Dipping toes into the NAS (world) with no clue and getting rid of the CD player

Richard Dane posted:
Timo posted:
J.N. posted:

Fair enough SS - personal opinions as ever.

John.

The same applies to your post, one could argue. Just another personal opinion...

Aren't most of the posts on here personal opinion ?

Just my opinion...

I fear you might be right...

But some still base their posts on actual listening experiences -- i.e. some "data collection"... Admittedly, this data might not have been collected in the most rigorous manner. But possibly it's still more than just a personal opinion...  

 

 

 

J.N. posted:

Stephen,

I stated before that I tried using a MacMini as a dedicated streaming source some years ago, and I've experienced several systems using one of those or a laptop. I came to the conclusion that any domestic computer is not good enough to be what I would rate as a high-fidelity source.

We all know that it should (logically) be a simple matter of outputting the same ones and noughts which were fed in. If only digital audio was that simple!

In my opinion, and listening experience; high quality streamed digital audio comes only from a dedicated hi-fi manufacturer streamer or storage device combo such as one of the Melco boxes and a good DAC. It stands to reason that a domestic computer has all sorts of horrible digital noise swilling around, and they run off (by hi-fi standards), a cheap and nasty power-supply.

Naim have taught us that the quality of power-supply is of paramount importance to performance and of course the Naim streamers pay close attention to isolating the various parts of the operational chain.

Good luck.

John.

 

Thanks for another excellent post here John.

Yes, it stands to reason, for me at least anyway, that it just feels plain wrong using a laptop as a music source in a hi-fi system, especially with such high quality components as Naim, regardless of level in their range. Therefore, I can't wait to ditch the laptop for streaming duties as well as storage but only to used it for ripping direct to the NAS. I feel, the further away I can get the laptop from the hi fi the better.

I hope to be slotting in an brand new Naim ND5 XS 2 streamer combined with my QNAP into the near future. It just feels right that this is the way to go. Mind you having said that, by the time Naim release the ND5 XS 2 I might of saved up enough to get a NDX2 instead.

Only joking Naim., I wish I wasn't joking

I think it's quite clear that John's opinion has been formed through listening.  And while I find that a PC can sound great, I would not bother to recommend it to a typical music / hifi enthusiast, as aside from SQ there are some pretty difficult hurdles to overcome in terms of how interact with the thing.  It's not for everyone.  And ultimately not for me, it's just a means to an end for now, and the one I built with the specific purpose in mind 4 years ago performs well for me.  I even created a solid copper faraday cage to surround the CPU area of the main board, in an attempt to minimize interference in the USB bus, and that was before the ND555 had even been invented. 

Yes indeed Richard - it's all about opinions based on personal experience and exposure to what is ultimately a limited range of kit (and rooms) for most of us. It's human nature to want to share information about what works for us as individuals.

I've commented to tyros here before - 'From Naim and a good dealer you will get good advice. Here; you might just get paranoia' - as a result of wildly differing opinions and advice.

I'm learning as I get older that as individuals, we seem to perceive and mentally process sound differently/uniquely? The recent 'Laurel/Yanny' thing doing the rounds on social media was an eye/ear opener.

Why do some of use get/love the sound of vinyl and some do not? Illogical.

One day; some clever person will work out what's going on and (potentially) spoil all the fun.

Back to specifics. A friend was running a MacBook (with .wav ripped music files thereon) through a good Weiss DAC and I couldn't believe how bad it sounded. The said friend put the pertinent CD's in his 15 year old Meridian transport (via the same DAC) for a comparison, and the difference/improvement in SQ for me was staggering.

As SongStream commented; a domestic computer can be made to sound a lot better by attention to the power-supply and other areas. I experimented with a dedicated a MacMini as a music server (via two different good DACs), and my Naim CD5si sounded a lot better to me, but there would seem to be a lot of audiophiles out there who are happy with the sound of a domestic computer on server duties.

To some extent, I think it's the inherent 'Naimness' and synergy of their electronics which (principally) does it for me. Though I've also been impressed by the Melco units feeding good DAC's such as the Chord Dave; thence to Naim amplification.

Stephen - I'd like to impart some information which lies outside forum rules, so by all means email me (as listed in my profile) if you wish.

