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Naim Embraces Class D with Uniti Nova PE and CI Series Amps

Naim Uniti Nova PE and CI Series Amps

Naim Uniti Nova PE and CI Series Amps


  • Product Name: Naim Uniti Nova PE Streaming Amp and CI Series Amps
  • Manufacturer: Naim
  • Review Date: April 09, 2024 00:00
  • MSRP: $10,000 - Uniti Nova Power Edition, $1,500 - CI-Uniti 102 all-in-one streamer and amplifier, $2,000 - CI-NAP 101 low- and high-impedance mono power amplifier, $3,000 - CI-NAP 108 8-channel power amplifier
  • First Impression: Pretty Cool

Naim Embracing SOTA Class D Amplification

Many audio electronics brands that were once synonymous with Class AB amplification have embraced Class D in recent years. This is true for mainstream brands like Marantz and NAD, but also for more esoteric brands like Jeff Rowland Design Group, Tidal Audio, and MBL. PS Audio and Parasound are both known for big Class AB amps, yet both make Class D amps now as well. The British electronics manufacturer Naim has used Class D here and there, in its Mu-so wireless speakers and in the car audio systems the company makes for Bentley Motors. But Naim’s traditional home audio products have stuck with Class AB. This includes the brand’s pricey New Classic range of high-end electronics, as well as the popular Naim Uniti family of streaming amplifiers. As a result, the Uniti amps in particular offered less power than competitors, such as the NAD M33 and Cambridge Audio Evo 150. Until now, that is. Because Naim has just announced the Uniti Nova Power Edition ($9,999). The Uniti Nova PE packs 150 watts of Class D power (per channel) into a compact and attractive brushed aluminum all-in-one box. And if you have 4-ohm speakers, they’ll be treated to an impressive 250 watts per channel. Naim says that the company is “at the forefront with its use of class D amplification, having taken up the challenge and pushed the technology to its limits.”

Naim CI Series stackAs we have discussed many times before, Class D technology has improved significantly over the last couple of decades, thanks in part to more refined modulation techniques and faster power devices. According to audio reviewer John Darko, the Uniti Nova PE is using Class D technology developed by Purifi (this has not yet been verified by the folks at Naim, as far as we know). If that’s true, it makes plenty of sense; the Purifi Eigentakt circuit used in the NAD M23 Master Series power amplifier yielded some of the best measurements we’ve ever seen. What’s certain is that the Uniti Nova Power Edition is much more powerful than its award-winning predecessors, making it a better match for demanding loudspeakers and large listening spaces. For reference, the original Uniti Nova ($6,900) was the most powerful amp in the Uniti family before the arrival of the Nova PE, and it delivered just 80 watts into 8-ohm loads, with no 4-ohm rating specified.

Like previous Uniti amps, the Uniti Nova PE is simple to control using the Focal & Naim app or the included ZigBee bi-directional remote (no line of sight required). The Uniti family was never short on features and sophistication, and the Nova PE uses the brand’s latest NP800 low-noise streaming card to handle streaming services, including Spotify Connect, Apple Music, Tidal, and Qobuz. It’s also Roon Ready, and offers Bluetooth AptX HD, Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, and support for UPnP. An HDMI ARC socket offers easy integration with your TV and allows the TV’s remote to adjust the amp’s volume level. The main differentiator is the power on tap. Naim says that the Nova PE’s amp section was tuned using the demanding Focal Sopra loudspeakers, and was even tested with the imposing Scala Utopia in large rooms and at high sound pressure levels. Even in these torture tests, Naim says that the Nova PE never compromised on the “characteristic Naim sound.” The Uniti Nova is expected to ship this month.

Naim has continued with its tradition of pushing technological boundaries to find a fine balance between the power of the amp, and the high-fidelity audio quality so closely associated with Naim electronics. Naim has worked to fully integrate industry-leading class D amplification directly onto their impressive Nova circuit boards, culminating in their most efficient, powerful, and ecological streaming all-in-one product to date.

— Naim

CI Uniti 102 front

Naim has also embraced Class D amplification in its new Naim CI Series components, which were “designed to be the perfect complement to audio systems in the Integration market, and in particular to Focal integrated loudspeakers,” according to the company. These compact components combine power, versatility, and ease of use in a sleek-looking package. It’s almost a shame that these new components will almost certainly be hidden away in an AV rack. This new series is a first for Naim, which has not previously offered complete solutions in the Custom Integration (CI) market. Naim says that these components are perfect for indoor and outdoor home audio, as well as for maritime and commercial applications. The CI Series includes three new rack-mountable products: the CI-Uniti 102 all-in-one streamer and amplifier ($1,499); the CI-NAP 101 low- and high-impedance mono power amplifier ($1,999); and the CI-NAP 108 8-channel power amplifier ($2,999).

CI Uniti 102 rear

Described by Naim as the “brain” of the CI Series, the CI-Uniti 102 is a streaming amplifier “designed to seamlessly integrate into any indoor or outdoor space, providing amplification for CI Focal speakers and enhancing audio from all media sources,” including TV audio, streaming music, and even gaming, according to Naim. The CI-Uniti 102 has an integrated DSP that provides full system calibration and allows it to interconnect with the CI-NAP 108 and CI-NAP 101 amplifiers. Powered by the new Focal & Naim Manager software, the CI-Uniti 102 has pre-programmed speaker profiles for each loudspeaker in the CI Focal lineup. You can also customize the DSP for a fully optimized installation. The end user can control the CI-Uniti 102 with the Focal & Naim app, or via home automation platforms such as Crestron, Control4, RTI, Savant, and Elan. Integrators can set up each of the CI-Uniti’s outputs with custom crossovers for use with subwoofers, a limiter to control maximum listening levels, delays for time alignment, and more.


The CI-NAP 108 is a rack-mountable 8-channel power amplifier designed to pair with the CI-Uniti 102 in order to connect multiple speakers in different rooms, or amplify eight separate audio streams via local inputs for each amplified channel. 

CI-NAP-108 rear

The CI-NAP 108 is also an ideal solution for pairing with AV processors to deliver a combination of sound quality and power, according to Naim. It delivers 150 watts into 8 ohms, and 260 watts into either 4 ohms or 2 ohms. The CI-NAP 101 is a rack-mountable mono power amplifier capable of operating in low-impedance or high-impedance mode, depending on the application. It’s designed specifically to be used with subwoofers or speakers on a 70/100V line without sacrificing audio quality. In low-impedance mode, it delivers 500 watts into 8 ohms, 800 watts into 4 ohms, and 810 watts into 2 ohms. In high-impedance mode, it can deliver 240 watts (100V) or 150 watts (70V). The amp’s ability to operate at an output load of 2 ohms makes it “the perfect solution for amplifying (Focal’s) 1000 IWLCR Utopia speakers, accompanied by two 1000 IWSUB Utopia subwoofers,” according to Naim. All three CI Series products are expected to ship in Q2 of 2024.

More information: Naim Audio

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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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