Anthem STR or Naim Uniti Nova for Paradigm Persona 3F?

Hi all, 

I'm planning AV for new construction with my family and the centerpiece will be the stereo system. I auditioned the Paradigm Persona 3F, powered by an Anthem STR integrated amp, and fell in love. So, now that I've got my speakers picked, I need to find an amp that sounds great but also fits the following criteria:
  • Simplicity is going to be key for this system. While I don't mind messing with multiple pieces of equipment to play a CD or stream music, my family does not have the same patience. 
  • The fewer boxes, the better for the same reasoning as above. If an amp has a built in network streamer or CD player, that's not a negative for me. 
  • Most of the music being played will be digital, so the amp has to have a great DAC. I'm open to a separate DAC but I don't feel it'd fit my budget easily. 
  • Budget for the amp is ideally around 6k, but I am able to go higher if the amp incorporates another component, such as a network streamer. 
  • Home Theater Bypass is ideal, as I will be incorporating the system into a small HT setup. That said, 2ch music is the priority and what will the system will be used for the most. 
My current plan was this: I would use my Blu-ray player, either a Sony UBP-X1000ES or Panasonic DP-UB9000, as a CD transport. I am open to a separate transport if people feel that it would be better, but again, less boxes is better. That leaves only network streamer as the other digital source, which could be separate or could be incorporated into the amp. Currently, I am between the Anthem STR integrated and the Naim Uniti Nova. Here are my thoughts on both:

The Anthem STR sounded great on the Personas, although it's the only amp I auditioned them on. When I go back, I will try more. The included ARC room correction might be very useful to me, as these speakers will be in a large, long room with no ability for treatments other than a rug or two. Maybe the room correction will help in such a room more than a nicer amp... The cheaper price and higher power was nice, and integration into Control4 plus HT Bypass is ideal. 

I have not yet heard the Naim Uniti Nova, but it's reputation is great. I particularly like having the network streamer built in, but I worry that the power output may be too low. I will not likely be able to audition these on the Personas, so if anyone has heard this duo, or any of the Uniti line with them, I'd be grateful to hear your thoughts. Control4 integration is available but no HT Bypass... 

My dealer also has a Moon 340i that I heard with some B&Ws that sounded wonderful. He praised the DAC in it and I'd be open to this as well, but since it does not incorporate a CD player or network streamer and is near the top of my theoretical price range, I'm less inclined. That said, since I can audition it with the Personas, I likely will. 

Anyway, I'd be very grateful if people could weigh in on the STR vs the Nova (and 340i, if inclined), but I'm open to any thoughts on these speakers and powering them in general! Thanks in advance. 

A warm integrated with DAC I have read that is supposedly better than the STR is the Krell 300i. The STR separates are also supposed to be much better than the STR integrated.

I do not think integrateds like the neutral Hegel 390 or 590 would sound good with the Persona. You need something that is warm sounding. I loved the Persona 3F myself and may end up with them.

I heard the 3F with the follwowing NAD gear.



This gear was relatively low cost and sounded OK. Not the best but given the price the sound was good..This gear was also a little warm and nicely complemented the Be drivers on the Persona. If this piques your interest go and check out the NAD Master M33. It has a DAC | Streamer | amp. However, the big thing for me is that it has the new Purifi amp technology. It is supposed to be something special. NAD is the first company to release a component with the Purifi module. Others will follow (I am waiting), however, the target audience for the M33 is likely people such as yourself. I am more interested in a simple Purifi amp without the DAC and streamer.

A recent review in Soundstage for the Magio A1 speaker tested the speaker with both a $40K Constallation amp and a $4K Purifi prototype stereo amp (not available for sale). The reviewer (one of my fav’s) said they sounded the same and preferred some aspects of the Purifi tech over the uber expensive Constallation amp.

I use an Anthem STR Preamp in my main system, and I like it very much.

