Are you happy with your Nd555

hungryhalibut posted:

I’m not sure that revealing more details of Dark Side of the Bloody Moon, which people have heard for the umpteenth time is any indication of whether something is any good. The question is surely whether it sounds engaging and real, and whether you can listen for hours on end. It’s the old HiFi versus music issue. 

Nuance surely help you connect emotionally?

How do you judge the SQ of a new toy? Detail? Emotional connection? Added tone, timbre? Music that makes more 'sense'? Extension at the extremes and control/definition across the frequency spectrum? Voices sounding like human beings and instruments sounding like…err… real instruments in your front room?

For me the emotional connection is very important but not at the exclusion of other things. The sheer power of a performance, poignant lyrics, the skill and talent of a musician or singer can bring that emotional connection by itself, even from an average hifi system, but there must be something else, surely, to lift a new toy above the ordinary. I can be blown away when I hear a piano emanating from my speakers that actually sounds like a real piano played by a real person in front of me. And that is not an easy trick to pull off with a few boxes of components and wires. Believe me. For me, less (well delivered) is always more.

The ND555 is being spoken about in terms of the best source Naim have ever produced. They should be congratulated for that and we as music lovers should welcome a real shift in the boundaries of in-home music reproduction. Yes, all views must be heard in this place, and great sources from other manufacturers are available. But let's discuss and celebrate what Naim have actually achieved here. British engineering, design and technology at its finest.

Disclaimer: The above comments are in the author's humblest opinion and should not be taken as a statement of fact. Other, contrary opinions are equally valid.

People seem to be confusing "Detail" with "Resolution". 

In my view, greater detail and greater emotional connection are utterly inseparable. Anything that manages to connect your more to the music on any level must derive from somewhere.

The thing is, "detail" here covers temporal resolution, tonal accuracy and amplitude. What one component might lack in temporal resolution it may make up for in the other two but that is still "detail".

If, on the other hand, you are getting less temporal resolution, less tonal accuracy, and poorer reproduction of the dynamic range, and yet still claiming to get more emotionally connected to the music, then you are kidding yourself. 

What most people find problematic about things they describe as more detailed but less musical, is in fact a deviation from amplitude on sample groups in the time domain to exaggerate sounds. This deviation to exaggerate things (giving the illusion of detail) is in fact less detail (or less fidelity) in the amplitude and/or frequency domain.

gary yeowell posted:

Not that i've heard an ND555, but talking more detail than you can shake a stick at, Chord dacs are about as emotionally disconnected as it gets. Sterile beyond belief. 

Absolutely not! In fact, quite the opposite. Maybe it's a system thing, but emotional engagement's a big thing with me and in my music system, a Chord DAC was better musically than my then CD555. Sterile's the last word I'd associate with them.

Dealers would not bother offering a wide range of products if the customer base all found the same manufacturer delivered the right performance for everyone wether that’s detail, emotion etc, both are important. So yes I think it’s a system thing based on personal preferences. I have heard Chord sound great and poor, also Naim, the NDX2 into a 552 /300 with PMC 25.26.......sounded underwhelming. It’s what a good dealer does, provide the kit and time to get us to where we want to be within our budget.

Massimo Bertola posted:
The Strat (Fender) posted:

Okay I attended the demo at Cymbiosis a couple of weeks back.  It’s a superb piece of kit no doubt but before purchasing I would need to be convinced that the treble is not a tad harsh?

Regards,

Lindsay

Lindsay,

you'll never sort that. Every piece of Naim equipment has a point (in volume, or frequency, or type of music or song) where it becomes a tad coarse – or harsh, as you say. It is the brand signature, is necessary to the feeling of realism that sometimes strikes you with their gear, but you cannot take it away from their sound. Look at all the discussions, those about cables, about anything: 98% of them, be the poster aware of it or not, are about the fact that Naim sounds great but at the expense of some coarseness. In fact, all the shamefully costly ultra high end audio I have heard in my life tries to sound realistic and smooth, which is not doable and is useless. One must know that before buying Naim: he/she will have great moments of realism and foot tapping, but sooner or later a few seconds – or minutes – of music will sound too loud (no matter what the position of the pot), or not enough refined in the top end. Unavoidable.

