Post firmware update SQ controversy.

A few folks have attempted to correlate reactions to the recent firmware updates, based on the model of streamer used, whilst several are expressing their displeasure at the outcome of having performed the update, and the subsequent reaction from Naim.

I've opened a fresh thread on this, merely to try and ensure that it is seen by someone at Naim HQ, as I do wonder if a quick poll on the numbers happy with the updates might reveal that the outcome has been less dependent on the streamer in use, but is, instead, based on whether on was doing the update via macOS or Windows.

I'm no computer expert, but it's a possible explanation which doesn't seem to have been touched on so far, hence the new topic.

Hopefully some of the IT folks at Naim might read this, and find it helpful.

Original Post
dave marshall posted:

A few folks have attempted to correlate reactions to the recent firmware updates, based on the model of streamer used, whilst several are expressing their displeasure at the outcome of having performed the update, and the subsequent reaction from Naim.

I've opened a fresh thread on this, merely to try and ensure that it is seen by someone at Naim HQ, as I do wonder if a quick poll on the numbers happy with the updates might reveal that the outcome has been less dependent on the streamer in use, but is, instead, based on whether on was doing the update via macOS or Windows.

I'm no computer expert, but it's a possible explanation which doesn't seem to have been touched on so far, hence the new topic.

Hopefully some of the IT folks at Naim might read this, and find it helpful.

Should, of course, read "whether one was doing the update"

Sorry!

dave marshall posted:

A few folks have attempted to correlate reactions to the recent firmware updates, based on the model of streamer used, whilst several are expressing their displeasure at the outcome of having performed the update, and the subsequent reaction from Naim.

I've opened a fresh thread on this, merely to try and ensure that it is seen by someone at Naim HQ, as I do wonder if a quick poll on the numbers happy with the updates might reveal that the outcome has been less dependent on the streamer in use, but is, instead, based on whether on was doing the update via macOS or Windows.

I'm no computer expert, but it's a possible explanation which doesn't seem to have been touched on so far, hence the new topic.

Hopefully some of the IT folks at Naim might read this, and find it helpful.

The updates on the new Unitis are automatically done by internet. No windows or Mac needed.

i) NDX - Update via cheapo Dell running Windows 10, using a USB cable I suspect probably came with an old Garmin satnav, went fine, very happy with the SQ after a very minor change in speaker position to cope with the increase in bass.

ii) Uniti Nova, OTA update from the interim 2.3.1 (I think that was the number, the one that came out about a week before), again happy with the SQ, slight improvement in clarity and tighter bass, just as involving as before.

iii) 3 * Muso Qbs, OTA, not really noticed any difference, but I've only used the kitchen one, so it has to compete with cooking sounds.

 

Hi,

I've just spoken with Naim support, to pass on my thoughts about whether or not the use of macOS, as compared to Windows, might have had some effect on the outcome regarding SQ, for those using "legacy" streamers.

They agree that the drivers used to carry out the download and subsequent installation would be different, depending on the operating system used, and that they are indeed looking into this.

So, who knows, this might eventually clear things up for those less than happy with the update.

Updated on the day the upgrade was announced, all via a Lenovo Thinkpad Windows 10 laptop fully patched and up to date.

Sound quality initially felt like it had lost some ooomph, but the new version is now head & shoulders better once the initial surprise at the change had dispersed. 

ND5XS, into Nait 5i & PMC Twenty.23s

NDS using ASUS notebook with Windows 7. Found v4.6 altered the balance (midrange too prominent) and soundstage too wide and diffuse. More detail but less engagement. Reverted back to v4.4 which I find much more engaging and much better balance across frequency range.

dave marshall posted:

Hi,

I've just spoken with Naim support, to pass on my thoughts about whether or not the use of macOS, as compared to Windows, might have had some effect on the outcome regarding SQ, for those using "legacy" streamers.

They agree that the drivers used to carry out the download and subsequent installation would be different, depending on the operating system used, and that they are indeed looking into this.

So, who knows, this might eventually clear things up for those less than happy with the update.

Hi Dave,

Of course the drivers used to update the units will be different between Mac OSX and Windows but they don't have any bearing on the final sound quality of the update itself...

Cheers

Phil

Win10 on a ThinkPad X1 Carbon updating NDS.

Always went flawlessly on my old ThinkPad running Win7, once I had installed the drivers, which was an easy task.

I had no end of trouble finding and installing the appropriate Win10 drivers. I probably had about 15 attempts, using various permutations of source files, unzipped and run at  various locations on the HDD, and repeat attempts at installing the same drivers from the same location, when for no apparent reason, the installation spontaneously worked.

I hooked it up to the NDS to check, and it all communicated and put the NDS is update mode. I didn't proceed beyond that because I had already dug out my old laptop running Win7 and performed the update successfully, at the first attempt.

Harry posted:

Win10 on a ThinkPad X1 Carbon updating NDS.

Always went flawlessly on my old ThinkPad running Win7, once I had installed the drivers, which was an easy task.

