Which way to go when the cash rolls in? 272 or HDX/NDX.

Evening Naim followers,

I have been a member for a number of years and have owned lots of different boxes in that time. Those that have commented on my various posts in the past will remember me having to sell my beloved hifi for a much needed deposit on a property purchase that was kind of unexpected, and absolutely necessary given the circumstances.  That hifi was HDX, SN2+HCdr, PMC gb1i and 3xPL and a HiLine(everything was sold except speakers, you don't get much for them).

Since that time I have gradually climbed the Naim ladder where/when funds allowed....unitilite,superuniti, then SU+Nap200 and currently 272+200(non dr).  Music backed onto NAS(former HDX backup).

Now, the sale of said hifi has paid off and I have sold my property with a very good return and in a position(exchange pending) to throw some money back into my hifi(I have budgeted approx 7k).

Before I start, I will say that nothing I've heard since has satisfied me as much as HDX+SN did.  Note that SN2 replaced 202/200/HCdr(I wanted to put an end to the upgrade bug and was delighted with SN2, it did everything well with all genres).

I guess the only reason I wont go back to HDX is simply because it is not a streamer, otherwise love it!

Many of you at this point will be thinking what I have been thinking....ditch 200, buy a 250dr, add XPSdr to 272, happy days!

But.....I'm not convinced enough that 272(even with an XPS)will match or beat a HDX at playing music from a HDD.....and I don't want to spend £000's swapping and changing for the next year or so.

So, here are the things to consider..... 

Is an NDX + new uniticore(or unitiserve for purpose of argument) a better 2 box combo than a stand alone HDX in terms of sound quality(this way I get a streamer and a CD ripper). I still buy cd's and own approx 700, so this is important to me, and if so, why?

Is an NDX better at playing music from NAS(or uniticore) than a 272? ....I guess so given the pricing of both? (even if both are with/without XPS).

If I did go 272/XPS/250, are the speakers really up for the challenge. I know they are good speakers and have enjoyed them on the end of many a Naim set-up. Although, my house sale and purchase see's me going from an apartment with lots of adjoining neighbours to a detached house where I can really stretch the legs on whatever system I go with.....can't wait !!!!!

Other reasons for not really wanting to go with 272/XPS/250..... I know I will probably end up swapping 272 for a 282+NDX+250....and the upgrade bug will stay with me till the day I die. Seriously though, I could have stopped with SN2. I think it's enough of an animal to rock the house. Same power output as a 250 anyway I think. 

Anyone any experience with above set-ups or considered/done the same.  +/- thoughts?

Thanks,

Ray.

 

 

Original Post

I suggest that you spend some time at your dealer going through the various options a 272,XPS,250dr is a cracking system if you take the 282,NDX route it will cost a lot more to get the best out of it if you factor in the various options with power supplies etc so a good listen is a must your dealer should guide you through the options just take your time.

ray sheldon posted:

Evening Naim followers,

.....

Other reasons for not really wanting to go with 272/XPS/250..... I know I will probably end up swapping 272 for a 282+NDX+250....and the upgrade bug will stay with me till the day I die. Seriously though, I could have stopped with SN2. I think it's enough of an animal to rock the house. Same power output as a 250 anyway I think. 

Anyone any experience with above set-ups or considered/done the same.  +/- thoughts?

Thanks,

Ray.

 

 

I would seriously doubt that you'd want to dich the 272, Ray, unless it was for a 252 or 552. The 272 is a seriously musical piece of kit, and partnered with a 250 would be pretty awesome  (don't you just hate that word).   My 272 was partnered with a 500 while my 552 was away on holiday for its DR and the 272 proved itself to be extremely accomplished... way beyond an HDX, and barking at the heels of a 552, and that was without the added XPS benefit.   

This probably doesn't help, but do please open up your mind to the 272 as a serious long term contender. 

RJSTAINES,

There are a lot of 272/250 fans out there,  no doubt about that!

I suspect the 250 will be great at power, depth and loud volumes with suitably equipped speakers.  Just would like a little more in the midrange from the 272, perhaps the XPS brings that to the party. There is one thing I don't miss with current v old system....brightness.  

The 272 is definitely a bit smoother sounding.