John.

Stephen Tate posted:
Pcd posted:

Stephen, just keep it simple

QNAP-Naim Streamer-I pad = Lovely easy to use music at your finger tips.

Exactly what is required. Thanks 

Stephen, if you want to go streaming, that is the right path for you. Remember- KISS.

Fact, not opinion! I have all the data to support this assertion.

Now don't get deflected.

With regard to computers as renderers, What is very significant is that effective RF blocking is bsolutely critical for some DACs, and important for others, (depending on inbuilt rejection in the DAC).  Hugo 1 is particularly susceptible, Dave extremely effective at blovking.  And my understanding is that some blockers are far more effective than others, so that and the DAC’s susceptibility are factors in any assessment, often overlooked.

Even the best linear regulated supply doesn’t stop RF at source, only reduces it - computers themselves produce RF by way of their ‘clocks’, though with less at source there is less to block. And the likes of Melco, and even Naim streamers have integral computers, however much they are disguised, so they all produce RF - however of course the whole point of the dedicated ones is their reduced level and thus more easily blocked. RF may well be the mist significant factor in differences between different renderers, whether the ND5XS or NDX (feeding the same external DAC), or Melco or Innuos Zenith etc. 

As for vinyl, as has been said, some people don’t ‘get’ the love others have for its inherently reduced fidelity compared to digital (assuming good recordings), however in at least one recent thread discussing there were some pretty good postulations. But at the end of the day it is horses for courses, just as some people like the sound of some speakers, and others can’t stand them...

nigelb posted:
Stephen Tate posted:
Pcd posted:

Stephen, just keep it simple

QNAP-Naim Streamer-I pad = Lovely easy to use music at your finger tips.

Exactly what is required. Thanks 

Stephen, if you want to go streaming, that is the right path for you. Remember- KISS.

Fact, not opinion! I have all the data to support this assertion.

Now don't get deflected.

Nigel, at the risk of being ricocheted all over the place I promise to not become deflected.

Interesting though...

"As for vinyl, as has been said, some people don’t ‘get’ the love others have for its inherently reduced fidelity compared to digital (assuming good recordings)"

And there's the personal taste and perception conundrum - For me; on what I consider a good recording on vinyl; it offers the highest fidelity, outstripping 'good digital' by a margin.

I was enjoying my 'Regatta de Blanc' LP with two friends here yesterday and the dynamic slam of the title track was stunning. I've yet to hear any digital version get close in terms of organic realism and visceral musical engagement. A bit hairy round the edges for sure, but the vinyl is devoid of the hashy veil I hear from digital replay media.

I will happily concede that vinyl is an inherently very compromised and flawed music replay medium. It has no right to sound as good as it does. The fact that many audiophiles still love what it does, speaks for itself. Deliciously illogical.

Diff'rent strokes, as you say I.B.

John.

French Rooster posted:

how can you convince a blind man that a flower is beautiful?

Quote a few specs at him.

Tell him it’s got the widest colour gamut, highest S/N ratio, lowest noise floor and the closest thing to analogue available.

That kind of thing sure works when it comes to music replay.

 

fatcat posted:
French Rooster posted:

how can you convince a blind man that a flower is beautiful?

Quote a few specs at him.

Tell him it’s got the widest colour gamut, highest S/N ratio, lowest noise floor and the closest thing to analogue available.

That kind of thing sure works when it comes to music replay.

 

lowest noise floor not really, but all the other specs yes!  

French Rooster posted:

how can you convince a blind man that a flower is beautiful?

Assuming you mean visual beauty, and someone who has been blind from birth:

i) You can’t, because he doesn’t know what visual beautiful is.

ii) if you did manage to get across the concept, you might be responsible for a psychological breakdown as he realises what he is missing.

But then, that is only analagous to a deaf man in terms of hifi. And you can’t persuade someone who is deaf that digital (done well) is sounds better than vinyl (done well) because he doesn’t have any concept of sound - however persuading a deaf man is probably easier than persuading one with closed ears...

French Rooster posted:

digital is like reality in black and white, grey eventually....

You’ve obviously only heard bad digital 

Timo posted:

Or, since you are well known to your dealer, take their ND5XS home for a few days... 

