ND555 Impressions

Gandalf_fi posted:

Am I the only one here who was not impressed by ND555 demo vs. home and NDS? This time with 252/300/Focal. I have totally different, more revialing system which affects but my expectation was that I should be impressed anyway with that more modest system. I definitely need to do a home demo because of based on this NDS is not broken and sounds pretty close to ND555.

What happened

  • Rythm: sounded exactly same, no difference
  • Bass: was maybe a bit more wider at the low end but difficult to say because of speakers
  • Dynamics: difficult to say, so much system dependent
  • Openess/clarity: no difference, so much system dependent
  • Voice: not fair to compare because of Focal is not the best one

So, please help me a bit if you have some thoughts why to replace NDS?

No comparison in the ND555 vs NDS. ND555 is noticeably better. Not sure why you did not hear much difference . 

Interesting hobby this. My thoughts on a couple of recent themes. First I prefer single supply on the ND 555. I have no experience with Melco but hear the difference with a rip of a CD via the core versus a previously ripped file from the serv or in respect of a file of undetirminable providence. I had noticed this previously with my NDS and frankly it came as a bit of a surprise. I was intrigued with Darke Bears experience with hard wiring the iPad to Ethernet and tried this last night. I felt their were pros and cons but accept that this could in part be how I configured the connections. I then tried listening with the wi fi on the iPad turned off. Ie select album to play then turn wifi off on the iPad. Again I was surprised at what I heard. Practically though doing that ie turning wi fi on and off as required is a whole lot less hasell than going through the whole registration set up thing when using an Ethernet connection. As they say everything makes a difference but the challenge is in trying to fiqure out whether it’s better or worse

cycling66 posted:
nbpf posted:

The problem of deciding in which file formats (the emphasis is on the plural!) to store music has been discussed ad infinitum in this forum and such discussions are typically not very fruitful. Just store the files for replay in whatever format you please but do yourself a favour and rip, download, edit, backup and retrieve .flac files!

But was there not earlier advice offered to Richieroo to go ahead and rip in wav?

My head is beginning to hurt ....

Sure as he seemed to be comfortable with editing .wav files. If one has a good tool to edit .wav rips and one does not care about storage space and data transfer time than .wav is certainly fine.

As a matter of fact, however, there are more and better tools for managing .flac files than there are tools for managing .wav or .aif files. Also, .flac files are smaller. Thus, my generic advice is to use .flac for ripping, editing, securing, etc.

On another thread: I had a look at the Melco D100 and it looks like a very nice reader. I would have no concern connecting it to my laptop for ripping. It is hopefully faster and certainly heavier and much nicer than the typical 50$ plastic reader. But I would not want the rips to go directly into an N1 or into any other dedicated music server. That does not make any sense to me: transfering the data to the music server is the very last step of my workflow, not the first one! 

Thanks Gazza.........I did not get home until late last night........I briefly looked at one burndy..and thought oh .... no real obvious marker.......I did notice a green section through the mesh outer binding.......... and did wonder ....... I imagine the other will correspondingly be red. Thanks for your advice ....great.............I will power her up at the weekend............

ok,,,,maybe I'm some sort of deaf...but I ripped one title via db Power and XLD and in wav, flac, aiff....can not hear a difference... Concerning Melco- if you plan to run Roon as well, you should have a look at Innuos. It can run Roon server and acts as an endpoint!

T38.45 posted:

ok,,,,maybe I'm some sort of deaf...but I ripped one title via db Power and XLD and in wav, flac, aiff....can not hear a difference... Concerning Melco- if you plan to run Roon as well, you should have a look at Innuos. It can run Roon server and acts as an endpoint!

If you don't hear the difference, that's fine for you. Quite a number of people perceive a difference between flac direct and wav, I am one of them.

Richieroo posted:

Hi quick question........have taken delivery of my ND555 yipee........ and it comes with new burndies............are these directional?.........I seem to remember the NDS burndies had a marker at one end........can anyone advise........

