The 4.6 verdict

The experience of a cloth eared NDS owner after the 4.6 update.

It feels like I'm waiting for the melody to arrive: the new synchronicity appears to be out of phase with my stored memory engrams. It feels so slow: it feels as though I'm waiting for each note. What happened to the immediacy? What happened to the visceral rawness? The topiary shears have come out to 'prune' the leading sibilence but the sparkle remains under a sprinkle of fairy dust. The vocals are one step closer to being 'analogue' but they have 'digital' clarity with improved texture and separation. The bubbling cauldron of cacophony that often reduces complex passages to a gelatinous stew of muddle is now a clear broth with an infinite number of musical 'layers' for each ingredient. The bass is tighter with more distinction. The timing of the decay can hit with the force of a sledgehammer or the softness of a feather. Sting like a bee but float like a butterfly. I'm lost for words...

Minh Nguyen posted:

The experience of a cloth eared NDS owner after the 4.6 update.

It feels like I'm waiting for the melody to arrive: the new synchronicity appears to be out of phase with my stored memory engrams. It feels so slow: it feels as though I'm waiting for each note. What happened to the immediacy? What happened to the visceral rawness? The topiary shears have come out to 'prune' the leading sibilence but the sparkle remains under a sprinkle of fairy dust. The vocals are one step closer to being 'analogue' but they have 'digital' clarity with improved texture and separation. The bubbling cauldron of cacophony that often reduces complex passages to a gelatinous stew of muddle is now a clear broth with an infinite number of musical 'layers' for each ingredient. The bass is tighter with more distinction. The timing of the decay can hit with the force of a sledgehammer or the softness of a feather. Sting like a bee but float like a butterfly. I'm lost for words...

Just a couple of  words , Naim has definitely entered the hi-end territory this way and about vocals... well it's not an analogue ancillary.

Also, you were an hi-fi critic, maybe you are do not know,  I would like reading your notes they're great and contagious.

Bert Schurink posted:

I will contact my dealer as it seems I also need the 4.6 upgrade on my NDS. Interested to see how much the ND555 will than be better.

Bert, I think you will agree with me that Naim know that the ND555 is going to leave us NDS owners salivating over the 'umami' flavour of the new culinary delight. I'd be interested to read your experience of the 4.6 update. ATB Minh

Antonio1 posted:

tasty and contagious I'd say.

Keep on writing ,please.

Prior to the 4.6 update, the meal served up could be considered tasty with continuity. The old firmware retained the mix of all the ingredients with the most prominent flavours often being the most palatable, but the current firmware offers up each ingredient individually before they become an amalgamation of cohesive sensibility. The 'finer' ingredients are often in lesser quantity but they add their unique characteristics: from my experience, the backing vocalists are more audibly distinct and they have become a more integrated part of the performance. I would describe the taste be to exquisite but this very much depends upon the quality of the ingredients and their method of preparation. 

I had the 4.6 firmware update 2 days ago. I wanted to give a through listen before  I posted . I am using a Naim NDS/555Dr with CDs ripped to Naim Unitcore for playback .  So far I have pleased with the result. You can hear individual  perfomances within the overall recording better. Stereo imaginng seems improved! I have Kef Blade twos as speakers , and the firmware update has really tightened up the bass.  Better layering on the musical presentation.  Nice that Naim did this. 

Day 7 of after receiving my NDX back from service to replace an outlay relay to repair a DIN output that had one channel out. While in the shop the 4.6 firmware was installed and since arriving back at the house I have played approximately 40+ albums steaming on the NAS or TIDAL.   For my old ears the overall sound has improved, as other have mentioned more detail and deeper bass, an overall impression that the presentation of the music has been improved.

The two box system, with the NAS or TIDAL streaming to the NDX > SuperNait2 has had a very nice uplift in performance.

Obviously, JMHO......  and others have had a different experience.  

Thank you Naim!

seakayaker posted:

Day 7 of after receiving my NDX back from service to replace an outlay relay to repair a DIN output that had one channel out. While in the shop the 4.6 firmware was installed and since arriving back at the house I have played approximately 40+ albums steaming on the NAS or TIDAL.   For my old ears the overall sound has improved, as other have mentioned more detail and deeper bass, an overall impression that the presentation of the music has been improved.

