Naim Uniti Star – Covid lockdown long term test

Naim Uniti Star – Covid lockdown long term test


This is my first long term test, and it is on the wonderful Naim Uniti Star.  I reviewed it in April this year.   At the time I gave it an outstanding 5-star rating. Since then, with a Covid-19 global pandemic and a lockdown to match, I’ve retained the Uniti Star and I have fallen in love with it.   I said at the time the following;

it is musically very dynamic, highly functional and extremely stylish and has the heritage to match

This statement has proved to be prophetic and it is the flexibility and functionality of this system that has been the key, as the Uniti Star has worked its way into our everyday life.

Key Points

The Naim Uniti Star is in our kitchen-dining  room-living space where we spend most of our day and it is in listening range of our patio outside.  As a result, it is constantly on from the morning with internet radio, Chris Evans’ Verve FM (Virgin FM), Youtube noodling, Tidal playlists & tracklists, Chromecast or Bluetooth podcasts, etc.  The keys to the Naim Uniti Star are as follows:

  • the flexibility
  • dynamic sound
  • release of bass
  • the aesthetic

I am bound to add that the WiFi stability has been faultless (to the point where I ditched the proper Atlas Ethernet cable) and that the volume dial is easily one of the best in existence, particularly when you approach the Uniti Star and it all lights up through a proximity function.  Finally, I’m finding the SD Card and CD player particularly useful as we’re rural and our internet connectivity is ropey at this time.

Issues I thought I had with the Uniti Star

KEF R700

KEF R700 introduction

Looking at my review wish list, I thought I would have an issue with no sub out, however, having swapped out my B&W CM7s for this long term test to my more accomplished KEF R700s, there is plenty of low end thump for my needs and this has been terrific.  Indeed when I reviewed the Uniti Star previously I had the Paradigm Persona B bookshelves and they too were beautiful in the low end.  The Uniti Star seems to drag out the bass where my Uniti 2 failed, it will be hard to switch back to the Uniti 2.

The iPod connectivity issue that I rely on so heavily with the Uniti 2 has largely been eradicated with the use of Tidal’s radio player where you select a track and ask Tidal to play related tracks to suit your mood.  My extensive iPod playlists are gradually being forgotten at home, though my iPod is now in the car!

The One Niggle

The one niggle I have is that frequently the artwork gets stuck and you don’t get to see what you’re playing.   It is a bit aggravating because I’m very into the Tidal Radio playlists.   This means often I like to just check the name of an unknown artist.  With the Uniti Star as you approach the screen the proximity detector wakes up the screen to show you the artist.  The remedy from the Forum is to turn it off at the plug, this works.  I’ve checked the firmware and other software updates.

Finally, the time is frequently wrong on a restart  This can be remedied again; the Naim Forum suggests you go into the App on the iPad and swap the timezone a couple of times.  This works but Naim need to sort this out really as out should not happen.

Post Publication Response from Naim

26 June 2020 – This response was quick, the day after publication!  “Could you please let Simon know there’s a Firmware Update scheduled to fix the ‘Screen Freeze’ issue, which should be available in the next few weeks. The issue is not universal, but has troubled some users of Uniti systems and streamers; the fix is currently in Beta test, where reports are very positive.”

So, no more niggle from the Uniti Star, I’ll put something in the comments below if I receive the Firmware update soon.  Of course, this is another benefit of having the passion and infrastructure of Naim.

Overall

The Naim Uniti Star is just that, a 5-star performer every day.  Whether it is internet radio, listening to a new album casually or critical listening on Qobuz or Tidal, with the correct speakers, it is so wonderfully flexible and stable, it is just a star.  And don’t forget, it just sounds great.  Throw in a bit of Chromecast, YouTube or Bluetoothed Podcasts for a bit of fun and you have everything you need in your preferred room.

hifiandmusicsource.com

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