Check out the handy Quick Start Guide that came in the box. In your excitement you may have overlooked it!  It shows that the markers go at the ND555 end, and tells you which Burndy goes where.

https://www.naimaudio.com/site...let_v9checkdoc_0.pdf

 

T38.45 posted:

ok,,,,maybe I'm some sort of deaf...but I ripped one title via db Power and XLD and in wav, flac, aiff....can not hear a difference... Concerning Melco- if you plan to run Roon as well, you should have a look at Innuos. It can run Roon server and acts as an endpoint!

Installing Roon Server on the Melco isn't a good idea at all, I'm sorry to say.

Roon Server is quite a piece of sofware and needs a lot of computing and therefore generates a lot of "electronic noise".

Roon Server (or Roon Rock) should be kept away from the HiFi system and, ideally, should feed the ND555 through a good WiFi (avoiding galvanic connection to the potentially noisy Ethernet network).

Roon Labs provides well written and extended documentation on how to setup your Roon environment with sound quality in mind.

Gandalf_fi posted:

 

So, please help me a bit if you have some thoughts why to replace NDS?

From what your own ears tell you, the answer is self evident. Don't buy the ND555.

If only my home demo had come up with that result. I'd still have the money and be perfectly happy with my choice.

nbpf posted:

Sure as he seemed to be comfortable with editing .wav files. If one has a good tool to edit .wav rips and one does not care about storage space and data transfer time than .wav is certainly fine.

As a matter of fact, however, there are more and better tools for managing .flac files than there are tools for managing .wav or .aif files. Also, .flac files are smaller. Thus, my generic advice is to use .flac for ripping, editing, securing, etc.

For the sake of balance, I will mention that:

If you have storage space that is so limited that you will have difficulty accommodating  WAV files in preference to FLAC files, you have got much bigger problems than tagging. The fundamentals need rethinking. Storage is cheap.  Storage capacity is not a limiting consideration. If your hardware will only accommodate a HDD up to a certain capacity, and/or is not user expandable, get better hardware because yours is not fit for purpose. If you can't hear a difference between formats then you can do whatever you prefer. If you can hear a difference, it is ridiculous to compromise for the sake of storage space.

WAVs are easy to tag. dBpoweramp is an excellent tool for doing this and way more besides. There are plenty of alternatives. It seemed easy to feed CDs into my HDX and let Naim's bit perfect ripping system take care of all the hard work. This was an illusion. There is nothing difficult or unique about obtaining a bit perfect rip and verifying that you have done so. It costs tens of pounds to achieve this with high confidence, not thousands of pounds. Furthermore, Naim rippers do not tag WAVs correctly. In fact, they don't tag them at all. 

TomSer posted:
T38.45 posted:

ok,,,,maybe I'm some sort of deaf...but I ripped one title via db Power and XLD and in wav, flac, aiff....can not hear a difference... Concerning Melco- if you plan to run Roon as well, you should have a look at Innuos. It can run Roon server and acts as an endpoint!

Installing Roon Server on the Melco isn't a good idea at all, I'm sorry to say.

Roon Server is quite a piece of sofware and needs a lot of computing and therefore generates a lot of "electronic noise".

Roon Server (or Roon Rock) should be kept away from the HiFi system and, ideally, should feed the ND555 through a good WiFi (avoiding galvanic connection to the potentially noisy Ethernet network).

Well that shouldn’t be a problem, as Roon will not run on a Melco as far as I’m aware. 

musicfan51 posted:
Gandalf_fi posted:

Am I the only one here who was not impressed by ND555 demo vs. home and NDS? This time with 252/300/Focal. I have totally different, more revialing system which affects but my expectation was that I should be impressed anyway with that more modest system. I definitely need to do a home demo because of based on this NDS is not broken and sounds pretty close to ND555.

