Replacement for n-DAC/555PS, suggestions ?

Looking at my source now for possible upgrade. Happy, very happy with the rest - 252/SCDR/300DR/ProAc D48R and SL DINtoDIN I/C , 4m of SL Speaker Cable. To upgrade to either a 5552/500 is way out of reach for me now and possible forever.

Which leaves open the source side. HDX /n-DAC/555PS -non DR. TBH I am happy with it, but you always wonder what if ........ I guess.

Budget wise I can either keep 5555PS and do the DR upgrade , sell the n-DAC/555PS and keep HDX , sell n-DAC & keep 555PS and look at the new NDX2.

Or another out of the box move is sell all the front end and go CD player only. So looking at doing Audio Research CD6 as a start.

Possibly the Chord DSX 1000 as an option and keep HDX ? I did think about the Chord DAVE DAC but it is now off due to extreme cost where I live.  NSD is off the option list due to price and the fact I need the 555PS and that will keep trade in prices too low for me.

Any other CDP / streamers / DAC that I should be doing a demo of a possible replacement for n-DAC /555PS . Or is this really still the real deal and I am wasting my time without spending big $$$$$$ to find better ?

Best,

Peter

Original Post

I have the same boxes albeit with 555 DR PS. I use the CDX2 as a transport. As a new 252 owner and having tried the 552, I can say I am truly over the moon. I have had to work very hard to get the setup right, but it is delivering results. If you are not wowed then work on setup. I also have the SL DIN to XLR and Focal Sopra 2s. I also found the BNC between nDAC and CDX2 to have a effect on SQ. Chord Clearway Digital has won over DC1 after very long 5 month demo. 

Phil

Phil, looking into a replacement for the DC1 as well, it does appear to be up for a change. Always wondered about DR’ing my 555PS as well. I’ll try a DC1 replacement now and see if that is all I want/need.

Don’t want to upgrade in haste and be left with a source that won’t gel with the rest of my kit.

Filipe, interesting I found the CDX2 mk1 sounded quite special into the 252, so curious you use the NDAC, sure it’s a different presentation despite using the same DAC chips... but I find the DAC, DSP, analogue filter stages of the CDX2 really something very special and rather unique sounding... perhaps you can set up a choice of analogue inputs (CDX2/NDAC) on the 252 to suit content.... The CDX2 as a disc transport is going bypass 80% of what makes the CDX2 special... 

I had that front end and ran it for some years with the HDX. For me, the NDS was a significant upgrade, with the added advantage that I already had a well run in 555PS. It is still my favourite streamer/dac and gives me as much enjoyment today as it did when it arrived. I have added a second 555PS.  I can think of only one reason to consider upgrading it.

Peter, I replaced my NDAC/555PS with a Hugo (mk1) DAC with Hiline fed by NDX. Into my then 252 and now my 552 I find it absolutely sublime (listening to PJ Harvey Let England Shake as I type.. and it’s so enjoyably emotionally intense)  and I can feel no reason to upgrade it... I am curious and have listened to various new DACs and Streamers (network DACs) and nothing has moved me to change so far...

One esteemed member of this forum calls it his little mistress... and I think that’s quite apt...

I also replaced a NDAC/XPS with a Hugo (mk1) (into 252/300) and much prefer the sound. It's still not as good as my analogue record deck to be fair but the Hugo is the closest I've heard so far. Clearly worth trying out the new Naim streamers and also the latest generation Chord range. I'd also suggest playing with cabling. I switched to the Chord Signature Super Array digital cable which added a further dose of 'live' to the sound in my system (more 'micro details'). 

Can you get a demo of a 555PSDR to see if this gives you a performance lift that would justify the outlay?

A few years back I preferred the non DR 555PS on my nDAC but that was before I had other DR components in the system. Later my opinion reversed and I now appreciate what the DR version of the 555PS brings over the non-DR. Since your pre and power has DR, trying the 555SPDR is very worthwhile in my view.

And just to provide a slightly different view to some of the earlier ones you've had, I had a demo of the NDS/555PSDR against my nDAC/555PSDR and preferred the latter. That was both using the NDS as a straight replacement for the nDAC being fed by a CDX2.2/XP5XS, and using the NDS as a streamer being fed the same material ripped to a Unitiserve. You might hear things differently.

