By their very nature, network audio streamers can be clunky and convoluted, but the UnitiQute 2 is a cinch to operate thanks to the superb OLED display.
Its clear, helpful layout makes it easy to install and even easier to find the tunes you’re looking for. Playlists and songs are presented in straightforward lists – instinctive presses of direction keys and ‘OK’ are enough to guide you through these clear-cut menus.
What’s more, you can search them quickly without annoying pauses and the display usually has the space to list full song titles – if not, it scrolls along after a second or so.
You can toggle through the inputs by pressing down on the remote, or by hitting the dedicated buttons at the bottom, which are labelled according to the type of device you might connect (PC, HDD, TV for example).
Like the main unit, the remote is fashioned from high-quality materials. The round rubber buttons are neatly arranged into distinct clusters – playback, menu controls, numbers, inputs – and their clear labeling leaves no room for confusion.
If the old-school remote doesn’t quite push your buttons, then give Naim’s n-Stream control app a whirl on your iOS device. It’s well designed, easy to use and makes every operation feel intuitive.
After playing a wide range of tunes across a wide spectrum of genres and formats, we can safely conclude that the UnitiQute 2 is a highly accomplished performer. It handles music with all the transparency and composure you’d expect from a system costing over a grand, but doesn’t forget to make things exciting and propulsive when presented with an uptempo dance number or a dramatic classical piece.
What jumps out is the Naim’s meticulous attention to detail. With high-resolution FLAC files (192kHz/24-bit) it extracts every last scrap of detail, from the faintest wisp of breath to the subtlest stroke of a brush on a drum. But it doesn’t only excel with high-brow audiophile formats – feed it a 320k MP3 or play a CD through the digital audio inputs and there’s a delicious depth and intricacy to the music that will instantly make you feel like this was money well-spent.
It sets out a wide stereo image, into which instruments and vocals are placed with the utmost accuracy and confidence. The sound is fast, full-bodied and impeccably timed, while bass notes are deep and well-defined, with no muddiness to clog up the sound. As a result, the jazz-funk bass lines of Carl Hudson’s Zoology For Martians CD sound wonderfully lucid at all times – foot-tapping is compulsory. It also handles high volumes in its sleep and tackles shifts in pace and dynamics with aplomb.
At the top end of the spectrum everything sounds crystal clear and robust – there’s no brightness to speak of. In the midrange its handling of voices is a thing of beauty, particularly the fragile tones of Lianne La Havas or Corinne Bailey Rae. You can hear their vulnerability oozing from the speakers.
We’re also impressed by how good internet radio sounds, or even lower-bitrate MP3s. Yes, the Naim exposes their shortcomings, but extracts enough detail and energy from them to hold your interest.
Let’s be clear – the UnitiQute 2 is an expensive sound system. But when you take its astonishing build quality, stunning performance and wide range of features into consideration, that price tag feels fully justified. It’s a serious system for serious music lovers, marrying an extensive spec with top-class sound quality, making it a great choice for those who can afford it.
Naim’s high-end compact audio system backs up its superb spec and bulletproof build quality with a polished performance