ND555 Impressions

As someone that knows how good the 552 Pre is and how much outlay it took to improve on it with my S1 Pre I'd personally find the choice hard to make. It is a bit easier if digital is your only source and both items are being purchased at full price - then I'd go for the ND555; but if the 552 was SH in good condition and at a good price - and I had other sources to play then the 552 makes more sense.

There is a reason I spent a lot on the Pre as it really is the heart of the system. I financially bemoan the outlay for S1 Pre, but in terms of music quality on replay it cannot be replaced by a better source alone IMO in my own system. Now given I rate the 552 significantly above the 252 as really great as the latter is - in my 'final' system if 'crazy' Statement stuff is excluded then I will want the 552 eventually too.

But the ND555 is significantly better than NDS IMO and a well set-up and balanced 252-based system should really let it sing and you will not be missing the 552 there - just don't get a home-demo of it or it will spoil that nice state of mind.

...as a general rule only home-demo things you could consider purchasing, as otherwise you are just annoying yourself.

DB.

nigelb posted:

PCD, I note you and Gazza use the ND555 with a 252/SuperCapDR and it seems this pre amp has the transparency to convey the ND555's capabilities, although of course I accept a 552 would extract even more.

This is of interest to me as I currently have a 252DR fronted by NDS/555DR and am demoing separately ND555 and 552 at a dealer, each of these complemented by the source/pre amp in my system - see above.

And then I take ONE of them home.......

Hi Nigel,

You're faced with an almost impossible choice on the day of your demo, speaking as someone who had previously made the move from 252 to 552, and more recently from NDS to ND 555.

 Whichever option you choose, there's no doubt that the remaining outstanding upgrade will benefit hugely from your initial choice, and I can't really advise which should come first, as I can't "unhear" the 552, and imagine how the 252 will sound with the ND 555.

So, this post is of no help to you whatsoever,  ..................... still, it's a nice dilemma to have, and if I were you, I'd probably decide based on which choice is the most beneficial in terms of trade in values.

Certainly, my dealer made me "an offer he can't refuse" on my both my 552 and the NDS, which eased the pain considerably. 

nigelb posted:

It is just that the ND555 appears to be so revealing, I just need to be sure (as I can) that the 252DR isn't holding it back unduly.

Certainly the ND555 will have a lot more to show with a 552, or an S1 pre, than with the 252.  But even with my SN2 I never reached it's limit to show source differences from a bare Naim Dac, to adding an XPS2, to substituting NDS/555.  The 252/ND555 should give you more than 252/NDS; I'm quite certain it will. 

Whether that amount of more is more or less than the more that 552/NDS gives you . . . that's for your test and ears and emotions   And bank account

(And to add to apples vs. oranges, there are gently used 552's around . . . not so much with ND555's. Bang for the buck should be gently used.  Quite nice discounts vs. new are available.)

MangoMonkey posted:

@NigelB - Give a choice between the ND555 and the 552 I would choose the 552. 5 years down the road, I expect the ND555 to be superceded. The 552 less so.

That was exactly my thinking when I tried an NDX2/555 ps.....with 552, I can only lose £5k max, and another streamer will be along anyway. The difference was too big, the ND555/252 won easily, and I might not make another 5 years, life is too short. Nigel will listen and make the best decision for his circumstances.

Thank you all for your comments and apologies to the OP for the diversion.

As you all say the next step is for me to listen to the two options next week at my dealer and decide on one for home demo.

I will start a new topic thread next week after my dealer demo so I don't divert this thread further.

Cheers.

nigelb posted:

Bart, I didn't realise you too run a ND555 with as 252, so I can see where you are coming from, and I too have always erred on the side of source first.

It is just that the ND555 appears to be so revealing, I just need to be sure (as I can) that the 252DR isn't holding it back unduly. From the comments from you ND555/252 (and CD555/252) users it appears this is not the case. But of course you could also argue that the NDS/PS555DR could hold the 552 back. It does have to be either the ND555 or 552 first but hopefully the other will follow in due course.

The other thing I have to consider is that pre-loved 552s are rare (I always buy pre-loved from my trusted dealer where possible) so it may also be a somewhat pragmatic choice initially.

I think source first has always given a person the best sound quality . 

I found that in the older generation streaming products the weak link wasn't actually the DAC, but the streamer.

For instance on an UQ, from the internal streaming, the music sounds a big congested, but the moment a Linn or Auralic stream is connected the performance (to my ears) get a lot less congested and more enjoyable.

So I suppose the new generation of streamers will sound a lot better.

I can't see how a 552 can solve this problem. If I had an NDS, I would either upgrade to a ND555, at at the very least, buy another streaming product and output that into the NDS.

a pre cannot solve problems with the source.

