Vita by Nativ at Totally Wired

Nativ Vita – it just gets better…

The Nativ Vita has become the best addition we’ve ever made to our home music system. It has literally transformed our listening experience and opened out new avenues to go down. Here we share more of what we’ve learnt about this way of listening to music, plus Carolijn’s article for another point of view…

Since the arrival of the first unit in November last year we’ve dived into digital with new enthusiasm. 

From the outset it was obvious that the Nativ Vita – a beautifully conceived touchscreen that also combines server and streaming plus a host of input and output options – is the answer to so many needs. And this is before we consider the exemplary sound quality.

Over the months we’ve learned so much. The Vita itself has also improved with new operating software releases, the addition of features which improve both the performance and ease of use.

We’ve matched the Vita with more components and systems and found in every context it impresses. It’s the best wireless source, both via network and Bluetooth and makes even the smallest portable speaker sound far better than it has any right to.

We’ve found ways to integrate the Vita into almost any system – from classic analogue only setups, through to the new breed of integrated digital amplifiers and right up to some of the very best DACs at any price such as the NuPrime Evolution.

The Nativ Vita works – every unit we’ve sold has gone to enthusiastic clients who have been thrilled with the results. And as we’ve pointed out, this is only the start. The run in period has proved to be months long and every week brings new levels of performance. Good as it is at the outset, it just seems to get better and better.

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Nativ Vita with the new Maple table stand – NZ$2700 including GST and delivery.

The enthusiasm it engenders has led us to download and listen to much more music. Without now having to keep an eye on how many hours we run up on the rather costly stylus that now resides on our turntable, we can now enjoy playing for hours on end. The quality is such that we’re able jump between both formats and appreciate the strengths of each.

The quality of the Vita has also enabled me to better appreciate and document the abilities of better DACs such as the NuPrime Evolution. And when combined with speakers such as the new Monitor Audio Gold 5G 300s we’ve been able to assemble a true high end system at a cost that would simply not have been possible a few years ago – that the Vita is the most affordable of the components within this system makes it even more remarkable.

The transition from being a dedicated turntable enthusiast to someone who regards digital as a worthwhile equal (with the potential to be better again), has not been nearly as hard as I’d imagined. We’d previously been put off by the complexity and unfriendliness of many digital systems such as Linux servers, the finer points of uPnP and networks setups, various file type incompatibilities and the inevitable Mac vs Windows battles. The Vita has proved to be such a breeze to set up and run.

We’ve also looked hard at the storage requirements – in the last few months the prices of smaller SSD’s (Solid State Drives) have plummeted – effectively halving – and so it’s possible to set the Vita up to accommodate anyone’s music library – large or small – for a lot less than we originally thought. For our own use 400 albums occupy just 69GB – so while we originally opted for the standard 2TB SSD drive from Nativ, a smaller .5TB SSD is more than adequate giving us plenty of spare space. Remembering of course that we can always add another drive in the spare bay.

The installation of the .5TB unit proved to be very quick and easy. As with just about everything to do with Nativ there is a clear FAQ page that deals with this subject.

On one hand it is possible that we may be able to get larger high resolution files in the future which would quickly eat into the capacity. As will our increasing music purchases. But I can also see the day coming where we place more reliance on streaming services which bypass the need for storage completely.

The announcement by Nativ of their support for both Tidal, and MQA – Meridian’s Master Quality Assured system, plus the built-in ability of the NuPrime Evo to become MQA lays out a clear path to the future.

We’ve also looked carefully at the question of back-up: if we need to, and how we back up the music on the Vita. As with the SSD drives, the cost of portable USB connected drives has dropped dramatically as at the same time capacities have increased. You only need a back up drive as big as your music collection. The Nativ Vita also makes the whole back up and restore operation trouble free. So what was previously a worry has been made easy.

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The Nativ System – Pulse power supply, Wave DAC and Vita player.

The Wave DAC and Pulse power supply have arrived – Nativ managed to get overwhelmed with a huge number of new European dealers coming on board and simply haven’t been able to scale up production as fast as we’d like but it’s all coming together now so we have good stock of the Vita with both .5 and 2TB drives on hand.

We’ll be posting a full review of the Wave and Pulse in the next few weeks.

You can also select the new maple finish option for the tabletop stands – this looks super sharp yet actually cost slightly less making the Vita even more appealing – just $2700 for the base model or $2900 with a 0.5 TB  SSD fitted (holds around 1000 albums).