Of course the NDX2 and ND555 might be a game-changer but, as always, important to listen before committing.  

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi, if you like the Hugo, be interested in your thoughts on the later Chord offerings... nothing has bettered the Hugo other than possibly DAVE, but even there not by much to my ears, certainly with an extended listen once you are beyond initial presentation differences. (Specifically referring to 16/44.1/2)

Unfortunately I've yet to hear the new Chord Dacs with higher 'taps'. They get good write-ups in the 'mags' but neither the Qutest or the Hugo II has a standard coaxial input. No doubt a new Hugo TT will be out soon and might meet my need for that (as will the Dave II). Practically however I'm content with the sound of the Hugo Mk1 and I think I'll wait for the third generation to arrive which will supplant this year's new models in due course and have, I assume, even more 'taps'. I did read of one Naim user who found the newer Chord Dacs to have lost some of the 'magic' in terms of synergy with Naim (becoming too smooth). But, apologies, I can't comment personally. Hopefully someone can...

whsturm posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi, if you like the Hugo, be interested in your thoughts on the later Chord offerings... nothing has bettered the Hugo other than possibly DAVE, but even there not by much to my ears, certainly with an extended listen once you are beyond initial presentation differences. (Specifically referring to 16/44.1/2)

Unfortunately I've yet to hear the new Chord Dacs with higher 'taps'. They get good write-ups in the 'mags' but neither the Qutest or the Hugo II has a standard coaxial input. No doubt a new Hugo TT will be out soon and might meet my need for that (as will the Dave II). Practically however I'm content with the sound of the Hugo Mk1 and I think I'll wait for the third generation to arrive which will supplant this year's new models in due course and have, I assume, even more 'taps'. I did read of one Naim user who found the newer Chord Dacs to have lost some of the 'magic' in terms of synergy with Naim (becoming too smooth). But, apologies, I can't comment personally. Hopefully someone can...

I think the Hugo TT 2 is being presented at Munich Hifi show this weekend. Coming originally from near Hamburg I was never keen on Munich, but I would have liked a trip to Bavaria this weekend... 

Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Filipe, interesting I found the CDX2 mk1 sounded quite special into the 252, so curious you use the NDAC, sure it’s a different presentation despite using the same DAC chips... but I find the DAC, DSP, analogue filter stages of the CDX2 really something very special and rather unique sounding... perhaps you can set up a choice of analogue inputs (CDX2/NDAC) on the 252 to suit content.... The CDX2 as a disc transport is going bypass 80% of what makes the CDX2 special... 

Simon, It’s just a matter of convenience because I really enjoy listening to the tv and associated av stuff through the nDAC. Even with AQ Forrest toslink it sounds really really good, and I can use the tv’s media player to stream from the NAS.

I’ve had a dose of fiddling since before Christmas, and did enjoy the CDX2 with the then XPSDR I had but I did not put the SL IC on to make a fair comparison. There was always the doubt that it might takes weeks or months for the CDX2 analogue output to come on song. Maybe I will give it another go sometime, but I’m really really enjoying the 252 etc. It forced me to sort my HiFi Racks changing to medium and long legs and Naim glass, cups and balls for isolation shelves. That changed the 252 from unbearable to what it is now, which gives great music enjoyment. I don’t feel the need for a 552 which I demoed for nearly 4 weeks without the isolation shelves, and after a four month demo of the 252 I bought it. I’m a great believer in getting the setup right.

Simon, I can appreciate what you say about the full CDX2 sound. I will do that change if/when I tire of the current configuration. I recall you and I agree with you that the PS 555 DR makes the nDAC something  special, and so it should be with such a costly PS! 

I hope the OP discovers how to get the same enjoyment I now have from his very similar system.