The two box system, with the NAS or TIDAL streaming to the NDX > SuperNait2 has had a very nice uplift in performance.

Obviously, JMHO......  and others have had a different experience.  

Thank you Naim!

After several days of listening to 4.6 firmware update , I’m in agreement with you seakayaker! 

Hi I upgraded my NDS - a definite improvement - bass is much better defined and my sub really loves it - it's far far more tuneful now - as for the rest its a win win for me. A decent unexpected upgrade .... thank you Naim! If the ND555 can significantly improve on this - I will be amazed (hope I am!). 

ND555 must be a heckuva player to sound significantly better,  after this firmware update to NDS.  If it is like 20% better  ,  I likely would not leave my house , just listen to music around the clock .  Though not sure I can afford a ND555 . $22K in USA  But never say never !  I was not sure I could get an NDS and did . 

I didn’t like the sound from my superuniti after the 4.6 update,  so went back to 4.4 most people agree that the 4.6 update sounds better, bass better defined and tighter, for me the bass was too prominent, more detail, for me less, sounded closed in, just wasn’t to my liking

Seems like I'm in the minority of not liking the new firmware on my NDS. 

I installed it last weekend and spent an hour trying to convince myself that it was better.  At first it did seem like there was more detail in the treble but something was not quite right.  I didn't find the bass tighter, it seemed like there was less bass extension, less slam and power to it.  I guess that may give it the appearance of being tighter.  So the extra detail in the treble might be because there's less bass and the shift in balance between bass and treble makes it seem brighter overall.

So I left it a few days and tried again yesterday.  Same result.  Demoed it to my wife without any explanation as to what had changed or any comments on the SQ difference and she came to the same conclusion.  And yes, I did do a factory reset immediately after install.

So the update may be successful on some people's systems but unfortunately not on mine.  So I will be going back to 4.4.  Am glad I kept the older set of files!

when i first listen some days ago after the update on my nds, i heard a little improvement: a bit more natural and less congested sound, a bit more extended too.  But it was subtle and today, accustomed to the sound, it is difficult to me to tell if something really changed.  But it is not worse.

yes very pleased with 4.6 as I commented at the time, a very good upgrade on my NDX, I too noticed the improvement from the get go

more detail, focus and seperation - running in a DR so  i did think it could of been that but NO its the 4.6

fortunatley I did not have any issues with the upgrade and mine took about 10 mins, took slightly longer looking at the video on u tube and making sure I had it all

thumbs up from me

French Rooster posted:

when i first listen some days ago after the update on my nds, i heard a little improvement: a bit more natural and less congested sound, a bit more extended too.  But it was subtle and today, accustomed to the sound, it is difficult to me to tell if something really changed.  But it is not worse.

But isn't that the case with any upgrade you make? After time you just get used to it and it become the new norm. It's only when other people comment on the sound that you remember how good it is overall, but not the last incremental change. At least that's what I find.

Graham Clarke posted:

Seems like I'm in the minority of not liking the new firmware on my NDS. 

I installed it last weekend and spent an hour trying to convince myself that it was better.  At first it did seem like there was more detail in the treble but something was not quite right.  I didn't find the bass tighter, it seemed like there was less bass extension, less slam and power to it.  I guess that may give it the appearance of being tighter.  So the extra detail in the treble might be because there's less bass and the shift in balance between bass and treble makes it seem brighter overall.

So I left it a few days and tried again yesterday.  Same result.  Demoed it to my wife without any explanation as to what had changed or any comments on the SQ difference and she came to the same conclusion.  And yes, I did do a factory reset immediately after install.

So the update may be successful on some people's systems but unfortunately not on mine.  So I will be going back to 4.4.  Am glad I kept the older set of files!

+1

Clive B posted:
French Rooster posted:

when i first listen some days ago after the update on my nds, i heard a little improvement: a bit more natural and less congested sound, a bit more extended too.  But it was subtle and today, accustomed to the sound, it is difficult to me to tell if something really changed.  But it is not worse.

But isn't that the case with any upgrade you make? After time you just get used to it and it become the new norm. It's only when other people comment on the sound that you remember how good it is overall, but not the last incremental change. At least that's what I find.

i heard some tracks i was not listening recently and now i can’t say really if there is a change.  My immediate impressions were improvement, so it is probably that.