The efforts that Naim has done to correct this haven't taken the brand very far: the SuperUniti was unlistenable, and all the new versions I have heard of renewed gear (which I have heard, all of them, starting when they changed the CD5x into the XS), like the XS2 and the SN2 have been relative failures, because you can take Naim out of a mild coarseness (changing brand, for example, or spoiling it all with cables), but you can't take mild coarseness from Naim – it won't be a Naim anymore. To  my ears, whoever prefers a NaitXS2 or a SN2 to their originals, can't hear properly or is not made for Naim or is in malafede. 

I have tried hard: 4 or 5 CDX2s, a number of XPSes one of which DR, lots of HiCaps, twice the SBLs and five times the N-Sats, all amps from Nait to 282/SC/250 (safe the NAP100), all sources from CD5i to CDS3: it is either Naim or bore. You have to choose, there's no other option. 20 months ago I swapped 282/SC/250 for a Luxman L590ax, it must have played for 10 hours. I started therapy and patiently began all over again.

Then, let's face it: a thread on a 20,000 streamer with double ultra costly PSU has triggered 40 pages of discussions, and there's still someone who shyly admits he finds the ND555 not completely up to the price: I can't even imagine the level of detail it can reproduce, but I can imagine why someone is not convinced – everybody hoped the day would come when a sweet sounding, yet perfectly Naim voiced piece of equipment would pop up. It is impossible. Naim is great, but it's either realism with some shouting, or it is domestic HiFi and the ghost of boredom lurking somewhere in the dark living room. Shall we talk about all those who have surrendered to the last resource of sticking a pair of Harbeths to their Naim amp? Even my Ovator S-400s – smart units, very very smart – have something in the BMR which, at moments, can be less airy and mannered than necessary.

Just my opinion, but I was caught like a fool in reading the same bullshit for the 10,000th time here, and I decided to answer to you because I thought I saw something in your post that sounded sadly familiar.

Best

Max

I simply cannot agree - with this - obviously you are entirely entitled to your point of view - the only time I had a bad time with Naim - is with using the Hi Line interconnect - for me that was all bad - between NDS and 552/500. I have used Nait 5Si an excellent amp, 272 fantastic, NAP250 & DR both very good and finally NAP500 stunning...finally Dr-ed even better!

My comment regarding Naim - generally the sonic presentation - takes no prisoners (particularly the 552) and in my view it is absolutely necessary to convey what is rhythmically contained  - consequently speaker choice and room are very critical. Naim I think are aware of this - which is why they are strong proponents of dealer support and careful demo's.

My system - has an LP12 Ittok, with AT0C7 via a stageline - to my ears the NDS is far superior - track for track LP v flac 16/44. The LP is very nice open and natural - slightly laid back - but the NDS is like the studio master in comparison - illuminated, dynamic and full of detail - in my system.

In your defense I will sum up - I don't think Naim will suit everybody - but it will probably suit most - and Naim know that. The ND555 is not a value product - and can never be justified on a purely financial basis, but on a sonic basis it is on the money and again Naim know that. If you don't like the ND555 its fine - there are other choices. 

Regarding the NAP250 - it is a good amp - but it has it's limitations - I found it quite sensitive to speaker choice. 

hungryhalibut posted:
As to the jealousy point, or that of full moons, I’ve no idea what is meant. 

Simply an observation that people's energy can become a little excited during a full moon. Largely due to the increased gravitational effect on water in one's body, and hence brain/mind, along with other more subtle esoteric effects. Not dissimilar to the emotional effects of well conveyed music, as it happens.

I still don’t have a clue about what most on here are talking about. Never having had a rock band, full orchestra or, come to that, a solo female recording artist with full backing ensemble in my lounge I wouldn’t  really have any idea as to how close any piece of kit gets to reproducing the source. I’ve been to a lot of live gigs, but I definitely want better quality (to my ears) reproduction than I heard at 99% of them (atmosphere is an entirely seperate issue). Whether or not my system is capable of faithfully reproducing the gun shot or the breaking bottle from Dire Straits’ track Private Investigations is a matter of supreme unimportance to me - they add not a jot or iota to the musical experience.

