272 - dreading firmware upgrade from 4.4 to 4.8

It seems like I have a few days before my 272 running firmware v4.4 stops streaming Tidal. Like some forum members I have opted to remain on v4.4 as newer firmwares including v4.8 do not sound as good. The newer firmwares in my system (282/XPS DR/250.2) sound less airy, lack dimension/texture and generally just edgier.

I have been experimenting on ways to reproduce the current native Tidal sonic signature but found none. UPNP sounds inferior no matter what I use whether it’s Bubble, Jriver, Mconnect (I tried the optimisations suggested in the forum) . Tidal on PC via optical cable does not produce the same SQ either. I guess I’m desperate to cling on to v4.4 as I have spent considerable time and effort to achieve the current sound that I enjoy a lot.

I wanted to try using my Superuniti as the streamer (digital out to 272) but the screen is dead so I’m not able to change the output setting. I guess I could loan my friend’s ND5XS and see if the digital out SQ matches the native Tidal on 272.

Not sure what else I can do, perhaps I need to bite the bullet and get the NDX2 and hope it matches or exceeds the sound that I enjoy. But that’s more cash outlay and before long there will be thoughts on 282 etc….

A few questions to try and help:
How long did you try 4.8 for?
Did you do the suggested factory reset afterward, and also reboot routers/devices etc to rule out any network issue?

When we were beta testing the 4.8 firmware for the 272 we were all in agreement that it was step forward from previous versions. At the time I was using a 272/555 and 300DR and I was totally happy with it. I do wonder whether, if you simply upgraded to 4.8 and set aside the idea you wont like it, then you’d actually like it. The idea of using a SuperUniti into a 272 is odd and it’s overcomplicating things. You mention in your third sentence that you have a 282. Maybe it’s a typo or maybe it’s prescient. There seem to be three obvious options: upgrade to 4.8, wait for the new platform 272 replacement, or get an NDX2 and a 282 and Hicap DR. You seem to have a spare SuperUniti, so selling that and the 272 would help to cushion the blow.

Nigel, I think you are confusing 4.8 with the earlier 4.7 release which you tested with your 272.

4.8 is the release from Sept 2021, primarily to change the Tidal login method with some other bug fixes etc.

For sound quality I found 4.8 an fair improvement over 4.7 on my NDS and it continues to be 100% stable.

Hi Claire, yes I did all the steps you mentioned but still not liking v4.8. The SQ is actually not bad I would even say awesome if I had not heard how v4.4 sounds like. The difference is very pronounced in my system even non audiophiles picked up on that easily. Gotta admit it didn’t take me long to downgrade to v4.4 every time. But thanks for trying to help.

I tried this firmware on my nds, going from 4.4 which I much preferred to 4.6 and 4.7 . I found 4.4 to be much warmer sounding, although the other 2 sounded more dynamic they also lost that analogue sound that I really liked.

I tried 4.8 knowing that I could return to 4.4 if I didn’t like it, as I’ve kept a copy of 4.4 on my laptop for this purpose. For a few days I felt 4.8 sounded better than 4.6 and 4.7 but not as pleasing or warm as 4.4. I really liked the extra separation and dynamics of 4.8 but it just somehow sounded too clean and cool (like digital had for many years).

There was enough I liked about it though that I decided to give it a months trial and see what happened with trying a wider range of music and just settling down and relaxing with it. To my surprise my opinion of it changed, as did the sound (probably due to the nds settling down after reboots during the loading and a power down after installation). It sounded similar to a piece of kit warming up after a power down but it lasted a couple of weeks, also I was clearly adjusting too.

The sound I have now is superb. Some of the warmth has come back but not at the expense of the separation or dynamics, which are truly gobsmacking. The bass is also much faster and deeper with more defined slam than before.

The plan was to give it a month, but after 3 months odd I’m enjoying it so much that I really don’t feel the inclination to reload 4.4. I really would suggest you maybe try the same and you may be very pleasantly surprised once both the system and you have had chance to just relax and let the music flow.

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I think I will have to live with my 272 on 4.8 until I can save up for an NDX2. I can’t sell the Superuniti as it is my bedroom system. So the 282/Hicap DR will be in pretty distant future (no I don’t have a 282 now but I’m read from countless threads that it goes well with the NDX2).

As for Superuniti outputting digital stream into 272, I’m really trying to see if I can avoid upgrading the 272 firmware if a decent streamer does the job…but it’s not an option unrfortunately as the screen is dead :frowning:

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Wow your initial observation is identical to mine, 4.8 sounds less analog and more digital like. It’s encouraging that the sound can get better. Since I lack immediate options anyway I guess I’ll have to see if I end up experiencing the same thing. Thanks for sharing!

I’m wondering if our individual SQ judgements on firmware might be somewhat speaker dependant & that there will always be a number of crossed opinions.
I’ve been one of the beta test team since Naim first started involving end-users & I’ve noticed throughout that the beta team rarely came to a consensus on SQ, it varied between player models & I became convinced speakers & rooms also played a part in this.
I found 4.4 a little too warm & soft in the bass area, whereas others liked that added warmth.
I was happy with 4.8 because it does have better separation (sound stage) definition & dynamics (noted by Mrhappy) plus for me in my setup the bass is better with improved definition & growl & has lost the soft warm bloom of 4.4.

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It seems that we are hearing exactly the same then. A couple of local naim owner friends have also found the same, one with an almost identical system to mine and the other with a similar system but classic series rather than 500.

We have all paid a lot of attention to set up and often share tips and experiences that we feel improved the music. We usually all agree but not always as sometimes things may just suit one room/system but not another.

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