A penny for your thoughts? Replacing a CDS3/555PS with a streamer

Much as we enjoy music when played on the CDS3, we are using it less and less these days.

Vinyl albums played on the Vertere turntable almost always sound comprehensively better (i.e. sit back, enjoy and be immersed in the joy of the music).  CDs only sound better when the vinyl pressing is a bad 'un.

Meanwhile, the little streaming system in the office is a consistent joy.

The boss wants rid of "all those unsightly CDs", so thoughts turn to a streaming solution for the main system in the living room.

The "source" will be the 1000+ CDs that I've ripped using either dBPoweramp or XLD on to the Synology DS716+ NAS drive.  It all uses the AIFF codec.  Tidal is fine for the office system when we want to sample new music.  However, If we like the music, we buy the CD as it always sounds (much) better than Tidal can manage.

The obvious choice would be to have the 555PS serviced, DR'ed and paired with a shiny new NDS.
Then there is the school of DAVE, fronted by strange creatures from Aurender, Melco or other such clever devices that I don't really understand.

If anyone has compared these options, I'd welcome any insights from your experiences.  Equally, if there is an alternative whizz bang way of entering the world of high end streaming (Sim Audio Moon perhaps), I would be interested to hear about it.

Thank you in anticipation.

Best regards, FT

Original Post

If you already have a Naim streamer/Uniti/Muso in your second system, you might consider weather you want to use the same control app for a streamer in your main system, as well as allowing multiroom operation if that appeals. In this case, the obvious choice must be an NDS with your existing 555. (You should also consider weather or not the replacement for the NDS might be worth waiting for - it is surely on the horizon somewhere, given that the new streaming platform has already arrived with the new Uniti range - but of course, this might easily be a year or two away yet.)

Again, if you prefer to stick with Naim, you might like what the NDAC does with your 555, in which case a lesser transport in the form of an NDX could work for you, or one of the many non-Naim alternatives. Likewise, NDX/Chord DAC of some type. I am intentionally avoiding any expressions of preference here, as I believe these are too personal to be of any real use to you.

Finally, a brief glance at the Streaming Audio forum should be enough to scare you into installing a decent wired network connection for said streamer. I really don't believe you need to do anything extravagant, expensive or exotic here. Save that for your turntable! Or at least, get things up and running reliably first, and then tweak the network later if the madness takes hold. Good luck! 

I went from CDS3 to NDS a few years ago. No hesitation in making the switch. I'm in the camp that thinks ripped CD's somehow sound better than the originals, so a big fan of streaming. However, I might pause a bit if you really love your vinyl. CDS3 is still a great player and if you find it so comprehensively outmusiced by your records, then you might also might think the same about the streamer? Check NDS on home dem first ?

FT I currently run an Aurender into DAVE, and whilst i have not home auditioned the NDS/555 i did previously own the NDX/PSX. I have however compared the NDS/555 to my then NDX/XPS a couple of times at a local dealers. Needless to say i much prefer the Aurender/DAVE, to me they are not even comparable. Should add the Naim was with a Chord TT at that time and not the DAVE. If you want a streamer that just works and all you want to do is select and play music, then have a look at the Aurender. No UPNP software to faff about with, its basic front end is just a joy to use although simplistic, and to my ears sounds fantastic. As always you need to try to decide. 

Thank you all for your initial thoughts.  

We installed a CAT6A network at home as part of our first entry into the world of networked music with the mac mini, Naim DAC-V1, NAP140 & PMC DB1I.  It has been rock solid from day 1 (beginner's luck, I guess).  There's an RJ45 wall socket a couple of metres from the hifi system that we would use. If the streamer needs anything better, then I'll rely on the dealer's expertise.

The NDS is the one to beat and the dealer who supplied our DAC-V1 happens to have a nearly new one in stock...
If only to satisfy my curiosity, there will have to be an NDS vs. DAVE comparison.  I have heard a Melco + DAVE at TonyM's house (thank you Tony) but found it relentless & tiring after 20 mins or so.  However, the Melco + DAVE's predecessor was fabulous.  Worth another try but in our system.

