UnitiServe power supplies

There appears to be a general consensus that the PS supplied by Naim with the US is less than ideal. Before spending up to £1,000 on a 3rd party product, can anyone tell me if the huge improvement in SQ applies to what is sent from the US to the streamer, or is it limited purely to music played via SPDIF connection from the US to a music system.

Hmm, above is a little clumsy, which probably represents the fact I'm not really comfortable with the various concepts at play. My US is used solely to rip and store CDs, then supply the digital data via a wired network to my 3 Naim devices (272, UnitiQute2 and MuSo). Will I notice a 'night and day' improvement in SQin these circumstances if I buy, for example, a top quality linear power supply for the US?

Thanks in advance!

Tim

Original Post

I’m assuming that you have your music all backed up to a nas. Before thinking about investing more money on a power supply, I’d suggest that you load a good upnp server onto the nas. Which one depends on what the nas is. Once done, try streaming from the nas. If you can hear no difference, or if you find it’s better, then sell the US. Then you will save money rather than spend it. 

When I had a US I used an Israeli power supply. It certainly wasn’t a hugely significant difference, though at the time I convinced myself it was worthwhile. Then I found that streaming from the nas sounded better to me, though I’ve no idea why. 

One more thought. You could try a Core, which has an on board power supply, though from what I’ve read it doesn’t sound better than the US. 

Thanks HH. I've tried the playback via my Synology nas, and prefer the sound produced by the US (added to which I just love the simplicity of auto ripping, metadata and storage provided). 

The linear ps I'm thinking of only seems to have the one review (Jason Kennedy, 2014, The Ear), which seems a little suspicious - if that good, I would expect quite a few Naim owners to have at least tried it?

Perhaps the way forward is to buy it via Prime on the rainforest site, try it and return if no good - that way most I stand to lose is a tenner postage.

Probably treading on thin ice discussing this here! I would expect to be able to get a good deal on what is now a discontinued product. If you buy new, you can always return any online purchase (under UK law) and most sellers are happy to respect this. I, too, did not find a Synology NAS to sound better. 

I also prefer to use my UnitiServe as a UPnP server (despite having a fully functioning NAS with a Minimserve).

To answer your not-to-be-discussed question directly: no, you will not hear any difference. Been there, done that myself I'm afraid...
The little thing that comes with the UnitiServe is actually up to the task.

I called Naim once and spoke to them about adding third party power supplies to my UnitiServe. Their response was that if I wanted to improve the server I should get an HDX. 

When I added the Israeli power supply I was convinced it improved the sound. But when I sold it a while later, just before selling the Serve, I couldn’t hear any difference. It’s amazing what expectation bias can do. On that basis, given that Tim prefers the Serve to the nas, my advice would be to spend the £1,000 on more music, or some cases of wine. Or a weekend away. You get the idea. 

Timmo1341 posted:

There appears to be a general consensus that the PS supplied by Naim with the US is less than ideal. Before spending up to £1,000 on a 3rd party product, can anyone tell me if the huge improvement in SQ applies to what is sent from the US to the streamer, or is it limited purely to music played via SPDIF connection from the US to a music system.

Hmm, above is a little clumsy, which probably represents the fact I'm not really comfortable with the various concepts at play. My US is used solely to rip and store CDs, then supply the digital data via a wired network to my 3 Naim devices (272, UnitiQute2 and MuSo). Will I notice a 'night and day' improvement in SQin these circumstances if I buy, for example, a top quality linear power supply for the US?

Thanks in advance!

I would expect that a better PSU could possibly improve the SQ of the US when you use it as a SPDIF player, not as a UPnP server. On the other hand, I have no first-hand experience with the US and I do not know how your device is connected to your system. It is in principle conceivable that a better PSU would have a positive impact by radiating less electromagnetic noise into your other components. You should be able to run a simple test to assess whether your US and its current PSU have a negative effect on your system: switch them off and stream a few tracks from your NAS as HH was suggesting. Than switch on the US. If you do not notice any deterioration in sound quality, I would not bother investing in a new PSU. Otherwise ... things become more difficult, I am afraid. There was also a thread by Simon-in-Suffolk in this forum on the impact of different UPnP servers and computing platforms on the sound quality. And there are a number of users that started to use devices like the Melcos and have reported their findings, also in this forum. Best, nbpf

Timmo1341 posted:

Thanks all. A grands worth of HH's recommendations sounds to be just the ticket!!

my uptone js2 ps improved a little vs the israeli one , which improved a little vs the stock one.

So for around 900GBP i have the same improvement than vs a stock power cord and the powerline.   I don’t regret personally this ps for my unitserve.  But today i would prefer buying a core....which sounds nearly the same as a new serve with this big ps for half the price.....

Foot tapper posted:

Adam, MM,

So, if you power a Synology NAS drive with a linear power supply, your streamed music sounds better? I haven't heard about this before.

best regards, FT

That was a surprising outcome of an experiment I've done around two years ago.

Looking at the standard power supply that came with my QNAP I wasn't too impressed - a generic laptop-type power supply, with no apparent filter on the outgoing DC.  So given a free-return policy of the Israeli supplier I tried one of his more generic PSUs with an appropriate current and voltage. 
And it just stayed

FT - I asked about this a while ago as I was thinking about whether an LPS would benefit my Qnap. The advice was that as the stereo has dedicated mains, and the nas is on the separate ring main, there would be no benefit, as its SMPS can’t be polluting the stereo’s power supply. 

