Naim Audio UnitiQute 2 Best music system £800 to £1500
Connect with your music like never before
It's a cliche we know, but good things come in small packages. The UnitiQute all-in-one audio player however isn't just good: it's a brilliant-sounding, uniquely versatile, seductively compact and, of course, irresistibly cute example of what contemporary music in the home is all about. Music downloads, high-resolution music files, internet radio, network music, UPnP servers, iPod/MP3 players, Wi-Fi streaming - everything that the new era of music delivery can throw at it, UnitiQute can play.
Music for everyone
Just like NaimUniti, its multi-award-winning sibling, UnitiQute is right at the forefront of modern music delivery technology, and its significance for music enthusiasts of all aspirations is far greater than the simple sum of its component parts. For the committed enthusiast with an existing Naim setup, UnitiQute can not only deliver exceptional Naim music-making as a second system, but also play the role of gateway to all the new digital music delivery formats - from USB memory sticks, UPnP streaming to internet radio. For the more casual listener, UnitiQute can take the place of both the old hi-fi system and the iPod dock, sound far better than either, and at the same time introduce new worlds of audio ripe for exploration.
Small box... Big on features
For starters, UnitiQute includes a preamplifier with two analogue inputs, five 24bit/192kHz-capable digital inputs and all the traditional Naim musical clarity and transparency. Next, UnitiQute includes a muscular power amplifier that provides all the rhythmic punch and definition you would expect from Naim. You want conventional radio? Well, UnitiQute includes FM and DAB tuners that get the best possible performance from either format. UnitiQute is happy also to play music from an iPod or MP3 player via its front panel-mounted USB socket. The USB audio connection is digital so iPod sound quality is optimised, and Apple authenticated too so compatibility is seamless. And the same USB socket can be used to play music files in almost any format at up to 24bit/96kHz resolution straight from a memory stick. And it doesn't end there. A network Ethernet socket and integrated Wi-Fi means that, along with everything else, UnitiQute can easily tap into Internet radio or UPnP servers, a Naim HDX for example, to drop almost unlimited music choices right into your lap. Talk about cute.
Easy access to your music
Bringing everything audio, digital and analogue together is one thing, but making it all work seamlessly together is something else entirely. UnitiQute is controlled by a dedicated remote handset in combination with a large, clear display. The UnitiQute user interface borrows the principles of intuition and accessibility, and much of the substance, from the already proven NaimUniti interface. The interface is clear, intuitive, uncluttered and makes light work of access to UnitiQute's remarkable versatility and performance. And an iPhone/iPod Touch Uniti control App, expected early in 2010 will enhance the UnitiQute experience still further and raise its brilliance yet another notch.
Then there are the multi-room audio opportunities that UnitiQute opens up. With a UPnP server, a wireless network router and a UnitiQute you have a very high performance hi-fi system with access to almost limitless music. Add a second, or even a third UnitiQute and you have a multi-room hi-fi system that installs effortlessly, is easily modified and sounds outstanding.