No rush then, but it will be an enjoyable journey.  I'll post updates as and when there's something to say.

Best regards

FT

Foot Tapper posted:

"If anyone has compared these options, I'd welcome any insights from your experiences.  Equally, if there is an alternative whizz bang way of entering the world of high end streaming (Sim Audio Moon perhaps), I would be interested to hear about it."

Since your opening post enquired about alternative ways of entering high end streaming, I would strongly recommend that in addition to checking out the NDS vs Chord Dave DAC (with a suitable streamer) , you should also check out the latest Linn top end alternative - the Klimax DS/3. Alternatively if you would like to save quite a bit of money, then the KDS/1 (in particular) or the KDS/2 are now available at bargain prices on the used market. Fantastic sound quality (from any perspective and with any genre of music) and a very well sorted front end interface (particularly the Windows 10 version or the app).

Another possible cheaper option would be the new Sonore ultraRendu (with suitable power supply and DAC - possibly a Hugo TT or Hugo 2?). Excellent sound quality for the money, but quite a bit trickier to get up and running reliably.

This morning, I had the pleasure of a first comparison between a Naim NDS and a Chord DAVE.

Both were fed digital music from the same Melco N1Zh-2 unit (the middle one at £4k of the 3 Melco units).  I brought along some CDs, as that is mainly what I play, then ripped them straight into the Melco unit, so the digital source music was identical for both NDA & DAVE. 

DAVE was connected to the Melco unit via a Chord Signature Tuned Array something USB cable. 

NDS was connected to the Melco via a posh ethernet cable, the same Chorde Signature type if I am not mistaken.

Both the NDS and DAVE fed a 552DR, 500DR and Wilson Yvette system.  The electronics were split into brain & brawn stacks on 2 racks of Naim Fraim.  Speaker cables were Naim Superlumina.

Now, to be fair to the NDS, the power supply was an XPSDR, not a 555DR, but this still makes for a £9-10k Naim streamer.

Impressions to follow later today.

FT

Ah, back now.

So, the NDS/XPSDR made perfectly fine music.  It was smooth, clear, lacked any indication of sharp, harsh edginess.  It would be easy to listen to for a long time.

Then we switched to DAVE.  Sometimes you just know after the first 2 or 3 notes when everything has stepped up a gear or 2.  This was one of those moments. 

The same band of musicians who had rolled into work that morning  to play on the NDS suddenly woke up.  This time they were enjoying their music.  Music had life.  It held my interest.  Transients soared much higher and the dynamic range just expanded.  Feet started to tap (when appropriate).  The spacial imaging sharpened up and grew by about 50% in all directions (and this is an aspect of hifi that I'm not normally that excited about).  Basslines had considerably more drive & power.  Unlike the last time that I'd heard a DAVE, this time there was no relentless edge to the sound. 

It sounded a step up from my CD player, in a way that the NDS/XPSDR was not.  Usual caveats about different room & system apply here.  However, I recall the first time that I heard a CDS3 with XPS in the system at home.  While I admired what it did very well, I didn't fall for it.  It took the 555PS to make all the difference to the CDS3.  I wonder if the same is true of the NDS?

So, round 1 is a clear win by some way for the Melco-DAVE over Melco-NDS/XPSDR.  I think we might need a round 2 with an NDS/555PSDR.  Oh, and the Wilson Yvette speakers?  Ugly and pricey they may be, but I do like the music that they make, even more than the Sophia 2s that I enjoyed at home a few years ago.

Has anyone else made a similar comparison?  If so, I would be most interested to learn of your experiences.

Best regards, FT

There was a recent thread inviting comparisons between NDS and Dave, but I don't recall anyone having recounted a direct comparison.

But that effect of Dave just two or three bars in exactly mirrors my experience - and my musician son next to we who breathed the word 'wow' at that point. For me the wow factor has never left, but I never compared with NDS.

