NaimNet, SlimDevices ?

Posted by: spc on 31 July 2006

Naimnet looks interesting as does the new SlimDevices Transporter.

If these pieces of kit can deliver CD Quality to the Pre-Amp, do we still need a CD Drive (aside from the original & legal CD rip.)

Should I still consider a CDS3 upgrade or just get a good wireless distribution and DAC system?
Posted on: 31 July 2006 by jcs_smith
Depends how many CD's you've got. None of these hard drives seem toi be able to hold many CDs at zero compression. Even if they did it would be a nightmare finding a particular cd or track out of a few thousand or even a few hundred. There's definitley a place for them - I want one - but I think it's a device to have as well as a CD player not instead of.
Actually I like the look of the Cambridge Azur. It's got a CD burner on board and a hard disk so you can record to the hard disk or to a CD. That way you can record fromn the radio to the hard disk and if you decide you want to keep it save it to CD and free up the hard disk space.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Mr Perceptive
jcs_smith

I suggest that you find somebody with a Slim Devices Squeezebox and have a play. Since it uses an external server (ie a PC located on the network), hard disk storage can be large and is relatively cheap.

I have hundreds on uncompressed albums on my server and have no problem locating any track (or album) within seconds through the intuitive menus

You can also access thousands of radio stations and using a third party plug-in access the BBC stations and the brilliant play-again facility.

I got rid of my dedicated CD player nearly 2 years ago and hav been living with Squeezeboxes (some with external DACs). The sound quality is great (with a good DAC) and the best thing of all is that everyone in my family now plays more music. Thats got to be a good thing.

Mr Perceptive
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Martin Payne
quote:
Originally posted by jcs_smith:
None of these hard drives seem toi be able to hold many CDs at zero compression.



JCS,

the latest 750GB discs can store nearly 1,200 hours of music uncompressed at full CD quality.

NaimNet also allows additional discs to be installed inside the box, and further discs externally attached to the network.

There is at leat the space for "thousands" of CDs, and possibly "tens of thousands".

Could be more of a problem if capturing vinyl at 24/96 or 24/192, though.

cheers, Martin
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by garyi
JCS to be fair you sound like someone who does not have the experience. Finding a track from itunes or slim server or what ever is 100% easier than finding it in your CD collection, infact its probably the main reason many people put up with the inferior sound.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by jcs_smith
quote:
Originally posted by garyi:
JCS to be fair you sound like someone who does not have the experience. Finding a track from itunes or slim server or what ever is 100% easier than finding it in your CD collection, infact its probably the main reason many people put up with the inferior sound.


You could well be right. I based my comments on a non-ipod mp3 player with a small screen and the Cambridge Azur which doesn't have the best user interface. Whether or not the Naimnet stuff is better probably depends on the size of the remote. The bigger the remote the more unwieldy it will be but the interface will be better. It's a difficult balancing act.
I personally would not want to use anything that involves using a PC as an interface. I just want something I can easily play by pressing buttons.
As to disc size. Well yes a 750gb would hold shed loads. But how big is the disk on Naimnet? It may be that size but the Cambridge is 60Gb which doesn't hold much. At the moment that seems likely to be the order of magnitude. Again I don't want to have to fire up my pc to listen to my hi-fi so i would be dependent on the disc in the device
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by kuma
quote:
I personally would not want to use anything that involves using a PC as an interface.


Me too.
I've many friends who uses the SB. It's nice when it runs, but when your server goes down you have NO music.

And make sure you make a back up on your HD. When ( not if ) it goes dead, you are toast. ( this happened to me )

My SB2 is now dead after a year since a remote reciever self destructed itself and no way of setting up the unit without it. ( this is a design flaw, imho )

At least I know my record player runs always except for the power failure.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Mr Perceptive
kuma

Obviously with any digital media you should back it up, (equally you could stand on a CD and break it in a careless moment!)

