Wow! I have heard the future ...

Posted by: Huwge on 25 April 2008

OK that might be overplaying it, but, well, wow!

Just back from High End where Naim will rule the roost I am sure.

The Powerline, Superline and HDX were all given an airing and all seem to have created an unpleasant gnawing effect in my wallet.

The Powerline is definitely an improvement over the standard cable, but the dem did not allow Music Line to do a direct contrast with their Powerigel. I think that will be the proof of the pudding for me.

The Superline has been raved about elsewhere, so no need for me to add anything other than "I want one!"

The real surprise was the HDX - playing wav files it seemed to be just as good as a bare CDX2. The wow moment was the addition of an XPS2 which created a sound somewhere between the CDX2 and CDS3. No BS! Just jaw dropping, especially in the context of a show room. Add to that, you can also play CDs directly.

I think a lot of people, who have to compromise between their audiophile habit and managing the good will and temper of their better half will need to do a serious test - HDX vs. one of the dedicated CD players.

I am already considering the smile that I will get if I say I can replace one box with a similar looking one and lose 600 CDs from the living room. Add to that, that you can stream from a network server and all the silver discs could be relegated to the cellar / attic.

The system was a supercapped 282 and 250 with SL-2s and paired n-Subs. HDX was demmed with and without XPS2. External PS is without doubt an enhancement and I can imagine that there may be a number of CDX2s and possibly CDS3 appearing in PX soon.

If you can get away with a dedicated CD spinner and no one complaining about the software, you may not feel it is enough of an improvement but do yourself a favour and have a listen.

The interface options seem to cover all bases: touch screen, TV, PC etc. No Apple iTunes file compatibility, down to licensing apparently. The HDX steered from a tablet PC, looked cool but form seems to be more than function. It was slow, but that might be because it is new and the demonstrator from Music Line not so familiar with it.

Stereo HDX


Touch screen and Naim USB


For Lontano - dps 3 / aro / Lyra Skala
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Lontano
Thank you Huw.

That DPS just looks so good, especially on the fraim - like they were made for each other. A very credible, SIMPLE, alternative to the LP12.
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Huwge
One thing to bear in mind is that the PS for the dps 3 is bigger than a Lingo or 'geddon. Same foot print I think but looked about 2.5x higher and ugly silver box. Not discrete at all.

Having heard this, will definitely think about Lyra as an option when the next cartridge upgrade comes along.

Huw
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Chris Kelly
Huw
Thanks for the report and the pictures. There are a couple of other threads alive at the moment about the HDX. For now I think I'll stick with my single disc player and a flat full of the little critters it plays!
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Huwge
Chris - I don't think it is a straight swap issue, but I am definitely going to think long and hard about my next head unit upgrade. For the money and domestic harmony (created by losing the CDs) an HDX / 555 PS may represent better bang for buck than a CDS 3 or, heaven forbid, even a 555. It's an audiophile jukebox. I was expecting it to sound good, just not that good. As always, YMMV. Don't listen unless you want to really reconsider your hardware set up.

At the end of the day, with an external PS this is still a phenomenal chunk of coin. For me, it might just be worth it.

H
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by u5227470736789439
Dear Hugh.

Really it is fantastic news that the new machine is musically convincing. It needs to be, of course, but despite some doubts about the price being expressed today on other threads, as compared to the [dread] solution of simply using a PC, then I think the realistic comparison ought to be with the costs of a similar quality CD player in terms of making decisions.


The machine should prove more functional than a CD player, beyond the capacity to store a respectable library of CDs as well. That will be a bonus, and bring the blessing of not storing the CDs near the player!

George
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Right Wing
This is quite exciting news.

Thanks for the post!


P
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Huwge
quote:
Originally posted by GFFJ:
but despite some doubts about the price being expressed today on other threads, as compared to the [dread] solution of simply using a PC, then I think the realistic comparison ought to be with the costs of a similar quality CD player in terms of making decisions.



George,

I think all of us that are lucky enough to enjoy audiophile technology rather than high street budget boom boxes are aware of the marginal increases that really occur as one clambers the ladder of expense. Yes, it does sound better but is it really making the music more enjoyable or rather does it make music portrayed on another system less enjoyable? I enjoy my iPod and the system in the car just as much as the main rig.

Naim have delivered a hi-fi solution that will just not compute with many people. It is a chunk of coin, but then so is a CDX2 / 555PS or XPS2. I think people need to get over their prejudices and go listen. If it is something that you can afford and think represents a fair price for function, then buy it.

We have people here griping about the storage capacity and yet how many people really own more than 600 CDs. A lot here, yes, but then how often really get played more than once or twice? Refining a collection is a joy in and of itself, and access to external server capacity doesn't mean you are really limited. Add the fact that the unit functions as a CD player that seems to sit somewhere between a CDX2 and CDS3 in terms of presentation (to be confirmed on an extended listen at some point) and this is a remarkable piece of kit.