The other unit I'm familiar with is the Naim Uniti, which I've played music through several times at a local dealership. My impression is, it's a first-class piece of gear. It sounds great and was easy and trouble-free to operate.
yyzsantabarbara and mike_in_nc, I’ve heard lots of people praise the STR separates over the integrated. I’d love to do separates, but it’s twice as much. The preamp alone is almost the price of the integrated, and having a 400wpc power amp may be overkill. That said, I just learned last night that we won’t put a TV in the main room (it’s a vacation house) so I can dedicate it to stereo! So, I may be able to adjust my budget for the separates. That said, what’s the real difference that justifies the extra cost, do you know? I can’t find great concrete details. I know the power amp is beefier, but does the preamp feature a nicer DAC or something?

I’d love to try out the Krell, as many have recommended that as well, but I can’t really find a dealer near me to demo or buy from, so I’m not sure its an option for me unfortunately. I’ve also been interested with the NAD, but again, not a lot of dealers...

mike_in_nc, do you remember what speakers you demoed the Naim on? I know wpc isn’t everything and that a well designed amp can easily beat out a poorly designed one with more power, but since I can’t easily demo with the Personas (short of buying it and returning it if I don’t like it, as there are a few Naim dealers with the Uniti series available for demo near me but none with Paradigm on the floor), I’d still be worried if it had enough power to make the Personas really shine.
The DAC is the same in the STR integrated and preamp. I know they use an AKM chip, I think the biggest difference between the integrated and separates is twice the power and the cost of more boxes and parts. I have the STR integrated and use the onboard DAC no complaints from me. I have never heard the Anthem with Personas I have mine paired with Joseph audio Perspectives 2. I did listen to the 3f with a McIntosh can't remember the model but it sounded very nice. 
I have an Atom and it sounds fantastic w Vandersteen Treo CT ( see my Casa Pacifica system ) it just gets better as you go up the line. The streamer integration is fantastic as is support for a NAS ( I use a Synology- RIP your CD’s in !!!! )
have fun
enjoy the music
@bpryan You should give the Audio Doctor in New Jersey a call. He carries maybe all the integrated amps listed ion this thread and likely will allow a home demo. He is also the biggest Paradigm Persona fan in the USA :).

I think he has abandoned A’gon but google search for his contact.

BTW - That NAD Masters M33 with Purifi should be looked at closely.
Thanks all for the responses! @tomic601, thanks for the perspective on the Naim, really helpful to know what people are running successfully even on the Atom. @djones51, also very helpful on the separates. To me, it'll he a matter of hearing them vs the integrated bc I'm not sure the extra power will be wholly necessary from the separates, but I know in general, separates offer a bit better quality based on the physical separation of pre and power circuitry. 

@yyzsantabarbara yeah, might give Dave a call. I'd also be happy if @audiotroy could weigh in here as I see he's active on the forums in regards to the Personas, but I'm new here and don't actually know how to message or flag people. 

The good news is, I'm at the site of the new house now (it's in Rhode Island, the current house is a tiny old cottage from the 30s with a bad foundation that can't be remodeled) and so I found a store an hour away in Connecticut that has pretty much ever brand mentioned here! I'm gonna call them on Tuesday when they're open again and see what they have on the floor, and if I'm lucky, I'll be able to demo the Personas with Naim or Krell or NAD. Very exciting if it works out! 

If anyone else has any more input, I'd still be grateful to hear it! 

djones51 is partially correct. 

The STR Pre and the STR Integrated have the same DAC on the Input Stage, but not on the Output Stage.  

I posted this a while back as far as the differences between the STR Pre and the STR Integrated - although I did misspeak in this article and had posted a correction to it as the designs are "Truly" Balanced and not "Fully" Balanced:
@cbrents73, thanks for the clarification on the separates. Might incline me towards them over the integrated, but hopefully I can get a demo in and potentially hear for myself.
@bpryan, Glad to answer your questions, but I’m afraid most of the answers will be "I don’t know."

I don’t know the technical differences between STR integrated and STR separates, other than the obvious (more power and more room for power supplies). But I see that this has been covered in a post by @cbrents73. I am not using the STR amp, as I had a recently purchased Bryston 4B3 in the system when I bought the STR pre.