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Carolijn has really taken to the Nativ Vita – the combination of ease of use, beautiful aesthetics and sound quality has far broader appeal than most conventional audio components. Here is her article –

Why I like the Vita by Nativ and why you might too…

Strings

Do you sometimes feel in this world of connectivity with ‘Big Brother’, and goodness knows who else, lurking in the edges of your social media life; where HR at work over-regulate over every decision you make and security cameras follow your movements, that the privacy of your own thoughts and feelings have become places of sanctuary. Would you agree that this sanctuary is most free when in your own home?

Most of us love our smart phones. The multi-purposefulness of them are like carrying our lives in our pockets. I adore my music library on my phone and that I can bluetooth it to our lovely Vifa speakers. Yet our phones tell us when to wake up, if we need an umbrella with us – or a sunhat, that day, it reminds us of appointment times, tells us our heart rates, and a myriad of other things. Our personal computers can feel burdensome at times too. These items are like life-functioning control units.

That’s my first string of thought.

My second connects to my earlier note on our personal thoughts and feelings. Let me quote my favourite creative individual  – musician and writer Nick Cave:

“Occasionally people have asked me what [my] ‘hiding songs’ were. I have never revealed them in their entirety. Perhaps, I felt a strange ownership over them and that to release them to the world may constitute a form of betrayal. Do you ever feel like that about songs – that they were designed with you especially in mind, and that no one could ever begin to understand them in the way you do? My ‘hiding songs’ serve as a form of refuge for me and have done so for years. They are songs that I can pull over myself, like a child might pull the bed covers over their head, when the blaze of the world becomes too intense. I can literally hide inside them. They are the essential pillars that hold up the structure of my artistic world.” – The Red Right Hand Files issue #16 Jan 2019

Attachments

Author Craig Mod in a article for Wired titled,The ‘Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected’ wrote –

“Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice.”

Mod goes on to discuss the new ways books can be created and accessed, enabled by technology. I see that it is the same for music, and we’re loving it! Music anywhere, anyway, anyhow. Music has always had the power to move us and, as when our minds are buried in a book, we become personally involved in it – that ‘strange ownership’ that Nick referred to.

John asked me to write on what I like about the Vita, by Nativ, because he noted that I had formed quite a bond with it. Like my favourite friends’ personalities it’s complex. You can’t easily describe it in a simple sentence because it functions on different levels. By this I mean it’s a music server, does streaming etc. Its ‘computology’ means it’s a massive filing cabinet for music, with a myriad of ways to search the catalogue, it can source information through the internet, and of course, has a touch screen for interacting with it. This user interface is one of the aspects I like most about the Vita. With ease can you find, shuffle songs, albums and artists. Simple menu systems and intuitive operation makes it a relaxing to use. There’s nothing ego-centric about Nativ – they have created systems that would fit into a communal world. (this is at the heart of Mod’s Futurebook).He also noted that “Crowdfunding Changed the Game: helping something get into the world that otherwise wouldn’t exist, and you are part of that.” Nativ was a Indigo start-up, and now it’s out there making the world a better place by adding to our enjoyment of life.

I’m not going to get all audiophile on the sound quality. John’s covered that quite sufficiently. Suffice to say that I enjoy listening to it – I find the sound quality reaches that ‘audiophile’ level in detail and depth. Here’s the thing –  it’s a more-than-competent source component in a hifi system and is an equal player in the team. In our living room, sometimes that team is made up of gold medal contenders.

Artistry

The design is aesthetically pleasing, perfectly proportioned, well built, beautifully mounted on its wooden plinth, the screen angle is just right and the overall perception of it is substantial. Music on a phone or tablet feels, well, temporary. So there’s a sense of security with the Vita. The screen, oh I love the screen. You know how buying a record these days is like holding a beautiful book in your hand. There’s the artwork and crafts(wo)manship. The artist-musician has created an artwork of both music and visuals. This, you can have with your digital music on the Vita, beautifully displayed with thoughtfully and tactfully placed operational features. Feature’s that include playlists – yes, on the Vita there’s a place where I have my ‘hiding songs’, and all the other songs that have, for some reason or other struck a chord with me and embedded themselves in my mind.

This takes us back to our sanctuary. The sanctuary that is within our own minds. The sanctuary that is our home. I love the Nativ Vita for all the reasons I’ve described but also for the fact that it lives in my home, for me. I conclude by revisiting, how to describe the Nativ Vita. I suggest like Mod’s books – ‘singular, sustained, distraction-free, with a blissfully immutable voice’.

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