Now that I have got over my initial euphoria, there are questions regarding the stability, reliability and longevity of such a device at such a price BUT for the time being I am happy to have had a grin put on my face on an otherwise grey and miserable day and all for 10 price of admission and car parking (I won't mention what I dropped on software!)

Huw
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by u5227470736789439
quote:
Originally posted by Huwge:

George,

...

We have people here griping about the storage capacity and yet how many people really own more than 600 CDs. A lot here, yes, but then how often really get played more than once or twice? Refining a collection is a joy in and of itself, and access to external server capacity doesn't mean you are really limited. Add the fact that the unit functions as a CD player that seems to sit somewhere between a CDX2 and CDS3 in terms of presentation (to be confirmed on an extended listen at some point) and this is a remarkable piece of kit.

...

Huw


Dear Huw,

I love refining, and reducing, and adding in small measures! I used to have about 800 CDs - perhaps more - as I never counted them but measured them on the shelf!

After this weekend I shall have reduced this to less than 400, and am more than happy that with infinite sums I would add perhaps only 100 more. I never cease to be amazed what the radio can bring, both in occasional listens to occasional music, and in discovering some rare unheard gem.

But most of all filling in much that I like enough to enjoy, but do not love enough to want to buy a recording of. So I am no collector I suppose. For the collector of recordings, then there still remains the current options of conventional CD and LP collections and the playback for this. I would think it would be truly fascinating to know who here actually has a collection amounting to more than 600 recordings. Some of course, but not such a large proportion, I would speculate ...

George
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by natnc
I have a collection of at least 800 cds, but rarely find myself listening to more than 200 or so. Also, the quality of the recording could play a factor in what gets on the HD and what stays on the ipod (I beleive a pc formated ipod will work as a second drive). You could have all your favorite music at your fingertips, with new and fun ways to play or sort the playlist (Play a random selection of all songs with Buddy Guy on guitar) Sounds great to me! But ONLY if the quality of sound is at the level it needs to be (CDX2 or higher).
Add a NAS storage devise for your hi-res downloads, 400gb is not enough for those big files!
The HDX is a lot of money, but I'm hoping that it competes with the cd players near its price level. In that case, with HD storage and other features, it might be a bargain!
Nat
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Huwge
quote:
Originally posted by AllenB:
It will be interesting indeed to see whether the HDX and 555PS combination has the beating of the CDS3 - not necessarily as a replacement but maybe even to complement, depends on relative sound quality of course.

Regards

Allen


Allen, the only problem with complementary boxes is the hassle of unplugging the PS unless you stretch to two!!!

I also, because of domestic limitations, like the idea of a player that retains a pull-out drawer rather than lift-up lid. Can't see a HDX replacing the vinyl just yet and it's the TT that currently makes a lift-up head unit not viable for me at the moment.

Huw
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Chillkram
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Kelly:
I think I'll stick with my single disc player and a flat full of the little critters it plays!


That all sounds a bit new-fangled for my liking! Big Grin

Mark
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by JWM
Mark,
There's little point in you having one, as you have to load it up from your CDs Roll Eyes

James
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Chris Kelly
I agree. Maybe I should dump all this digital cobblers and throw myself back in the warm and waonderful analogue world!
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Chillkram
quote:
Originally posted by JWM:
Mark,
There's little point in you having one, as you have to load it up from your CDs Roll Eyes

James


I was talking about the CD player Chris was referring to! Big Grin
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Jonze
is that a usb memory stick with a naim logo? pretty neat! is there any info on it too?
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by prowla
quote:
Originally posted by Jonze:
is that a usb memory stick with a naim logo? pretty neat! is there any info on it too?
I just spotted that; never mind the HDX and all that other malarky - I just want a memory stick!
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by JamieWednesday
quote:
Originally posted by prowla:
quote:
Originally posted by Jonze:
is that a usb memory stick with a naim logo? pretty neat! is there any info on it too?
I just spotted that; never mind the HDX and all that other malarky - I just want a memory stick!


Upgradeable with power supplies. Apparently. You'll have to wait a while for the USBx 555GB version. Even if you could afford it.
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Guido Fawkes
quote:
You could have all your favourite music at your fingertips


I already have my favourite music at my fingertips with CD and vinyl - no typing or remote control required to play exactly what I want, it is so easy and reliable why complicate it?

quote:

with new and fun ways to play or sort the playlist (Play a random selection of all songs


Why would I want to do that? I like to play albums in their entirety in the order they were intended.

The only way the HDX makes sense to me is if it outperforms the CDX2/555PS significantly; then I'll consider the hassle of using a device like the HDX - probably being Naim it is far less hassle than other such devices and will sound far better.

That said - the write up from Huwge is brilliant and great pictures (thanks), and comments from Nat and others very interesting.

