Naim Audio Uniti Nova PE Streaming Amplifier

I’ve long been a fan of Naim audio, having owned a plethora of products over the years, beginning with what could be considered as one of my first serious systems. That was the NAC 150, NAP 150 and CD 150X running a pair of Sonus faber Concerto speakers. That system had many friends and visitors in awe whenever I spun their favourite tunes. Realising this was only the entry point to the Naim sound, I thirsted for more and quickly contracted the upgrade bug… from those early days, the audio voyage now sees me once again enjoying the music making skills of a Naim product: the new Naim Uniti Nova PE.

It's a Beautiful Thing

At that time, that upgrade bug was cured by working for one of the local hi-fi dealers. So, eventually when funds permitted, I graduated to the reference series with the purchase of a NAC 202 preamplifier and a NAP 200 power amplifier. A couple of years later after a significant-other break-up and vowing I would remain a bachelor thereafter, I took what funds I had left and finished up with the venerable NAP 250 power amplifier, a 282 preamp, HICAP power supply, CDX2 CD player, and a Stageline phono preamp for my Linn LP12 turntable (which sported an Ortofon Rondo Bronze cartridge) all driving a pair of Sonus faber’s sublime Guarneri speakers. Later, I had a brief stint with a pair of Naim’s own SBL speakers before settling on Sonus faber Amati Homage which have remained with me to this day. Man, that was a killer system. I may have driven a crappy car, but my lounge was filled with great sound. I recall the value of my contents insurance policy was higher than the sale price of my apartment!

Late-night listening sessions could well have been the source material behind the joke where the neighbour bangs on the wall at 3am shouting “Hey man, can we have a little respect?” To which the reply comes “Well, I’ve never been a big fan of Aretha Franklin, but… hey, this one’s for you buddy!”. Anyway, suffice it to say that my relationship with Naim has been a long and steady one. Marriage, kids, an overseas expatriate experience and otherwise shifting priorities ultimately lead me down a different path and for the last decade or so I’ve been without a Naim – until the latest Uniti Nova PE arrived in my lounge room.

The Nova sits at the top of Naim audio’s Uniti range of all-in-one streaming devices which incorporate a DAC, an integrated amplifier and in the case of the Uniti Star a CD ripper as well.


Sleek, understated and elegant, the Nova is truly a beauty to behold and weighing in at just over 15kg it feels almost as substantial as my once owned NAP 250. It’s like it’ll last a lifetime. The massive volume control on the top saves clutter on the front panel and with its soft illumination looks completely gorgeous from any angle, reminding me a little of the fabulous Linn Klimax DSM which I reviewed a couple of years ago. The Naim logo is carefully positioned within a slab of clear acrylic to illuminate and shine a soft glow on the shelf beneath. It really is a beautiful thing.

On the inside, the Nova PE (PE standing for Power Edition) is a marvel, packing a 150 watts per channel (8 ohms, 0.1% THD) Class-D amplifier which is capable of 250 watts per channel into 4 ohms. The Class-D amplification is a collaboration between Naim and one of the world’s leading digital amplification specialists. The implementation takes advantage of a linear power supply and some additional fine tuning optimising for sound quality over power output, which is what separates the Nova from its competition.

It supports all the important audio file formats (WAV, FLAC, ALAC (up to 24-bit/384 kHz), and DSD (64 and 128) all with gapless playback. It also supports a bunch of other low-res formats, but they would be of less interest to prospective owners of the Nova. It also has sophisticated streaming support including Apple AirPlay 2, Bluetooth, Chromecast, Internet Radio, Qobuz, Spotify Connect, Tidal, UPnPTM, plus Nova PE is Roon Ready.

The Nova PE offers a few cool features, including multiroom streaming capability, and what Naim calls "Party Mode" which allows you to sync up to six Naim streamers and control them via the ‘Focal & Naim’ smart device application (Android and iOS).

