Setting up the NaimUniti 2 is a piece of cake on the slick OLED display panel. Hit the dedicated button (emblazoned with a picture of a spanner) to access the setup menu. Here you can change options for each input, as well as general stuff like language, speaker configuration, display and network settings. It’s laid out in a straightforward list that leaves absolutely no room for confusion.
For wireless setup, the process is quick and easy – the unit finds access points in an instant and you can enter your password quickly using the alphanumeric keys on the remote.
General operation is easy, thanks largely to the terrific remote. It’s ergonomic, weighty and sports large buttons that click down firmly. These buttons are laid out for maximum convenience, separated into different sections (playback, menu controls, numbers) all of which are within easy reach of the thumb. Input selection involves pressing up and down on the direction pad or pressing the dedicated quick-access buttons. A few times we instinctively pressed the up and down keys to adjust the volume, which irritatingly cuts out playback, but like Pavlov’s dog we soon learned to stop.
We connected an iPod Nano (7th generation) to the front USB port and it worked with no problems. The OLED display uses the same layout as the iPod’s menus, making it easy to find songs, playlists and albums using the Naim’s remote.
While streaming music from connected media servers it displays the artist, title, album and genre, with the volume and playback status above it. If you hit the ‘i’ key you can check buffer level, server name, elapsed time and the quality of the file you’re streaming. The same options are available for internet radio. You can even explore the setup menu without interrupting the stream, which is a bonus.
However, during our test the wireless connection proved to be fairly unreliable, dropping out several times mid-song. To be fair Naim does try and steer you in the direction of the more reliable wired connection, explaining that Wi-Fi is there for convenience.
And given how great music sounds through the NaimUniti 2, any interruptions would be criminal. We paired it up with some Focal speakers and not only is the Naim a powerful customer, kicking out a meaty, largescale sound with thumping yet well controlled bass, but there’s a clarity and focus in the high frequencies that really rams home its audiophile credentials.
Like them or loathe them, Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto is a beautifully produced album and really shows off the Naim’s particular set of skills. The little bell that heralds the piano riff in Paradise is crystal clear, while the crisp reproduction of the chugging hi-hats keep the song moving along nicely.
When the CD skips to Charlie Brown, NaimUniti 2 beautifully reproduces the individual elements of this busy song. Guitars, fast-paced drums, vocals, bass – everything is given room to breathe, while capturing little details like the little squeak of guitar strings and background effects.
But with other musical styles, like Royksopp’s infectious dance beats or the jazzy stylings of Amy Winehouse, Naim shows off its impeccable sense of rhythm and lends a spine-tingling richness to vocals and solo instruments.
And with hi-res FLAC files it gets even better, combining the extra detail with tight bass, clean mids and astonishing power to deliver a musical performance that’s simply staggering.
The NaimUniti 2 is the sort of music system that’ll make audiophiles drool, with its incredible build quality, stellar spec and pristine, powerful sound quality.
Compared with its predecessor, there’s more power, a new CD mechanism and improved 192kHz/24-bit electronics, which might not be enough to convince owners of the original to upgrade, but makes this version an even more formidable proposition for NaimUniti newcomers.
It’s a pity, however, that there’s no access to music streaming services like Spotify and support for SACD, but with so many other playback options on board we guess that might be asking too much.