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

Hi Richard,  Yes, my email has been sent in. I'm in Canada so unlikely my machine will go back to UK for diagnosis.  Naim can certainly have my Atom back, if they provide me with something as good or better, while they have it.  

If I may recommend however, Naim should provide a upgrade/downgrade option in the UI.  Let the owner decide which version to run.  Because we have no clue, just optimism, that any upgrade will be better than what we originally had, when we hit the 'upgrade' button.  We need to be able to revert.

 

A little anecdote.  My (fictional) motor company calls.  "Sir, we're sending a mechanic over to enhance your car. It's totally free, no-charge, it will be way better". "um, ok.. ".  "Yes sir, but before he upgrades it, you must put on a blindfold and not look until he's gone."  "Do I have a choice?" "Yes Sir, you always have a choice, but if you don't do it, we cannot continue to warranty your car". "Ok then.. I guess".  The mechanic comes up my drive, hops out, and replaces all my beautiful alloys with steel wheels.  After the mechanic leaves, I take the blindfold off, and there sits my beautiful canary yellow Lamborghini, with some fugly fiat steel wheels on it. "What have you done? You've ruined my Lambo!"  "Well Sir, we talked to quite a few dealers and the majority agreed that steel wheels were safer, easier to maintain, while still getting the job done. They weather winter better as well!" "But,but.. can I have my alloys back?" "Perhaps Sir, but you need to convince your dealer, our mechanic, and our CEO that they were better.  Or, hmm, I guess you could send your Lamborghini to us and we could test it ourselves?"

 

tony123 posted:

Just for interest, is there any person who is undoubtedly satisfied with 2.6 upgrade compared to 2.3 and who is very happy with new sound? If yes, reply please .
If not, it is really strange ...

Yes - and many others have posted positive comments when it first came out. 

Pretty happy with 2.6 on my Atom now although I had few wobblies initially it seems fine for the past 10 days since I reverted to 2.3 and back again twice, whether that actually had anything to do with it I’m not entirely sure but I’m no longer getting the intermittent coarseness I was getting. I like the detail and precision in to my Spendor A4’s, it’s almost added a delicacy to the sound and the bass is fine too although a bit more refined and controlled over 2.3. I was playing London Grammar Hey Now last night and it still rattles the glassware! Overall I’m happy as long as it sticks, I particularly like the improvement it’s brought to low rez stuff such as iradio at 128k. The Cisco 2960 also adds a layer of subtle improvement too and if anything it highlights the positives of 2.6🙂

After several switches between 2.3 and 2.6, I’m on 2.6 for the last week and it sounds OK for me now. The magic touch, the mojo of the firmware out of the box is not there and I can’t get it back by reverting to 2.3, strange enough.

It seems to me that several switches between firmware didn’t give consistent results: initially 2.6 gave the sound a harsh and fatiguing character in my case but right now I can live with it. 

Hopefully, the announced 2.6.1 update and further future upgrades will cause less discussion. 

I went back to 2.3 and have now gone back to 2.6, are our ears being tricked as whilst initially I thought 2.6 had a harshness with some female vocals, now I think it’s ok.

I spoke to a local Naim dealer about the upgrade and they hadn’t had any complaints about sound quality from customers after applying the upgrade

I'm confused a little bit about all this.

Some people install 2.6 - and they get some new sound characteristics. They downgrade to 2.3 and also get new sound characteristics (different then 2.6 and 2.3 they had before). Then they install again 2.6 and again - they get different characteristics of the sound. And after several upgrades and downgrades the sound stabilizes - they are finally happy with 2.6 .

So how can I say if I'm happy with 2.6 if I don't know if it is sounds right - maybe I have to downgrade to 2.3 and upgrade again to 2.6 ten times in a row to get sound sounding right. And yes, I forgot - to restart several times Uniti Atom.

Can this all be true? I'm really not sure. If it is true, then Uniti Atom is really fragile and nobody can’t be sure if it sounds right (like designed) or not.