The remote control (a Zigbee standard RF bi-directive type) is a substantial rectangular obelisk, quite weighty and rather spiffy with a built-in gyro-sensor which causes the remote to illuminate when moved. A very thoughtful touch.

The power supply supports 115-230V so it can be used anywhere in the world, and it offers a user selectable standby mode. I was a little surprised that there was no option to upgrade with a dedicated Naim power supply but given the price of the Uniti range and the price of the Naim power supplies it might not make a whole lot of sense.


Networking is via wired Ethernet (10/100Mbps) or Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), BLE v4.2 which connects the Nova PE to your LAN and allows software updates via the Naim application. Offboard storage can be via local USB (up to 20,000 tracks with 128GB) or via connected storage (SSD up to 1 TB) which allows it to serve to other network-connected players.

Connectivity is comprehensive. The Nova’s analogue inputs and outputs include Naim’s own DIN connectors as well as conventional RCA connectors and it offers a 3.5mm headphone output. On the digital side its inputs include two optical Toslink (up to 24-bit/96 kHz), one coaxial RCA (up to 24-bit/192 kHz, DoP 64Fs), one coaxial BNC (up to 24-bit 192 kHz, DoP 64Fs) and HDMI-eARC. It’s also equipped with two USB-A ports (front and rear with 1.6A charging capability).

The Focal & Naim app is great. It allows configuration and full control of the music, bringing together streaming services, radio stations and even podcasts on a single platform, with support for high resolution up to 24-bit/96 kHz depending on your streaming service subscription. It allows you to manage your playlists, search for new songs or albums, find your favourite radio stations and it also provides album art, biographies, discographies, reviews and track suggestions!

Finally, the Nova also sports a killer 5 inch LCD screen which displays high resolution album art at a size able to be appreciated from typical listening distances. Nice.

Music Non-Stop

With the visual inspection done and dusted (and all remaining drool sufficiently mopped up) it was time to hear what this baby could do.

First up was Melody Gardot’s, “The Rain” from her album Live in Europe. The first few minutes of this track really let you feel the venue. The sense of atmosphere captured is almost surreal as each instrument steadily introduces itself, beginning with the drums which were very nicely presented full-bodied, and super crisp. The occasional cracking of sticks on skin reverberates within the space giving a sense of depth, the purity and delicacy of the cymbals when struck softly, the dark almost haunting tones of the cello. The sax floats in the air slightly off to the left seemingly ducking and weaving with the wielder. The piano exudes a lively, hearty resonance and the bass occupies physical space in front right of the stage. Finally, Gardot’s voice is right there in front of you.


The Nova PE captured all these details with tremendous power, speed and precision. It was truly an awesome way to experience a new piece of equipment. Also, what struck me was that the Nova PE, despite being a Class-D amplifier, retains the classic Naim signature – that sense of upfront ‘aliveness’, a sound erring slightly on the ‘harder’ end of the spectrum rather than the warmer end. It lets you know, with no sense of doubt, that the performers are there right in front of you.

I stayed with Melody Gardot for the remainder of the album before moving onto Nils Lofgren’s “Bass & Drum Intro” from the album Nils Lofgren Band Live. The picking of the bass and the snap of the percussion was incredibly lifelike, while on Norah Jones’ “Flame Twin”, from her album Pick Me Up From the Floor, the vocals and piano were very focused and engaging without sounding a touch etched. The Naim sound is not a lush sound, but this does ease a little once warmed-up. The bass on this album through the Nova PE was very articulate and, on occasion, plummeting to surprising depths reminding you that the unit is complete control from top to bottom.

The Nova PE projects a very realistic soundstage. Notable on Jennifer Warnes’ “The Well”, from her album of the same name, the soundstage is expansive and extending well beyond the speakers on the right-hand side while having a great sense of depth.

On Yo-Yo Ma’s album Six Evolutions – Bach: Cello Suites the cello sounded as lifelike as I have ever heard it. The venue’s ambience is captured beautifully making you feel like you have been transported from the lounge to the stage. On this piece the Naim’s sense of immediacy really worked wonders.