What happened

  • Rythm: sounded exactly same, no difference
  • Bass: was maybe a bit more wider at the low end but difficult to say because of speakers
  • Dynamics: difficult to say, so much system dependent
  • Openess/clarity: no difference, so much system dependent
  • Voice: not fair to compare because of Focal is not the best one

So, please help me a bit if you have some thoughts why to replace NDS?

No comparison in the ND555 vs NDS. ND555 is noticeably better. Not sure why you did not hear much difference . 

No, could not compare NDS vs. ND555 in the demo, just ND555 + go home and listen same tracks with NDS. Expected some kind of WOW with ND555 but it did not happen.

murray harden posted:

Interesting hobby this. My thoughts on a couple of recent themes. First I prefer single supply on the ND 555.

I have no experience with Melco but hear the difference with a rip of a CD via the core versus a previously ripped file from the serv or in respect of a file of undetirminable providence. I had noticed this previously with my NDS and frankly it came as a bit of a surprise.

I was intrigued with Darke Bears experience with hard wiring the iPad to Ethernet and tried this last night. I felt their were pros and cons but accept that this could in part be how I configured the connections. I then tried listening with the wi fi on the iPad turned off. Ie select album to play then turn wifi off on the iPad. Again I was surprised at what I heard. Practically though doing that ie turning wi fi on and off as required is a whole lot less hasell than going through the whole registration set up thing when using an Ethernet connection. As they say everything makes a difference but the challenge is in trying to figure out whether it’s better or worse

The ND555 sounds very different over the first several weeks of its life and I'd try the two supplies after it had been run-in for over a month if you had negative results before ruling it out ahead. There was another poster who also said they had preferred a single supply and then only later found that two supplies was a lot better. Two supplies makes the ND555 more revealing of both music and run-in artifacts and the latter can shout at you more unpleasantly. Always personal, but my demo was conclusive that in my system the ND555 was significantly better with two supplies in terms of detail, stability and more extended and better articulated bass and HF - not jut the HiFi sound aspects but I preferred it musically. It is fine with one supply but not worse with two IMO.

The Ripping - I've said all I can at this point and essentially make sure you have that optimal for you and check it out yourself.

On the WiFi use for the control App - I find the noise-floor lower when the WiFi is off and hear an obvious (to me) wall off noise drop from the sound-stage when I turn-off the house WiFi and get better depth info and immersion into the music and it just feels more relaxing to listen to. Why - well removing a wide-band noise transmitter may be part of the answer - perhaps?

However as you also notice the present Naim App has a problem with operating without WiFi and goes into a pointless sulk telling you that you have no WiFi - but still works as you have a wired-LAN but need to re-register. It takes 20 secs to do and I've done it so many times I'm used to it as I refuse to be bullied to conform when I want it otherwise - hopefully the next Beta App when available will sort that out - I shall see.

WiFi is convenient but I find I don't really need it a lot in my house as it is all Ethernet wired so I have LAN points everywhere to use - so I use what gives me best sound. Different systems may sound very different with respect to interactions with RF signals and WiFi - mine is a large cross-section for anything to make ingress at RF frequencies and the noise floor is where I'd first expect I may hear that if present. Plus I was curious as to the effect of removing a local transmitter would have - people assume it is all fine, perhaps it is as it is very convenient, but is there any down-side.

DB.

Mike Sullivan posted:

I grabbed a Core when I upgraded to a Nova and re-ripped my collection - previously ripped and streamed from a Mac. I’ve compared both rips through the Nova and there is a clear improvement with the Core. I have a degree in Civil Engineering and oddly enough a trained Yoga teacher too, so I go with the Yoga approach that if you experience the difference through your own discernment, then it is real.

I found the same when I ripped some discs on the core. I too was using a mac, with xld and dbpoweramp to rip (then streamed from a synology nas). The core was best, followed by dbpoweramp then a mile behind was xld. To my ears, and in my system the difference was quite easily noticeable.

T38.45 posted:

Mr Happy- if you move a ripped file to Core, does it sound different via internal rip?