Foot tapper posted:

Ah, back now.

So, the NDS/XPSDR made perfectly fine music.  It was smooth, clear, lacked any indication of sharp, harsh edginess.  It would be easy to listen to for a long time.

Then we switched to DAVE.  Sometimes you just know after the first 2 or 3 notes when everything has stepped up a gear or 2.  This was one of those moments. 

The same band of musicians who had rolled into work that morning  to play on the NDS suddenly woke up.  This time they were enjoying their music.  Music had life.  It held my interest.  Transients soared much higher and the dynamic range just expanded.  Feet started to tap (when appropriate).  The spacial imaging sharpened up and grew by about 50% in all directions (and this is an aspect of hifi that I'm not normally that excited about).  Basslines had considerably more drive & power.  Unlike the last time that I'd heard a DAVE, this time there was no relentless edge to the sound. 

It sounded a step up from my CD player, in a way that the NDS/XPSDR was not.  Usual caveats about different room & system apply here.  However, I recall the first time that I heard a CDS3 with XPS in the system at home.  While I admired what it did very well, I didn't fall for it.  It took the 555PS to make all the difference to the CDS3.  I wonder if the same is true of the NDS?

So, round 1 is a clear win by some way for the Melco-DAVE over Melco-NDS/XPSDR.  I think we might need a round 2 with an NDS/555PSDR.  Oh, and the Wilson Yvette speakers?  Ugly and pricey they may be, but I do like the music that they make, even more than the Sophia 2s that I enjoyed at home a few years ago.

Has anyone else made a similar comparison?  If so, I would be most interested to learn of your experiences.

Best regards, FT

i don’t know if it can explain a bit, but , from what i read in some reviews, melco seems to work at his best in usb mode with dac.

But more and more users seem to prefer melco / nds vs nds/ nas.....So melco in upnp is also a good combo.

The other thing is that nds , in upnp mode, works at his best when the network is optimized ( my experience and others). I don’t know how it was optimized in your friend’s system.....

One last point : tonym and dark bear found the melco / dave boring. They preferred the melco/ previous chord dac combination.  So it is interesting that you found the contrary.

A lot of mystery in this comparison.....

 

That's very interesting. You really have to try it with a PS555DR. I have never heard a Chord DAVE, but I am quite certain that the NDS/PS555DR and NAC552/PS552DR work exceedingly well together. I also remember when I tried a PS555 on my CDS2 it was a massive step up relative to the XPS.

When do you think you will be doing round two?

French Rooster posted:

....

One last point : tonym and dark bear found the melco / dave boring. They preferred the melco/ previous chord dac combination.  So it is interesting that you found the contrary.

A lot of mystery in this comparison.....

 

Hi French Rooster,

I may have been in the room with TonyM and Darke Bear at the time.  We all preferred DAVE's predecessor in Tony's system because there was a relentless edginess to the sound with DAVE that disappeared with Tony's older dac.  But I don't recall us finding DAVE boring.  Relentless & tiring after 20 minutes but not boring.

Hence my comment about this being absent in the session this morning.

Best regards, FT

Hi FT,I have heard the Dave alone,and also the Blu2/Dave together,but this was with Simaudio gear,and it was absolutely stunning.Currently I have the Hugo 2 at home,I have had it here for about a month trying various configurations.It is said to be in the ballpark of the Dave,and I am blown away how good it sounds when used directly into an amp,as a DAC and pre.Honestly if I could start over,I would go with a Dave directly to an amp,Fed from my Core.Like you said,even with the Hugo 2,no harshness at all,HUGE 3 dimensional soundstage,and plenty of foot tapping,and I have lived with this configuration for the last 2 weeks,so it is not the case of just the initial “wow” factor.I say,definitely pursue it further,I am talking to my dealer next week to see if we can work something out.These comparisons are to my normal Core/272/XPSDR/250DR.

Foot tapper posted:
French Rooster posted:

....

