Naim-Focal is a combination that works well
This comes as no surprise because the companies are owned by the same people. As a result there is a good deal of collaboration. The first examples of this was the MuSo and MuSo QB which use Naim electronics and Focal design to achieve excellent performance from small units.
We’ve been spending some time in our listening room playing around with combinations and we hit upon a combination that features the Naim UnitiQute and the Focal Aria 905. We’re so pleased with the all round performance that this system offers that we decided to write a sort of review of it.
Naim Audio UnitiQute £1329
The Qute has long been something of a favourite in our store. It’s combination of features and performance suits so many of our customers. Essentially this is an audio system in one box. It offers Streaming audio, internet radio, DAB/FM radio, analogue and digital inputs, a powerful Naim amplifier. It also allows access to both Spotify and Tidal streaming services and even allows you to pair any Blue-tooth device to play music stored on it.
You can find more information on it here.
Focal Aria 905 £599
A well crafted compact speaker is a thing of wonder and Focal know how to make them. This is a speaker at home in a typical British lounge. Despite its small size, the Aria 905 bookshelf loudspeaker is capable of reproducing sound worthy of a much bigger loudspeaker whilst providing very natural sound without any artificiality.
These are quite sensitive too and the Naim drives them extremely well. They’ll go loud make no mistake, but more important is the sound remains detailed when you turn them down.
We listened to the combination with a selection of tracks that we tend to use when evaluating equipment;
Dance Macabre Saint Saens
Take 5 Dave Brubeck
Gaia James Taylor
Tin Pan Alley Steve Ray Vaughan
The system dealt with the dynamics with ease and never sounded flustered, even when we wound it up a little. We were particularly impressed by the imaging of the Focal’s and the relative bass from such a small enclosure 334 x 212 x 245mm
You can find the specification here.
The system was also easy to set up. We used some Chord speaker cables and connected the Naim to our network using a CAT-5 cable. We prefer to use a cable if possible although the Naim will actually work wirelessly. As it was it found our music library easily and we were playing music in moments.
We put the speakers on some Atacama stands that measure 60cm in height and placed them close to the back wall in our main listening room. They will work on a shelf but we always prefer stands if they are possible in the room. We found these speakers like a very small amount of toe-in in order to produce the most accurate soundstage.
Bearing in mind this system has a cost of £1900 we expected it to sound good. People don’t spend this kind of money without listening. Even so we were still extremely pleasantly surprised with the performance and the overall results. A couple of customers who were in-store at the time stuck their heads round for a listen and both of them complimented the sound.
Finally we plugged a Rega P3 turntable into the system, using their Fono mini phono stage. As expected the results were really rather special.
In conclusion this is a competent, flexible and affordable way to listen to music. It allows almost all media to be catered for and is both simple to install and also to use. As well as the supplied remote control; the system can be controlled with an app that enables your phone or tablet to become a rather wonderful remote control.
A firm recommendation from us!
You can buy the Naim-Focal system here.