manual only a quick start guide - a printed copy in the box and one on the web site. Stupidly the one on the web site has 2 page 3s and no page 4 (which is the page with the connections on it!). There is also a set of topic themed guides with video support but I'd still prefer a proper comprehensive manual even if only available as a PDF.

 

Overall I am delighted I made the change and it has exceeded my expectations - as well as the improved design and facilities, I would guage the uplift in sound quality as at least what I recall from adding a extra power supply to a pre amp in my multi box days. Having said that, the SU is still a damn fine box at around half the price!

Original Post

Thanks pev, good review. I'm planning the move to Nova from SU as well (although now delayed by some extended time on the road) so your experience is appreciated. I had a long session at a dealer (with B&W 80x ... not sure which 804 looks right, as it didn't have the sphere on the tweeter). I'm happy to hear you consider the Nova to be a sonic upgrade in addition to the new streaming platform.

I read the Andrew Everard review in HiFi News and he started by saying he used it as a Roon End Point. There is a separate thread about that, but I wonder if you know whether it is now a "real" Roon end point (direct over Ethernet, Roon Ready, etc.),  or if has something to do with the built in Airplay (which I believe is available as a destination from Roon)? Perhaps they are the same - I've been confused by the terminology before!

Anyway, best wishes with your new system. 

Regards, alan

Thanks for the kind words Alan - sorry I can't help you about Roon, never used it or wanted to. I have read the review and agree it's unclear on that point. I'm sure you won't be disappointed with the Nova when you get one. 

Cheers

Pev

 

I am indeed still enjoying my Nova - the sound is steadily if subtly improving. No roller coaster here like wot you get with some posh boxes! I never actually compared the SU and Nova side by side partly because the SU was traded in via a postal deal and partly because the improvement of the Nova over the SU was obvious without a back to back dem. I heard it more than once before deciding, including at the Naim factory - it was in a different class, and I still say the SU is a great device and kept me happy for years. After downsizing from a 7 box olive system I'm past paying significant sums for changes that I have to strain my ears to detect.

The main development for me is that I'm a Roon convert after the free trial that came with the Nova. It's not the track and artist info that sold it to me - I seldom bother to read sleeve notes - but the way it puts a layer of organisation over my chaotic file structures and seamlessly integrates my rips and Tidal favourites. Definitely worth a try if you can't be arsed fiddling with meta data and file structures.

 

Bert posted:

Did you ever do a blind, unbiased back-to-back comparison between SuperUniti and Nova on sound quality?

Rather than a blind test, it's take a deaf test not to hear how the Nova sounds compared to the SU. If you can imagine a SU with verve, 3D imaging, dynamics, freshness and a total lack of bloated-ness, here you have a Nova.

alan33 posted:

I read the Andrew Everard review in HiFi News and he started by saying he used it as a Roon End Point. There is a separate thread about that, but I wonder if you know whether it is now a "real" Roon end point (direct over Ethernet, Roon Ready, etc.),  or if has something to do with the built in Airplay (which I believe is available as a destination from Roon)? Perhaps they are the same - I've been confused by the terminology before!

The new Unitis are indeed ‘proper’ Roon endpoints. I’ve been trialling this for a while, and it does work very well. I can’t say that the additional functions Roon gives you are particularly attractive to me, and the need to run a separate computer as a Roon Core is an additional faff, but try it for yourself, you might like it!

ChrisSU posted:
I can’t say that the additional functions Roon gives you are particularly attractive to me, and the need to run a separate computer as a Roon Core is an additional faff, but try it for yourself, you might like it!

Hi Chris - no need to run a separate computer - Roonserver runs on a QNAP nas which is on anyway.

Pev posted:
ChrisSU posted:
I can’t say that the additional functions Roon gives you are particularly attractive to me, and the need to run a separate computer as a Roon Core is an additional faff, but try it for yourself, you might like it!

Hi Chris - no need to run a separate computer - Roonserver runs on a QNAP nas which is on anyway.

Yes, I meant computer in the broadest sense of the word, I used my MacBook just because that’s what I’ve got, but a reasonably powerful NAS would work too. If it proves popular, it must surely be on the wish list for the Naim Core to be a Roon Core too? 

Glad to hear you’re still enjoying the improvements Pev! Nice also to have other voices join in with their own experience. For my part, having traded the Qute v1 and SU en route to Atom and Nova, I’m not able to add much yet: Atom is in the house, but I was home for only one day to install it; Nova on hold until my return in February. Bit of a test of patience, this haha.

As it happens, I will be home for a day next week and looking forward to some time in my own space. Will of course have the opportunity to put Atom through more paces - it’s in the main living room downstairs at the moment, and a MuSo Qb is living in the upstairs room. (Qb was on a greatly reduced price offer with purchase of a new Uniti box, so I jumped). 

Thanks for all the Roon experience reporting also. When I originally wrote the post above in this thread, the Naim announcement had not yet been made; it was a couple of weeks after Pev’s report that the firmware update was released. I too am looking forward to this feature, as an early trial at home (to the SU via optical out on a Mac mini) was a hit not only with me but with the family. Live-ability is a big issue chez moi, so this is a welcome feature that I hope will install and run again very quickly with the new platform.  

With only a little time on the clock and, due to a similar “trade in first” approach as used by Pev, I did not have any back-to-back comparison time. I’m hesitant to say too much... but I felt an initial impression that the Atom showed more bass control and gave a livelier presentation (eg on Protection by Massive Attack)  over the Kudos S10s than did the SU, and (quoting Max) had an awful lot of verve and life. As Pev (but unlike Max), I really always enjoyed the SU and it is still, in my view, an excellent box that is a good value on the used market. I’m feeling fortunate to be on the upgrade path and (although I don’t need more reasons, and it certainly isn’t the main one), I’m glad for what awaits me at home once this assignment ends. 

Regards alan

Nice review.

I went albeit with a gap from the Olive style multi box olive system (CDS2/52/Active/250s) and to me the Nova blew it away in every way and that system was my pride and joy developed over many years.

I wonder how much Statement learning went into the Uniti range.

One thing is for sure if and when Naim upgrade the classic range is we will something spectacular.

Obsydian posted:

Nice review.

I went albeit with a gap from the Olive style multi box olive system (CDS2/52/Active/250s) and to me the Nova blew it away in every way and that system was my pride and joy developed over many years.

*SNIP*

 

Oddly enough, that’s the opposite of my experience. I run NDX into 82 Hicap 2*135 into B&W 804s as my main streaming system, with a Nova feeding PMC Twenty5.23s as a second. The olive system seems to me have more of everything, the sound has much greater weight and bass attack, rhythmically it’s better, and voices seem realer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted with the Uniti system, I listen with great pleasure when I’m using the upstairs lounge, it’s a fantastic system, Just I find the older system surpasses it. It’d be a boring world if we all had the same tastes wouldn’t it?

Eoink posted:
Obsydian posted:

Nice review.

I went albeit with a gap from the Olive style multi box olive system (CDS2/52/Active/250s) and to me the Nova blew it away in every way and that system was my pride and joy developed over many years.

*SNIP*

 

Oddly enough, that’s the opposite of my experience. I run NDX into 82 Hicap 2*135 into B&W 804s as my main streaming system, with a Nova feeding PMC Twenty5.23s as a second. The olive system seems to me have more of everything, the sound has much greater weight and bass attack, rhythmically it’s better, and voices seem realer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted with the Uniti system, I listen with great pleasure when I’m using the upstairs lounge, it’s a fantastic system, Just I find the older system surpasses it. It’d be a boring world if we all had the same tastes wouldn’t it?

Phew!!!

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