One last point : tonym and dark bear found the melco / dave boring. They preferred the melco/ previous chord dac combination.  So it is interesting that you found the contrary.

A lot of mystery in this comparison.....

 

Hi French Rooster,

I may have been in the room with TonyM and Darke Bear at the time.  We all preferred DAVE's predecessor in Tony's system because there was a relentless edginess to the sound with DAVE that disappeared with Tony's older dac.  But I don't recall us finding DAVE boring.  Relentless & tiring after 20 minutes but not boring.

Hence my comment about this being absent in the session this morning.

Best regards, FT

You were indeed present for that session FT, as was Mr Darke Bear and J.N. Having been using DAVE in my system for a couple of weeks previously, and not been comfortable with its sound, I'd left him in situ without comment from me whilst we played a few tunes. I then mentioned I'd like to put my old QBD76HDSD back, and within a few bars all present breathed a sigh of relief. DAVE certainly is not boring, and I really wanted to like him (I tried DAVE twice on home trial for extended periods) because he does lots of wonderful things in terms of detail and presence, but possesses an unnatural and tiresome sheen which made for uncomfortable listening. I chatted to Rob Watts and Alan Ainsley of Melco (previously with Chord) at the recent Signals show, & they were rather surprised at my experience. Interestingly, Alan still uses a QBD...

The only things I didn't try with DAVE, and which my dealer thinks might make a positive difference, is to use the DAC in negative phase, and although I did engage the HF filter for a brief period, I didn't really detect a difference so perhaps I should try this over a more extended period. So maybe I might give DAVE a third chance.

As you may know, the Melco can access and stream music from any suitable source it finds on the network, but the sound quality certainly takes a dive if, say, I stream music files from my QNAP NAS.

Foot tapper posted:
French Rooster posted:

....

One last point : tonym and dark bear found the melco / dave boring. They preferred the melco/ previous chord dac combination.  So it is interesting that you found the contrary.

A lot of mystery in this comparison.....

 

Hi French Rooster,

I may have been in the room with TonyM and Darke Bear at the time.  We all preferred DAVE's predecessor in Tony's system because there was a relentless edginess to the sound with DAVE that disappeared with Tony's older dac.  But I don't recall us finding DAVE boring.  Relentless & tiring after 20 minutes but not boring.

Hence my comment about this being absent in the session this morning.

Best regards, FT

thanks for the precision. Tiring and boring are not the same,  i have certainly not memorized the good term. sorry 

Hi French Rooster,

Your reference to an older thread was a good one, thanks.  No offence taken at your post; it was fine!  Tony has chimed in with the definitive review now.

I have been told that truly magical things happen when the upsampling Blu2 is added on to DAVE, such as it can play CDs!  It also extracts even more music when used for streaming.

However, that would be another £8k on top of the £8k for DAVE, which is a bit more than I have in mind.

More to come when I've heard the NDS with 555PSDR.

Best regards, FT

Foot tapper posted:

Hi French Rooster,

Your reference to an older thread was a good one, thanks.  No offence taken at your post; it was fine!  Tony has chimed in with the definitive review now.

I have been told that truly magical things happen when the upsampling Blu2 is added on to DAVE, such as it can play CDs!  It also extracts even more music when used for streaming.

However, that would be another £8k on top of the £8k for DAVE, which is a bit more than I have in mind.

More to come when I've heard the NDS with 555PSDR.

Best regards, FT

no problem foot taper , kind of you to say me that.  I would be curious to hear the dave, it is an acclaimed product all over the world.  I had an xps on the nds before, then 555dr:  the soundstage opened a bit and the body of instruments, but it was not night and day for me. 

I had better improvement with optical bridge on linear ps , add to cisco 2960 switch and audioquest vodka lan cables.

But it is possible that dave / melco is better....

Foot tapper posted:

Ah, back now.

So, the NDS/XPSDR made perfectly fine music.  It was smooth, clear, lacked any indication of sharp, harsh edginess.  It would be easy to listen to for a long time.