I’m willing to be advised otherwise, but there is a risk with all of this that you spend say £500 on a posh supply, plug it in and convince yourself that it’s better, when in fact it’s made diddly squat of a difference. 

I know that I am part of a very small minority but I prefer my music to be streamed via a USB stick even if my digital collection was a lot bigger than it is which is perhaps 150 LPs.

I find the SQ to be better that way admittedly I don't have a Nas but I have ripped cds to my MacBook and wirelessly streamed them and then played the same cd via a USB stick and to my ears the wired connection is better. 

I have done the same test with both high res and 16 bit downloads and the result was the same. Of course with Naim streamers you have to have the stick sticking out of the front which some might not like but using something like a Raspberry pi it can be hidden away. 

I agree the theory of HH logic re separate mains,  not saying its right,  just that it has some logic.   I tried (borrowed) the israeli psu on my Synology & expecting/allowing for pre-expectations I really could not hear any difference either way (better/worse/different).     However my NAS is on the same power circuit as the rest of the audio.    The difference is its SMPS (& all other SMPS units) are powered via my APC UPS with its isolation transformer & C&D chokes & all the 240v & 12vDC cables are heavily loaded with ferrite,  so its not far from being a separate power circuit.

Additionally the Synology SMPS unit is an in-line type & carries a power earth thru to 0vDC which a lot of SMPS's of the wall wart varieties don't.  (I'm not sure if the israeli psu does that)    Finally,  LPS does not mean its better, a well designed & applied SMPS can have a lower noise floor than any LPS,  maybe why Linn equipment is all SMPS these days.   

Hungryhalibut posted:

I’m willing to be advised otherwise, but there is a risk with all of this that you spend say £500 on a posh supply, plug it in and convince yourself that it’s better, when in fact it’s made diddly squat of a difference. 

Good advice. Via S/PDIF it would be worth a go. Over a network (particularly if the NAS is elsewhere away from the Hi-Fi) then that's a different ball game.

james n posted:
Hungryhalibut posted:

I’m willing to be advised otherwise, but there is a risk with all of this that you spend say £500 on a posh supply, plug it in and convince yourself that it’s better, when in fact it’s made diddly squat of a difference. 

Good advice. Via S/PDIF it would be worth a go. Over a network (particularly if the NAS is elsewhere away from the Hi-Fi) then that's a different ball game.

Beside which, the OP can easily check if his US does somehow pollute the rest of his system: just switch the US off/on while streaming from a NAS or computer. If the US being on or off has no bearing on the sound quality, there is little point in improving its power supply.

Timmo1341 posted:

Thanks HH. I've tried the playback via my Synology nas, and prefer the sound produced by the US (added to which I just love the simplicity of auto ripping, metadata and storage provided). 

The linear ps I'm thinking of only seems to have the one review (Jason Kennedy, 2014, The Ear), which seems a little suspicious - if that good, I would expect quite a few Naim owners to have at least tried it?

Perhaps the way forward is to buy it via Prime on the rainforest site, try it and return if no good - that way most I stand to lose is a tenner postage.

exactly, you can try and return if not satisfied. Martin Colloms found also that his linear ps improved the unitserve.....( hificritic)

james n posted:
French Rooster posted:
Timmo1341 posted:
 

Martin Colloms found also that his linear ps improved the unitserve.....( hificritic)

That was via S/PDIF though. 

no, in upnp.  You can find the review in hificritic about the uniticore ( perhaps on naim site too).  Martin uses the nds and unitserve with custom linear ps, and prefers the upnp mode.

He finds the uniticore better sounding than the serve, but not so good sounding as the serve with the linear ps.  The comparison was done in upnp .   I found the same when i compared the sound of the nds/555dr/ core with nds/555dr/ serve with uptone js2. ( also in upnp).  But the difference is minimal also( between core and serve/ uptone ps).   

French Rooster posted:
james n posted:
French Rooster posted:
Timmo1341 posted:
 

Martin Colloms found also that his linear ps improved the unitserve.....( hificritic)

That was via S/PDIF though. 

no, in upnp.  You can find the review in hificritic about the uniticore ( perhaps on naim site too).  Martin uses the nds and unitserve with custom linear ps, and prefers the upnp mode.

He finds the uniticore better sounding than the serve, but not so good sounding as the serve with the linear ps.  The comparison was done in upnp .   I found the same when i compared the sound of the nds/555dr/ core with nds/555dr/ serve with uptone js2. ( also in upnp).  But the difference is minimal also( between core and serve/ uptone ps).   

Ah apologies - The one i have in the Critic mag is the Unitiserve SSD vs HDD and also using a linear PS. This was using a Naim DAC and MSB platinum via S/PDIF. I've not see the later review (dropped subscription). 

i am surprised to read always the same doubts about the addition of linear ps vs stmps. Naim improved the unitserve ( with its stock stmps) by adding a linear ps to the new uniticore ( not only that but it is an important part).

The second critic is also the cost: between 500 to 1000GBP of these linear ps:  but nobody criticizes the cost of a powerline , nearly the same cost, vs a stock powerlite.

To end i want to say that the israeli ps often mentioned is not so good and the improvement not so significant. the 400w hdplex or uptone js2 give better sounding results.

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