USB HDD drives are cheap as chips at the moment at £100 for £300Gb so provide an easy backup medium

I am fortunate to have several PCs in the house and three of them are configured to run as SlimServers. If the last one used is not available you can just select another one using the remote on power-up.

Data is not data unless its in two places!

If your SB2 is dead due to the remote then use a learning remote with JVC DVD settings, that will work with the Squeezebox

Mr Perceptive
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Mr Perceptive
jcs

To me you are just looking at excuses without evaluating products. The the Squeezebox and some of its competitors you can just select music using the remote control, you do not need a PC interface running, though you do need a server running somewhere on your network, but this can be a lowly as a laptop with a USB hard-drive.

The Naim offering is bound not to be cheap and is no doubt aimed at the higher end of the market (and at top professional installers), but the Squeezebox (and its competitors) provide a cost effective way to good quality sound.

A modded Squeezebox (better PSU) with a good quality DAC will rival decent CD players. I know I've done the demos against CDS2/CDPS and with a Wadia 270/Wadia DAC-Preamp.

I know several people with high-end systems who use SBs on a regular basis and as another poster says, you can find music fast.

Politely I suggest you look into the products in more details before forming too fixed an opinion.

Mr Perceptive
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by London Lad
I'm running a SB3 with an ALW psu, analogue outs into my 552>500>NBL set-up and it sounds great. I got it so I could get some decent radio in Spain. I then played around with EAC and flac just to see what it sounded like and well now I have all my CD ripped! I canít wait to try the SD transporter.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Allan Milne
Hi all,

I almost feel like taking Naim and all the other companies with similar products to court under the Disability Discrimination Act. I am a blind user and have yet to find a product that is accessible to me in teh online digital world (and I'm sure the new Naim product will be the same). What galls me is that there is no excuse - the technology is available to provide speech interfaces instead of the tiny menus that are usually the norm.

Anyway, rant over; even if I could see to use these devices I don't think they are mature enough in the consumable context yet. Just think on it, you have to make backups, you have to rip CD's, set up wireless or wired networks, maintain a server, keep out hackers/viruses, etc, etc - wow! will I ever have time to listen to music.

To have a usable system requires some knowledge of PCs (and before you grump back at me I am a PC expert) to set up networking and bacjup facilities. I listen to my HiFi to get away from all that!

Oh and by the way, what do you do when the codex changes, Windows 2015 comes out, or your backup disks don't connect to your new PC?

Give me the old tactile CD every day; its fun sifting through them and finding ones you've forgotten.

Sorry this become a little long and heated but its been a hard day at work and I've no kids left at home to take it out on.

happy listening,
Allan
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by kuma
quote:
If your SB2 is dead due to the remote then use a learning remote with JVC DVD settings, that will work with the Squeezebox


No.

The problem lies in the reciever chip ( I assume ) on the unit itself.

All'n'all, this SB thing is great for geeks.

You can't possibly expect civilians to install it themselves, can you?
The ultimate test is ask your non-geek wify or GF to see if they can manage it.

It's not plug and play such as Roku. ( but it does not support G-card )
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Mr Perceptive
So serial upgrading, adding a million PSUs, gaps between layers of equipment supports, cable dressing, making sure cables don't touch the floor, mains supplies, etc thats obviously not for geeks then! Smile

Mr Perceptive
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Rico
quote:
Data is not data unless its in two places!


LOL. I see what you're getting at - I guess in the singular form it must be art.

there you all are talking about networking and backups and all that PC stuff... I've two words: NAS and mac. none of these preclude backups; both make this whole shooting match easier.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by kuma
Mr. Perceptive.

But Naim kit at least works even when I don't get anal about cable dressing, support and what not.

And it's capapble of a decent tune even without upgrade PSUs.

All those wanky stuff are there for options. Not mandatory.

With the SB, you can't even get a peep out of it if you don't know what you are doing.

