Uniti Atom/Nova/Star - New firmware - March/April 2018 Comments

As several of us have posted inadvertently or in response to other queries about new firmware in the incorrect threads, time to start a new more specific one for the products above.  

Probably best for Mu-so/Mu-so Qb owners to have a separate one if needed.

Background:

Naim released 2.3.1 on March 19th to address HDMI S/PDIF issues:

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...casional-dropout-fix

This ruined my Nova's sound - made it thin, lifeless and unengaging.  A couple of others felt the same, others were more positive so fair to say inconsistent experiences.  Some found a factory reset helped, others didn't.

I remain puzzled why firmware 2.3.1 was released when we then got 4.6 for older streamers and 2.6.9508 for the new Uniti series (well Nova anyway - I assume Atom/Star are the same) only a fortnight later, though presumably there are good reasons:

http://forums.naimaudio.com/to...o-streaming-products

I had maybe a 10 day gap between listening to the (to me) awful 2.3.1 (19th March 2.3.1.9464 - app screen grab) and 2.6.9508 (released 4th April), and only did limited before/after listening. They didn't seem too different though perhaps the latest is not as harsh sounding, and while I think 2.6.9508 the app currently shows is a little better,  the sound of the Nova overall just seems lacking compared to a few weeks ago before 2.3.1.

It simply doesn't engage me in the way that 2.3 (8574) did before I installed 2.3.1.9464 on 20th March.

Until a few days ago I only  played digital audio on the Nova - from WD NAS, via rear USB, Roon from Mac Mini and a lot of Qobuz playback using Chromecast built-in.

Having listened to the 4th April firmware for several days now it is undeniably quite detailed, but just sounds fairly thin and uninvolving comapred to the Nova prior to 2.3.1.  Another poster Obsydian sums it up saying it seems to have 'lost its mojo'.

In the last few days I've hooked up my old Linn LP12 via Analogue 1 input and it's a much better experience than lossless SD/HD digital audio from the LAN or streaming apps.

It's not that it sounds bad/distorted or anything like that, just that it no longer seems engaging/involving in teh way it did before.

Some recommendations from others in the Music Room threads turned up some fantastic tracks/artists which really showed what the Nova is capable of - these same tracks now seem rather lacklustre and don't thrill in the same way - many things just seem like background music not engaging audio.

Admittedly all this is highly subjective, but for those of us who feel our devices sound worse it is all the more frustrating due to the apparent inability to revert to older firmware which we were happy with sonically - placebo effect or not, without being able to go back to compare we'll probably remain convinced something has deleteriously affected our device's sound quality.

Please provide your comments based on your experience with the latest updates.

I appreciate there may be some known issues others have I have not mentioned.

 

 

 

Original Post

Definitely nothing negative sonically with my Atom after both upgrades, improved if anything. The app and some specific issues I was having seemed much improved but then it threw a complete wobbly last weekend with lots of weird stuff happening but it’s been very good since in fairness. I’ve hard wired my router to it today with a long cat5e to see if it keeps it in shape as I had been using wireless only - mostly tidal and radio. I would have thought if there was an issue specifically with the Nova and the upgrade then it would be more widespread whereas many Nova users have reported no issues at all or at least there haven’t been lots of Nova owners on here complaining 

Hi Alley Cat

I agree the sound quality seems poorer after the 2.6 update, I must admit the 2.3.1 firmware escaped me, couldn't have been paying attention.

In addition to the sound issues I have loss of artwork playing back via Unitiserve as an issue, I am also experiencing track fading, a couple of places on every track playing back via the Unitiserve.

I was happy with the way things were pre update, everything worked well and sounded great. Seemingly we can't go back to previous set up which is a pity.

It does seem very odd that some users report improvements from the firmware update on both new and old streamers, and others report worse sound quality. Maybe these are just subjective opinions of a sound that is just different? For what it's worth, I have an NDX and an Atom, I think they probably both sound a bit better. (My hearing is probably too trashed to see any of the huge, night-and-day improvements that some have reported!)

