Hi-Line interconnect or Naim Uniti atom

Hi,

I have a dilemma and I was hoping you folk on here can help with and chime in with your opinions. I have the following setup which I got last year:

  • Naim Nait 5Si
  • Audiolab MDAC+
  • Dynaudio Emit M20's
  • Premium speaker cable
  • Chord C-line interconnect (weakest link)
  • Rasberry Pi with Rasbian and Shairport-sync for Airplay
  • Ipad with Tidal for driving the whole setup.

 

Now I've been in the market for a Naim Hi-line RCA to DIN interconnect but just can't justify the £700+ price tag and none seem to be coming up second hand. So I've slowly but surely been coming round to the idea of just biting the bullet and getting one new.

I went to my local Naim dealer to get some options on this, and they suggested instead of buying the Hi-line interconnect, trade in the Naim amp, sell the MDAC+ and that should leave roughly a shortfall of £700 for me to get the 'yet to be released' Naim Uniti Atom, which I must admit looks lush.

I love the sound my system gives, I know it can go up a notch with the Hi-line interconnect but I've also had one eye on replacing the Rasberry Pi and getting a dedicated streamer, but the markets very much in it's infancy so not really anything that can nudge the (very reliable) Pi off its perch for a reasonable price.

So the Atom would solve the streaming problem, no more worrying about interconnects and I would have the latest and greatest. The negatives I can see are it's 40W per channel rather than 60W on the 5Si, not that I ever have it up super loud anyway. I'd also lose money on the 5Si and MDAC+ as I've not even had them a year. And I don't know how the sound of the Uniti would compare to my current setup, which I really love the the sound the MDAC+ through the 5Si gives. 

So if you was me what would you do? Cost wise I'm looking at roughly the same to get the interconnect than it is to upgrade to the Atom.

Or I could ditch both ideas and spend £100-200 on a Naim standard interconnect or similar and be done with it, but I know that would eventually start to bother me like the Chord C-line has been bothering me all these months. 

Any opinions greatly appreciated, especially from those who have heard the Atom. 

Thanks

Original Post

I think the suggestion your dealer made is quite good. Why not wait a couple of weeks and have a listen to the Atom preferrably at your own home. 

I used to own a HiLine, but I could never get used to those wobbly connectors which are prone to failure ...

I'm not sure that buying a Hiline in the context of your system is money well spent.

I heard the Atom at Naim HQ just before Christmas and if was very impressive so your dealer may have a point.

As you have the support of a dealer there is no harm in doing the demo, maybe try borrowing it for a few days.

Another option could be a used Superuniti, similar money and possibly better.

Richard

Thanks for the quick responses. Crazy how these things can spiral very quickly out of control, I only wanted to upgrade the interconnect and now I'm looking at replacing the heart of the system. 

I've heard similar reports about the Hi-line connections being temperamental, however when I purchase new equipment it gets unboxed, sits in its place until I either move house (very rare) or sell. 

I think if I am going to go down the route of replacing the heart of the system then I'd prefer something new, I just feel more comfortable with that as I know the history, and that was one of my justifications for edging towards getting a new Hi-line. 

I'll see if the dealer will let me trial an Atom for a few days, that would be the ideal and I could really make an informed decision. There is a certain pride in building a nice sounding system from separates so part of me is reluctant to replace what I have so soon after investing. I said at the time of buying this system 'should' see me for the next decade, how wrong could I have been!

I'll update this thread with the outcome. More opinions welcome. 

Thanks

x187lockdown posted:

Hi,

I have a dilemma and I was hoping you folk on here can help with and chime in with your opinions. I have the following setup which I got last year:

  • Naim Nait 5Si
  • Audiolab MDAC+
  • Dynaudio Emit M20's
  • Premium speaker cable
  • Chord C-line interconnect (weakest link)
  • Rasberry Pi with Rasbian and Shairport-sync for Airplay
  • Ipad with Tidal for driving the whole setup.

 

Now I've been in the market for a Naim Hi-line RCA to DIN interconnect but just can't justify the £700+ price tag and none seem to be coming up second hand. So I've slowly but surely been coming round to the idea of just biting the bullet and getting one new.

I went to my local Naim dealer to get some options on this, and they suggested instead of buying the Hi-line interconnect, trade in the Naim amp, sell the MDAC+ and that should leave roughly a shortfall of £700 for me to get the 'yet to be released' Naim Uniti Atom, which I must admit looks lush.

I love the sound my system gives, I know it can go up a notch with the Hi-line interconnect but I've also had one eye on replacing the Rasberry Pi and getting a dedicated streamer, but the markets very much in it's infancy so not really anything that can nudge the (very reliable) Pi off its perch for a reasonable price.

So the Atom would solve the streaming problem, no more worrying about interconnects and I would have the latest and greatest. The negatives I can see are it's 40W per channel rather than 60W on the 5Si, not that I ever have it up super loud anyway. I'd also lose money on the 5Si and MDAC+ as I've not even had them a year. And I don't know how the sound of the Uniti would compare to my current setup, which I really love the the sound the MDAC+ through the 5Si gives. 