Even I can put a basic Naim kit together.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Guido Fawkes
I've got a SlimDevices Transporter on my list of things to buy - it is now at position 1,478,984,976,576,985.

The only PC I have runs AmigaOs and I don't think it does wireless. The Mac does, but I don't use it play music CDs as it sounds even worse than the Honda Premier Sound System in the car.

BTW ever seen a virus for a CDX2?

I'll wait for Naim to sort out a music server, but please make sure it has a Mac interface. Chez Rotf is Windoze free.
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by Martin Payne
quote:
Originally posted by garyi:
Finding a track from itunes or slim server or what ever is 100% easier than finding it in your CD collection



It would certainly be easier for me, my partner keeps leaving the discs anywhere around the house, and is incapable of putting anything back in alphabetic order.

cheers, Martin
Posted on: 01 August 2006 by jcs_smith
quote:
Originally posted by Mr Perceptive:
jcs

To me you are just looking at excuses without evaluating products. The the Squeezebox and some of its competitors you can just select music using the remote control, you do not need a PC interface running, though you do need a server running somewhere on your network, but this can be a lowly as a laptop with a USB hard-drive.


But that's the problem. I don't want to have to fire up my network, which is another part of ther house when I want to listen to music. It's far more convenient to switch on my system and put on a CD or a record. My living room is geared up for listening to my hi-fi amd watching the tv. The computer is separate, in a separate part of the house. No matter how good a squeezebox is it's too much hassle. If I had to go upstairs to boot my pc up and then go back downstairs to listen to music I just wouldn't do it. For a hard disk based music server to work for me it must be something that plugs into my system and needs nothing else. It needs to be just another component like a CD player or a turntable. The multi-room concept is fine if you want that, but I don't.
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by London Lad
jcs, I see your point of view but what are you going to do when not just audio but everything is pc based?

Already a lot of people never shut down their home network.

It wonít be long until your comment
"If I had to go upstairs to boot my pc up and then go back downstairs to listen to music I just wouldn't do it"
will sound just as funny as complaining that you have to wind up the gramophone to listen to music. Smile
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by steve-t
About 6 months ago I bought a sb3 since then I have never listend to so much music. Finding albums/tracks is an absolute joy I could find any track on any album within about 20 secs I have just over 100 albums on a nas drive in the airing cupboard. I dont need the pc running, the sb3 would wake up the pc if thats where my music was stored, saving the trip upstairs, when I rip to flac I just send 1 to nas drive and copy 1 on dvd as backup you get aprox 7-10 albums on a dvd. So in my living room i have a network socket on the wall and a sb3 with my hi fi no pc, o and i never turn the network off.
Hope this helps. Smile
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by jcs_smith
quote:
Originally posted by London Lad:
jcs, I see your point of view but what are you going to do when not just audio but everything is pc based?

Already a lot of people never shut down their home network.



I may be being naieve here but I cannot envisage a situation where everything is pc based. I know that it's possible to have a pc control the lights, the heating, thbe fridge, etc but I can't think of any reason why I would want that. Just because it's possible to network your toaster it doesn't mean that anyone would want to.
And oh I do turn off my network and will continue to do so.
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by rackkit
quote:
Originally posted by spc:
Naimnet looks interesting as does the new SlimDevices Transporter.

If these pieces of kit can deliver CD Quality to the Pre-Amp, do we still need a CD Drive (aside from the original & legal CD rip.)

Should I still consider a CDS3 upgrade or just get a good wireless distribution and DAC system?


After all the bugs and problems with the NVI do you really think Naim can be trusted to deliver the goods though with this Naimnet which looks to be a much more complicated set up?
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by London Lad
quote:
Originally posted by jcs_smith:
quote:
Originally posted by London Lad:
jcs, I see your point of view but what are you going to do when not just audio but everything is pc based?

Already a lot of people never shut down their home network.





