The 4.6 verdict

I have been trying 4.6 on my NDS during one week (with factory reset after update). My setup is NDS/555PS/552DR/300/Sonus Faber Cremona M.

The excess of details an clarity became tiring

Now I am back to 4.4 and I am enjoying music again.

Using a favourite CD Rip benchmark, ‘Tim Hardin 3’ , I am very impressed with this upgrade. It is a tribute to Naim’s digital approach, and makes me even more excited about ND555. Also makes NDS a very attractive buy for those who want to upgrade. 

Another new library experience!

 

David O'Higgins posted:

Using a favourite CD Rip benchmark, ‘Tim Hardin 3’ , I am very impressed with this upgrade. It is a tribute to Naim’s digital approach, and makes me even more excited about ND555. Also makes NDS a very attractive buy for those who want to upgrade. 

Another new library experience!

 

My experience with my 4.6 firmware update with NDS/555DR,  is positive too. Good to here yours is too David . 

Just to add to the discussion, I also rolled back to 4.4 a few days ago. My experience has been similar to others, I also found 4.6 overemphasised the bass and midrange, to me it made my system sound slow, a bit woolly and uninvolving. Thankfully rolling back was very easy, just a matter of reinstalling 4.4, I also didn't lose any settings so I'm glad I gave it a try, the sound just wasn't for me.

What I would like to know though is if anyone is aware of any changes between the firmwares other than the DSP change, I found the app more reliable with 4.6 and I'm hoping someone can confirm I wasn't just imagining it? Also if improvements were made with regards to connectivity and if there's enough interest from others, may be Naim could be encouraged to release these with the old DSP, may be as the mysteriously missing v4.5?

Cheers,

Lokesh

 

 

Hi Chag

It is a DR, same with the amps.

I am a bit confused, so many people are having positive results, but for me it was definitely a sound I couldn't live with long term and in all honesty from my experience not like a Naim component.

There were improvements in the amount and extension of bass, the midrange also got fuller which made more instruments prominent than with 4.4 but it also softened their attack, this to me definitely had a detrimental affect on PRaT. It's hard to explain but as examples, a searing lead guitar, a great drum break or a tuneful bass line were just another instrument in the mix, where as with 4.4 when the recording required they'd be in the spotlight, driving the song along and  grabbing your attention.  

It would be nice to hear what everyone else is hearing, but I think it's possible 4.6 is just not for me, I definitely gained a new appreciation for my system when I rolled back. Unfortunately this was accompanied with the frustration of the app losing connectivity or not finding my NAS every 10 minutes, so hoping to get an answer about any changes to the networking in the new firmware if anyone knows?

Cheers,

Loks

loks posted:

Hi Chag

It is a DR, same with the amps.

I am a bit confused, so many people are having positive results, but for me it was definitely a sound I couldn't live with long term and in all honesty from my experience not like a Naim component.

There were improvements in the amount and extension of bass, the midrange also got fuller which made more instruments prominent than with 4.4 but it also softened their attack, this to me definitely had a detrimental affect on PRaT. It's hard to explain but as examples, a searing lead guitar, a great drum break or a tuneful bass line were just another instrument in the mix, where as with 4.4 when the recording required they'd be in the spotlight, driving the song along and  grabbing your attention.  

It would be nice to hear what everyone else is hearing, but I think it's possible 4.6 is just not for me, I definitely gained a new appreciation for my system when I rolled back. Unfortunately this was accompanied with the frustration of the app losing connectivity or not finding my NAS every 10 minutes, so hoping to get an answer about any changes to the networking in the new firmware if anyone knows?

Cheers,

Loks

I think it is proof we hear differently!  

musicfan51 posted:
loks posted:

Hi Chag

It is a DR, same with the amps.

I am a bit confused, so many people are having positive results, but for me it was definitely a sound I couldn't live with long term and in all honesty from my experience not like a Naim component.

There were improvements in the amount and extension of bass, the midrange also got fuller which made more instruments prominent than with 4.4 but it also softened their attack, this to me definitely had a detrimental affect on PRaT. It's hard to explain but as examples, a searing lead guitar, a great drum break or a tuneful bass line were just another instrument in the mix, where as with 4.4 when the recording required they'd be in the spotlight, driving the song along and  grabbing your attention.  