Ray.

First of all you don't need a UnitiServe or Core to feed your NDX. You already have a NAS, so just install a decent UPnP software on it and you are good to go.

As to other combinations you mention - they will all sound great.

Some may consider NDX + 282 to be somewhat superior to N272. That all really depends as to how each combo works in your particular room wiht your speakers. I would not want to pre-judge this one.
One point worth remembering: NDX being a stand-alone player has a digital output and can be upgraded with an off-board DAC which then feeds your pre-amp. If that is important for you - only you can judge that Ray (outboard DAC cannot be used with N272 if it runs as both a streamer and a pre-amp).

I currently run NDX + nDAC + PSU + SN2 + HiCap.... a lot of boxes.

If I were doing it again I woud just go for N272 + PSU + NAP250.

 

Every time I mention the 272 I get slagged off by someone saying that I'm promoting what I own, so I have a dilemma. I have a 272, XPS and 250 DR and it's the best thing I've had since the CDS3, 552 and 300 back in the day. I've also listened to a very nice system with NDX, 282 and 250DR and wouldn't say it was any better. Owning a 272 I feel no need to even consider a NDX and 282, and owning a good nas I wouldn't even think about a Core, Melco or whatever. But all these things are good and one should just get whatever one wants. Bart owns a NDS/555 and a Supernait and is very happy with it. There is no 'best'. Perhaps it's best not to ask, and just get what you fancy the look of. It's what I did. If you don't think you'll be happy with a 272 going forward, don't have a 272 going forward. You've got to like what you own; if you don't you'll never be happy with it, no matter how many people tell you that it's the right thing. 

If you're buying new then demos will anwer all your questions. As you already have the 272 then a thorough investigation of the power supply and amp options seems in order. Maybe check the result against the HDX/supernait 2 or maybe NDX if you can't get hold of an H. Personally I found the NDX rather matter of fact until you add a ps but it wasn't a seriuos demo If they're out by the time you demo, try a uniti nova as a reference point of what a single box can do. I was at Naim on Tuesday with a few others and briefly heard the whole range but not compared to any separates, it seemed the designer hadn't done this comparison either when I asked. 

I use my HDX as a streamer, so I'm not sure why you say it isn't one?

However, much as I love my HDX, if you've ripped all of your CD's, then there's possibly not much need for the HDX and other options including the NDX are available.

I hear good reports on the 272 which coupled with a Suitable amp and your old PMC's should sound superb. 

Mind you, I'm sitting here, with my second system, listening to a SuperUniti fed with my QNAP NAS running Assett server and it's wonderful through my Neat Elite SX speakers. No upgrade bug either!

My 2 cents: I used to own a HDX which was actually my 'fist step' into the streaming world. After it broke down and needed repair twice (first, the CD drawer needed replacement and a couple of years later one of the hard drives crashed) I decided that it was time to part with it. In the end HDD's are prone to failure and I did not want to get the unit back to Salisbury for repair (I don't live in the UK). Also the fact that it seemed that Naim is not going to put any further effort in the development of the HDX e.g. Tidal streaming services played a role in my decision.

I used the HDX 'as a streamer' combined with a SuperNait (1) and was always very happy with the result, however, the combo of NAC-N 272 and NAP 200 which do replace the HDX/SN is really a lot better!

Everybody,

Thanks for your input, some pretty useful feedback there.

I think I've decided what I'm going to do based on the fact that I'm also moving home, i.e. too many changes happening all at once is perhaps careless....new room to get used to, new kit etc etc....

So, for starters I'll swap out the 200 for a 250dr (based on the massive reputation the 250 has).  That will get a powerline, so too will the 272.

Once used to that, will try 1 or 2 PSU on the 272(xp5xs/XPS and so on). ....then if all that is good, might change the speakers that will make the most of that combo and like being pushed hard and loud(making the most of detached home),...........but speaker recommendations can wait for a future post!

Have a nice w/end ;-)

Ray.

