MA252 + Bluesound Node 2 + DAC? Or Naim Uniti Atom/Star?


I have a system consisting of some Emotiva gear and a pair of boutique speakers from a niche company that was called Digital Phase.  I have their flagship EP4 models.  I use primarily digital sources (Tidal & Spotify) but also have a Rega R3 I use as well.  I am looking to get a new integrated amp that improves on the Emotiva XPA amp I have plus a better sound source that goes digital to a decent DAC.  I was taken by the new MA252 that McIntosh has released and was thinking of pairing a Bluesound Node 2 and a DAC in the $1-2K range.  The MA252 also has phono in for the RP3.  Then I noticed the "all in one" Naim Uniti products that have come out.  I know there is a power difference between the Atom and Star but was curious to anyone's thoughts as to opinions on either path.  The separate components definitely has upgradability going for it but the simplicity and reduction in signal chain has pluses too.  Thoughts?  I'm in Atlanta so will try to listen to both amps but doubtfully on my own speakers.
wcniedba
From what I read about your speakers they are 95db efficient and 8 ohms impedance with those specs why not try tubes?
The MA252 is really cool and sounds great based on a quick listen I had at a dealer. 
Wcniedba, take this as you wish, we are Naim dealers and not Mcintosh so you can make up your mind on our findings.

We listened to the Mc252 at another dealers shop, and we were not impressed, the unit felt light weight and its styling although stunning, it didn’t speak to us as being super well constructed, think Mcintosh for the masses with this piece.

The entire unit seems gimmicky with flasing LED’s built into the tube sockets to signal distortion which happened in this demo not at a particularly loud level. For $4k there are many other integrated amps with dacs some with room correction, some with streaming that we would take hands down for the price.

Yes you can add a Blue sound Node, to the setup and get good streaming howerver, the Blue Sound Node isn't the best sounding streamers in terms of quality digital outputs to a high end dac and then you have the added space requirments and another box and a digital cable.  A higher end streamer like an Aurlic Aeries  $1,200+ is much more equivalent compared to the the high end units with internal streamers. 

You have the Micromega M100 which uses a class A/B amp and sounds very musical also built in streamer, phono stage, headphone amp, dac, and is 100 watts 8 ohm, 150 watts 4 ohm. $4,500.00 sounds remarkable huge soundstage, very rich midrange and deep warm punchy bass.

Anthem STR $4,500.00 250 watts, buiilt in dac, phono, headphone amp, Anthem’s statement ARC. Very clean, super powerful, not as rich as the Micromega which sounds like a tube.

You ask about the Naim Uniti line, and the Atom is very musical with a surprsing amount of bass control for a 40 watt amp, with that being said the Naim full size chassis units have much larger power supplies and have much greater kick and power.

The Star is signifigantly better. With the Naim products you also gain a great built in streamer, as well as a full eco system of compatible products.

So for example you can get a Muso QB a $899 streaming speaker that sounds great and get the wonderful Naim sound for a Kitchen or Guest room and it all works on the same app, so your family can easily use a high end audio system.

The Naim app is very easy to use. This is one excellent feature that few people think about, that if someone has kids, or a wife or girlfriend they can use and enjoy the system as well.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Thanks for the feedback guys.

@jond - I have definitely thought about going tube.  Was looking at MC275 but have to admit part of my attraction is the brand name, resale and looks factor.  Thoughts?

@audiotroy - The Micromega M100 connects to Spotify? Tidal? What are some other stand alone streamers that have better digital outs?  Azur 851N?
The Cambridge 851N is a great looking, okay sounding streamer. The sound quality is nothing special.  We had the CD version of this player and it never sounded great. The Lumin D2 is way better sounding. 

The Micromega M100 connects to Spotify and Tidal. The built in app is okay, however, it does work as a Roon Endpoint via Airplay and can be directly streamed to via JRiver over its network connection.

Sonically the Micromega is rather unbelievable. We started with the Devialet loved the look and form factor found the sound to be too dry and not engaging enough. 

Started seeing rave show reports on the Micromega and got one in sounded way more analog like and involving then the Devialet and cost $3k less and had the option of Room Corrrection.

The Micromega is very tube like and very engaging.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

I see conflicting info on the Micromega specs. Are we sure it’s class AB? I read a review that said class d. It’s less than 20lb weight would indicate this as well. 
It is totally class A/B it says so on the website, uses a switch mode power supply to run a class A/B output stage.

https://darko.audio/2016/05/a-splash-of-colour-from-micromegas-m-one-super-integrated/

https://www.stereophile.com/content/micromega-m-one-all-one-streameramp

It is one of the best sounding integrated amplifiers we have ever sold.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
I have the MA252 with a Node 2, connected to a Chord 2 Qute DAC in my office rig. It sounds great.

You should try to audition the MA252.  It performs quite well.
@audiotroy  Do you have any info on the M100 and Spotify/Tidal?  I don't see in the specs or manual where it talks about this.