It would be nice to hear what everyone else is hearing, but I think it's possible 4.6 is just not for me, I definitely gained a new appreciation for my system when I rolled back. Unfortunately this was accompanied with the frustration of the app losing connectivity or not finding my NAS every 10 minutes, so hoping to get an answer about any changes to the networking in the new firmware if anyone knows?

Cheers,

Loks

I think it is proof we hear differently!  

Definitely.

I actually wasn't expecting or wanting any changes to the sound of my system with 4.6, it would be great if I did hear the same improvement as others, but I was happy with the sound of my system before the upgrade and still am after the roll back, so not really disappointed. I was hoping for a more consistent experience with the app, 4.6 seemed to have brought this with my NAS and NDS being found almost 100% of the time over the two weeks it was installed, unfortunately after rolling back I've lost connectivity a number of times over the last two days. Could just be a coincidence but I guess a mail to Naim is the best way to confirm.  

 

 

 

 

I agree we do hear differently, but it's not a good thing if people were happy with the sound from there equipment, then after a firmware update that changes, I myself, and it's only my opinion, a company should not alter the sound quality through a firmware update, Naim is the longest company I have stuck with for the sound they produce, had many makes of equipment in the past until I discovered Naim, the 4.6 update changed the sound in such a way  that I could not listen to it for any length of time, altered all that I like about the Naim sound

mezza posted:

I agree we do hear differently, but it's not a good thing if people were happy with the sound from there equipment, then after a firmware update that changes, I myself, and it's only my opinion, a company should not alter the sound quality through a firmware update, Naim is the longest company I have stuck with for the sound they produce, had many makes of equipment in the past until I discovered Naim, the 4.6 update changed the sound in such a way  that I could not listen to it for any length of time, altered all that I like about the Naim sound

Wow! Some really love the update, others really really dislike it. That is fascinating to me !  

loks posted:

What I would like to know though is if anyone is aware of any changes between the firmwares other than the DSP change, I found the app more reliable with 4.6 and I'm hoping someone can confirm I wasn't just imagining it? Also if improvements were made with regards to connectivity and if there's enough interest from others, may be Naim could be encouraged to release these with the old DSP, may be as the mysteriously missing v4.5?

Cheers,

Lokesh

 

 

There are significant changes in the firmware, particularly around multiroom connectivity with the new platform streamers. Improvements have also been made to improve stability and network discovery, which is probably why the new firmware and app work more reliably in your case. 

When the functionality is changed, to achieve the above, the SQ will very likely change, which is why the DSP is tweaked to get the best possible sound from the new firmware. When we were beta testing we were all in agreement that 4.6 was the best across all the legacy platform streamers. So it’s really a choice of new or old, and mixing and matching functionality and DSP is highly unlikely to be practical. 

It’s interesting that some people are not finding 4.6 to their liking. It’s been wonderful with my 272, which is now more engaging and musical than ever. It seems to bring out the groove and passion of performances in a much more realistic way than before. That’s why it seems so odd that some people are finding it dull and woolly. 

One thing I found with testing is that when you are critically listening - which we have to do - it’s hard to relax and just enjoy the music. So after the initial critical listening I just get on and play music. After a couple of weeks it’s then possible to say if it’s ok or not.  It might be worth reinstalling 4.6 and forgetting about it for a month. It may just grow on you. You can always roll back again if it doesn’t. 

Hungryhalibut posted:

It’s interesting that some people are not finding 4.6 to their liking. It’s been wonderful with my 272, which is now more engaging and musical than ever. It seems to bring out the groove and passion of performances in a much more realistic way than before. That’s why it seems so odd that some people are finding it dull and woolly. 

One thing I found with testing is that when you are critically listening - which we have to do - it’s hard to relax and just enjoy the music. So after the initial critical listening I just get on and play music. After a couple of weeks it’s then possible to say if it’s ok or not.  It might be worth reinstalling 4.6 and forgetting about it for a month. It may just grow on you. You can always roll back again if it doesn’t. 

It is interesting that 4.6 has split opinions (much like the beta testing going back to 4.4 variants),  NDX on the whole agreed whereas NDS were less in agreement.  I believe 272 is a different DSP so maybe best not bring that into the mix.  But with my NDX 4.6 is the one I'm happy with.

