I have one Naim system, an NDX (and two other streamers) running into NAC 102/NAP 180.
I’m using my android phone to control the NDX. I have both ‘show volume controls’ and ‘Use hardware buttons’ selected in the Naim App. However, the phones hardware volume buttons do not control the volume of any of the NDX services (and indeed the Naim app overlays the screen sliders) and there are no software buttons visible anywhere…
unless i turn on System Automation and enable to Pre-amp setting. Then little plus and minus icons appear on the Naim App transport… but still neither seem able to change the volume. Even if I set the ‘Slider’ option no slider appears.
Anyone any idea why the volume stuff doesn’t seem to work?
Secondary question: Am I right to think that System Automation offers me nothing I need and don’t already have (the volume buttons on both remotes control the NAC 102 perfectly well without System Automation turned on).
The Nac 102 Remote.
Only the volume, mute, balance and number buttons do anything. None of the other buttons function. Is this to be expected?
Overall I’m not having a good day. Any help very much appreciated.
System automation needs a cable between the NDX and pre-amp / integrated amp to make it work. Unfortunately, your 102 doesn’t have a remote in connection so you can’t use this function and control the volume / inputs via the app.
The remote can do this as it can send the relevant codes via IR to control the preamp as well as the NDX.
The app can only ‘talk’ to the NDX. It needs the additional cable to allow the NDX to communicate with the amp to allow you to control the preamp / amp functions (volume / input switching) using the app.
What james_n says. Plus, the new streamers don’t have IR remotes but radio remotes (Zigbee). So the new streamer remotes cannot control the pre (which uses IR) directly and need system automation by the cable from streamer to pre, just like the app.
Ok. So my vague plan to dump the pre-amp and wire the NDX straight into the NAP 180 is a dead duck then as I’ll have no way of controlling the volume.
What about the NDX2? Is it the same. I’ve learnt it has Chromecast built-in so even if it’s not possible to control the overall volume of the device I can still do it via Chromecast (feeding everything to it via Logitech Media Centre) I guess.
The NDX2 has Bluetooth (AptX HD), receiver only. It also has the option to enable variable volume control. This, however, is digital and not very fancy (adjustments are made in 32 bit without upsampling), as it was apparently not intended as a first-class method but to fulfill a requirement made by Airplay or Chromecast licensing. Though some people reported good results and did no hear a worse SQ with it.
When variable volume is enabled, the app can show a volume slider as well, not just buttons.
I don’t know if the NDX has this, it would be in the Settings under Volume Mode or something (cannot check as my NDX2 is out for repairs)
However, a pre does more than just input switching and volume, it also presents a benign load impedance to the source and has an appropriate output impedance for the power amp. There are some threads by members who tried the streamer directly into the power amp. If I recall correctly, results and opinions differed, as is to be expected.
Well, thanks very much for that. What an interesting read those threads were.
The NDX does not have a volume mode (that I can find).
One of the decisions I have to make soon is which streamer to use (or which combination). I currently have an NDX, a Squeezebox Touch and a Squeezebox SB+ and use the Squeezebox technology throughout my property.
So I wired my Squeezebox Touch and Squeezebox SB+ directly into the NAP 180. Sadly, I don’t think I can do the same with the NDX as it has no volume control (I can use). The sound of the music seemed seemed good, very clear and alive. Possibly a bit harsh as it got to house-wide listening volume (at which point digital volume of devices was set at 90%!). But at very low volumes both devices were noisy. I could turn the volume of the SB+ to zero and still hear low level interference caused by the music (i.e. it was in time). I could also hear volume changes made on the remote (with music paused) through the speakers. The Touch fared better, some electrical interference at very low volumes at first but soon went away (why?).
When I added back the NAC 102 all electrical interference sounds went (although I did realise that I could always ‘hear’ the Squeezebox remote through the speakers when I used it). The overall sound seemed more warm and comfortable, a bit less harsh/bright, and at louder volume sounded less strained (I’m not too sure how to describe this).
My takeaway? Quite a few…
I’m going to keep the preamp for now and will consider dumping the 102 for a 82 (as pre-amps seem more important than I had thought)
Will digitally feed the Touch into NDX (to get Naim sound with decent front end/control system for local files) until I can bag an NDX2 which due to Bluetooth, volume control and Chromecast sounds like it’ll suit me much better (I’d probably mostly use it as a Squeezeplayer controlled by LMS via Chromecast)
Must get NAP 180 serviced (as I can hear the amp splutter very, very quietly all the time)
As streamers become ubiquitous pre-amps will become increasingly redundant so Naim will have to reconsider their architecture (and digital volume control) and design a high-end streamer that feeds straight into a power amp (i.e. with larger output than current and with properly matched impedances etc).