With a more noticeable upgrade, i could even in the next days say that i hear an improvement.

So for me it is a subtle change.

If i was not tired the day i finally could install the update, after several problems, i would probably took more time to listen and appreciate if there is a real upgrade or not. I just listened to 3 tracks and my impressions were positive: more easy going sound, a bit more free and natural.

With so many disagreeing on if they like or dislike the sound of the 4.6 firmware update , you have to think it comes down to we all hear differently. Guess that is why we do not always agree what speakers sound the best . Interesting all the different opinions . 

probably the wrong thread for me to post as I have not really reached a 'verdict' as such -- I am still trying to come to terms with 4.6 NDS update in my active system. A factory reset did have quite a big impact from a brief listen after doing it -- but unfortunately not in the right direction.

Been very busy with work lately -- but I have managed to steal some time to have a listen every now and then. Prior to the upgrade, it was often quite difficult to stop playing music whenever I decided to listen to "just the one" track -- often found myself still playing a couple of hours later -- such was the draw. The few times I have had a chance to listen after the 4.6 upgrade -- this 'draw' has been missing -- meaning that I had difficulty listening for more than 30mins -- lost interest totally after that. Initially I thought this was to do with mood, etc., -- but i now know  that is not the case. I tried to force myself to have a longer listening session this afternoon -- failed again. This suggests that in my system -- this upgrade is now working as well a I expected.

It can be quite difficult to describe what one is not happy about in relation to sound quality as this tends to get one dissecting the sound -- which in itself can be quite stressful. 

But FWIW, please allow me to try.

  • Am I hearing more detail?

Yes, definitely...

  • Is there more bass?

Yes... but see next point...

  • Then, hey, what are you unhappy about?

The "detail" to me sounds like it is not a 'coherent' as in 4.4 -- the extra "clarity" seems to be coming from exaggerated musical lines -- making the music sound somewhat forced, harsh, congested and fatiguing.

Unless things miraculously improve soon, , It is very likely I will downgrade to 4.4, but I will give it a few more days before doing so.

It is fascinating though that firmware/software can make such a difference -- but I guess that is not surprising in this day of increasingly "processed" music.

Ho hum...

enjoy...

ken

 

ken c posted:

probably the wrong thread for me to post as I have not really reached a 'verdict' as such -- I am still trying to come to terms with 4.6 NDS update in my active system. A factory reset did have quite a big impact from a brief listen after doing it -- but unfortunately not in the right direction.

Been very busy with work lately -- but I have managed to steal some time to have a listen every now and then. Prior to the upgrade, it was often quite difficult to stop playing music whenever I decided to listen to "just the one" track -- often found myself still playing a couple of hours later -- such was the draw. The few times I have had a chance to listen after the 4.6 upgrade -- this 'draw' has been missing -- meaning that I had difficulty listening for more than 30mins -- lost interest totally after that. Initially I thought this was to do with mood, etc., -- but i now know  that is not the case. I tried to force myself to have a longer listening session this afternoon -- failed again. This suggests that in my system -- this upgrade is now working as well a I expected.

It can be quite difficult to describe what one is not happy about in relation to sound quality as this tends to get one dissecting the sound -- which in itself can be quite stressful. 

But FWIW, please allow me to try.

  • Am I hearing more detail?

Yes, definitely...

  • Is there more bass?

Yes... but see next point...

  • Then, hey, what are you unhappy about?

The "detail" to me sounds like it is not a 'coherent' as in 4.4 -- the extra "clarity" seems to be coming from exaggerated musical lines -- making the music sound somewhat forced, harsh, congested and fatiguing.

Unless things miraculously improve soon, , It is very likely I will downgrade to 4.4, but I will give it a few more days before doing so.

It is fascinating though that firmware/software can make such a difference -- but I guess that is not surprising in this day of increasingly "processed" music.

Ho hum...

enjoy...

ken

 

And this proves the point that we all hear differently! Plus everyone has different systems with different speakers ! 

I think we need to take a poll to how many like the changes of 4.6 firmware update in SQ and who does not . Get hard figures to % like and do not like it . 