Regarding the Naim, I don’t know what speakers were in use, but the setup is in the less elaborate room of the local high-end shop. BC*, I would visit the dealership on weekdays and just sit and listen. I agree that many speakers need power to be convincing, and that is something important to consider in making your choice.

If you are in the US, Crutchfield sells these units with the right of return for 60 days. I pointed that out to my local dealer, who with a little prodding, gave me similar terms when I bought the STR preamp from them.

It sounds like you are undertaking a very enjoyable project. Have fun!

*before COVID.

I have used Naim Uniti Nova and loved them. The nova has everything done right. From build quality, ease of use, sound and functionality. I did not find any fault except for lack of home theater bypass and the fact that it takes only banana speaker plugs. It is hard to beat. The 80 watts rated by Naim is ver very conservative. They are very musical and also detailed. Audition them yourself if possible. You will not be disappointed. 
The only reason I am parting from it is because of love for "class A". Else this would have been a keeper for long long time. 
Anthem STR have great reviews. I had heard them at a dealer with Persona 5f and honestly, the room set up was not good there and that might be the reason I was not "very impressed". 
@romney80, what speakers did you use with the Nova, the Personas? Greta to hear your experience. I do find myself wondering if the wpc will matter too much, but I guess I just have to do my best to audition, whether it be at a shop or by ordering and returning if not satisfactory, like @mike_in_nc suggested with Crutchfield. Honestly, I'd order and bring into my dealer, but I'd feel a bit weird doing that if I can't order the amp from him. 
Don’t worry about the wattage. Naim amps are conservatively rated as romney80 stated. Just look at the size of the toroidal transformer inside. It’s freakin’ massive. 80 watts of good power will drive the 92db sensitive Persona 3F with ease.
I'm not sure if I was clear; my suggestion was to see if your local dealer would match, or come close to, Crutchfield's terms. Then you can decide where to buy.

I had to give up any chance of a discount to get the extended trial. I decided the trial was more important to me than the discount.
@shahram thanks for that on the Naim, I think you'd be right and it makes me feel a bit more assured.

@mike_in_nc thanks for the clarification, I got what you're saying now.

And to all who've mentioned the upcoming NAD Masters M33... I finally dug into it and it looks perfect. I will definitely be looking out for it in August. Even if I weren't to do the M33, I could easily pair the amp I go with with the NAD M50.2 and fulfill my CD transport/network streamer needs. I'm especially grateful to how easy NAD seems to try and make it to integrate their electronics into a variety of audio and automation platforms.

What's the NAD house sound described as? Every single person I talk to recommends a warmer sounding amp for the Personas, and I've never actually heard a NAD amp in action, so I'm curious. 
Sorry for the late response. I used the Nova with Aerial Acoustics 7T. Never had to juice up the volume. They are very musical. Naim makes all their products to sound magically musical, I have become their fan. I can't imagine how well they did on all aspects. It is a real "all in one" super-integrated amp. I think, now you can get them for < 4500 mint used.

I got Naim uniti atom for small room listening with B/W 702/S2 and they drive them with ease too. Naim`s watts rating even in their high end amps are very conservative. 

Now I am going to get their streamer/DAC (likely NDX2) to pair with my class A amp (luxman 590axii). 

Others in this category you should consider are NAD M33 (latest) and also Krell K-300i. Good luck with your search.
I’ve had the NAD M10 since shortly after it came out, currently used with a brand new pair of Wharfdale EVO 4.2 3-way standmounts. The speakers are not nearly broken in, maybe 10 hours or so, so not really fair to judge them with the M-10 but I will say the words that come to mind are balanced, neutral, and MAYBE a very little bit toward the bright side.  Good bass and expected to get better.  They are in a relatively small, but well treated (acoustically!) room.  I’ve had Revel Performa 3 M106 and Zu Dirty Weekends with the M-10, the Revels were very nice, got the Zu’s for a great price but were too big for the room.  Still both performed in a balanced way with the M-10, the Zu’s a bit on the bright side, but that’s what they are.  I’ve got no complaints with the M-10’s SQ, and zero problems with connectivity, BUT the M33 looks tempting.  I’ll have to see some reviews but on paper it’s very enticing...