I had no end of trouble finding and installing the appropriate Win10 drivers. I probably had about 15 attempts, using various permutations of source files, unzipped and run at  various locations on the HDD, and repeat attempts at installing the same drivers from the same location, when for no apparent reason, the installation spontaneously worked.

I hooked it up to the NDS to check, and it all communicated and put the NDS is update mode. I didn't proceed beyond that because I had already dug out my old laptop running Win7 and performed the update successfully, at the first attempt.

Hi Harry,

You haven't said whether your NDS has a Mini-USB update port or an RS232 update port but if it is a Mini-USB then the drivers for that are linked to in the instructions and should be correct for Windows 10.

If you have an RS232 update port on your NDS and you are using a USB to RS232 adapter then the manufacturers website should have drivers.

It appears that frequently the manufacturers of USB to serial adapters don't update their drivers (and there are issues with 'cloned' Prolific chipsets used in some USB to Serial adapters as the official Prolific drivers for Windows 10 no longer work with the clone chipsets) so I generally tend to recommend this USB to Serial adapter when asked...

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Conve...ords=ftdi+usb+serial

...as they have proven very reliable and work with both Windows and OSX.

Cheers

Phil

Phil Harris posted:
dave marshall posted:

Hi,

I've just spoken with Naim support, to pass on my thoughts about whether or not the use of macOS, as compared to Windows, might have had some effect on the outcome regarding SQ, for those using "legacy" streamers.

They agree that the drivers used to carry out the download and subsequent installation would be different, depending on the operating system used, and that they are indeed looking into this.

So, who knows, this might eventually clear things up for those less than happy with the update.

Hi Dave,

Of course the drivers used to update the units will be different between Mac OSX and Windows but they don't have any bearing on the final sound quality of the update itself...

Cheers

Phil

Cheers Phil,

Ah well, it was just a random thought to try to find some common aspect in the update procedure.

Dave.

Peter1480 posted:

Yanny, good high frequency hearing

Well interestingly, I'm one of the ones who felt 2.6 was worse on my Uniti Nova - I wonder if others who feel the same are Yannys or Laurels!  Am I oversensitive to high frequencies (if the original audio clip was 'laurel') hence my feeling that 2.6 is a bit shrill and shouty on female vocals but very detailed, or perhaps do I hear less low end which is why I feel that's missing with 2.6?

There's something odd at play I have to say.

On my laptop I hear Laurel,  whereas on TV & with my laptop feeding the TV & including the laptop>TV into my NDX/SN,  then I hear Yanny 

The theory is that if you hear Laurel it indicates you have a propensity to hear low frequencies,  Yanny means you are hearing higher frequencies.    My test above shows it might be what equipment you are using to listen with.   

Dave

i am a windows 10 user and updated my NDX (2014 model) with new firmware

i had no issues in the download process and commented at the time, how good I felt the upgrade was, i thought it was the DR coming in on my amp but no it was the firmware

I find it more analogue - more detail & focus overall a really good & FOC upgrade

for those members who don't find this you can go back, but I for one won't

Jonn posted:

NDS using ASUS notebook with Windows 7. Found v4.6 altered the balance (midrange too prominent) and soundstage too wide and diffuse. More detail but less engagement. Reverted back to v4.4 which I find much more engaging and much better balance across frequency range.

Hi John

Try reinstalling 4.6, I also had a similar experience to you on first install, bloated bass and midrange, sounded slow and lacked prat. I reinstalled 4.6 and it sounds a bit better, can't explain why but the difference is definitely a bit more subtle on the second install, so worth a try. In saying that though, I've gone back to 4.4 once again, IMO it's just so much more engaging and rhythmic. I''m glad I could go back without any problems, but considering the number of NDS users who are unhappy with the latest update, I think Naim needs to rethink there testing procedure?

Cheers,

Loks

Updated my NDS via min-USB using a Win 10 laptop and didn't like the SQ.  Big reduction in bass extension with the mid range being more prominent.  Now, if we could have the mid range changes plus the bass from FW v4.4 that would be ideal! 

However I would be very surprised if the updating device played any part on this.  I would expect the firmware in the NDS to do a checksum of the uploaded data to ensure data integrity before applying it.  Then given that this is 100% in the digital domain where timing, noise, D to A conversions are not relevant (to update process) either the file is correct and can be applied or it can't.

I hear yanny, clearly must be down to the ethernet cable attaching my MusoQB to the network ;-)

Richard Dane posted:
Alley Cat posted:

You hear Laurel I hear Yanny perhaps?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/0...ce/yanny-laurel.html

Yanny, every time, regardless of whether through the laptop speakers or if I put on the Dragonfly and headphones. I've tried really hard to hear Laurel, but just can't. Fascinating stuff, but perhaps better to discuss on a dedicated thread...

I nearly did post in Padded Cell, it just made me realise that all our listening experiences are so subjective - not only based on personal preferences but also it would seem tied to factors we cannot contemplate relating to our own auditory hardware and auditory processing, age-relatd changes in these and the frequency responses of all parts of the output chain when playing music.

