The NaimUniti 2 is a high-end all-in-one music system that looks to build on the success of the original (and award-winning) NaimUniti. It features a CD player, network streaming, DAB/FM radio tuner, internet radio, iPod/iPhone/iPad dock and a digital-to-analogue converter – basically everything a music lover could need.
But this is no ordinary off-the-peg audio system. Naim’s no compromise build quality, audio engineering and classy design means we’re firmly in audiophile territory, a fact reflected in the hefty price tag. Let’s find out if you get what you pay for.
You certainly do in terms of design and build quality. Its casing is so robust that if you drove a bus over it we reckon the bus would come off worse. It’s gob-smackingly well built. And at 11.7kg, it’s also remarkably heavy, due largely to a new power transformer that increases power to 70W per channel compared with its predecessor’s 50W, allowing you to drive larger speakers in larger rooms.
The styling is not designed to dazzle – it’s a serious look for serious music fans. The thick matt black metal bodywork is slightly utilitarian, but stays the right side of stylish with an illuminated Naim logo in the middle, a bright, nicely-sized OLED display panel and some chunky buttons on the right-hand side (which light up when in action).
On the left is the CD tray, behind which lurks an improved transport. Unusually there’s no automatic open/close – you have to open the tray manually using the sturdy handle on the front, and it swings out in an arc rather than forwards. You also have to fix the disc in place using a magnetic puck.
Also on the front panel is a USB port for playback of music from storage devices or an iPod/iPhone/iPad, plus a 3.5mm input that supports analogue and digital audio signals.
On the rear panel there are loads more sockets, including four digital inputs (two optical, two coaxial), three analogue stereo inputs, 4-pin DIN pre-amplifier output, RCA line output, two mono subwoofer outputs and a DIN phono input with a signal ground switch.
These are joined by a couple of network connections – an Ethernet port and a screw terminal for the supplied Wi-Fi aerial – and an input for the DAB/FM aerial. On the custom install/service side you get a mini USB port for updates and a 3.5mm RC5 infrared remote input.
Finally the speaker terminals are not binding posts but L/R RCA ports. You get a pair of adapters that grip your speaker wires and plug snugly into the sockets.
Features-wise, the NaimUniti 2 is uPnP-enabled for network streaming and uses vTuner 5 to deliver internet radio stations alongside Choice, which provides access to higher quality iRadio streams selected by Naim.
There’s a top quality Burr Brown PCM 1793 DAC and format support is comprehensive via USB and network, handling audiophile formats like FLAC, WAV, ALAC and AIFF alongside lower-res MP3, WMA, AAC and Ogg Vorbis, with gapless playback supported in all cases. Even better is that it supports hi-res audio up to 192kHz/24-bit over a network and via the digital audio inputs.
A decent spec then, but at this price it would have been nice to have SACD playback and Spotify access, but perhaps we’re being greedy.