 

Just looked; my dealer appears to have sold out. There is an ex-demo one in Bristol but they're asking £1,799 for it which is fair enough but it's just a little to close to the ND5 XS 2's pricing for me, especially as it's an older model and ex-demo. Or am I being a little unreasonable here?

Innocent Bystander posted:
French Rooster posted:

how can you convince a blind man that a flower is beautiful?

Assuming you mean visual beauty, and someone who has been blind from birth:

i) You can’t, because he doesn’t know what visual beautiful is.

ii) if you did manage to get across the concept, you might be responsible for a psychological breakdown as he realises what he is missing.

But then, that is only analagous to a deaf man in terms of hifi. And you can’t persuade someone who is deaf that digital (done well) is sounds better than vinyl (done well) because he doesn’t have any concept of sound - however persuading a deaf man is probably easier than persuading one with closed ears...

French Rooster posted:

digital is like reality in black and white, grey eventually....

You’ve obviously only heard bad digital 

Innocent Bystander, don’t take me too seriously.  As you know, i prefer vinyl for absolute sound quality, but i greatly enjoy my nds too.

Stephen Tate posted:
Timo posted:

Or, since you are well known to your dealer, take their ND5XS home for a few days... 

 

Just looked; my dealer appears to have sold out. There is an ex-demo one in Bristol but they're asking £1,799 for it which is fair enough but it's just a little to close to the ND5 XS 2's pricing for me, especially as it's an older model and ex-demo. Or am I being a little unreasonable here?

Hi Stephen, I think you will find the ND5 XS2 a major step up in SQ... Naim have focussed to maximise that over everything else within that  product cost base... so there is no screen and minimum case controls or other fancy bits as that would have comprised the SQ for the budget

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:
Stephen Tate posted:
Timo posted:

Or, since you are well known to your dealer, take their ND5XS home for a few days... 

 

Just looked; my dealer appears to have sold out. There is an ex-demo one in Bristol but they're asking £1,799 for it which is fair enough but it's just a little to close to the ND5 XS 2's pricing for me, especially as it's an older model and ex-demo. Or am I being a little unreasonable here?

Hi Stephen, I think you will find the ND5 XS2 a major step up in SQ... Naim have focussed to maximise that over everything else within that  product cost base... so there is no screen and minimum case controls or other fancy bits as that would have comprised the SQ for the budget

Excellent Simon, exactly how I like it - stripped right back to the bone. My enthusiasm for the ND5 XS has all but gone now, so it is inevitable that I shall now hang on for the all new ND5 XS 2!!

Thanks

Stephen's confidence with streaming is gradually building has he learns and tries stuff out. There's is no need for him to be drawn to the 'streaming Qobuz a tipping point' thread as this can only serve to confuse and potentially put off someone who is new to streaming. The 'tipping point' thread is tweaking and developing basic streaming, and NOT essential knowhow.

Stephen, I suggest to steer clear of the 'tipping point' thread and get the basics of streaming under your belt. You have plenty of time as you wait for the ND5XS2 to arrive.

my point was not to discourage him, it was just a share from a person not very friendly with computer world as me.  I would not posted this at the first pages of this thread. I know that Stephen is ready now for streaming, having done the most difficult.  I even don’t know if i would be able to do what he had done yet.  

I have been buying lots of CDs from the river. Yesterday I visited some local charity shops and came away with around ten more CDs, indeed I am buying more CDs now than ever before at a really cheap rates.

Because I have gotten more familiar with using dbpoweramp (thanks to the help from you guys) I can now also choose where I want those music files to be stored, in my case the MUSIC folder in this PC. I know what ones they are now so I just go in there and click off those to be sent to the NAS with no problems at all. At least i'm now doing things without wiping all my music off and becoming frustrated. I just need to learn how to store everything to a back up USB drive now for better security.

My intention now is to keep on filling the NAS up with more and more music while I await the release of the ND5 XS 2. Also i'm able to enjoy listening to all this new music i'm buying from the CD player which has also been good fun!

All n all, happy days!