I also found a 172 more than capable of showing me the huge upgrade from a Chord Hugo TT to a Chord Dave, and I spent my budget on upgrading the source, while keeping my 282 and Hicap DR.

Source first for me. a preamp cannot add back what isn't there from the streamer/DAC.

Bert Schurink posted:
Bob green posted:

Hi Bert,how long has burn in been now in hours,i’ve Clocked up 75 hours so far,l know l’ve got more to go though.regards bob.

It’s difficult to estimate but I would assume close to 200 or just over 200 hours of run time.

I clocked the run in hours on my Nova that I bought on the 1st of September, I left it running all day while at work for a few weeks but it was between 400 and 500 hours before it settled, the bass was definitely varying but finally firmed up nicely around 400, I’m sure every device will be different though and maybe some changes are merely perception and accustomising to the sound perhaps

My experience is a b it different, to other posters, on first connection (5 weeks ago) the ND555 was wonderful far exceeding the NDS, but I have not detected much change since. Possibly a bit confusing as I still play me vinyl system, which I would say is still ahead of streaming, albeit to a lesser extent than with the NDS.

GerryMcg posted:

My experience is a b it different, to other posters, on first connection (5 weeks ago) the ND555 was wonderful far exceeding the NDS, but I have not detected much change since. Possibly a bit confusing as I still play me vinyl system, which I would say is still ahead of streaming, albeit to a lesser extent than with the NDS.

Be prepared for some additional quality at a certain po8nt, I also had the feeling it stayed relatively stable for a while, now I git a big jump.

Some of the burn in times quoted suggest the equipment is not being played continuously. 17 days would achieve 400 hours. Personally I think Naim equipment takes a very very long time but it is worth it. The difficult issue is whether the system is being held back by setup, something to do with speakers/room etc.

After 6 months with a 252 (282 before + SCDR)  and 555PS (XPSDR before) into nDAC I’m just beginning to be in a really nice place. The weird thing was that the 252 was used for about 6 months before I bought it (the previous owner went up to 552+500).

Filipe posted:

Some of the burn in times quoted suggest the equipment is not being played continuously. 17 days would achieve 400 hours. Personally I think Naim equipment takes a very very long time but it is worth it. The difficult issue is whether the system is being held back by setup, something to do with speakers/room etc.

After 6 months with a 252 (282 before + SCDR)  and 555PS (XPSDR before) into nDAC I’m just beginning to be in a really nice place. The weird thing was that the 252 was used for about 6 months before I bought it (the previous owner went up to 552+500).

The thought of a repeat burn-in phase doesn't sound particularly inviting. However, I do find that if my pre-amp is turned off for any extended period, such as a weekend, then it'll take around 7-8 days of warm-up before it's truly on song again. Maybe you've been experiencing something similar, which you're mistaking for burn-in.

Clive B posted:
Filipe posted:

Some of the burn in times quoted suggest the equipment is not being played continuously. 17 days would achieve 400 hours. Personally I think Naim equipment takes a very very long time but it is worth it. The difficult issue is whether the system is being held back by setup, something to do with speakers/room etc.

After 6 months with a 252 (282 before + SCDR)  and 555PS (XPSDR before) into nDAC I’m just beginning to be in a really nice place. The weird thing was that the 252 was used for about 6 months before I bought it (the previous owner went up to 552+500).

The thought of a repeat burn-in phase doesn't sound particularly inviting. However, I do find that if my pre-amp is turned off for any extended period, such as a weekend, then it'll take around 7-8 days of warm-up before it's truly on song again. Maybe you've been experiencing something similar, which you're mistaking for burn-in.

Clive, Never turn mine off even though abroad for 5 weeks recently. My wife used it for TV sound! As others say it can take a long long time. The difference after a lengthy period of not listening is that there is magic and excitement in the music whether CD or vinyl. I don’t think it was fatigue either. I’m very happy, but patience seems to be needed.

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

The Strat (Fender) posted:

Mango is correct.   It should be remembered that when the 552 was first introduced the CDS3 was Naim’s top source.  

It's a zero-sum game to me; every streamer will be replaced in the line as time goes on.  We just end up listening to less than we could whilst waiting.  The fact that analog pre-amps aren't on the same cycle is a shame; too bad for us consumers that development has stopped.  It surely cannot be because 'we can't get any better.' (Reminds me of the gent who wanted to close the Patent Office in 1899 because "everything that can be invented has been invented.")

Preamps have been developed. Unfortunately or fortunately depending how you look at it, the S1 was needed to better the 552 and others. The DR upgrades also took the preamp power supplies to another level. There has been a lot of discussion, most negative, on developing a digital preamp. Naim will jump in when they can move it up a significant notch. There are many have a 552 and have heard an S1, it’s better, but they cannot afford, or it’s not big enough a difference. IMO , it needs a Naim breakthrough, It will take time.

