Well, it is now a week since I updated my NDX to use the new 4.6 firmware. My principle purpose was to try and improve the stuttering I had on TIDAL and I didn't expect anything else. The playback through TIDAL is vastly improved. There, post done. WAIT there's more.
What I didn't expect from the description was any noticeable change in sound quality. I don't have a multi-room system (would that I could afford such a luxury!) but I do have quite a good main music system, which includes an NDX.
What I found after the first few albums was that the bass was tighter and more "tuneful". Then I noticed higher resolution. This became apparent almost immediately because my music room is next door to my Mother In Law's bedroom and I usually have to either use headphones or listen at painfully low levels so as not to disturb her. I was reading a book and kept having my attention drawn to whatever I was playing. The instruments and the singers were literally leaping out of the speakers into the room. It was uncanny. At this very moment I am listening to K. D Lang's "Hymns of the 49th Parallel" on UpNP server (minim server - rendered to WAV) and the piano in Hallelujah has this wonderful dynamic presentation, the loud and quiet passages are rendered more noticeably. K.D.'s voice and her exquisite control of the pacing and phrasing is there to hear. In a way that I have never noticed before. A couple of days ago it was Imogen Heap and her Ellipse album on TIDAL. Again the sense of her being in the room was remarkable. At some points it made the hair on my arms stand up. I have listened to E. Power Biggs playing Handel, the bizarre and ultimately rewarding Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's "The Kid", Dami Im's new album "I Hear a Song" and Ryan Teagues "Block Boundaries". Every album is surrendering new details and expression that I have never heard before.
For those of you as ancient as me it is equivalent to the first time I put a moving coil cartridge on my turntable: I am rushing to listen to old favourites and new music to see what it sounds like now! In some cases I am discovering that they aren't as well recorded as I thought (Scartaglen's "This Nights Fun" was closed in and you could hear each microphone feed was in a separate acoustic) others are better than I ever suspected.
This upgrade was extremely painful to load (see my recent posts on the issue) but it was well worth the effort. Here is the magic of digital audio: a simple firmware upgrade is like a multi-thousand dollar improvement in your system.
My advice: If you can't load the firmware after an hour of effort, simply take your gear to your dealer and offer them $20 or something to do it for you. It is well worth the effort.