Phil

 

whsturm posted:
Simon-in-Suffolk posted:

Hi, if you like the Hugo, be interested in your thoughts on the later Chord offerings... nothing has bettered the Hugo other than possibly DAVE, but even there not by much to my ears, certainly with an extended listen once you are beyond initial presentation differences. (Specifically referring to 16/44.1/2)

Unfortunately I've yet to hear the new Chord Dacs with higher 'taps'. They get good write-ups in the 'mags' but neither the Qutest or the Hugo II has a standard coaxial input. No doubt a new Hugo TT will be out soon and might meet my need for that (as will the Dave II). Practically however I'm content with the sound of the Hugo Mk1 and I think I'll wait for the third generation to arrive which will supplant this year's new models in due course and have, I assume, even more 'taps'. I did read of one Naim user who found the newer Chord Dacs to have lost some of the 'magic' in terms of synergy with Naim (becoming too smooth). But, apologies, I can't comment personally. Hopefully someone can...

There will not be a Dave 2 for a while, if indeed at all.

I've compared the Hugo 1 with Dave in the same system a number of times.

Dave has a much bigger soundstage, especially in 3D (Depth) and has considerably more extension - especially in the bass.

It's also more refined, and and more musical than Hugo 1.

Hugo TT2, though, who knows....

If it ain’t broke.......

However if you are moving on from HDX you will have to consider where to hold your rips and this opens the whole world of something like Roon to you. 

I have never heard better sound from my system than I am getting from a HoloAUDIO Spring DAC fed through an ultraRendu. (The highest Naim source I had was the CD555 hobbled with only on 555PS!). Now this does involve over / upsampling to DSD512 but Roon makes this easy. 

I also have a Chord Hugo TT and the HoloAUDIO Spring just sounds  more organic, with a much wider soundstage. DSD oversampling seems to remove , what I suppose we often refer to as,  “digital” artefacts. 

There are so many choices for a digital front end nowadays, you owe it to yourself not to just limit your horizons to Naim and Chord.

.sjb

 

 

but HDX guarantees perfect rips and a very good transport.

I'd say at this stage I would not bother a change unless getting the reference CORE and waiting for NDX2 to be auditioned too.

Of course 555 could be dr'ed but that stands entirely  on the OP  will.

I would do nothing at all, but that's me.

crackie posted:

Phil, looking into a replacement for the DC1 as well, it does appear to be up for a change. Always wondered about DR’ing my 555PS as well. I’ll try a DC1 replacement now and see if that is all I want/need.

Don’t want to upgrade in haste and be left with a source that won’t gel with the rest of my kit.

Crackle, That is a good step to make. The kit has the potential, if it’s setup optimally. I think I saw you had Powerline, and I got improvement with one on the SuperCap DR.

Phil

You already have a great system. But if you want to change, follow sjb‘s advice and get Roon. It will completely change the way you control your listening. You can run Roon on any decent computer with SSD drive on your network. From there my recommendation is to get hold of the new Metrum Ambre (audiophile Roon bridge), connect its input to your network and its AES output to a Metrum Onyx DAC or, even better, its i2s output (using UTP cable) to a Metrum Pavane Level 3 DAC with i2s board (alternatively AES is almost as good). Connect that to your 252. This will set you back about €4,000 to €7,500 new (incl. a Roon lifetime licence but not incl. computer), depending on which DAC you choose. Download the Roon app to your tablet and rediscover your music.

I'd wait for the NDX2 to replace your HDX/nDAC and store your tunes on a NAS (If you want to use UPNP/Naim app) or a Roon Core/NAS if you want to control via Roon.

Roon transformed my digital library and use for it and would not consider any streaming solution that did not include it.

Should be plenty of NDS’s on the used market soon. I went from NDX, NDac, 555 non dr to NDS /555 non dr (contemplating the dr upgrade as we speak) and found  it a decent step up, akin  to my old cdx CD player  to cds2 (ish). 

Personally I like a hassle free set up and an  all naim system gives me that peace of mind.

Given the options and the likelihood of dealers getting a supply of used NDS’s definitely worth getting some time with a good dealer.

Gary

 

crackie posted:

Phil, looking into a replacement for the DC1 as well, it does appear to be up for a change. Always wondered about DR’ing my 555PS as well. I’ll try a DC1 replacement now and see if that is all I want/need.

Don’t want to upgrade in haste and be left with a source that won’t gel with the rest of my kit.

I have the same front end and enjoyed better timing and clearer sound replacing the DC1 with a custom eBay video cable.  Nice improvement for little cash.

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