I thought that I’m not happy with 2.6. But how can I be sure if it sounds like 2.6. Maybe I'm getting something not sounding like 2.6, and I have to do several restarts, or maybe several downgrades/upgrades in a row, o maybe I have to pull the cable from the mains socket and pull it back 5 times in a row, or do something even more strange .

By the way, does anybody know whether DSP version affects only digital sources, like mp3, flac, wma etc., or the sound is altered also via analogue connection?

I mean if I connect something via analogue white/red input on the Uniti Atom, does the sound will change depending on firmware version?

dave-mac posted:

For the people who seem happy with the 2.6 sound, are you not upset about losing so much power output?

I didn’t do a direct comparison on the same album, but had a vague feeling I might be listening at 42/3 rather than 39/40. But as the maximum is 100 and I found >50 pinned me back in my seat I don't think even if that minor change happened I’ve lost anything.

David Hendon posted:

As the new Uniti digitises analogue inputs, I think a firmware update will potentially affect all inputs.

best

David

To be honest, I don't understand the philosophy of why sound characteristics are changed.

I always thought that NAIM makes amplifiers, which sound characteristics are 100% dependent on the circuit, but NOT digital intervention.

And also NAIM amplifiers do NOT have tone controls. As I understand this phenomena makes signal as short as possible, and music becomes as close as possible to recording source. But now we all see that original signal is changed for unknown reason in digital way. To put it simply, 2.6 firmware update increases treble - seems like raised equalizer settings in 10K+ Hz range. So this is something like adjusting treble control.

And this is really big contradiction: no treble/bass controls in NAIM amplifiers, but the adjustments of bass and treble are made in factory. If next update gives choice of 2 DSP versions (for example choosing one of 2 or 3), then this would become the same as making bass/treble knobs, or digital equalizer settings like in home cinema receivers.

Doesn’t this contradict with NAIM philosophy and high quality sound systems in general? NAIM always did amplifiers without tone controls. And now we all see that tone (especially treble) is change by new firmware.

Can somebody explain that?

fred47 posted:
Pev posted:

No issue with power output on my Nova. All good here.

No problem with Nova here. 36 on the dial. No need to change the volume settings.

No problem with my Nova either. Have to say that i did need a factory reset after the update to make the lovely sound come back.

Now this amp keeps surprising me every day. 

Just a random thought, on a different thread 3 of us commented that we loved our Novas, all three of us were ex or current high end olive Naim owners. I wonder if there is a correlation between the people who love the old olive presentation and enjoying 2.6.

Eoink posted:

Just a random thought, on a different thread 3 of us commented that we loved our Novas, all three of us were ex or current high end olive Naim owners. I wonder if there is a correlation between the people who love the old olive presentation and enjoying 2.6.

From my understanding reading the comments in the threads, Nova owners are generally happier with the results compared to Atom owners.

Is it fair to speculate that given the price difference between the units, the control boards and signal boards are of a higher quality also, or is the difference just in the amplification?.

I would suspect if different control/sound boards, the firmware would have specific code for the relevant model and revision and may very well also be "tuned" differently.

Regardless, I'm sure the sound was tuned anyway to the more powerful amplifier given this is a product in a higher tier than the lowly Atom.

Therin may very well be the reason of increased satisfaction on 2.6 from Nova owners.

 

EoinKav posted:
SNIP

From my understanding reading the comments in the threads, Nova owners are generally happier with the results compared to Atom owners.

Is it fair to speculate that given the price difference between the units, the control boards and signal boards are of a higher quality also, or is the difference just in the amplification?.

SNIP

 

My feeling based on the audition I did was that the Atom was a lovely box, I could easily have lived with it, but the Nova gave both sweeter female vocals and greater grip and pace at the lower end. So it is possible that the strengths of the Nova mask, or are even enhanced by, the changes people are hearing.

As I understand it the Nova has a higher spec digital section as well as the amplification.

Liked my Nova a lot before 2.6, like it less and listen to it less now. Waiting for next update for a return to the sound approximating why I bought it in the first place. I don't know where this puts me statistically but I'm still amazed Naim could change the sound without prior warning. 

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