Post firmware update SQ controversy.

DaveBk posted:
Graham Clarke posted:

Updated my NDS via min-USB using a Win 10 laptop and didn't like the SQ.  Big reduction in bass extension with the mid range being more prominent.  Now, if we could have the mid range changes plus the bass from FW v4.4 that would be ideal! 

However I would be very surprised if the updating device played any part on this.  I would expect the firmware in the NDS to do a checksum of the uploaded data to ensure data integrity before applying it.  Then given that this is 100% in the digital domain where timing, noise, D to A conversions are not relevant (to update process) either the file is correct and can be applied or it can't.

I hear yanny, clearly must be down to the ethernet cable attaching my MusoQB to the network ;-)

Hi Graham, It was good to come over last night and hear your system on 4.4 and 4.6. As we discussed at the end of the evening, there is an audible difference in presentation between the two versions, but whether this is good, bad or just different is the challenging question.

On London Grammar, Hey Now, I think 4.6 better resolved the lowest bass tones, but the mid bass was a little more repressed. This was also a feature on the Led Zeppelin track, where the more repressed mid bass, gave the impression of less bass impact.  (or perhaps this was just a more balanced, controlled bass presentation depending on your perspective?) 4.6 did impact the high vocals on this track and made them sound a little too 'screechy', but as the other version of the same track we listened to was better in this respect, I wonder whether 4.6 just highlighted that the levels had been pushed a bit too high on the first version and had caused some clipping? The Florence and the Machine and Lindsey Stirling tracks sounded fine to me on both 4.4 and 4.6, but I think 4.6 had the edge in terms of resolution and detail at the top.

Overall, my impression of 4.6 was positive, but as we discussed I have had a little more time to adapt to the new sound signature, so how much of this is just down to what we have become accustomed to is an interesting question.

So, no great revelations to inform the mystery, other than that we all hear things a little differently, and what you like is often what you are used to. I hear Yanny...

And thanks to you and Debs for the chips and dips!

Dave.

Great to see you again Dave.  I've left 4.6 on my NDS and will leave it there for around a month and will then go back to 4.4 to see which I prefer.

However further listening last night made me feel that it sounded somewhat emotionless, so that's not a good start!

Deb and I forced ourselves to finish off the remains of the chips and dips last night

Jonn posted:

NDS using ASUS notebook with Windows 7. Found v4.6 altered the balance (midrange too prominent) and soundstage too wide and diffuse. More detail but less engagement. Back to v4.4 which I find much more engaging and much better balance across frequency range.

 4.4 is much better balanced to my ears also. 

For Nova users, I wonder if ‘max volume’ setting has any impact on this?  Just musing after reading tons of stuff on this issue.  I too have noticed lower mid- bass  volume after the upgrade, but I have powered full range speakers so can just adjust a little up on the bass.  I have not noticed any screechiness, but I’m a “Laurel” anyway awith some hearing damage in mid-higher frequencies.

Hanover33 posted:

For Nova users, I wonder if ‘max volume’ setting has any impact on this?  Just musing after reading tons of stuff on this issue.  I too have noticed lower mid- bass  volume after the upgrade, but I have powered full range speakers so can just adjust a little up on the bass.  I have not noticed any screechiness, but I’m a “Laurel” anyway awith some hearing damage in mid-higher frequencies.

I don't think the max volume setting is the issue in most cases, but it's worth remembering that a factory reset reverts it back to 85/100 so if comparing 2 firmwares probably best to do it at that 85/100 level if you intend to factory reset or at least ensure both are comparable.  The slight issue is that with current Naim app you cannot adjust max volume or balance on older firmware such as 2.3, so if you intend to fiddle with max vol you need to do it on 2.6 and not factory reset between firmware changes (or use old app I suspect with 2.3 if you still had it).

I think Phil Harris posted some time ago that this max vol setting has no effect on sound quality.

