The Arrival of the Naim Uniti Star completes the Uniti range
The Star is the middle all-in-one audio system in the Uniti range. It is a fine compact music player that is designed to let you enjoy your music whatever format it is on.
The Star is a compact all-in-one audio system that also features a CD player. Not only that but it can also rip and archive your CD’s losslessly and send them to either an external drive (USB or NAS) or an SD card. Of course it gathers all the metadata and album artwork in the process.
The really cool thing is how easy it is to rip your own CD’s to a storage device. The simplicity of the Star means you can buy a 2TB USB drive, plug it in the back and the unit will archive all your music there in a form that you can browse and enjoy and without the need for a computer and a load of software. A simple and elegant solution.
Internet radio is provided, as is Tidal and Spotify. But the feature set doesn’t end there;
- Chromecast enables you to cast video and audio from your tablet or phone
- Airplay enables you to wirelessly play music from your apple device
- Blue-tooth enables you to pair your portable device
- Wireless updates enable your device to update it’s soft and firmware to ensure it keeps up to date with new features and enhancements in performance, without a return to retailer or base.
Connectivity is improved even further by analogue and digital inputs and even an HDMI to enable you to take the sound from your TV. Is there nothing the Star can’t do?
Build quality and performance
Naim have provided 70 watts per channel of power and it becomes apparent quickly that this is enough to drive most of the loudspeakers that this unit is ever going to need to be partnered with. Unboxing the Star gives you a pleasant surprise; mainly due to the weight of the unit and the high standard of fit and finish. But it is in the listening room where the Star earns its spurs.
We couldn’t wait to unbox the Naim Uniti Star and get it on. As soon as we connected power, it requested us to pair the remote control. This takes moments. We then allowed the unit to update its firmware. Once this was complete we left it playing internet radio.
Once the Star had been plugged in for 24 hours we sat down to listen to it with a variety of loudspeakers. For source we used a combination of Tidal, our own stored music library and CD’s.
To start off with we auditioned the Star with a pair of Spendor A5R floorstanding speakers. They’re sensibly priced, slender and elegant and we felt that they’d be the sort of loudspeaker that a customer might partner with the Star.
The Naim Uniti Star has a slightly warmer sound than Naim separates; a little less lean and perhaps a little more meat on the bones. I think Naim have done something extremely wise here and voiced their Uniti series to suit a wider range of loudspeakers. The A5R’s came alive on the end of the Star. We played half a dozen songs and pieces of music and we were extremely happy with the performance. Whilst the gap in production meant we were not able to compare the Star with the Uniti system that it replaces; we felt that a higher standard of performance was on hand.
Next up we replaced the Spendor speakers with a pair of PMC Twentyfive 23 floorstanders. This was a revelation in terms of detail, control and musicality but of course it should be because the PMC’s are substantially more expensive (£3K a pair).
This combination really sang and although the Star is clearly not fully run-in we were getting quite exceptional results.
Out of reference we decided to compare the Star with a second hand Superuniti which we had on the shelves. We felt that this would give us a better idea how the Star stood compared to the range of products which it replaces. It was an interesting demo too. The Superuniti was given an extremely good run for it’s money and overall we felt that it was quite hard to distinguish between the two. One of us felt the Star was marginally better whilst the other thought they were neck and neck. This is no mean feat considering the Superuniti is more powerful and doesn’t have a CD player/ripper built in.
Our last loudspeaker was a loan pair of Amphion 3s compact speakers that we have had in for evaluation. Amphion are not well-known in the UK but deserve to be. They’re exceptionally well-made and wonderfully musical loudspeakers. The 3s cost about £2,000 a pair and are stand mounters. We felt that they’d offer a good alternative to the customer with a smaller room. As with the PMC speakers it was clear that the Star deserves good speakers and is good enough to let you clearly hear your investment in quality.
To those new to Streaming we’ll share something that we’ve learned over the last ten years; no matter how good your component or system is, it is the quality of the app that will decide how good your listening experience is. The reason for this is simple; the app is your interface with the music. A bad, notchy or poor app makes listening to music something of an ordeal.
Fortunately the Naim app is a joy to use. It allows control of your Unit product and access to your music a pleasure. And whilst Naim products come with remote control devices, it is the app that gives you the two way user interface that makes all the difference.
The Naim Uniti Star costs £3299 and can be auditioned in our store or in your home.
Thanks for reading