yes, I have seen the earlier “best streaming solution NDX2 plus…?” thread but it is not quite answering my specific question.
I am a happy owner of the NDX2. I have tested a couple of sources over the course of time and here comes my ranking so far (from best to worst):
Custom made PC, external linear PSU, Windows 2019, Audiophile optimizer
Older MacMini with external linear PSU (Uptone audio upgrade), OS on SD-card
USB stick or USB SSD, directly into NDX2
The switch in front of the NDX2 is a DLINK powered by external linear power supply.
The external linear power supply for the PC made a massive difference in sound quality and puts Streaming even before CD(Lyngdorf CD-2) and close to Vinyl (Rega RP8).
However, I would like to test two paths forward:
a. Investing more in my custom made PC, i.e. m2 SSD instead of SATA, more expensive switch…
b. Naim Uniti Core, direct input through Naim DC1 (actually back again to what I had with Naim DAC and HDX, but with the hard drive separated from the DAC)
Which path would you recommend if money is not really the determining factor? Can I expect an upgrade from the Uniti Core over the PC solution? If so, why and how?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and experience on this
The source on my system is the NDX 2 w/XPS DR. Music is streamed from Qobuz and Internet Radio along with a Synology 8TB DS716+II 2-Bay (NAS).
The Qobuz files/internet radio files move from the router to a C2960C-8PC-L Cisco Catalyst Switch, the Synology NAS is also connected to C2960C-8PC-L Cisco Catalyst Switch. The Cisco switch is connected to a English Electric 8 switch which is connected to the NDX2.
I used to have a Mac Mini I used as a NAS for my NDX 2.
I tried a USB stick plugged into the NDX 2 and it sounded exactly the same as the Mac Mini. I still use the USB stick as a source. I doubt a dedicated NAS would sound any better.
I don’t find this particularly surprising despite the many claims and assumptions you might read on this forum about electrical noise. Just because a device generates electrical noise does not necessarily mean that it will find its way into analogue electronics where it can affect sound quality. The 2nd gen Naim streamers are designed to mitigate this much more effectively that the older models too. I’m not trying to say that sound quality cannot be affected by electrically noisy devices, but there are many variables.
I find the current streamers to be pretty much unaffected by different formats such as FLAC and WAV too, I suspect for much the same reason.
With a NAS you have the ability to expand the storage in an easy way, you can run roon or an upnp server, the NAS is a plug and forget device and is always available in the network and in any roon of the house away from the system, just plug and forget, and also can do a lot more.
The unity core is a limited device but very well built, great wife acceptance for the beauty it has. It’s limited to 8Tb and depending on your library that could be a limitation or not. For the price you can get a great nas from Synology or Qnap.
A computer has normally the most powerful processor and normally is noisiest of them all.
In the end they all serve audio very well, but for me I find the NAS the best solution away on the other side of the house serving the audio content.