Re testing & critical listening;  you sum it up just perfectly for me.    I have a few favourite/well known tracks that I've loaded on a 'test' album file, treble, bass, dynamics, sound stage, timbre, clarity etc & including the bad stuff, sibilance, screech etc.    Thats my first impression,  then I sit back & play some serious & some background & get the opinion of a significant other.    My problem is I get used to what I hear & it becomes the norm.  ITR it was interesting to recheck previous releases.  

Similar divided opinion on the latest 2.6 FW on the new Uniti range, nobody is complaining it's dull and woolly though - quite the opposite in fact, many find it too clinical and bright. As above I have been giving it more time and although I have a foot in each camp it's growing on me, I may revert to previous 2.3 FW yet but I'll give 2.6 a good run before deciding and even if I do revert I may well find that I'll return to the latest 2.6. It's interesting this thing about giving it more listening time and it growing on you, obviously no technical changes are happening just your ears and brain are adapting, I wonder if is this what is really happening with apparent cable or unit burn-in phenomena etc - nothing technical or physically actually changes but you find that it sounds better and better over time - just a thought!

I plan to organise to listen to a different NDS 4.6 firmware based system (of course looking for one where the owner is happy with the upgrade). Then I will hopefully be able to compare the musical DNA vs. my own NDS4.6. To what extent it will matter that the underlying systems will likely be quite different is just a reality I have to somehow accommodate I guess... 

enjoy...

ken

I was perfectly happy with v4.4 on my NDS, tried v4.6,  didn’t like what it did to the sound so went back to 4.4 and happy again. I’m not at all bothered that 4.6 didn’t work for me. 

I certainly wasn’t prepared to put up with v4.6 for more than a few days to see if I might “ get use to the sound.”

ken c posted:

I plan to organise to listen to a different NDS 4.6 firmware based system (of course looking for one where the owner is happy with the upgrade). Then I will hopefully be able to compare the musical DNA vs. my own NDS4.6. To what extent it will matter that the underlying systems will likely be quite different is just a reality I have to somehow accommodate I guess... 

enjoy...

ken

I am listening now to some Jazz guitar and I do not hear the issues people are complaining about .  This is so interesting that some love the improvement and others really dislike it . It sounds very much improved to me .  NDS/555DR using ripped CDs to UnitiCore 

Jonn posted:

I was perfectly happy with v4.4 on my NDS, tried v4.6,  didn’t like what it did to the sound so went back to 4.4 and happy again. I’m not at all bothered that 4.6 didn’t work for me. 

I certainly wasn’t prepared to put up with v4.6 for more than a few days to see if I might “ get use to the sound.”

I bet the new Naim Streamers will sound closer to the 4.6 firmware version than 4.4. I wonder if that means some Naim fans may not like the sound of the new Naim streamers?  Others will love them.  

musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:

I plan to organise to listen to a different NDS 4.6 firmware based system (of course looking for one where the owner is happy with the upgrade). Then I will hopefully be able to compare the musical DNA vs. my own NDS4.6. To what extent it will matter that the underlying systems will likely be quite different is just a reality I have to somehow accommodate I guess... 

enjoy...

ken

I am listening now to some Jazz guitar and I do not hear the issues people are complaining about .  This is so interesting that some love the improvement and others really dislike it . It sounds very much improved to me .  NDS/555DR using ripped CDs to UnitiCore 

A possibility -- the impact of 4.6 firmware update on my NDS could be different from impact on your NDS compared to mine -- for whatever reason. but as I say,  I think it would be useful anyhow for me to listen to another NDS 4.6 unit in a different system and tale it from there...

enjoy

ken

musicfan51 posted:
Jonn posted:

I was perfectly happy with v4.4 on my NDS, tried v4.6,  didn’t like what it did to the sound so went back to 4.4 and happy again. I’m not at all bothered that 4.6 didn’t work for me. 

I certainly wasn’t prepared to put up with v4.6 for more than a few days to see if I might “ get use to the sound.”