So if you was me what would you do? Cost wise I'm looking at roughly the same to get the interconnect than it is to upgrade to the Atom.

Or I could ditch both ideas and spend £100-200 on a Naim standard interconnect or similar and be done with it, but I know that would eventually start to bother me like the Chord C-line has been bothering me all these months. 

Any opinions greatly appreciated, especially from those who have heard the Atom. 

Thanks

Have you demoed the Hi-Line against the Chord C-line? Does it bring to your system what you are looking for? If so, buy it. I personally would not consider buying a Hi-Line nor an Atom if I was in your place. Enjoy and get to know and appreciate what you have. When funds permit, you can improve your separates or go for an all-in-one solution. By that time we will know what the new Uniti line brings to the game. I do not know how you connect the Pi to the MDAC+ but this could also be a weak link in your chain. If so, a Hifiberry Digi+ Pro might be an interesting option. Best, nbpf 

Totally agree with HH. You'd be mad to get a Hi-line especially if using airplay, which is really your weak link. 

My advice ( if you have a 'puter in the house)  is to trial Roon. It's RAAT protocol will sound better than airplay and you can get a lifetime license for close to half the price of the Hi-line with money to spare for a nice lavender interconnect

I'd be careful of changing an amp that suits your speakers, it's easy to mismatch. 

.sjb

HH, nbpf and Sloop, appreciate you knocking some sense into me. I think you've presented another, more sensible option to get a reasonably priced interconnect and possibly replace the Pi with a computer.

I do use a Hifiberry DIGI+ via optical in the Pi. It was only meant to be a stop gap but it's performed so well I haven't felt a need to replace. And sitting on my sofa scrolling through the native iPad Tidal app listening to music is a nice experience.

With regards to a computer, I don't have one in the lounge where the hifi is so would have to get a dedicated unit for the sole purpose of Roon. It has crossed my mind, would the difference be that noticeable over the current Pi setup? As far as my knowledge goes Tidal stores it's HiFi quality tracks in FLAC, which gets converted to ALAC (lossless to lossless I believe, still equals lossless) before being sent over Airplay to the Pi then via optical to the MDAC+ which reports a 44.1Khz signal. If I connected via a computer with Roon then the same signal should be reported. I am aware a wired connection will always offer something more but is it really a worthwhile noticeable difference? 

Excuse if I have anything incorrect above, it's all a learning curve and I'm very much expecting to get schooled.  

x187lockdown posted:

Hi,

I have a dilemma and I was hoping you folk on here can help with and chime in with your opinions. I have the following setup which I got last year:

  • Naim Nait 5Si
  • Audiolab MDAC+
  • Dynaudio Emit M20's
  • Premium speaker cable
  • Chord C-line interconnect (weakest link)
  • Rasberry Pi with Rasbian and Shairport-sync for Airplay
  • Ipad with Tidal for driving the whole setup.

 

Now I've been in the market for a Naim Hi-line RCA to DIN interconnect but just can't justify the £700+ price tag and none seem to be coming up second hand. So I've slowly but surely been coming round to the idea of just biting the bullet and getting one new.

I went to my local Naim dealer to get some options on this, and they suggested instead of buying the Hi-line interconnect, trade in the Naim amp, sell the MDAC+ and that should leave roughly a shortfall of £700 for me to get the 'yet to be released' Naim Uniti Atom, which I must admit looks lush.

I love the sound my system gives, I know it can go up a notch with the Hi-line interconnect but I've also had one eye on replacing the Rasberry Pi and getting a dedicated streamer, but the markets very much in it's infancy so not really anything that can nudge the (very reliable) Pi off its perch for a reasonable price.

So the Atom would solve the streaming problem, no more worrying about interconnects and I would have the latest and greatest. The negatives I can see are it's 40W per channel rather than 60W on the 5Si, not that I ever have it up super loud anyway. I'd also lose money on the 5Si and MDAC+ as I've not even had them a year. And I don't know how the sound of the Uniti would compare to my current setup, which I really love the the sound the MDAC+ through the 5Si gives. 

So if you was me what would you do? Cost wise I'm looking at roughly the same to get the interconnect than it is to upgrade to the Atom.

Or I could ditch both ideas and spend £100-200 on a Naim standard interconnect or similar and be done with it, but I know that would eventually start to bother me like the Chord C-line has been bothering me all these months. 

Any opinions greatly appreciated, especially from those who have heard the Atom. 

Thanks

if you buy a hiline, the rest of your system will be the weakest link, if you understand what i mean. Begin, as advised, by upgrading your amp or source,  not the contrary ( the cables).  Generally speaking, all cables must cost around 10/15 % of the total cost of a system. In your asking, one hiline alone will cost you 30% of your system...

x187lockdown posted:

HH, nbpf and Sloop, appreciate you knocking some sense into me. I think you've presented another, more sensible option to get a reasonably priced interconnect and possibly replace the Pi with a computer.