Hi, I returned the core quite a while ago now. The comparison of the 3 different rips was done on my nas (synology 218play), and also at a friends house on his nas. We both have revealing systems and could both clearly hear differences. I found xld to be quite poor compared with dbpoweramp. Dbpoweramp was very good but the core sounded best to me.

Mr Happy posted:
T38.45 posted:

Mr Happy- if you move a ripped file to Core, does it sound different via internal rip?

Hi, I returned the core quite a while ago now. The comparison of the 3 different rips was done on my nas (synology 218play), and also at a friends house on his nas. We both have revealing systems and could both clearly hear differences. I found xld to be quite poor compared with dbpoweramp. Dbpoweramp was very good but the core sounded best to me.

Thanks for reply! Just checked my CD vs download ratio...I will not invest in Core, bought more music from qobuz etc. than CDs. 

Mr Happy posted:
T38.45 posted:

Mr Happy- if you move a ripped file to Core, does it sound different via internal rip?

Hi, I returned the core quite a while ago now. The comparison of the 3 different rips was done on my nas (synology 218play), and also at a friends house on his nas. We both have revealing systems and could both clearly hear differences. I found xld to be quite poor compared with dbpoweramp. Dbpoweramp was very good but the core sounded best to me.

I think that you are missing up things: if the three rips are bit perfect, they should sound the same when replayed on the same system. If they are not bit perfect, there is something wrong with your ripping systems.

It is perfectly possible that rips that are not bit perfect sounds better than bit perfect rips. This does not mean that they are to be preferred to a bit perfect rips, of course.

nbpf posted:

I think that you are missing up things: if the three rips are bit perfect, they should sound the same when replayed on the same system...

That is the point - I heard three bit-perfect copies of the same original all sounding different.
I inquired how and got some comments along the lines that the lower-level data is packed more efficiently in the better-sounding Rips.

So I think something is manifesting from a lower-level of the actual data-bit packing and its extraction, rather than the match done on it at a higher level to ensure that they are all the same as far as being valid data.

Now if the Streamer or DAC input extracts all streams of bit-perfect data however they are arranged at a lower-level to make the correct digital signal feed to the DAC - with no noise-artifacts - then they should all sound the same. But they don't - real pain!

I don't know what is going on but there is an effect that can be demonstrated and it is nothing to do with the presence of errors on the poorer-sounding versions. This was in fact the whole point of my post - I don't understand what is going on - only what seems to give best results, not why.

I could try to delude myself by saying it is not there, but that way leads nowhere good. In some respects I wish I didn't know this and on the other hand I'm glad I do so that I can get optimum end-results.

I suspect I'm hearing noise artifacts from the way the data is being moved about and that some ways of more efficiently packing it generate less noise - perhaps - just speculation as I've nothing on what is really happening.

DB.

Darke Bear posted:
nbpf posted:

I think that you are missing up things: if the three rips are bit perfect, they should sound the same when replayed on the same system...

That is the point - I heard three bit-perfect copies of the same original all sounding different.
I inquired how and got some comments along the lines that the lower-level data is packed more efficiently in the better-sounding Rips.

So I think something is manifesting from a lower-level of the actual data-bit packing and its extraction, rather than the match done on it at a higher level to ensure that they are all the same as far as being valid data.

Now if the Streamer or DAC input extracts all streams of bit-perfect data however they are arranges at a lower-level to make the correct digital signal feed to the DAC - with no noise-artifacts - then they should all sound the same. But they don't - real pain!

I don't know what is going on but there is an effect that can be demonstrated and it is nothing to do with the presence of errors on the poorer-sounding versions. This was in fact the whole point of my post - I don't understand what is going on - only what seems to give best results, not why.

I could try to delude myself by saying it is not there, but that way leads nowhere good. In some respects I wish I didn't know this and on the other hand I'm glad I do so that I can get optimum end-results.

I suspect I'm hearing noise artifacts from the way the data is being moved about and that some ways of more efficiently packing it generate less noise - perhaps - just speculation as I've nothing on what is really happening.