The screechy comments I think relate to what I personally found to be a very forward 'in your face' harshness or thin sound to female vocals that previously sounded lovely.  I think I commented that Carol Kidd sounded 20-30 years older on 2.6 for example, and instead of sounding 'in her prime' she sounded almost frail.

Just for the statistics, I went back to 4.4. on my NDS.

I tried really hard with 4.6. (multible installs, factory reset, moving Speakers, tried to get used to it ...) and got to a point that it seems ok for me.

Then it just tried one more time the 4.4. version. It was like a releave. It sounded more right to me and emotion was back in spades.
Naim really has to look into this.

I have upgraded My Atom over the air with the iOS app and downgraded with a Mac. I have also upgraded directly from the Atom and downgraded with the same Mac.

I've also done this so many times with resets and no resets,  always resulting with the upgrade firmware's sound which I found unbearable to listen to for any longer than 15 minutes at a time. Conversely the downgrade firmware's sound resulted in the return to the enjoyable sound I have come to love.

I have also repositioned speakers and also moved the whole setup into a different room with pretty much the same results. The only satisfaction I've had is to return to the 2.3 firmware and wait. I have resigned myself to lack of the supposed multiroom functionality until the 2.6.1 firmware release.

However a word of caution that firmware or any future update may not necessarily be reversible given Phill Harris's comments in another thread. Naim's original response when asked if a downgrade was possible was "NO". It subsequently transpired there was a possibility to downgrade but that wouldn't always be the case.

I just cannot believe irrespective of like or dislike of the firmware sound that people are so nonchalant that Naim knowingly changed the sound without warning and your permission. This is not a cheap piece of kit and in my case was purchased for its reputation, Naim sound and what I liked about it at the audition. 

Little did I know I was buying a system who's sound I specifically choose, could be changed at will by the manufacturer through an firmware update and I may very well not like the results and have no way to revert it back.

When the wider Audiophile community get to hear of this .... the damage to Naim's reputation will be immeasurable. 

 

I bought my Uniti2 and Focal 926's as apparently the 926's were voiced to work with the Uniti2 - and very happy I have been with the system until the 4.6 update. I'm now presuming that if they were to voice the 926's again they'd tone down the treble and bring up the midrange to suit the new software voicing.

As it currently is I am unable to turn the system up anymore as the treble just becomes impossible to listen to. As a soundbar it works great with my TV, but then I needn't have spent thousands of pounds to achieve the same effect if I just wanted a soundbar.

First I sought assistance in installing the update. Had all the Mac problems described in the umpteen posts. Unfortunately I missed the advice to use the drivers from the 4.4 install. Naim assistance suggested I obtain a PC (honestly. Whilst attempting to be helpful, I am somewhat underwhelmed at the technical savvy of Naim tech dept.). 

4.6 installed from a PC. Sounded, hmmm, not an improvement. A little grating and flat, early CD-like.

Factory Reset. Oh, I did not want to do that. I had tweaked my remote control, and lost the link to the tweaks (anybody who can direct me to the page of alternatives, please). But the sound quality. I did the reset. After a worrying couple of minutes when all the screen showed was "Analogue", I discovered the UQ2 responded to the Android App, but no such luck with the remote control. Another call to Naim: "We don't know the key sequence to reset the remote control, we'll get back to you." I found the post on here with: "Turn off the UQ2. Turn on after 20 seconds  and press Aux, i and 5 buttons simultaneously once the logo shows." That worked.

I called Naim and thanked them for their responses and updated them as to how I had actually resolved the issues.

Bottom line:

(1) Naim digital products lack coherent software support. The guy was nice on the phone but the level of competence presented was disconcerting. The support for OSX on this update is woeful. 

(2) 4.6 AND the Factory Reset definitely improved sound quality. I prefer the sound now to prior to the update.

(3) UPnP access from the UQ2 is an order of magnitude faster and, finally, bug free. I've not seen other comments on this change. I am using LMS on a Mac Mini (late 2012), wired to the same switcher as the UQ2.

 (4) I had no idea, where to post this. There have been so many posts on the 4.6 update.

Richard

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