It will be interesting to see how Naim react to this, and whether they can come up with a firmware update that satisfies everyone.

ChrisSU posted:

...

It will be interesting to see how Naim react to this, and whether they can come up with a firmware update that satisfies everyone.

That is hardly possible, I am afraid. But it should be possible to downgrade to the previous firmware. This must be a feature that is anyway available in the firmware, otherwise beta testing would be impossible. Thus, for Naim, it is just a matter of switching on (or of not switching off) a feature that is already there. They should give users the freedom to downgrade if they wish to do so. Of course, Naim could still provide support only for the latest firmware.

After reading a lot of threads on this forum I think the V2.6 update will have improved the Atom, the bèta testers on a Star did also have no notable changes in SQ.

But, with the Nova there is something really changed, negative.

We used to have an overpowered big V8 with a lot of torque, ( mojo) thats gone with 2 FW updates.

I can not call the Nova audiophile anymore, not engaging, thin, digital. I did buy this piece for the sound, looks and brand. Now I seriously regret my purchase all the way, and to be honest what really did change with the updates ?

Still buggy,no playlist, no history, awfull app didn't change.

oh yes, now I can use the time button on my remote to see the time........big improvement.!! 

Was the Nova to good for the money.????  

All the reviews can be done again...

 

Have to agree reference the effect of  the update on the Nova. It was easily the match or superior to my SN1 / ND5xs / TP XPS which I am demoing to sell.  The Nova now sounds thin and unengaging and no amount of volume or track change helps. 

Have no idea of how to communicate this formally to Naim.  Needless to say not a happy bunny after spending that amount of money.

 

any advice gladly received!

dlb27 posted:

Have to agree reference the effect of  the update on the Nova. It was easily the match or superior to my SN1 / ND5xs / TP XPS which I am demoing to sell.  The Nova now sounds thin and unengaging and no amount of volume or track change helps. 

Have no idea of how to communicate this formally to Naim.  Needless to say not a happy bunny after spending that amount of money.

 

any advice gladly received!

The fixed threads above have contact info.

http://forums.naimaudio.com/topic/naim-support

I e-mailed after the serious change in quality with 2.3.1 for me but was advised it couldn't have altered sound quality as it was for HDMI and S/PDIF fixes.

Those of us who feel there has been a change for the worse (perhaps half a dozen so far) seem to describe similar change with music now being thin, digital sounding/harsh and ultimately unengaging.

Not a lover of the new DSP in the latest firmware for my Atom, it lost its oomph on my system. It seems easier to distinguish vocals and instruments but it feels harshier to listen to overall and I get fatigue. Also its introduced a nasty bug when switching from analogue with AV fixed volume to internet radio, volume would stay at fixed volume for internet radio for a few seconds before normalising so it blasted out. Naim have reproduced it and will fix asap in another update. Still get intermittent lockups when switching sources especially from Tidal to Roon.

On the plus the app seems more responsive as does the UI on the units screen.

o

I am a nova user as well.

I can tell noticeable differences of SQ between 2.6 and 2.3/2.3.1. Obviously 2.6 is the least preferred version in terms of SQ. the fist feeling of listen 2.6 is the sound gets thinner. listening to more tracks, I found it is less puncher and engaging. I feel less enjoyable to  music. I won’t consider Nova definitely if the demo is at v2.6.

You know I’ve not noticed any difference in SQ - just glad that everything fired up after it. One has to wonder if these are real or perceived differences at the end of the day or if these 58 year old ears are performing blow par compared to ears of a similar age - strange old hobby this! I’d be interested to hear from a Phil and colleagues if there are real improvements in SQ or  if were simply conning ourselves

Just seems odd that it’s apparently only affecting some units and not all, you would think if there was an inherent issue with the firmware then all units would be affected similarly. As I said, my Atom sounds fine - improved if anything.  

rjstaines posted:
dave-mac posted:

Conspiracy theory - Naim have reduced the quality of the uniti series so the new ND series seems like more of a step up in quality.