I still think HH got to the heart of it - to some people the highest possible fidelity of reproduction is the most important thing, to others it’s all about the music regardless of whether it’s played on a Sonos (or MuSo) or a Statement. Whilst it’s great fun to read of people’s differing takes on pieces of kit, what grates is the judgemental attitude that creeps into some threads. Neither approach is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ - just different, and that is surely what we should be celebrating.

We are all fortunate in owning whatever system we have. If some aspire to always having the latest and best ‘cutting edge’, be it amp, streamer, cable, whatever then that’s fine. What seems to be overlooked is that in virtually every sector there is a risk to being an early adopter (my brother spent a lot of money on one of the first BMW M.5s some years ago, and it spent more of the first 12 months in the workshop than on the road!).  I, for one, am glad there are those amongst us who are willing to fork out big bucks on the ND555s and similar, as I and many others will benefit in years to come via the trickle down of new technology to more main stream devices.

gary yeowell posted:

Not that i've heard an ND555, but talking more detail than you can shake a stick at, Chord dacs are about as emotionally disconnected as it gets. Sterile beyond belief. 

It's only your opinion.

My experience is the exact opposite. A Chord DAC will render the emotional connection and was designed exactly for that purpose.

analogmusic posted:
gary yeowell posted:

Not that i've heard an ND555, but talking more detail than you can shake a stick at, Chord dacs are about as emotionally disconnected as it gets. Sterile beyond belief. 

It's only your opinion.

My experience is the exact opposite. A Chord DAC will render the emotional connection and was designed exactly for that purpose.

I would suggest the Chord does neither of these things. It is simply programmed with a combination of algorithms which evoke a different response from different listeners. To say it is designed to establish an emotional connection is to imply those that don’t feel that are somehow lacking. This is patently not the case. It simply does it to the brains of some, and not others - no metaphysical wonders here I’m afraid!

This HiFi vs music thing isn’t really something to get angsty about, I was simply amused by the ‘I’ve heard something new on a Pink Floyd album’ comment, as if it were an indicator of how good the 555 is. I’m sitting here listening to Bach’s Goldberg Variations, not even in front of the speakers but at ninety degrees. It’s just delightful, and sounds just like a real piano and I can shut my eyes and be transported by the beauty of the music and the playing, by Lars Vogt. That’s what I mean by real and engaging, and that’s what I look for. A great performance. 

I’ve heard super detailed systems before and they do nothing without the emotional draw. Recently at Naim I was listening to some uber-detailed Focals on a 500 system and it was awaful - detailed sounds being flung around totally detached from the performance. I paid a tenth of the price for my speakers and they do music so much better. When I was at University people used to visit my flat and I’d play them a track from the One From the Heart soundtrack, where a spinning coin is on a table, and they’d always be impressed. But it’s nothing to do with music. Telegraph Road can be packed with sonic wonders but it doesn’t make the music engaging. A system needs to reveal joy and pain, romance and passion. That’s what I’m looking for. 

feeling_zen posted:

In my view, greater detail and greater emotional connection are utterly inseparable. Anything that manages to connect your more to the music on any level must derive from somewhere.

Not my experience. 18 months or so ago I borrowed a Schitt Yggdrasil for a few weeks, it is a great DAC which revealed oodles of detail, but ultimately was not for me. I felt that rather than listening to music I was overseeing a Post Mortum.

Mr Underhill posted:
feeling_zen posted:

In my view, greater detail and greater emotional connection are utterly inseparable. Anything that manages to connect your more to the music on any level must derive from somewhere.

Not my experience. 18 months or so ago I borrowed a Schitt Yggdrasil for a few weeks, it is a great DAC which revealed oodles of detail, but ultimately was not for me. I felt that rather than listening to music I was overseeing a Post Mortum.

I believe you've missed the point of my post. Especially the last paragraph.

How could detail get in the way?  I recognise that a system might sound sterile but that cannot be by virtue of too much detail.   As I said earlier nuance adds to the experience and thereby emotion.  When I added the 555 to the CDS3 I was listening to the exquisite Back to Tupelo by Mark Knopfler and there was just more texture to his voice which so enhanced the story. 