Filipe posted:

Some of the burn in times quoted suggest the equipment is not being played continuously. 17 days would achieve 400 hours. Personally I think Naim equipment takes a very very long time but it is worth it. The difficult issue is whether the system is being held back by setup, something to do with speakers/room etc.

After 6 months with a 252 (282 before + SCDR)  and 555PS (XPSDR before) into nDAC I’m just beginning to be in a really nice place. The weird thing was that the 252 was used for about 6 months before I bought it (the previous owner went up to 552+500).

I think full burn in of ND555 exceeds 500 hours . Judging from playing continuously for close to a month . Could be 600 hours . Mine is no longer changing in sound . For awhile it was a roller coaster in SQ like Darke Bear reported . 

Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Brain burn in ! What BS . The “we get use to the sound theory”.... does not fly .  You would not have the roller coaster sound quality Darke Bear talks about if it was as simple as getting use to the sound . It changes too much .  My ND555 changed in SQ like his did , and eventually  evened out . Sounds much better than on the first day I played it.  The ups and downs in SQ are no longer there . 

Filipe posted:

Some of the burn in times quoted suggest the equipment is not being played continuously. 17 days would achieve 400 hours. Personally I think Naim equipment takes a very very long time but it is worth it. The difficult issue is whether the system is being held back by setup, something to do with speakers/room etc.

After 6 months with a 252 (282 before + SCDR)  and 555PS (XPSDR before) into nDAC I’m just beginning to be in a really nice place. The weird thing was that the 252 was used for about 6 months before I bought it (the previous owner went up to 552+500).

I haven’t done this speed burn in, I just went for the normal one. I only did after some time a speed burn in for my Sony Walkman. Something to consider for whenever I have a next upgrade, f.i. Of 500Dr.

Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Quite agree. If the system is performing the music should draw you in and help get rid of all the stresses of modern life. I choose music to get me to an emotional place I want to be in. It’s very noticeable when you don’t find that place. Very noticeable in burn in periods.

Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

Apologies I find this difficult to answer as I am not playing in direct mode and as I pretty happy with the shielding the Melco provides to general network noise. While I have ensured that I did all the rest of the running of the Melco to ensure it sounds best. And I realized everything helped, like led’s, visibility of the Melco by other devices on the network....

So I hope somebody else can provide a feasible answer to the question.

Bert Schurink posted:
French Rooster posted:

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

Apologies I find this difficult to answer as I am not playing in direct mode and as I pretty happy with the shielding the Melco provides to general network noise. While I have ensured that I did all the rest of the running of the Melco to ensure it sounds best. And I realized everything helped, like led’s, visibility of the Melco by other devices on the network....

So I hope somebody else can provide a feasible answer to the question.

Hi!

My question was rather if there is any use of putting a Cisco 2960 in front of the Melco NAS since the Melco already have a switch ”built in”. Will there be any improvement in SQ with this ”switch before switch solution”?

I have heard from a few sources that a high quality switch close to the hifi-system will be beneficial, probably even with a Melco NAS. I was wondering if anybody have tested or am using this solution?

I actually never tried “direct mode” but guess that I should… 

/Marcus

To instead try to contribute to this topic I could mention that my ND555 arrived last Wednesday (13 days ago). I have left it playing constantly and have accumulated >300h by now. It really sounds wonderful!

Every record I’m playing is sounding so good and so much better than it did with the NDS. I haven’t found a single song where I would have preferred the NDS. The ND555 just makes the music so enjoyable. 

I have followed this topic and was (during my 6 week wait for my own ND555) planning to contribute after its arrival. The problem is that I have had problems doing anything else but rediscovering my record collection 

/Marcus

Bert Schurink posted:
French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

Apologies I find this difficult to answer as I am not playing in direct mode and as I pretty happy with the shielding the Melco provides to general network noise. While I have ensured that I did all the rest of the running of the Melco to ensure it sounds best. And I realized everything helped, like led’s, visibility of the Melco by other devices on the network....

So I hope somebody else can provide a feasible answer to the question.

Bert, if i understand well, your nd555 is not connected to the ethernet switch of the melco ?

sorry for my confusion.    

French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

Apologies I find this difficult to answer as I am not playing in direct mode and as I pretty happy with the shielding the Melco provides to general network noise. While I have ensured that I did all the rest of the running of the Melco to ensure it sounds best. And I realized everything helped, like led’s, visibility of the Melco by other devices on the network....

So I hope somebody else can provide a feasible answer to the question.

Bert, if i understand well, your nd555 is not connected to the ethernet switch of the melco ?

sorry for my confusion.    

Perhaps it depends on the quality of the implementation of the physical layer of the Melco. Seem to remember a well known member talking about that in connection with the Cisco.