ATB Rotf
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by Huwge
Rotf,
Thanks.

I just think it's great that Naim have come up with such an interesting product. Comments on other posts about solid state drives instead of spinning hard drives are interesting. But, consider that if I understood correctly this has been a project that has been 5 years coming to fruition. Technology moves so fast that by the time the technicians have sorted the issues with today's hardware they are confronted with something different. Yes, often bigger and better, faster and shinier but you can almost hear the constant screams of "oh bugger" that that must generate in R&D, on the production floor and in Sales and Marketing (never understood why they object to the initials)

Huw
Posted on: 25 April 2008 by matt303
quote:
Originally posted by ROTF:

quote:

with new and fun ways to play or sort the playlist (Play a random selection of all songs


Why would I want to do that? I like to play albums in their entirety in the order they were intended.


I think using a music server type device opens up new ways of listening to music, between my Squeezebox and iPod I've rediscovered a lot of my CDs thanks to random play. If I'm at home I'll often have the squeezebox on random and it'll play something off an album I've not listened to for ages, often I'll select to play the whole album or pop the CD in the CD5i.

The idea of needing to rip all your CDs can seem a chore but for someone like myself it opens up a lot of flexibility for listening to my music around the house and while on the move. How a device like the HDX would fit into that I'm not sure.
Posted on: 26 April 2008 by Colin Lorenson
Well I've heard a few server players, the Sonos, Q-Sonic?, and the Kaleidoscope ( the last of which was $20k). Nothing has compared to my CDS3/555PS so far.

Personally I couldn't care less about convenience, playlists, browsing or shuffles. I want to hear an album, in its entirety, when I put it on.

I am not prepared to compromise quality of reproduction for anything like convenience, storage space or ease of use.

I struggle to understand why anyone who has spent a chunk of change on their system would do so.

Maybe I'm weird that way.
Posted on: 26 April 2008 by Lark
Hi


If your primary source is TT does it not make sense that your second source could also bend a little to allow for convenience? I would make no compromise on my vinyl front end but at the moment CD is background/ quick listening. I am willing to swop a bit of sound quality for 'jukebox' funkgadgetness, random playlists, streaming, maybe radio(?) etc on second source. Also there may be no compromise to be made. It may well be as good or better than CDX CDS3. We will have to hear it.

Also can anyone comment on the HDXs ability at playing a CD, ie its prowess as a CD player?
Posted on: 27 April 2008 by cafez27
quote:
Originally posted by Colin Lorenson:
Well I've heard a few server players, the Sonos, Q-Sonic?, and the Kaleidoscope ( the last of which was $20k). Nothing has compared to my CDS3/555PS so far.

Personally I couldn't care less about convenience, playlists, browsing or shuffles. I want to hear an album, in its entirety, when I put it on.

I am not prepared to compromise quality of reproduction for anything like convenience, storage space or ease of use.

I struggle to understand why anyone who has spent a chunk of change on their system would do so.

Maybe I'm weird that way.


Here here.........don't be slaves to the lifestyle market place, this is essentially where the HDX is positioned right albeit with an audiophile tag.

Yes it will sound good compared to other similar type products Naim don't produce bad products I am sure the HDX sounds great, but a match for a CDX2/XPS2 or CDS3 I very much doubt it.

I would be very surprised if Naim themselves are positioning this product in opposition to their own portfolio of world class CD spinners.

I susoect that very few Naim CD player owners will be buying one of these, Naim are looking for a new audience chaps and whilst the odd one us may buy one, the HDX will I am sure bring a new breed of clientele to the forum so watch out!

Jez
Posted on: 27 April 2008 by thesherrif
quote:
Originally posted by cafez27:

I would be very surprised if Naim themselves are positioning this product in opposition to their own portfolio of world class CD spinners.

I susoect that very few Naim CD player owners will be buying one of these, Naim are looking for a new audience chaps and whilst the odd one us may buy one, the HDX will I am sure bring a new breed of clientele to the forum so watch out!

Jez



(1) Naim are in business to stay in business. They know cd players have had their day and want a chunk of the future. If the future was pink furry vegetable based memory sticks they would develope one with Naim written on it. ( And it would still cost a fortune! )

(2) Yep, the new kids on the block are gonna be fun !
Posted on: 27 April 2008 by cafez27
quote:
Originally posted by thesherrif:
quote:
Originally posted by cafez27:

Jez



They know cd players have had their day and want a chunk of the future.
QUOTE]

You gotta be kiddin me right........CD is only 25 years old this year, and still going strong. There is also resurgence of that really old medium vinyl.

The HDX is not about replacing its installed base and I would very much doubt that Naim are forcasting anything but CD player sales growth for the forseeable future.

Its not a question of whether one is better than the other or if one on its way out, its about diversifying its product portfolio and its addressable market place for growth.

Pretty obvious really and smart move by Naim, good for them.