The 4.6 verdict

Well, it is now a week since I updated my NDX to use the new 4.6 firmware. My principle purpose was to try and improve the stuttering I had on TIDAL and I didn't expect anything else. The playback through TIDAL is vastly improved. There, post done. WAIT there's more.

What I didn't expect from the description was any noticeable change in sound quality. I don't have a multi-room system (would that I could afford such a luxury!) but I do have quite a good main music system, which includes an NDX.

What I found after the first few albums was that the bass was tighter and more "tuneful". Then I noticed higher resolution. This became apparent almost immediately because my music room is next door to my Mother In Law's bedroom and I usually have to either use headphones or listen at painfully low levels so as not to disturb her. I was reading a book and kept having my attention drawn to whatever I was playing. The instruments and the singers were literally leaping out of the speakers into the room. It was uncanny. At this very moment I am listening to K. D Lang's "Hymns of the 49th Parallel" on UpNP server (minim server - rendered to WAV) and the piano in Hallelujah has this wonderful dynamic presentation, the loud and quiet passages are rendered more noticeably. K.D.'s voice and her exquisite control of the pacing and phrasing is there to hear. In a way that I have never noticed before. A couple of days ago it was Imogen Heap and her Ellipse album on TIDAL. Again the sense of her being in the room was remarkable. At some points it made the hair on my arms stand up. I have listened to E. Power Biggs playing Handel, the bizarre and ultimately rewarding Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's "The Kid", Dami Im's new album "I Hear a Song" and Ryan Teagues "Block Boundaries". Every album is surrendering new details and expression that I have never heard before.

For those of you as ancient as me it is equivalent to the first time I put a moving coil cartridge on my turntable: I am rushing to listen to old favourites and new music to see what it sounds like now! In some cases I am discovering that they aren't as well recorded as I thought (Scartaglen's "This Nights Fun" was  closed in and you could hear each microphone feed was in a separate acoustic) others are better than I ever suspected.

This upgrade was extremely painful to load (see my recent posts on the issue) but it was well worth the effort. Here is the magic of digital audio: a simple firmware upgrade is like a multi-thousand dollar improvement in your system.

My advice: If you can't load the firmware after an hour of effort, simply take your gear to your dealer and offer them $20 or something to do it for you. It is well worth the effort.

Original Post

I am glad others are hearing such a significant uplift in SQ from 4.6 as I am. I was beginning to think something else was up with my system or listening environment pre 4.6.

I am listening to Leonard Cohen Popular Problems and it is quite stunning. Every single lyric is not only intelligible but also the enunciation and inflection of every word is now laid bare. This now makes complete sense of each and every track.

It is quite amazing what some updating of DSP code can do for SQ (and some other tweaking within 4.6 no doubt). While I was attending to cables, racking, power supplies, speaker positioning, Naim were quietly working on the DSP code for my NDS which has blown away any incremental improvement I could attain from adding a big ol' power supply for my NDS and tweaking cables, although these have probably 'facilitated' some of the improvement from 4.6.

After 1 week with 4.6 firmware (and factory reset), I decided to go back to 4.4 with NDS. The 4.6 brings improvements on bass and also more details in the upper part. But the global results is more punch, more nerve, and a tiring sensation after 1 hour of listening, even after a repositioning of speakers. With 4.4, listening is more relaxed and less « hi fi ». I am among the few NDS owners prefering 4.4. Maybe 4.6 is not for me or not compatible with my speakers (sonus faber cremona m) and my room. I listen mainly classical music.

Tracks replayed via Unitiserve now fade for a few seconds a couple of times every track, sound quality via Unitiserve not as good as before, although Tidal seems OK, artwork has also gone missing via Unitiserve, available via Tidal play. Maybe describing it as a disaster a bit too much but certainly frustrating.

glasnaim posted:

I am happy that generally 4.6 has been successful, unfortunately as a Nova owner with a Unitiserve it has been a disaster, waiting on Naim technical support to come up with a solution.