The Melco is an Ethernet switch, with a built-in music database. There seems to be a lot of confusion about this as it is a unique device in this respect. So instead of having two boxes for NAS and switch they are together in a single box that has two Ethernet ports - a 'noisy' one to connect to the house network and Router and a 'quiet' one to connect to the ND555.

I use a Cisco switch upstream between my Melco and my House router to further segment my network and allow me to run my iPad via Ethernet into that switch. It may not matter and at some point I may try removing the switch and just using the Router direct, but it seemed like a good idea to add another level of isolation - and it sounds good as I have it so tempted to leave it.

You would never use a separate switch box between the Melco and the ND555 without totally missing the point of the Melco. I talked to the Designer and he said that he could hear and measure the impairment of using more than a three meters of Ethernet (actually a lot less I think) between Melco and DAC/Streamer device. I use less than a meter of Ethernet (about two feet) between the Melco and ND555 and I use cheap CAT5.

I was advised by the Designer to use CAT7 of reasonable quality and beware some 'special' cables that were not necessarily better. I've not done that yet and that is in the future to try, as the sonic signature I have now I really want to retain and the cheap CAT5 gave a big easy sound-stage without any glare or brightness that I found the fancy Ethernet gave. Systems are different and others may get different results - I hope there is more to come with better cables but for now I'm very happy.

It is so easy for people to go for a bright, clear presentation that removes all low-level detail. When I played with my Melco I found turning all the light options off in turn each sounded better - except the 'file-sharing' option not being turned-off gave better results for me. Turning this off was meant to be better - it does sound different - but I found I became more unhappy with the performance and putting it on again returned low-level acoustic info that was somehow removed.

Try all these things yourself and do not just presume anyone else has it correct to your taste - me included!

DB.

French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
French Rooster posted:
Bert Schurink posted:
Halloween Man posted:

Brain burn in or gear burn in? I suspect it’s more our brains getting used to the sound. If a new product doesn’t sound good after a few days then I would reject it. In fact I’d be concerned if it sounded any less than superb new out of the box. My speakers and amp sounded wonderful from new.

I can understand an hour or two for warm up but can’t understand any more than that.

Sometimes we might want to like a product more than we actually do. I know I’ve been guilty of that.

Like others have said. The brain burn in aspect is only limited, most of it is real burn in. 

Bert, Marcus, in “cisco 2960 , which model to buy “ thread, has a question:  he uses the nd555 and melco in direct mode, and wants to know if it is beneficial to use the cisco before the melco, in that situation.  Perhaps you can answer him.  I am curious too.    Thanks.

Apologies I find this difficult to answer as I am not playing in direct mode and as I pretty happy with the shielding the Melco provides to general network noise. While I have ensured that I did all the rest of the running of the Melco to ensure it sounds best. And I realized everything helped, like led’s, visibility of the Melco by other devices on the network....

So I hope somebody else can provide a feasible answer to the question.

Bert, if i understand well, your nd555 is not connected to the ethernet switch of the melco ?

sorry for my confusion.    

It’s exactly like DB described in a much more detail. I have the noisy connection with network connected to the intended noisy port of the Melco. And I have my ND555 connected to the other Ethernet port of the Melco. I have switched off all potential noise bringers including file sharing. And I also have a short Ethernet connection between Melco and ND555, I use the Audioquest Vodka on that. And I might test the Chord Music at some point in time for that connection.

I apologize if I didn’t answer precise enough in the first answer. I am not so in the details of the way network connection are implemented.

French Rooster posted:

so, with a melco, a cisco switch is useless?   a simple switch or router is enough to connect the melco.  The nd555 is connected to the melco.

The Melco has its own dedicated built-in Ethernet switch and manages priority for music data transfer to the 'quiet' Ethernet output port connecting by a single wire to the ND555. As an engineering solution - if you are going to use Ethernet to connect to the ND555 - then it has a lot to be said for it over assembling multiple devices not intended to meet any particular HiFi performance criteria.

Cisco is not useless, just not required and superfluous here. If inserted between the Melco and ND555 then it will not add anything useful and only defeat the intent of the Melco design, which was to have a low-noise HiFi switch inside a low-noise HiFi music database.

I'm not saying that Melco are the only way to go - other solutions connecting other commercial Ethernet equipment also works too. But if you have auditioned the ND555 with a variety of ways to implement the overall solution and chosen a particular one for musical performance reasons it is hopefully fair to discuss it and answer any questions about it without having to defend 'why' you chose this solution.

From an engineering solution perspective, if the Ethernet is removed from any noisy commercial implementation it is a balanced twisted-wire transmission line way of connecting equipment. The ND555 seems to benefit from reduced noise on its digital input - you don't have to operate it that way but it does sound better to me when you do.

DB.

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