Regards,

Lindsay

Lindsay, it’s a shame you couldn’t make it to our Naim trip earlier in the year, then you’d have heard what I’m on about. The way the system flung sounds at you was really off putting. It’s like they weren’t part of the overall performance. But of course, it was the speakers and not the Naim. The sort of detail that you describe, which adds nuance to the voice, is absolutely a positive thing and I’m all for it. But the wrong sort of detail, which I will lazily describe as HiFi rather than music, is negative in my book. Uber detailed systems can so easily pull everything apart; the trick is holding it all together. Which is easier said than done. 

I don,t disagree HH I thought they were disappointing to put it politely. But you should mention, that others like the guy who was sitting to my right thought they sounded very good(could have been James?). And so did some others.......we are all different, we should celebrate that fact.

hungryhalibut posted:

A system needs to reveal joy and pain, romance and passion. That’s what I’m looking for. 

That is what you perceive in the music not what it conveys in general terms. I can play a piece of music and it nearly brings me to tears, but I am made of sterner stuff. And I can hear that whether it is played on the kitchen MuSo, in either of our cars or on the main system. Yet, the same piece played to a good friend will leave him completely unmoved. Even my wife can remain annoyingly unmoved by some pieces (the you-have-to-hear-this type pieces) I play; but just as well as she is really wet and can be very emotional, exceptionally unBritish.

I have had an ND 555 for less then two weeks. Yesterday evening I was riveted to my sofa seat as Roon Radio served up five hours of music to the ND 555. It was a totally engaging musical experience across a wide range from heavy blues to the softest of contemporary classical. I never grew tired of listening once and I had to force myself out of the listening room to go get some sleep. I may have fretted some about the sum being laid out for the ND 555 but now have no regrets whatsoever. 

Richieroo posted:
Massimo Bertola posted:
The Strat (Fender) posted:

Okay I attended the demo at Cymbiosis a couple of weeks back.  It’s a superb piece of kit no doubt but before purchasing I would need to be convinced that the treble is not a tad harsh?

Regards,

Lindsay

Lindsay,

you'll never sort that. Every piece of Naim equipment has a point (in volume, or frequency, or type of music or song) where it becomes a tad coarse – or harsh, as you say. It is the brand signature, is necessary to the feeling of realism that sometimes strikes you with their gear, but you cannot take it away from their sound. Look at all the discussions, those about cables, about anything: 98% of them, be the poster aware of it or not, are about the fact that Naim sounds great but at the expense of some coarseness. In fact, all the shamefully costly ultra high end audio I have heard in my life tries to sound realistic and smooth, which is not doable and is useless. One must know that before buying Naim: he/she will have great moments of realism and foot tapping, but sooner or later a few seconds – or minutes – of music will sound too loud (no matter what the position of the pot), or not enough refined in the top end. Unavoidable.

The efforts that Naim has done to correct this haven't taken the brand very far: the SuperUniti was unlistenable, and all the new versions I have heard of renewed gear (which I have heard, all of them, starting when they changed the CD5x into the XS), like the XS2 and the SN2 have been relative failures, because you can take Naim out of a mild coarseness (changing brand, for example, or spoiling it all with cables), but you can't take mild coarseness from Naim – it won't be a Naim anymore. To  my ears, whoever prefers a NaitXS2 or a SN2 to their originals, can't hear properly or is not made for Naim or is in malafede. 

I have tried hard: 4 or 5 CDX2s, a number of XPSes one of which DR, lots of HiCaps, twice the SBLs and five times the N-Sats, all amps from Nait to 282/SC/250 (safe the NAP100), all sources from CD5i to CDS3: it is either Naim or bore. You have to choose, there's no other option. 20 months ago I swapped 282/SC/250 for a Luxman L590ax, it must have played for 10 hours. I started therapy and patiently began all over again.