Is it not said that   "Many a true word... is said in jest" ?

I'm only half joking. Apple have been caught 'throttling' previous generation phones, and god knows what else that we don't know about...

I did the 2.3.1 update when it came out, on my Nova I could hear no difference. I did the 2.6 update on day of release, since then I’ve mainly been listening to vinyl on my main system. I did play a few albums on the Nova on Friday, but 2 family members I hadn’t seen for a few months were visiting for the weekend, so it was more as background music while we caught up. I didn’t notice any major difference, but will listen critically during the week and see what I think.

I noticed a change in the sound after the latest two updates. Quiter and less involving. I thought is was my mind or ears playing tricks on me. But it seems I am not the only one.

Maybe it is just the volume settings, but if the naim engineers applied some SQ changes thru the software it needs more investigation.

I didn't install the 2.3.1 update, but I did install the 2.6 on an Atom and a MU-SO.

I regret the decision, sound on the Atom is thinner and less loud than before.

Wifi drop outs are less frequent but still there from time to time.

They  destroyed the ambiance of the Atom with this update, it's almost like a theft ... pretty disgusted with this TBH.

I won't bother investing in any more Naim kit if this is what can happen, you audition a system, purchase it, enjoy it

update it, and it sounds mediocre at best. 

 

MU-SO Update sounds fine, didn't notice much difference, perhaps a little less base which is good IMO.

I still have 1 other MU-SO which is still at its base 2.3 firmware, I must do a side by side to see.

 

OK, just found something really odd.

Using Mac desktop Qobuz app on the Nova it has beta options for DLNA/UPnP and Chromecast.

Started playing 'I am dust' from Gary Numan's 'Splinter (Songs from a broken mind)' via DLNA/UPnP option and it sounds pretty good.

I then played via Chromecast built-in and it's as though I've turned the volume right down - barely audible at all and very thin/poor quality - these should be the same files should they not?

 

 

 

I contacted Phil from Naim support yesterday according this issue.

He did send me instructions today.

There is a way to revert,  I Just downloaded the previously 2.31/2.6,  2.3.8574 FW.

Sound is back.!!!   Happy again 😁 

I'll save this file, so by future FW updates I can test the new or revert.

 

 

Mr.Orange posted:

I contacted Phil from Naim support yesterday according this issue.

He did send me instructions today.

There is a way to revert,  I Just downloaded the previously 2.31/2.6,  2.3.8574 FW.

Sound is back.!!!   Happy again 😁 

I'll save this file, so by future FW updates I can test the new or revert.

 

 

Interesting, Did he offer any explanation or info on this supposed degradation in SQ?

 

Mr.Orange posted:

I contacted Phil from Naim support yesterday according this issue.

He did send me instructions today.

There is a way to revert,  I Just downloaded the previously 2.31/2.6,  2.3.8574 FW.

Sound is back.!!!   Happy again 😁 

I'll save this file, so by future FW updates I can test the new or revert.

 

 

Good Act! But it's not a solution. Assumed that Naim will bring us more powerful features in upcoming firmware versions, we cannot just stick to a legacy version.

IMHO, more important is how we get Naim aware of the issue (critical severity indeed - we buy for their sound), find the root cause and fix in next version.

Mr.Orange posted:

I contacted Phil from Naim support yesterday according this issue.

He did send me instructions today.

There is a way to revert,  I Just downloaded the previously 2.31/2.6,  2.3.8574 FW.

Sound is back.!!!   Happy again 😁 

I'll save this file, so by future FW updates I can test the new or revert.

 

Well you did better than me - I was told by email support it was not possible - at least we have a potential option now. I'll try ringing later.

2.3 (8574) was the firmware that sounded good - is that the one that works for you?

No explanation 
Thank you for your email - we have received much positive feedback about the performance of the streamers on 2.6 firmware and are very happy with it ourselves. We feel that this improves upon the performance of the units on earlier firmware and as such have no plans to revert back to the earlier versions.
 
Best Regards
 
Phil Harris

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