Obsydian mentioned it a few times but perhaps the thing to focus on is that there have been changes to SQ introduced in firmware and not so much that people felt these were positive or negative, though clearly where negative it begs the question why.

Only way to tell is to give the customer the option to try one, the other, back, forth, back...  I personally would like to prove myself wrong, but until I get the download links it is truly, all in my head.. which of course, is very beneficial to the support team !

 

nigelb posted:

Alley Cat makes a good point. I am beginning to wonder if 4.6-gate is in the end down to personal preference. But then how do you explain the improved results some have had from re-installing 4.6? Expectation bias maybe?

Yes, I think we can virtually all agree that 4.6/2.6 (and 2.3.1) updates have altered the sound - while individual users may feel positive or negative about that in the context of their own sound preferences and system, the key thing is that the sound has changed.  Quite clearly Naim has tweaked the sound quality with the genuine intent of a better user experience - unfortunately the reality of these digital systems is that it either doesn't work positively for everyone (perhaps predictable?) or if there is a significant minority of dissenters that there might be more to it than personal preference in causing that negative feeling.

I find it quite fascinating, but as HH mentions in another thread there is the potential for a system someone is perfectly happy with sonically to be inadvertently altered for the worse when addressing ongoing support of digital services and fixing bugs.

Clive B posted:

I heard ‘Yanny’ and I like firmware v4.6 on my NDS. 

I’ll try again later and see if I can convince myself it’s Laurel. If I do, I hope I’ll still like my NDS with v4.6 firmware!

I’ve just tried this again and both my wife and I heard Laurel.

Fortunately the NDS is still sounding jolly fine with v4.6.

Sloop John B posted:

I think a lot of the differences are encapsulated in the saying;

Nowt so queer as folk

It's the same with Roon 1.5, many notice an improvement, many the opposite.

.sjb

Roon has  always sounded the same to me in each update. The same cannot be said for 2,6 on my Atom.

Graham Clarke posted:

Updated my NDS via min-USB using a Win 10 laptop and didn't like the SQ.  Big reduction in bass extension with the mid range being more prominent.  Now, if we could have the mid range changes plus the bass from FW v4.4 that would be ideal! 

However I would be very surprised if the updating device played any part on this.  I would expect the firmware in the NDS to do a checksum of the uploaded data to ensure data integrity before applying it.  Then given that this is 100% in the digital domain where timing, noise, D to A conversions are not relevant (to update process) either the file is correct and can be applied or it can't.

I hear yanny, clearly must be down to the ethernet cable attaching my MusoQB to the network ;-)

Hi Graham, It was good to come over last night and hear your system on 4.4 and 4.6. As we discussed at the end of the evening, there is an audible difference in presentation between the two versions, but whether this is good, bad or just different is the challenging question.

On London Grammar, Hey Now, I think 4.6 better resolved the lowest bass tones, but the mid bass was a little more repressed. This was also a feature on the Led Zeppelin track, where the more repressed mid bass, gave the impression of less bass impact.  (or perhaps this was just a more balanced, controlled bass presentation depending on your perspective?) 4.6 did impact the high vocals on this track and made them sound a little too 'screechy', but as the other version of the same track we listened to was better in this respect, I wonder whether 4.6 just highlighted that the levels had been pushed a bit too high on the first version and had caused some clipping? The Florence and the Machine and Lindsey Stirling tracks sounded fine to me on both 4.4 and 4.6, but I think 4.6 had the edge in terms of resolution and detail at the top.

Overall, my impression of 4.6 was positive, but as we discussed I have had a little more time to adapt to the new sound signature, so how much of this is just down to what we have become accustomed to is an interesting question.

So, no great revelations to inform the mystery, other than that we all hear things a little differently, and what you like is often what you are used to. I hear Yanny...

And thanks to you and Debs for the chips and dips!

Dave.

I continue to be impressed with 4.6 on my NDS and each listen to an album for the first time on 4.6 reveals more than I remember from 4.4. That is, more revealing in a good way.

I read with interest Dave's assessment of Graham's system with 4.4 vs 4.6. Yes, I would agree that 4.6 has changed the balance of bass and high frequencies but I believe the balance is now….err…better balanced with 4.6. I must admit, I have not noticed a repressed mid-bass, just a more extended and more focussed bottom end. The firmware update is more revealing too, with nuances and instruments in the background, which were either very recessed or inaudible with 4.4, but now clearly present on 4.6, which adds more to each track where this is noticed.

You do soon become accustomed to the new balance with 4.6. The only way the superiority of 4.6 is now apparent to me is when I hear a familiar album for the first time using 4.6.

BTW, not sure if it is significant but I am a Yanny man so should be sensitive to the change in the balance of the higher frequencies on 4.6 but I certainly hear no 'screeching'! 

The screeching in question was meant to be there to a certain extent... powerful rock male vocals often have this characteristic, but in this case it was a little too much. I think they had pushed the levels on this particular recording a little too far, and it was clipping. The better high frequency resolution on 4.6 just made this more obvious than on 4.4. Graham will probably chime in with his views. 

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