Then, let's face it: a thread on a 20,000 streamer with double ultra costly PSU has triggered 40 pages of discussions, and there's still someone who shyly admits he finds the ND555 not completely up to the price: I can't even imagine the level of detail it can reproduce, but I can imagine why someone is not convinced – everybody hoped the day would come when a sweet sounding, yet perfectly Naim voiced piece of equipment would pop up. It is impossible. Naim is great, but it's either realism with some shouting, or it is domestic HiFi and the ghost of boredom lurking somewhere in the dark living room. Shall we talk about all those who have surrendered to the last resource of sticking a pair of Harbeths to their Naim amp? Even my Ovator S-400s – smart units, very very smart – have something in the BMR which, at moments, can be less airy and mannered than necessary.

Just my opinion, but I was caught like a fool in reading the same bullshit for the 10,000th time here, and I decided to answer to you because I thought I saw something in your post that sounded sadly familiar.

Best

Max

I simply cannot agree - with this - obviously you are entirely entitled to your point of view - the only time I had a bad time with Naim - is with using the Hi Line interconnect - for me that was all bad - between NDS and 552/500. I have used Nait 5Si an excellent amp, 272 fantastic, NAP250 & DR both very good and finally NAP500 stunning...finally Dr-ed even better!

My comment regarding Naim - generally the sonic presentation - takes no prisoners (particularly the 552) and in my view it is absolutely necessary to convey what is rhythmically contained  - consequently speaker choice and room are very critical. Naim I think are aware of this - which is why they are strong proponents of dealer support and careful demo's.

My system - has an LP12 Ittok, with AT0C7 via a stageline - to my ears the NDS is far superior - track for track LP v flac 16/44. The LP is very nice open and natural - slightly laid back - but the NDS is like the studio master in comparison - illuminated, dynamic and full of detail - in my system.

In your defense I will sum up - I don't think Naim will suit everybody - but it will probably suit most - and Naim know that. The ND555 is not a value product - and can never be justified on a purely financial basis, but on a sonic basis it is on the money and again Naim know that. If you don't like the ND555 its fine - there are other choices. 

Regarding the NAP250 - it is a good amp - but it has it's limitations - I found it quite sensitive to speaker choice. 

Richieroo,

sorry but I don't think you caught a single word of what I posted. Plus, I certainly do not need your defense... I have never heard the ND555 and never spoke critically of it. I believe that the only person who understood my post, before HH intervened and took it in his hand, was precisely the only one to whom it was addressed: Lindsay.

 I humbly ask whoever plans to reply to a post of mine the kind, human and simple act to read it before.

Thanks,

M.

tonym posted:
gary yeowell posted:

Not that i've heard an ND555, but talking more detail than you can shake a stick at, Chord dacs are about as emotionally disconnected as it gets. Sterile beyond belief. 

Absolutely not! In fact, quite the opposite. Maybe it's a system thing, but emotional engagement's a big thing with me and in my music system, a Chord DAC was better musically than my then CD555. Sterile's the last word I'd associate with them.

Had a 'Dave' here for a month, one in fact i could have purchased for peanuts. In the end i concluded that's what it was worth in terms of how much i wanted to listen to it.

Massimo wrote -

sorry but I don't think you caught a single word of what I posted. Plus, I certainly do not need your defense... I have never heard the ND555 and never spoke critically of it. I believe that the only person who understood my post, before HH intervened and took it in his hand, was precisely the only one to whom it was addressed: Lindsay.

 I humbly ask whoever plans to reply to a post of mine the kind, human and simple act to read itbefore.

Thanks,

M.

Massimo, I like what you wrote above concerning the Naim sound.  If I understand you correctly I would say your description of the general sound of Naim is spot on and is something I have not seen much mentioned, though a friend and I talk about it often. While I find Naim not always pleasing it gives the closest reproduction to the sound of music in the world that I have heard. From my experience of the ND 555 so far I would say it further enhances realism but I might also make a claim for it smoothing out a little of the harshness we have come to accept [maybe love, even] yet without any loss to its Naimness.