Then we switched to DAVE.  Sometimes you just know after the first 2 or 3 notes when everything has stepped up a gear or 2.  This was one of those moments. 

The same band of musicians who had rolled into work that morning  to play on the NDS suddenly woke up.  This time they were enjoying their music.  Music had life.  It held my interest.  Transients soared much higher and the dynamic range just expanded.  Feet started to tap (when appropriate).  The spacial imaging sharpened up and grew by about 50% in all directions (and this is an aspect of hifi that I'm not normally that excited about).  Basslines had considerably more drive & power.  Unlike the last time that I'd heard a DAVE, this time there was no relentless edge to the sound. 

It sounded a step up from my CD player, in a way that the NDS/XPSDR was not.  Usual caveats about different room & system apply here.  However, I recall the first time that I heard a CDS3 with XPS in the system at home.  While I admired what it did very well, I didn't fall for it.  It took the 555PS to make all the difference to the CDS3.  I wonder if the same is true of the NDS?

So, round 1 is a clear win by some way for the Melco-DAVE over Melco-NDS/XPSDR.  I think we might need a round 2 with an NDS/555PSDR.  Oh, and the Wilson Yvette speakers?  Ugly and pricey they may be, but I do like the music that they make, even more than the Sophia 2s that I enjoyed at home a few years ago.

Has anyone else made a similar comparison?  If so, I would be most interested to learn of your experiences.

Best regards, FT

 

FT,

Whilst several forum contributors are very happy with it, my recent experience (see Melco thread) concurs with yours that Melco into NDS sounds dull. If you try NDS again, I’d strongly urge you to listen with a different server. I think you’ll get a very different result. 

Kevin

My 2pence. Have spent a lot of time listening to the Core/Nova combo, finding it surely better than a CD5XS plugged into the Nova as amp. In time, I had compared CDX2 and HDX, finding the two more or less on a par. Yesterday I tried a SN2 vs the Nova as amp, still preferring the Nova.

On the other hand, months ago, in the very same store, I, the store's technician and a shop boy compared the rip of a CD (stored into a US) on an NDX/XPSDR into a 282/HCDR/250.2 with the CD played by a €900 multi-format Marantz player, plugged into the same amp, and the three of us in the room were seriously embarrassed at finding meaningful – and systematically audible – differences.

All is relative and I probably am a poor fool with ears clogged, but the Core/Nova system has struck me more than any of the Classic series streamers I have heard so far. Unless one craves for spending his life time using a computer to store his/her Cds one by one on a NAP, I'd give the new Uniti line a listen.

P.S. Anyway, the idea of ditching a CDS3/555PS looks weird to me. I think that behind this explosion of conversions to streamed music, wives have a much greater role than most are aware of, or agreeing to admit.

kevin J Carden posted:
Foot tapper posted:

 

 

 

FT,

Whilst several forum contributors are very happy with it, my recent experience (see Melco thread) concurs with yours that Melco into NDS sounds dull. If you try NDS again, I’d strongly urge you to listen with a different server. I think you’ll get a very different result. 

Kevin

i would be curious to hear experiences of members with the antipodes servers, associated to the nds in upnp.  Some tried or have the innuos zenith, but the antipodes i don’t think....

The antipodes australian brand is very active and is improving its servers since many years now.  The antipodes dx reference is a serious beast, have very good reviews with dac connected in usb. But in upnp with a streaming dac as nds, it would be interesting to know how it performs.

kevin J Carden posted:

 FT,

Whilst several forum contributors are very happy with it, my recent experience (see Melco thread) concurs with yours that Melco into NDS sounds dull. If you try NDS again, I’d strongly urge you to listen with a different server. I think you’ll get a very different result. 

Kevin

Good tip, thank you Kevin.  So Core into NDS/555PSDR it is.  Once again, we keep being reminded how everything makes a difference to the ultimate sound quality, even the upstream server (i.e. Melco via ethernet vs Core via ethernet).

Best regards, FT

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×