 

Hungryhalibut posted:

Every time I mention the 272 I get slagged off by someone saying that I'm promoting what I own, so I have a dilemma. I have a 272, XPS and 250 DR and it's the best thing I've had since the CDS3, 552 and 300 back in the day. I've also listened to a very nice system with NDX, 282 and 250DR and wouldn't say it was any better. Owning a 272 I feel no need to even consider a NDX and 282, and owning a good nas I wouldn't even think about a Core, Melco or whatever. But all these things are good and one should just get whatever one wants. Bart owns a NDS/555 and a Supernait and is very happy with it. There is no 'best'. Perhaps it's best not to ask, and just get what you fancy the look of. It's what I did. If you don't think you'll be happy with a 272 going forward, don't have a 272 going forward. You've got to like what you own; if you don't you'll never be happy with it, no matter how many people tell you that it's the right thing. 

 

ray sheldon posted:

Everybody,

Thanks for your input, some pretty useful feedback there.

I think I've decided what I'm going to do based on the fact that I'm also moving home, i.e. too many changes happening all at once is perhaps careless....new room to get used to, new kit etc etc....

So, for starters I'll swap out the 200 for a 250dr (based on the massive reputation the 250 has).  That will get a powerline, so too will the 272.

Once used to that, will try 1 or 2 PSU on the 272(xp5xs/XPS and so on). ....then if all that is good, might change the speakers that will make the most of that combo and like being pushed hard and loud(making the most of detached home),...........but speaker recommendations can wait for a future post!

Have a nice w/end ;-)

Ray.

 

That sounds very sensible. Once you have the 250 and XPS or whatever, you can always do the test against the NDX and 282 and realise you don't need to spend any more. 

Claus-Thoegersen posted:

If it is possible to wait or get a small system, it is obvious that there will be a 372 or something else 72 build on the new streaming hardware  in a year or 2.

Claus

Are you sure? I suspect we might see the NDX2 and NDS2 before then.... I think you might find the 272 is pretty close to what Naim can realistically achieve with a hybrid streamer preamp right now in a single box with all the challenges that miniaturisation, noise  and EM interference  bring to quality audio electronics in a compact environment. Apparently the current 172 and 272 are considered great stepping stones onto seperates for those want more of the Naim SQ DNA and great journey end points for those that don't.

I'm inclined to agree with Simon on this. Of course, we don't know for sure what Naim will do, but I suspect a higher spec streaming preamp wouldn't fit into one box, and would therefore be a bit pointless. 

The new streaming platform in the soon to be released Unitis will no doubt find its way into all the Classic streamers in time, though.

I think there is a small possibility of a NAC-S 572 which has no internal power supply and requires a 555PS to power it.

I also don't know why the assumption is made that the "New Streaming Platform" for the Uniti range will definitely make it's way into the Classic range.  The products are aimed at different markets, and I don't see a single one size fits all (from Uniti Atom to NDS2) streaming solution being viable.

Naim have already significantly changed the streaming circuit when designing the 272.  It uses a TI PCM1792A DAC (a current output device) rather than the TI PCM1791A DAC (a voltage output device) used in previous streamers.

I suspect the new streaming platform for the Uniti range is a consolidated (and possibly simplified) version of this new circuit but with more flash memory capacity and very likely a different signal processor chip, intended for use in the Uniti range alone.  Can any one who's actually had a chance to ask Naim shed any light on this?

That could be done on the current platform, it would only require an updated SHARC processor and more flash RAM; not a new platform.  This could then make use of the new software.

It could be that they are specifically talking about a new front end communications and connectivity processor that connects to more services: I.e a subsystem that handles external communication and then feeds the streamer processor which coverts the audio data-stream blocks to a format that can be loaded onto a DAC (hence relieving the latter of the control of communications duties).  This new comms processor could even be FPGA.  This could be done leaving the audio data-stream processing step to still be handled in the existing SHARC processor, or an updated one (but still immediately preceding the DAC).  Given the investment that Naim have made in stream processing and DACs, to me this approach makes more sense than a complete new streaming platform and throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

If they had changed the DAC technology (including the SHARC audio data processor) to a completely new principle at the same time, then I think we'd have heard more about that.  My guess (and it's only a guess) is that there's a new comms / connectivity module - and that could certainly make it's way into the Classic line streamers; but that there's also a new unified stream processor / DAC for the new Uniti products (simpler than the current ND5, NDX, SU, 272 and NDS implementations) and that bit will remain solely with the Uniti products.