I must admit to being puzzled by your post since the firmware update 4.6 doesn't apply to either the Nova or the Unitiserve.

sjbabbey posted:
glasnaim posted:

I am happy that generally 4.6 has been successful, unfortunately as a Nova owner with a Unitiserve it has been a disaster, waiting on Naim technical support to come up with a solution.

I must admit to being puzzled by your post since the firmware update 4.6 doesn't apply to either the Nova or the Unitiserve.

You have a simpler number to remember!

glasnaim posted:

I am happy that generally 4.6 has been successful, unfortunately as a Nova owner with a Unitiserve it has been a disaster, waiting on Naim technical support to come up with a solution.

Hi glasnaim

Fellow Nova user here, Naim released 2.3.1 on March 19th to address HDMI S/PDIF issues.

This ruined my Nova's sound - made it thin, lifeless and unengaging.  A couple of others felt the same but I think most here believe we're mad.  I suggest it may be worth starting a new thread for new Uniti series owners - might as well do it.

sjbabbey posted:

Hi AC,

I just think that if there are issues with the firmware update 2.6 for the new uniti range, then these should be discussed in a separate thread which is more likely to catch the attention of naim.

Steve

Only joking Steve but I entirely agree.  Will start a new thread/rod for my  back :-)

I suspect many users don't actually mentally note the firmware number on their units and just upgrade hence the confusion and why people jump on the bandwagon despite a more specific firmware in a thread title.

glasnaim posted:

As per Naim's update instruction I contacted my dealer straight away, they consulted Naim who said they were aware of the problem. I was advised to contact Naim technical support direct which I did and it is now with them for resolution.

Naim are certainly aware of the issue regarding album art not showing when using a Unitiserve with the Atom/Star/Nova, and have a fix for it. If you also have an issue with sound quality, that's a different matter - did you also discuss this with Naim?

glasnaim posted:

Yes as I said sorry I won't participate further in this thread, although my opening sentiment remains, I'm glad the update has went so well for most, a huge undertaking by Naim regarding existing systems.

No need to apologise and welcome to the forum. This is a friendly place and we all have the same aim - to get the very best we can from our Naim systems. There is a great deal of help on offer here but it is always a good idea to be specific in a thread title to glean as much info and help on a common issue as possible.

I have heard the Nova at full tilt and it is a wonderful bit of kit, as I am sure you are aware. I hope you get your issue(s) sorted quickly.

Just did the update today on my NDS. It’s like getting a whole new better streamer after the update.

Instruments and voices sounds so focused now. There seems to be a lot more air between musicians.

Amazing to say the least.

Naim should’ve called it the NDS2 update.

Upgraded tonight and initial impressions very good. However resisted doing the factory reset and after reading the forum decided to go ahead. I have now lost volume controls in app 5.91 for NDX. The option has disappeared from other settings? Tried reinstalling app but still no luck. Anyone have the same issue?

I lost the volume control after a factory reset (after 4.6 installation on my NDS). It also didn't appear as a setting in the set up listing in the app. From memory I deleted and re-downloaded the app and the volume setting reappeared. Possibly powering down and up everything could achieve the same.

It is also possible you may need to go into System Automation on your NDX and reset something.

Madgepie posted:

Thanks NigelB, all sorted. Enabled pre amp within system automation and the volume option appeared in app. Cheers

Yes, system automation settings are removed by a factory reset. Kind of obvious when you think about it afterwards, but a head-scratcher at the time!

Madgepie posted:

Thanks NigelB, all sorted. Enabled pre amp within system automation and the volume option appeared in app. Cheers

Yes, I turned on system automation for the first time after the 4.6 update (by plugging in the worlds cheapest interconnect (£1.43!)). What a wonder it is. I can now control the NDS and preamp from an iPad in the kitchen whilst cooking dinner. I can even switch source to and from the tuner. What a great discovery. 

I updated to 4.6 on my Superuniti, but after 2 days I have gone back to 4.4, to my ears and my system the sound on 4.6 firmware was not good, best described as closed in, bass seemed to prominent, so pleased I could go back to 4.4, each to there own but for me I prefer 4.4

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