Naim (pronounced Name) might not sound familiar to you, but they are amongst the top names in high fidelity audio equipment. Hailing from the UK, their CD players are of international renown, with their flagship CD555 CD player costing upwards of US$20,000 (S$28,926).
The NaimUniti music player is their latest offering and it is an all-in-one player that is many things at once - it is an amplifier, CD tuner, FM/DAB tuner, Internet radio, iPod dock, digital-to-analogue converter, music file player and last but not least, a network stream player. The NaimUniti was first shown at the Bristol Sound and Vision show this February and was subsequently launched in the UK in April. It has taken three months, but the NaimUniti is finally here. And last week, we were invited by Absolute Sound, the sole distributors of Naim in Singapore, to have a hands-on session at the launch of this new product.
The NaimUniti test unit was partnered a pair of Neat Motive 2 speakers and it sounded absolutely delectable, whether if it was playing directly from a CD, USB flash drive, Internet radio stations, or music streamed from one of Absolute Sound's music server. And it should be, considering the NaimUniti shares components from Naim's acclaimed CDX2 CD player, and that it costs a cool $5303 (the Neat speakers are $2628 extras).
Clearly, with this kind of money involved, this not just some casual play thing - this is hardcore audiophile stuff. We spent some time speaking to Steve Goh, Sales Manager for Absolute Sound, and he explained why the NaimUniti is so coveted by audiophiles. The NaimUniti would be ideal as a simple setup in bedrooms or study rooms, he said, since it requires only two speakers to setup, plus it offers users many sources of music to choose from. The ability to stream music is a definite plus, Steve added, as it would allow users to tap into their main library of music which could be a dedicated music server.
You might think spending more than $5000 on a "simple" audio setup is overkill, but it became apparent as we spent more time speaking to Steve, as he gave us an insight into the kind of setup an affluent audiophile might have. Many an audiophile who goes to Steve asks for help in setting up a music server system and for the complete Meridien Sooloos setup like the one at Absolute Sound, you are looking at five digit figures, or even six, depending on what add-ons and speakers you want. Obviously, this isn't a hobby for everyone, but knowing this helps us understand the lure of the NaimUniti music player.