Hungryhalibut posted:

I'm sure Naim have said somewhere that the new platform will be used in future classic streaming products. It's much more powerful than the existing platform and can do a lot more things, such as Roon and Google cast, so it's rather the opposite of simplified. 

Indeed Nigel, a recent visit to the factory at Naim certainly didn't rule that out. The Google Cast  interface is seen as a big plus on the new uniti products that will almost certainly trickle up to new version streaming separates as apparently it opens up the streamers to regional services without the need of re programming the streamer firmware... and indeed Naim have developed their own Linux distribution to support forthcoming and future platforms to provide far more flexible capabilities and a move away to some extent  from the current modular hardware/firmware approach. Additionally the current Tidal and Spotify heavy integrations are not that suited for the fast growing eastern markets.

Simon

Emre posted:

Sorry but what is comms/connectivity Module? 

A comms/connectivity module is the part of the system that connects to external services and maintains the state data of that connection.  It overlies the network interfaces (Ethernet and Bluetooth).


OK, I'm going to provide a simplified non-technical and generalised view here rather than go into details of how the the OSI 7-layer networking model applies to streaming devices.  This is a typical type of organisation; the precise details can vary somewhat, neither is it complete or exhaustive in it's description, although the general architecture is usually rather like this...

The network interfaces deal with low level communications and the physical transport.
1)  They negotiate the physical communications protocols between devices on the network, and maintain the state of any physical connection (if required).
2)  They ensure that the outgoing data sent by the device are divided up into appropriate sized blocks (with appropriate headers), put on the network correctly and resent when requested by the receiver.
3)  They ensure that the incoming data packets are checked for correctness, put into low level buffer memory, any bad blocks are requested for resend and finally the data blocks are put into the right sequence and transferred to the next buffer layer up the chain.
This layer has no knowledge of what these data blocks mean.

The comms/connectivity module uses the network interfaces to request a high level connection from an outside service (DLNA, Spotify Connect, Tidal etc), and maintains the state of that connection (connecting, negotiating communication protocols, data sets / data streams to be transferred etc.).  This understands the connection to the service and it understands that a data stream is a data stream, but it doesn't need to know how the internal data are contained in a data stream.  When a data stream is being received this layer knows to write the data from the network interface to the circular buffer used for the stream data so as to pass it to the stream processor.

The stream processor uses the data identifier header in the first part of a data stream to understand what the data contained in the stream are (LPCM, MPEG 1 etc,) how the data words are organised and how to process the stream (e.g. any decompression required such as for FLAC, Vorbis or MP3).  From that point on, the stream processor looks at the circular data stream buffer (the one filled by the comms/connectivity module from the network data blocks after they've been put into the right order by the the network interface), extracts the individual data words (decompressing if necessary), * applies any real time oversampling and digital filtration, then sequentially loads the processed data samples into the DAC.


An analogue signal then comes out...


* insert conversion to S/Pdif and back to samples here, if using a DAC remote from the streamer.

Off to the dealer tomorrow to sample 250 and XPS to add to my 272.  Will also compare that to NDX, SN+HC.

I have just realised the potential of the 272 by chance.......

I suggested to the dealer about taking my NAS along, he suggested to put some tunes on a memory stick instead....good idea it seems!!!  Now I thought music stored on a NAS(or other) would or should sound all the same and it doesn't. After I pulled some tunes from the NAS via laptop(wired) to the USB stick, I thought I would insert the USB into the 272.....WOW, it sounds like a window has been opened. Never since I had to depart with my HDX have I been happy with the sound, unitilite, superuniti and later a 200.  I thought I really missed the HDX and only another or a NDX would put a smile on my face again.

Much to my surprise the music from the USB is miles better than the same tunes via NAS. The difference is bigger than MP3 v WAV.  Lots of detail.  Is the quality of your tunes really dependable on the quality of a NAS or is something else going on here?

ray sheldon posted:

Much to my surprise the music from the USB is miles better than the same tunes via NAS. The difference is bigger than MP3 v WAV.  Lots of detail.  Is the quality of your tunes really dependable on the quality of a NAS or is something else going on here?