After only ten days of listening I would make one exception to this, the ND 555 still fails to tame some RVG edition Blue Notes and render them as anything other than scrubbily harsh and close on unlistenable, I say this having just now sampled Joe Henderson's Mode for Joe but other recordings, Shorter, Dolphy, come over well enough. Further, my friend and I sampled the recent high res release of Sorcerer by Miles Davis and we both greeted it with welcome surprise. We heard an openness, clarity and a beauty of form which had us both exclaiming out loud simultaneously. Such moments keep coming with this new streamer, and what is gained, more than anything, are new insights into musical narrative and interplay. More realism, that is.

gary yeowell posted:
tonym posted:
gary yeowell posted:

Not that i've heard an ND555, but talking more detail than you can shake a stick at, Chord dacs are about as emotionally disconnected as it gets. Sterile beyond belief. 

Absolutely not! In fact, quite the opposite. Maybe it's a system thing, but emotional engagement's a big thing with me and in my music system, a Chord DAC was better musically than my then CD555. Sterile's the last word I'd associate with them.

Had a 'Dave' here for a month, one in fact i could have purchased for peanuts. In the end i concluded that's what it was worth in terms of how much i wanted to listen to it.

There are many things in life I find incomprehensible, and that's one of them. All I can assume is that there's some fundamental incompatibility with your system. I tried a Dave on two seperate occasions in mine, and couldn't initially  get it to sound good. Only after a chat with my dealer, and the nice gentleman from Chord, did I feel inclined to try one again, with different settings, and I'm glad I did - the best source component I've yet heard in my system, up there with my LP12 for sheer emotional pleasure and musical communication. I'm awaiting the arrival of the upscaler with great interest.

I loved Dave when I auditioned it, and loved it more when it came to my home.

2 years on, I love listening to music on it.

Oh one thing though. Dave has like a Naim source, signal earth connected to mains earth, so do not connect a Chord Dave along with a Naim CD player at the same time to a Naim preamp, and for Naim streamers, the ground switch should be set to chassis.

 

gary yeowell posted:

I tried it with both my systems, and it sounded just like it did at my dealers/friend. He doesn't like it either.

some people don't like Mercesdes, some people don't like apple, some people don't like Toyota.

It's just opinion at the end of the day.

If all ice cream flavour tasted the same at Baskin Robbins, what would be the fun?

cycling66 posted:

I have had an ND 555 for less then two weeks. Yesterday evening I was riveted to my sofa seat as Roon Radio served up five hours of music to the ND 555. It was a totally engaging musical experience across a wide range from heavy blues to the softest of contemporary classical. I never grew tired of listening once and I had to force myself out of the listening room to go get some sleep. I may have fretted some about the sum being laid out for the ND 555 but now have no regrets whatsoever. 

Thank you so much for paying attention to my original post and answering the question. 

hungryhalibut posted:

Lindsay, it’s a shame you couldn’t make it to our Naim trip earlier in the year, then you’d have heard what I’m on about. The way the system flung sounds at you was really off putting. It’s like they weren’t part of the overall performance. But of course, it was the speakers and not the Naim. The sort of detail that you describe, which adds nuance to the voice, is absolutely a positive thing and I’m all for it. But the wrong sort of detail, which I will lazily describe as HiFi rather than music, is negative in my book. Uber detailed systems can so easily pull everything apart; the trick is holding it all together. Which is easier said than done. 

Nigel - I get entirely the Focal dimension although I’ve heard the partnership work well.  No absolutes in this game.  

Regards,

Lindsay

Also happy camper w ND555 - as added benefit wife gets along much better with this UI and support of airport/chromecast makes the ND555 a platform others can connect based on what has become common interfaces. Not critical for intensive listening but more everyday usage in the family... fantastic music replay

Plenty of interesting perspectives here.

I've only heard the ND555 once, through a 552/500/Focal Utopia setup and was very impressed with the sound - smooth, virtually no background noise and very detailed. And I generally don't like the Focal presentation, which I find a tad too harsh for me!

 

The short answer is a resounding yes!. The longer answer is that I have reached a point where I am no longer regularly saying “wow” and searching for new tracks to try, rather I am just spending more time enjoying my music collection. I suppose I have just redefined “normal” and stopped worrying about it...    The longer autumn evenings do seem to be regularly filled with music though, so I guess my money was well spent.

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