I bet the new Naim Streamers will sound closer to the 4.6 firmware version than 4.4. I wonder if that means some Naim fans may not like the sound of the new Naim streamers?  Others will love them.  

if this is indeed the 'new sound' -- then I guess you're correct... in which case its unlikely the ND555 will see its way into my house...

enjoy

ken

ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:

I plan to organise to listen to a different NDS 4.6 firmware based system (of course looking for one where the owner is happy with the upgrade). Then I will hopefully be able to compare the musical DNA vs. my own NDS4.6. To what extent it will matter that the underlying systems will likely be quite different is just a reality I have to somehow accommodate I guess... 

enjoy...

ken

I am listening now to some Jazz guitar and I do not hear the issues people are complaining about .  This is so interesting that some love the improvement and others really dislike it . It sounds very much improved to me .  NDS/555DR using ripped CDs to UnitiCore 

A possibility -- the impact of 4.6 firmware update on my NDS could be different from impact on your NDS compared to mine -- for whatever reason. but as I say,  I think it would be useful anyhow for me to listen to another NDS 4.6 unit in a different system and tale it from there...

enjoy

ken

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
 

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

I really doubt the poor performance of my NDS with 4.6 is anything to do with speakers. I use Naim SL2s. 

enjoy

ken

ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
 

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

I really doubt the poor performance of my NDS with 4.6 is anything to do with speakers. I use Naim SL2s. 

enjoy

ken

Best of luck finding out why it sounds so poor for you Ken . I hope you can figure it out !  I truly  do. 

musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
 

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

I really doubt the poor performance of my NDS with 4.6 is anything to do with speakers. I use Naim SL2s. 

enjoy

ken

Best of luck finding out why it sounds so poor for you Ken . I hope you can figure it out !  I truly  do. 

musicfan51, many thanks.

I reverted to 4.4. earlier this evening and the NDS has since been sounding a LOT better than the over-animated and bleached sound I was getting with 4.6. I simply do not believe 'personal preference' is at play here -- the difference is too stark.

enjoy

ken

 

ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
 

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

I really doubt the poor performance of my NDS with 4.6 is anything to do with speakers. I use Naim SL2s. 

enjoy

ken

Best of luck finding out why it sounds so poor for you Ken . I hope you can figure it out !  I truly  do. 

musicfan51, many thanks.

I reverted to 4.4. earlier this evening and the NDS has since been sounding a LOT better than the over-animated and bleached sound I was getting with 4.6. I simply do not believe 'personal preference' is at play here -- the difference is too stark.

enjoy

ken

 

Makes you wonder if some code was corrupted or something like that ?

ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
musicfan51 posted:
ken c posted:
 

Speaker brand may also be a factor Ken. I have Kef Blade Twos which I think have a smooth top end. The 4.6 update added a bit of brightness and detail to the high end , but in my system it worked well. If someone had a brighter speaker that emphasizes more top end , it is possible the high end could bother some people who are more use to the smoother top end of the 4.4 version. 

I really doubt the poor performance of my NDS with 4.6 is anything to do with speakers. I use Naim SL2s. 

enjoy

ken

Best of luck finding out why it sounds so poor for you Ken . I hope you can figure it out !  I truly  do. 

musicfan51, many thanks.

I reverted to 4.4. earlier this evening and the NDS has since been sounding a LOT better than the over-animated and bleached sound I was getting with 4.6. I simply do not believe 'personal preference' is at play here -- the difference is too stark.

enjoy

ken

 

Over animated and bleached sound ? Wow!  That sounds bad .  Puzzling cause it does not sound bleached and over animated to me .  It is a Interesting problem I hope you can solve . 

Installed 4.6 to my 272 Last week-end and I could say tonight that it is an improvement, like if noise ratio is better, may be that explain why some ear it brighter.

Just seems a bit less analog like than with 4.4.

Al di Meola and Paco Delucia guitars on Friday night in San Francisco are impressive and Magdalena Kozena's ach, dab icht vassers genug hätte so...

at the end, like it.

jean Eric

Macamic posted:

Installed 4.6 to my 272 Last week-end and I could say tonight that it is an improvement, like if noise ratio is better, may be that explain why some ear it brighter.

Just seems a bit less analog like than with 4.4.

Al di Meola and Paco Delucia guitars on Friday night in San Francisco are impressive and Magdalena Kozena's ach, dab icht vassers genug hätte so...

at the end, like it.

jean Eric

It does seem like there is less noise or better way to say it darker background.  More energy in the high frequency area . But more layered too. More air between instruments. 

 

To come back to performing a Factory Reset after update, I want to assume that this is only a formality step that does not require the streamer to be connected to the computer anymore, or does it? I haven’t done it on the NDS yet as I am nnot ready yet to reconfigure System Automation and preset my 40 i-Radio stations. 