Ray - it takes some effort to optimise local-area network for NAS playback. It's easy to set this up, but there are numerous external factors influencing the playback quality - quality of a power supply to the NAS, network switch, LAN cables used, earthing / screening....

USB playback is in a way a form of reference. I took me some months to tune my LAN for the sound quality to be similar to memory stick playback.

Adam Zielinski posted:

...
USB playback is in a way a form of reference. I took me some months to tune my LAN for the sound quality to be similar to memory stick playback.

Hungryhalibut posted:

I've tried music from a USB stick and it sounds no better than that from my nas. 

Likewise, that's what you get when you have the network right.

Adam, 

Thanks but I'm not sure where I would start with all that....and not even that sure if I want to. Been a hifi enthusiast for many years have have a pretty good knowledge. When it comes to I.T stuff, I'm pretty useless. Of course, being in my 40's means that I grew up with blackboards, chalk and a commodore 64! 

I wonder will I have the same problem with the Uniti Core(planned purchase)and, if so, would I better just using the digital out into the 272 for playback purposes, of course leaving it still connected to the network for cd ripping or streaming from other devices. 

I've heard the former unitiserve was always better used over network rather than dig out. I would imagine Naim have addressed this with the new product?

I think the first thing you should do is get to the bottom of the problem you have with sound quality over UPnP. If you can establish where the problem lies, you will probably be able to solve it and stick with your existing NAS, allowing you to concentrate your resources on upgrading your main system. Despite your dealer recommending that you take a memory stick for listening, he may have the IT skills to sort out your NAS/network issue. Failing that, Naim support are also very good at that, so you're not on your own.

ray sheldon posted:

Adam, 

Thanks but I'm not sure where I would start with all that....and not even that sure if I want to. Been a hifi enthusiast for many years have have a pretty good knowledge. When it comes to I.T stuff, I'm pretty useless. Of course, being in my 40's means that I grew up with blackboards, chalk and a commodore 64! 

I wonder will I have the same problem with the Uniti Core(planned purchase)and, if so, would I better just using the digital out into the 272 for playback purposes, of course leaving it still connected to the network for cd ripping or streaming from other devices. 

I've heard the former unitiserve was always better used over network rather than dig out. I would imagine Naim have addressed this with the new product?

Ray, in much the same boat as yourself but a lot older, as you are off to your dealer for a demo he should be able to advise and help in your network and NAS setup.

When I upgraded my Olive system last year my dealer was very helpful in advising the best route plus you can get some much help and advice from the forum.

During the installation of my new system the dealer set my NAS up using dbpoweramp as the ripping software etc and made sure I understood the basic workings etc before he left.

Very worthwhile getting this right from the onset and as others have said no difference in listening from a USB or NAS if the network is all OK.

Enjoy your demo.

 

 

ray sheldon posted:

Adam, 

Thanks but I'm not sure where I would start with all that....and not even that sure if I want to. Been a hifi enthusiast for many years have have a pretty good knowledge. When it comes to I.T stuff, I'm pretty useless. Of course, being in my 40's means that I grew up with blackboards, chalk and a commodore 64! 

I wonder will I have the same problem with the Uniti Core(planned purchase)and, if so, would I better just using the digital out into the 272 for playback purposes, of course leaving it still connected to the network for cd ripping or streaming from other devices. 

I've heard the former unitiserve was always better used over network rather than dig out. I would imagine Naim have addressed this with the new product?

Ray - I will be 45 in March - my first computer was a ZX Spectrum + (so 48 kb of memory, rather than 32). I tought myself how to setup a network - and I'm not an engineer. 4 years ago I didn't know what UPnP or NAS stands for....   So I think you'll be OK

Just start reading up on the subject, follow the threads on this forum. Post and we will help if you get stack. You can always email me (address is in my profile) - happy to help.

Adam

I'd like to add my support for the 272. 

I've paired it with a NAP300, initially with its internal power supply but both with power lines, and sitting on a fraim.

I added a XPS-DR and it took a good leap forward. The itch set in so I upgraded to a 555-DR (which took some time to fully appreciate) and now I'm looking to change the NAP300 for a DR version.

The 272 has not been embarrassed by any of this. It is very, very good.

Roll on the 372 or 572

 

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