Marillion’s “Living with the Big Lie” from their 2018 album Brave (Deluxe Edition) showed how easily the Nova PE was able to offer up the detail and maintain its composure in the more complex passages. The track opens beautifully and slowly builds with intensity, Steve Hogarth’s vocals powering the piece and deftly supported by the bass, until the drums explode ushering in keyboards and the screaming electric guitar. Again, the Nova PE’s sense of immediacy and control really give you the sense you’re listening to the real thing rather than to good hi-fi.

The Nova PE, like all Naim gear (in my experience), has two defining characteristics – a signature sound if you will. The first is the ability to deliver music with a sense of immediacy. This increases as you traverse the range and in Naim’s high-end components, on some music, this effect can be almost startling. I have found this to be rare in other equipment.

The second, which I think is related to or a consequence of the first characteristic, is the tendency for certain aspects of a performance, more often vocals, to sound a little ‘harder’ than on other equipment. Now, without actually being present during the recording of the original performance, it could just be that was how it was. The fact that I don’t experience this on other equipment is interesting. With Naim, you get a definite benefit in the immediacy, but for that benefit you also (for me at least) seem to pay a small price – that being, a very slight tendency toward ‘hardness’ (and it is very slight).

Regarding price, I refrained from looking into what the Nova PE sells for in Australia, so that I could see if my guess was in the vicinity (I know… small things). So, I’ve left the pricing for my editor to complete at the end of this review prior to publishing and submitting my guess as somewhere in the AU$15K-20K range. [Ed – You were on the mark, Barry, see below].

Conclusion – Beam Me Up!

Unless Naim is holding back on a new all-in-one flagship model, I firmly believe there’s been a missed opportunity in the naming of this product. I think Uniti Supernova PE would be a more fitting descriptor. The Uniti Nova PE is an astonishing one-box unified achievement. It came frighteningly close to rivalling separate components which, performing the same functions and with prices combined, would add up to almost twice the cost of the Nova PE. Most likely, none would have the same physical allure.


If I didn’t need a system comprised of separate components to accommodate reviews of other audio gear, I would jump at the chance to own the Uniti Nova PE. When I consider the multi-dimensional aspects involved in ownership in a high-fidelity system, sound quality, aesthetics, footprint, flexibility, and value for money, all come into play. Rarely is a no holds barred piece of equipment the right choice when considering multiple aspects.

With all of the above in mind, Naim’s Uniti Nova PE is hands-down the most impressive, immersive and enjoyable audio experience I have had so far as a reviewer. It truly succeeds on so many levels.

… Barry Jones

Associated Equipment:

  • Speakers — Sonus faber Amati Homage
  • Amplifier — Perreaux e250i 40th Anniversary Edition integrated amplifier with Eloquence DAC
  • SourcesDigital: Lumin T1, Oppo BDP-105D Analogue: Rega RP6 turntable, Rega Exact-2 cartridge, Rega Aria phono stage & Rega Couple interconnects
  • Processor — DEQX HDP-5
  • DAC/Headphone Amplifier — Chord Mojo DAC
  • Headphones — AudioQuest Nighthawk
  • Cables — Nordost White Lightning, Kimber Cable Timbre balanced and Van den Hul D-300III unbalanced interconnects, Atlas Compass Digital Coaxial Audio Cable, QED Performance Graphite USB
  • Miscellaneous — Isotek Sirius Power Conditioner, 8 x Auralex SA8600 bass traps in front wall corners, 12 x Sound Acoustics MP700-40 ceiling acoustic panels

Naim Audio Uniti Nova PE Streaming Amplifier
Price: AU$18,500
Australian Warranty: Two Years

Australian Distributor: Westan
+61 (0) 3 9541 8888

Naim Audio
Southampton Road, Salisbury
Wiltshire, SP1 2LN
+44 1722 426 600