Oh and as for Qobuz, some of the albums on there really do sound mighty fine even streaming from my laptop, the quality of some of the YELLO albums are an example of how good streaming from Qobuz can be. I am not surprised that some members here are finding streaming from Qobuz rather quite good and I think it is much better than Tidal, personally. I have been subscribing to Qobuz for a few years now and in that time it has had a few updates and all the better for it IMHO, it can certainly hit near the CD player at times, in terms of musical enjoyment ...

Christopher_M posted:
Stephen Tate posted:

Yesterday I visited some local charity shops and came away with around ten more CDs....

Was there much vinyl? I reckon you would really get on with a Rega Planar 3. Seriously.

Hi Chris,

I used to run a Rega P3 2000 for many years when I was active with my old slimline Olive system back in the day and I do have very fond memories from it. Trouble is, I have sold off most of my vinyl because at that time I was moving around quite a lot and it just became too much to lug it all around and find adequate storage for it. I do still have a flight case with about twenty albums left in it but obviously not enough to warrant purchasing another deck. If I were to go for another Rega however I would certainly hit higher up, such as their RP8 or something... Anyway, I've committed to streaming now, it's gone past the point of return. Yes it's been frustrating (for someone like me) to say the least and going back down the vinyl route does very much appeal but i'm here now and i'm now intrigued to see/hear what it brings.. 

Thanks

I do have a query here:

After browsing the products page and reading up on the ND5 XS 2, at the bottom of the page where it suggests an upgrade path it says - PowerLine. There is no mention of a Hi-Line. Does this mean that the Hi-Line is not really needed and not to be considered an upgrade? Lavender/grey still rules?

I use a Hi-Line on my CD5si (over the top maybe) but I was hoping to use it with the new streamer, can I assume that Naim does not see the Hi-Line as a viable option here?

ChrisSU posted:
You already have a PC/DAC based system, so I guess you already know if you like it or not compared to a dedicated streamer. 

Hmm - that Chord Qutest thingy has got my 'internet surfing' attention again... I must not look, I really must not, need to stay focused...lala lalala lala…

Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:
You already have a PC/DAC based system, so I guess you already know if you like it or not compared to a dedicated streamer. 

Hmm - that Chord Qutest thingy has got my 'internet surfing' attention again... I must not look, I really must not, need to stay focused...lala lalala lala…

If you feel the urge to scratch the Chord DAC itch, why not? You could always buy a used Hugo to see if you like it, and sell it if you don't. Best of all, they make great partners for Naim streamers used as a digital transport, so could be a perfect match for an ND5XS2 if you still decide you want one.

ChrisSU posted:
Stephen Tate posted:
ChrisSU posted:
You already have a PC/DAC based system, so I guess you already know if you like it or not compared to a dedicated streamer. 

Hmm - that Chord Qutest thingy has got my 'internet surfing' attention again... I must not look, I really must not, need to stay focused...lala lalala lala…

If you feel the urge to scratch the Chord DAC itch, why not? You could always buy a used Hugo to see if you like it, and sell it if you don't. Best of all, they make great partners for Naim streamers used as a digital transport, so could be a perfect match for an ND5XS2 if you still decide you want one.

Well, my thought initially is to go to my dealer and take the Qutest home on trial just to experience first hand the differences in the sonic qualities between that and my Arcam irDAC with what I already use. No; it's not what I would like as a final solution because it still involves the laptop and it's scruffy USB arrangement but (if) the upgrade in sound quality were to be so significant then just maybe that and a ND5 XS 2 as a future goal? Mind you...i'd be tempted to go for a Naim DAC instead... 

Chris, can you see Naim upgrading their standalone NDAC so it sports a USB input in the near future?

Every other manufacturer I look at seems to embrace USB, I wonder why Naim are not so enthusiastic in doing so.

Well Naim's V1 DAC was designed very much with computer users in mind, and does have a USB input, so you could say that product already exists. Whether they will produce new DACs with USB is anybody's guess, though. Going down this route, I agree that a USB connection to a laptop can be a scruffy solution. The traditional approach would be to use a dedicated small computer such as a Mac Mini or Intel NUC for audio, and control it with an iPad. There are other solutions, such as the Innuos servers, but if you want to stick with an all Naim solution, a streamer with a built in DAC is the way to go. 

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