Over time we have all largely accepted that the most important part of the HiFi system is the source. If we fail to retrieve the musical information from the medium being played then it cannot be regained later in the Hi-Fi chain - The old Rubbish In - Rubbish Out saying applies here. This remains true across all sources including Vinyl, Cd, Radio and of course the current crop of Streamers and dictates that we plough a significant proportion of our budget into the relevant player.
We are in the case of streamers however, overlooking the fact that if you are ripping your CD collection for the purposes of streaming then your lovely new shiny streamer is not really the source! In many cases you will be using a few hundred pounds worth of computer rammed with noisy power supplies etc etc to feed your streamer that may have cost thousands of pounds!
This is where the Naim Unitiserve below comes into play, fitted with a large 2Tb hard drive and engineered to simply get the most from your Compact Discs and more.
There are many people who say digital music is just ones and zeros and it will always sound the same! However after a weekend with the Unitiserve it is very apparent even on my £500 Marantz streamer that this is simply untrue. Having compared it to WAV format rips obtained using Exact Audio Copy and dbpoweramp programs for example the Naim was always better without exception, with the musical image better focussed with greater energy and for want of a better description more evenly "lit" with no one instrument or performer being highlighted or left in the shadows. My wife, a natural cynic by the way! prefered the Naim rip EVERY time without being able to see what was being played.
If you are a computer-phobe then it is good news as well! For the majority of the time it is simply a case of pop a CD in and wait for it to pop back out 5 or so minutes later. You can of course use the Desktop Client to rename discs, create regular backups and add other content to stream if you desire. There are some screen shots below showing just some of the myriad of options available. An iPad app is available to directly play from the Unitiserve's digital output or better still control one of the Naim streamers over your computer network.
To sum up you have the benefits of storing your CDs in the uncompressed (mathematically or otherwise) WAV format yet retaining Artist, Album and Track information not usually available with this format when streaming, ease of use especially if you dislike computers and quite possibly the best sounding rips I have heard. Nobody wants to have to re-rip their music when they upgrade their Hi-Fi systems so if your streamer is or is likely to be in the £500 or above category I would suggest a Naim Unitiserve is mandatory to get the best from your investment. You are better spending £2220 on the Unitiserve and £750 on a streamer than £3000 on a streamer to play from your computer in my view, plus upgrading the streamer eventually will not require your entire CD collection to be copied again.
I was contemplating upgrading my streamer shortly but now realise I must in fact upgrade my music collection first and purchase a Unitiserve!
Don't take my word for it though, why not contact one of our Branches Here and listen for yourself!