DB.

have you tried to compare a melco 100 cd rip vs a 16/44 wav or aiff download from Qobuz ?  i am curious.     The 16/44 download is originally a cd rip made by qobuz or a bought file album, bought by Qobuz ?      If you know the answer DB......

I do not have that answer - sorry!

Also I'm just trying to be clear about what I was trying to describe in the first place. This whole thing about Rips that are bit-perfect sounding different was something I dismissed until I accidentally had the demo just for the heck of it and it blew that subject open for me.

The actual data is stored in a series of frames usually with packing and if all extracted will be correct or all computing would quickly die!

So I think this is something to do with noise associated with the extraction - packeting - sending - receiving - un-packing process.

DB.

Well this is new!

Bits is bits vs bits a'int just bits.

It will end in tears and Richard calling time. You'll see.

For the record I think there are more to these confounded bits than meets the eye. Cunning little bu**ers, and no mistake.

...leaving that subject - obviously contentious - for now and back to the ND555:

Run-in going through nice phase now with more open spacious presentation with more smoothness.

Even with my PC-ripped stuff I've just purchased (I seem to have acquired 14 more CDs since I got the ND555) the music sounds great - don't panic!

DB.

It's tricky. I can hear a difference between formats, with WAV winning easily. I can hear a difference between digital interconnects and Ethernet cables. I can hear differences between switches. I can hear differences between some servers but not all. I can hear the difference between music streamed over my network, with and without a network isolator used at various positions in my setup. I can't hear any difference in perceived sound quality between a rip done by my (now departed) HDX and the same CD ripped bit perfectly on my PC using dBpoweramp. I cant hear a difference between a file stored on the internal HDD of my HDX compared to the same file stored on a NAS, streamed through the HDX. I can hear a difference between HDX and Asset on a NAS. I can hear a difference between HDX and Minimserver on a NAS. I can't hear a difference between Asset and Minimserver, (a) on the same NAS, (b) on the same NAS using different music shares, (c) on different NASs. I cant hear a difference between NASs. I can't hear a difference between make and model of HDD.

I'm not remotely surprised that other people hear things I don't and can't hear things that I do. Frankly I'd be a bit worried if all our experiences and perceptions were identical.

Darke Bear posted:

The actual data is stored in a series of frames usually with packing and if all extracted will be correct or all computing would quickly die!

So I think this is something to do with noise associated with the extraction - packeting - sending - receiving - un-packing process.

Does the ripping process have any effect on the way the data is ‘packeted’ when sent from NAS to streamer? I would have thought not, but I won’t pretend that I understand enough about the process to start making judgements. 

Darke Bear posted:

I do not have that answer - sorry!

Also I'm just trying to be clear about what I was trying to describe in the first place. This whole thing about Rips that are bit-perfect sounding different was something I dismissed until I accidentally had the demo just for the heck of it and it blew that subject open for me.

The actual data is stored in a series of frames usually with packing and if all extracted will be correct or all computing would quickly die!

So I think this is something to do with noise associated with the extraction - packeting - sending - receiving - un-packing process.

DB.

Have you ever looked at one of the rips in detail? In .wav files, there is nothing like low level packaging or extraction procedures. It's just a sequence of frames separated by zeroes. Two bit perfect copies of the same original must have the same frame contents.

You argue that you have heard "three bit-perfect copies of the same original" and that they sounded differently. What makes you think that the three copies were bit-perfect? Have you checked this? How? If the three copies were not identical (after having removed all metadata and padding blocks) then they were not all three bit perfect!

For the purpose of building a music collection, bit perfectness is mandatory. It is very easy to generate rips that sound better if these are not required to be bit perfect! It follows that sound quality is a very poor indicator of the quality of rips.