I do use a Hifiberry DIGI+ via optical in the Pi. It was only meant to be a stop gap but it's performed so well I haven't felt a need to replace. And sitting on my sofa scrolling through the native iPad Tidal app listening to music is a nice experience.

With regards to a computer, I don't have one in the lounge where the hifi is so would have to get a dedicated unit for the sole purpose of Roon. It has crossed my mind, would the difference be that noticeable over the current Pi setup? As far as my knowledge goes Tidal stores it's HiFi quality tracks in FLAC, which gets converted to ALAC (lossless to lossless I believe, still equals lossless) before being sent over Airplay to the Pi then via optical to the MDAC+ which reports a 44.1Khz signal. If I connected via a computer with Roon then the same signal should be reported. I am aware a wired connection will always offer something more but is it really a worthwhile noticeable difference? 

Excuse if I have anything incorrect above, it's all a learning curve and I'm very much expecting to get schooled.  

A Pi with a Hifiberry DIGI+ is probably a very good source. If you feel the need to improve, you could try a DIGI+ Pro. You can also try replacing the optical link between the DIGI+ and the MDAC+ with an electrical connection: the DIGI+ provides galvanic isolation.

As suggested by SJB, you can setup the Pi to act as a Roon endpoint. You will then need another computer or NAS running the Roon server and you probably need to connect the Pi to your network via ethernet cables.

You can also install MinimServer (http://minimserver.com/) and upmpdcli (https://www.lesbonscomptes.com/upmpdcli/) and have the Pi act as a complete UPnP server + renderer with Tidal, Qobuz and GoogleMusic integration. In this case, you keep your data on an external HDD connected to the PI via USB. You control the system with a UPnP control point like Linn Kazoo, Lumin, Bubble UPnp, etc. You do not need to connect the Pi to your network via ethernet cables: a decent wireless connection will be more than enough.

I can't help on the computer options, as I use a nas and a streamer. The nas lives elsewhere - the last thing I'd want is a full computer in the sitting room, and I like to control the music via the Naim app, which I find really nice to use. Which is not saying for one second that it's better pr than the Roon option, merely that I know nothing about it. Sending stuff via airplay is certainly not a good idea though. 

Thanks all for the advice and making me realise a Hi-line would've been overkill on my system.

So I went to my local Naim dealer and picked up a standard interconnect today. With a quite bit left over from my original plans (thanks to you all ) I also ended up getting a Rel T5i subwoofer I've had my eye on for a while as they offered me a good price, and I am so glad I did. It has really made a massive difference to the overall sound stage, I have it setup at just the right level to compliment, but not over power. Very very pleased with the results!

Still getting used to the Naim interconnect, I guess these things take a while to burn in but on initial impressions, I wouldn't say it's a night and day difference over the Chord C-line but there is doubt there is an improvement. The addition of the sub might also be guilty of stealing away most of the thunder from the upgrade in interconnect. 

Next stop, give Roon a trial. I've heard from too many sources now how good it is so need to find out for myself. Going to set it up with the Pi as the endpoint and see how it goes. I'll let you know how that goes. 

Hi,

Just thought I'd complete this thread as promised with an update on my experience using Roon.

I finally got around to setting this up. I have a desktop in my bedroom which I installed Roon server on and setup a Raspberry Pi w/ DIGI+ as a Roon endpoint. Just to note that both the desktop and Raspberry Pi are running wireless. This has caused no issues but I do have solid TP Link USB wireless dongles and a TP Link router so that may have something to do with the reliability and speed. 

I was quite literally blown away with the difference in quality Roons RaaT protocol provides over Airplay. It really is night and day. Makes me wonder why I was so pro Airplay for so long, I guess mainly because they're aren't too many options, it was free and I have a lot of Apple products so it had convenience factor, but it simply doesn't compare to what the guys at Roon labs have done. One of the most notable upgrades I've made, I'd recommend seeing for yourself and signing with for the trial, setting up the Roon endpoint couldn't of been any simpler. However, be prepared to roll over to the paid subscription as there is no going back once you've heard the difference. Took me a little while to get to grips with the Roon iPad app, which really does have a certain charm (in a good way) and has certainly grown on me. It's one of those pieces of software that you never quite fully understand, but you love it because you're finding new (tucked-away) features and nice touches all the time. It definitely provides more artist information and music knowledge (related artists etc) which is great, and the Roon radio feature is very nicely done. It basically scans you're entire collection and somehow manages to create a playlist of tunes of the exact same mood from the original tune you played. Has been great for showing me album tracks I had sitting there all the time but wouldn't necessarily put on myself.  

Anyway long and short, I couldn't recommend Roon more to anyone in a similar position to me looking for that solid wireless implementation. Finally feel like I now have a worthy source to drive my system. And sound quality aside, it is a great piece of software for the music lover.  

Sloop John B posted: 

 Once the computer is on the same network you can even is it to run Roon  

.sjb

.sjb - you have mentioned Roon many times now - you really rate it I take it, can you advise what the advantages are?

×
×
×
×