Thoughts on the Unico

Ok, to those of you who own the Unison Research Unico or who have heard it, please give me your thoughts. I have other threads going that tell of matching problems i'm having (NHT 2.5i's).

what are the amp's characteristics? Is it a VERY laid back, SOMEWHAT laid back, or more of an UP FRONT sounding amp?

How does this Unico compare to the likes of Creek 5350se, Cyrus integrated, Primare i20 or A30, Classe CAP101 or CAP151, Naim Nait 5, Musical Fidelity A3.2 or even the Moon I5? I can get any of these in my area.

I prefer a crisp, detailed sound that is somewhat punchy (not overly so) and at the same time i enjoy depth and dimentionality (i understood the Unico was a good combination of all of these characteristics...does anyone know any better?)

I'm just not sure if i should lose the Amp OR the NHT's or BOTH!!

I think I should look into picking up smaller monitors for my room, b/c first and foremost, my speakers are too large for the room.

But any thoughts on my integrated would be greatly appreciated.

thanks guys.

You've all been very helpful thus far.

I do not know about NHT but I can tell you about the Unico integrated. I have auditioned the Unico and plenty of other including those mentioned by you and i have found it to sound very flat , I did not like it. Acording to your description of sound that you would like to have i would recomend Primare A30.1 . Creek is OK , a litle tin in medium range and harder to partner. Musical fidelity sounds to industrial in my opinion. I think that Primare will be a good choice if you can aford it , it works well with many systems. I will tell you more if you need but right now i have to go , you can email me at
Good thing about the Unico is that you can change the tubes to get the sound you want. You'll be surprised (I was) how much impact the 2 little tubes in the preamp stage have on the sound.

I've tried many amps in the price range, most at home with the same front end and speakers. I liked the Unico best of all.

Creek 5350se - Too thin sounding, slightly unrefined
Cyrus integrated - detailed and punchy (what you like) but a bit thin sounding like the Creek
Primare A30.1 - powerful, full and warm sounding, but in my system had very obvious sibilance, which is rather unusual for a warm sounding amp
Naim Nait 5 - fast and exciting (typical Naim) and more powerful than it's 30 watts suggests, but I would rather have 80 watts that sounds like 80 watts, rather than 30 watts busting it's guts to sound like 80
Musical Fidelity A3.2 - didn't like it. Good detail and punch, but also hard and edgy
Plinius 8100 - this was detailed, punchy and musical. Only downside was the noise (loud hiss) but worth checking out in case my test unit was faulty. I would consider this second best to the Unico.
unico is a wonderful amp. if one is sounding bad, it must be due to the other components. changing tubes and cables you can get anything you want out of unico. the last upgrade i had was an elco sgi-999 interconnect. you can't imagine the improvement in bass. i am using jean marie reynaud twin mkII's with it. a bargain! but they don't sound so good with bargain cables. i am using cables that are more expensive than the speakers and now they do sing.
i had the unico for a couple of monthes. To me it was a great amp. It sound awesome with both of the speakers i had on it, b&w 805 and sf concertos. i would say the sound is somewhat laid back, a little punchy but not the most crisp or detail amp of the ones you listed. I have heard the naim and classe cap151 from your list and also a plinius 8200 newer version of the 8100 which someone had mentioned previously. To me if there is an amp that is flat it would be the classe. i heard it at two different dealers for a good couple of hours combined. both times i was there to audition the speakers they were hooked up to and not the amp. both times i was very dissapointed. it just didn't draw me into the music, i just felt like it was missing something. the naim was much better, very crisp and detailed. however i would have to say that the plinius is the best of the bunch. it is very musical, smooth, and punchy. the sound is somewhat warm, slighty less then the unico, while also being crisp and detailed. i auditioned it with a pair of totem winds and was just blown away. i ended up getting the unico instead of the plinius because of i wanted to get into tubes. i know own an all tube amp. if i ever go back to solid state i would get the plinius. i feel the plinus best matches the description of the sound you want. however, you should not trust my opinion but your ears. since you said that all of these amps are availible in your area why not go and audition them? but please add the plinius to your list and look for a dealer.
Someone thought it sounded flat?
I was worried when I got it that it would sound too warm and round, perhaps muddy. I was in for a surprise. It is unbelievably dynamic. Incredible speed and drive and slam. It's also warm and full sounding, but for me, the speed and the kick and the dynamics are what stole the show.

Incidentally, the liveness of its sound can be improved by disengaging the short circuit protection inside the amp. And everything can be improved by upgrading the tubes (i'm using rca black plates ... 1960s, i believe, which are nice. Old mullards are supposed to be even nicer, but for more money. Avoid the ubiquitous mullard cv4003 tubes, which are crappy--modern chinese sound for vintage british prices).

check out the thorough unico review at