Bear in mind that some feel that the way metadata is handled has a sonic effect on the file (and this may explain Naim's methodology here).  I think HFNRR touched on this in one of the editorials a while back; where they felt that a WAV rip with no embedded metadata sounded better than either WAV or FLAC where metadata was embedded.  Where things got really interesting was that if you then stripped out the metadata from the latter, they still didn't sound quite a good as the rip where no metadata had been embedded from the start - so to keep the best sounding file, it had to be kept clean. It was fascinating to read and while I haven't tried such a test myself, it does suggest there's more to it than we may currently full appreciate.  So, I keep an open mind...

Richard, sorry that really is voodoo... akin to say listening standing on your left leg sounds better than  when standing on your right... sure in the limit the listener might be more comfortable standing on their left leg so it sounds ‘better’... but we are in the realms of unconscious and unsubstantiated subjective bias.

Metadata and sample data in RIFF files like WAV are completely separated and decoupled... there is correlation or relation at all.... they are even held in completely different parts of the file riff structure and are read serially.. ie one after the other .. which of course is the whole point of riff files like WAV and AIF.

I really would seriously challenge the credibility of anyone asserts otherwise.... (now particular file readers may have different algorithms or noise profiles reading files with different characteristics, but that is poor reader design and is going to vary from file reader to reader with the best readers being agnostic... and is ultimately nothing to do with meta data in a WAV file at all, and could equally result in WAV files encoded one way sounding different to another, irrespective of meta data for a particular file reader.... but obviously for streamers not even this applies, as the file itself is not streamed....)

Sorry a had to bring a hint of my professionanal audio engineering input here to keep a control on the spirituals and superstitions.

Simon, I'm just saying what has been reported elsewhere. The metadata may well be a red herring, or not. Maybe "voodoo". I don't know. But the piece was certainly an interesting read. My point is that there must be more going on than we currently understand, otherwise how to explain it?

As I say, i haven't tried it myself - it would need a properly managed listening test - but if someone says they think it sounds better to them, who am I to argue with that?

I am not surprised - DB can hear the difference - his system must have forensic resolving capability!!! ...... that S1 preamp is epic... I was surprised that I could hear the difference between non compressed flac and wav......... wav sounding more spacious with better low level detail (on NDS). I have quite a few tracks purchased from Melodishop ......... these are highly compressed flacs - surprisingly they sound pretty good god knows where they have come from - I suspect they are ripped cd's.

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Richard, sorry that really is voodoo... akin to say listening standing on your left leg sounds better than  when standing on your right... sure in the limit the listener might be more comfortable standing on their left leg so it sounds ‘better’... but we are in the realms of unconscious and unsubstantiated subjective bias.

Actually, standing on your left leg will activate the right side of the brain, which is the creative side. Standing on your right leg will active the left side of the brain, which is the analytical. So that could affect how you perceive music.

My gut feeling is - any form of work that is required unpacking - on the fly - is liable to have some form of effect. When I rip CD's I always choose to avoid any form of compression. Hence my surprise - at some of the highly compressed flacs sounding so good ... I also avoid embedded pictures ...... 

It seems to me that a scientific look into this is required - and a standard set - so that when purchasing you know how the format has been compiled......

Metadata might play a part. It's moot here because I have listened to filed ripped on the HDX and the same file ripped on my PC with dBpoweramp and heard no difference. If embedding is  significant, I would have hoped that Naim would have come up with non  embedded FLACs by now, but maybe this is technically impossible.

Richard Dane posted:

Simon, I'm just saying what has been reported elsewhere. The metadata may well be a red herring, or not. Maybe "voodoo".  I don't know. But the piece was certainly an interesting read. My point is that there must be more going on than we currently understand, otherwise how to explain it?

As I say, i haven't tried it myself - it would need a properly managed listening test - but if someone says they think it sounds better to them, who am I to argue with that?

None here has questioned the results reported by DB, to the best of my knowledge. But I certainly have questioned the conclusions that he has drawn from the results. The aim of ripping should be to obtain a faithful copy of the original, not one that most pleases our perceptions. In my view, of course!

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