Effortless listening to a familiar sounding system = the hours roll by  - versus effortful listening to a (now) unfamilar system = fatiguing after 30mins? Perhaps an explanation?

Try uncritical listening to less familiar stuff and see how it goes?

Just a thought.

G

I've finally had a bit of a chance to listen to the changes that 4.6 brings to the Uniti2 and I'm not sure I'm that happy.

The best way to describe it is that the sound has gone from being focussed around the mid-range and a small sound stage to now sounding 'hollowed out' in both the mid-range and in the middle of the sound stage. I feel like I've lost the punch and drive in the music that was the reason I bought the system.

I'll listen to some other music over the next few weeks but it may be that the new release simply doesn't suit my room, speakers and Uniti2.

At least I have the option to downgrade and I'm still grateful to Naim for trying to provide an improved sound and functionality from existing equipment

musicfan51 posted:
 

I think we need to take a poll to how many like the changes of 4.6 firmware update in SQ and who does not . Get hard figures to % like and do not like it . 

Without taking any poll, from my reading various reports -- seems clear that most people like the 4.6 sound. People like me seem to be in the minority. I don't recall any previous NDS upgrade having this sort of divided opinion -- even though of course only a few of us cloth eared lot are not too happy with the 4.6 effect...  Tough cheese on us I guess...

enjoy

ken

GraemeH posted:

Effortless listening to a familiar sounding system = the hours roll by  - versus effortful listening to a (now) unfamilar system = fatiguing after 30mins? Perhaps an explanation?

Try uncritical listening to less familiar stuff and see how it goes?

Just a thought.

G

No idea... as I say, I will give it a few more days and if I still feel the unhappy, then I will definitely roll back to 4.4 and get back to effortlessly listening to music at home, rather than be drawn into 'how to listen' ...

enjoy

ken

Graham Clarke posted:

Seems like I'm in the minority of not liking the new firmware on my NDS. 

I installed it last weekend and spent an hour trying to convince myself that it was better.  At first it did seem like there was more detail in the treble but something was not quite right.  I didn't find the bass tighter, it seemed like there was less bass extension, less slam and power to it.  I guess that may give it the appearance of being tighter.  So the extra detail in the treble might be because there's less bass and the shift in balance between bass and treble makes it seem brighter overall.

So I left it a few days and tried again yesterday.  Same result.  Demoed it to my wife without any explanation as to what had changed or any comments on the SQ difference and she came to the same conclusion.  And yes, I did do a factory reset immediately after install.

So the update may be successful on some people's systems but unfortunately not on mine.  So I will be going back to 4.4.  Am glad I kept the older set of files!

I’m in the same situation with my SU. After the 4.6 update I noticed more detail and separation but that the bass is no longer as full and punchy as before. But it does mean that I can turn the volume up a bit more in the evening and not worry about disturbing my neighbours. So not sure if I’ll go back to 4.4 or just stay with the new update.

My dealer already installed the new firmware on my Nova. Coming from a Nd5xs and Nait XS Im crying my head off. The Nova sounds flat with a sharp edge to it. It does not float in between my room, Liveless and dull....No oempfh , no emotion, nothing...

fred47 posted:

My dealer already installed the new firmware on my Nova. Coming from a Nd5xs and Nait XS Im crying my head off. The Nova sounds flat with a sharp edge to it. It does not float in between my room, Liveless and dull....No oempfh , no emotion, nothing...

The Nova does not have fw 4.6 installed (the subject of this thread). The new uniti range firmware update is version 2.6.

There is a separate thread to discuss the 2.6 update for the new uniti range.

ken c posted:

probably the wrong thread for me to post as I have not really reached a 'verdict' as such -- I am still trying to come to terms with 4.6 NDS update in my active system.

  • Am I hearing more detail?

Yes, definitely...

  • Is there more bass?

Yes... but see next point...

  • Then, hey, what are you unhappy about?

The "detail" to me sounds like it is not a 'coherent' as in 4.4 -- the extra "clarity" seems to be coming from exaggerated musical lines -- making the music sound somewhat forced, harsh, congested and fatiguing.

Unless things miraculously improve soon, , It is very likely I will downgrade to 4.4, but I will give it a few more days before doing so.

It is fascinating though that firmware/software can make such a difference -- but I guess that is not surprising in this day of increasingly "processed" music.