Chag -

Thanks Mike. What I meant here was to confirm that this particular Factory Reset specified as the final step of the firmware update, was not different from any other Factory Reset that you may want or need to perform from time to time i.e. upon owner change. In other terms, does the function of this last update step include any other automatic proceeding within the Naim  Streamer Updater program that would still require the mini-USB or RS-232 connection to be in place. 🤓

Chag -

As I understand it Chag,  the update process goes thru' to the 'Finished' screen indicating its safe to remove cables, there is no prompt to do anything else.    The only place were the request for a factory reset is in the instructions .pdf.   So to me that indicates its not a mandatory must do,  besides which, if a factory reset was a required part of the update process, that could be written into the update software much the same as a reboot (power off/on) is the final part of the controlled update process that we have now.      Hopefully we can persuade Naim to clarify this together with some rational.   

Happy after 4.6 update to my 272/xpsdr/250dr system

Was happy after initial install ..but after reading that a factory reset might also help..I tried that a day later...no difference at all to pre reset

An overall improvement in the enjoyment of the music..and strangely streaming from naz seems the most improved

Hungryhalibut posted:
loks posted:

What I would like to know though is if anyone is aware of any changes between the firmwares other than the DSP change, I found the app more reliable with 4.6 and I'm hoping someone can confirm I wasn't just imagining it? Also if improvements were made with regards to connectivity and if there's enough interest from others, may be Naim could be encouraged to release these with the old DSP, may be as the mysteriously missing v4.5?

Cheers,

Lokesh

 

 

There are significant changes in the firmware, particularly around multiroom connectivity with the new platform streamers. Improvements have also been made to improve stability and network discovery, which is probably why the new firmware and app work more reliably in your case. 

When the functionality is changed, to achieve the above, the SQ will very likely change, which is why the DSP is tweaked to get the best possible sound from the new firmware. When we were beta testing we were all in agreement that 4.6 was the best across all the legacy platform streamers. So it’s really a choice of new or old, and mixing and matching functionality and DSP is highly unlikely to be practical. 

It’s interesting that some people are not finding 4.6 to their liking. It’s been wonderful with my 272, which is now more engaging and musical than ever. It seems to bring out the groove and passion of performances in a much more realistic way than before. That’s why it seems so odd that some people are finding it dull and woolly. 

One thing I found with testing is that when you are critically listening - which we have to do - it’s hard to relax and just enjoy the music. So after the initial critical listening I just get on and play music. After a couple of weeks it’s then possible to say if it’s ok or not.  It might be worth reinstalling 4.6 and forgetting about it for a month. It may just grow on you. You can always roll back again if it doesn’t. 

Thanks for the reply HH. It didn't occur to me that changes to something like network discovery would require changes to the DSP code, it's obviously not as easy as I thought to mix and match the releases.

I may try 4.6 again, but unlikely as I did give it two weeks and it just didn't sound right to me even from day one. I'm not saying this to detract from what seems to be a great improvement for the majority, but I doubt I would have purchased the NDS if I'd demoed it with 4.6 installed, that's how different 4.4 and 4.6 sound to me on my system. 

One possibility I thought of is the age of our NDS's. I bought mine very soon after it was released, I think it might have even been pre ordered by my dealer so it's definitely an early one. I wonder if there was a small change in hardware between early and later versions that could explain what some of us are hearing?

Looking forward to the results of Ken's experiment, I think that will decide it one way or another for me.

Cheers,

Loks

 

 

 

Ken, looking forward to your impressions with another NDS-based system. It's interesting that there are varied opinions on this update, especially with the NDS.

I've been listening to my NDS with the new firmware and overall I'm very pleased with the new sound. Previously I felt the bass with the NDS was a bit over-exaggerated and the midrange recessed. These have both been addressed and I am very happy with the improved soundstage and imaging. The increase in detail is most welcome.

As I mentioned to a friend the other day, it reminds me of going from the CDX2 to the CDS3. For me, this may finally mean the NDS is as good or if not better than the CDS3 - again, to my ears.

Arun

Arun, haven’t had the opportunity to try 4.6 on my NDS yet, and still on 4.3.  Also run mine with an XPS, so maybe I’ll get a positive result like you did. Hopefully should get round to the update this weekend. Also will revisit 4.4 as preferred 4.3 at the time of that update, although my system has gone through a few changes since. Will keep an open mind! 

Jon

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