I may be being naieve here but I cannot envisage a situation where everything is pc based. I know that it's possible to have a pc control the lights, the heating, thbe fridge, etc but I can't think of any reason why I would want that. Just because it's possible to network your toaster it doesn't mean that anyone would want to.
And oh I do turn off my network and will continue to do so.


I am really thinking of how things have moved on over the last few years.

Just take my company workshop for example.

The staff clocking in system and the CCTV security system both used to be stand-alone systems. Now it would be uneconomic not to used pc / network based systems.

Our test gear is now all pc based or at least pc controlled. Our product programming equipment is all pc / web based.

Out telephone system is pc / network based as is our call logging / recording.

Our fax / copier / printer systems are all networked.

5 years ago all of these items were stand alone equipment. We havenít updated just to be flash, we have updated because the stand-alone alternatives are either no longer available, more expensive or less efficient.

At home I dont use a pc to turn lights on and off but my music server, cctv security and most of my phone calls are pc / network based.

I think in a few years time it wont matter if you want it or not, there just wont be any option. Turning off your home network at night will be like turning off your mains electric, gas and water at night Winker
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by It'sgottosoundreal
Hi Spc- Do look at the different mods to the slim devices i.e boulder red wine audio... etc The stock unit is O.K. but pales in comparison (no dynamics, rhythmic pacing, little depth front to back or lateral) to a heavily modded unit either as a transport or full music box. In otherwords the stock version is giving you 30% of the music.

Like Kuma said you will need a hard drive to store all of your music, but they are cheap a few hundred dollars/pounds at most to store lots of music. Most important you will have access to more music! I unlike Kuma love using a remote to do everthing (including programming) and since they do not cost a zillion dollars I keep two or more around.
Nothing like playing different artists without getting out of the recliner.

As I mentioned in a previous posting try a high end dac audio note , redwine audio, modded benchmark, 47 labs reference, and or your personal favorite dac. You will still have comparatively lots of cash left over to buy music.

The coax is important between the squeezebox and dac... try palladium, silver, gold and copper compositions. If you have solid state stuff you probably want copper cables but nothing wrong in finding what works for you. Do read the reviews post on enjoythemusic.com and positive feedback.com (an awesome reviewer at this site owns Naim stuff and has an open mind) about different dacs and transport mods to the squeezebox.

Terminations do impact the sound even more so in this instance.

Good luck and do experiment.
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by bec143
Anyone who is arguing that a HD-based digitl music system is somehow less conveniant or flexible than playing CDs has obviously not used one that works. The convenience of a computer/Itunes based interface is superb.

Now, the real question is whether they sound good, and despite the claims of many that a Squeezebox beats a CDX, or a Squeezebox + a Benchmark beats a CDS2/3, I would be very skeptical. I have screwed around with my Squeezebox with power supplies and many external DACS, and it is not as good as my CD5/Hicap-period. The differences are subtle, but I prefer the CD5/Hi. However, the Squeezebox/power supply/DAC combo in total was only $500.
Now, that being said, I still end up using it a ton, and when you throw in the thousands of internet rado stations available, its great.

I have no doubt that it won't be long before this approach is better than any CD player, and it will be way cheaper for sure. The cost of a dedicated server is trivial (around the same as a Hiline), an audiophile squeezebos-like device will be under $1000, and the target audience will be broad enough to allow for a real supply-demand driven market to develop (as opposed to niche audiophile products).

Bruce
Posted on: 02 August 2006 by kuma
quote:
I have screwed around with my Squeezebox with power supplies and many external DACS, and it is not as good as my CD5/Hicap-period.


It's not that the SB + DAC sounds bad.
it's just it's hard to get that Naim sound from anything else if you are predisposed to the Naim house sound.

If there is a stand-alone Naim DAC, I bet it comes closer to what you like.

At any rate, the Slimdevices really needs to make the set-up procedure easier and improve on a user interface of the Slimserver ( not as intuitive as iTunes ) to take off.