Ho hum...

enjoy...

ken

 

Agree totally Ken. After a week with v4.6 I've now gone back to v4.4 on my NDS and the magic has returned.

V4.6 overemphasised parts of the musical spectrum so it sounded unbalanced. Further the soundstage widened so instruments were spread too far left and right like some 1960s stereo demonstration album. Balance has been restored with v4.4 and the emotional connection to the music is back. 

Good thing there is the option.

Jonn posted: 

Agree totally Ken. After a week with v4.6 I've now gone back to v4.4 on my NDS and the magic has returned.

V4.6 overemphasised parts of the musical spectrum so it sounded unbalanced. Further the soundstage widened so instruments were spread too far left and right like some 1960s stereo demonstration album. Balance has been restored with v4.4 and the emotional connection to the music is back. 

Good thing there is the option.

yes indeed Jonn -- lucky the 4.4 roll-back option is available!! I haven't done it yet -- accepting personal preferences - which I don't believe is the issue here -- I am still puzzled why the upgrade was so positive for other NDS owners -- so I want to check a few more things . I also know from my long exposure to Naim hifi that the sound I am hearing would probably not be acceptable to Naim themselves, although perhaps this could indicate some change of direction - pure speculation -- I don't know.

Reminds me of the time I tried a friends' (well known) high-end speaker cable that exhibited the similar 'etched detail/somewhat shouty/coherentless' characteristics that my friend (the owner) was extremely enthusiastic about. The Super Lumina cable demonstrates to me Naim's approach --  that its possible to have more detail without upsetting the dynamic balance of the music -- I know of course cable upgrade is somewhat different from firmware/software upgrade -- but you get my point anyhow.

I want to be sure that the upgrade is "state-less" -- meaning that the outcome doesn't depend on some prior state of the NDS. Factory reset may be a case in point -- though of course the instructions only suggest doing this at the end -- rather than the beginning. And then there is the confusion over whether the FR is even 'required' at all, even though the Update Guide explicitly says:

"Once the update is complete then you should perform a Factory Reset of your streamer" -- which suggests this is not optional.

I did re-install 4.6 last night -- this was as straight fwd as last time -- except that this time I was watching the update more closely -- and half-conviced mysef that I didn't see the 'DSP Bootloader' step -- but this may have happened very quickly so may have missed it. It is utter desperation that makes one begin to pick up small and probably inconsequential  issues such as there -- that in themselves may in fact be completely irrelevant.

So I will give myself another week of investigations -- if no cigar -- then I will revert to 4.4 next weekend draw a line under all this and restore music in my system.

enjoy

ken

 

The factory reset gave some improvement and on simple acoustic acoustic albums I prefer v4.6. However anything more complex and the balance sounds wrong with a mid range emphasis that wasn’t there before. So while 4.6 does have some positive features, overall I found it less engaging. Going back to 4.4 was a welcome relief. 

 

Jonn posted:
ken c posted:

probably the wrong thread for me to post as I have not really reached a 'verdict' as such -- I am still trying to come to terms with 4.6 NDS update in my active system.

  • Am I hearing more detail?

Yes, definitely...

  • Is there more bass?

Yes... but see next point...

  • Then, hey, what are you unhappy about?

The "detail" to me sounds like it is not a 'coherent' as in 4.4 -- the extra "clarity" seems to be coming from exaggerated musical lines -- making the music sound somewhat forced, harsh, congested and fatiguing.

Unless things miraculously improve soon, , It is very likely I will downgrade to 4.4, but I will give it a few more days before doing so.

It is fascinating though that firmware/software can make such a difference -- but I guess that is not surprising in this day of increasingly "processed" music.

Ho hum...

enjoy...

ken

 

Agree totally Ken. After a week with v4.6 I've now gone back to v4.4 on my NDS and the magic has returned.

V4.6 overemphasised parts of the musical spectrum so it sounded unbalanced. Further the soundstage widened so instruments were spread too far left and right like some 1960s stereo demonstration album. Balance has been restored with v4.4 and the emotional connection to the music is back. 

Good thing there is the option.

Since everyone on here are using different speakers , how does that play into the equation that some really enjoy the firmware update and others do not ? 

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