I hope a simple question but a suspect a less straight forward answer.
I’m looking at the possibility of using a streaming device such as a Blusound Node for example and feeding its digital output to my unitiQute. By doing so, will the sound I get out retain the character of the unitiQute or will the external device add a character of its own to the mix? Or, connected this way will one streaming product sound different to another?
I can see that if the streaming device was doing the conversion and outputting an analogue signal, there would be a difference in sound between different devices. I also understand that there will be differences in terms of quality due to factors such as noise etc but I’m interested purely in the character of the sound. I really enjoy the sound of the little unitiQute and it seems sensible to continue using its own DAC. It’s not high end in the grand scheme of all things Naim for sure but it just sounds right to me. It’s very old tech now and the streaming has become quite unreliable/unenjoyable but I’m determined to keep the thing going in some form if I can. It sounds that good🙂
Thank you in advance of any replies
From having used several streamers over the years into various Naim and chord DACs. My opinion is the Dac will have the larger effect on sound signature. but for the best quality I think if you can go optical into the Uni cute, especially if it’s the, 24,96 version, you will be able to take out any noise generated by your streamer.
If I was in your position and I have owned Unicute, I’d probably be looking at the Wiim as a stream resource – I have a Bluesound node, and I think a lot of them, but I think from a value perspective that things have moved on slightly and a Wiim would more than suffice.
As the Node has a DAC included, you have the option of using that, or the DAC in the Unitiqute, so you can easily compare, and use the one you prefer. Of course there are lots of alternative streamers out there, some with DACs, some without.
Having a Primare NP5 providing a digital output to my NDX, in my experience yes, the sound signature does change (when comparing like-for-like UPnP files streamed locally from a NAS).
Whether that’s the NP5, coax cable or something else I’m not sure; but definitely different.
Thank you all,
That’s interesting, in my mind I see the streaming device as a kind of vessel. The ones and zeros are collected and then simply decanted into a DAC for processing but clearly there must be more going on than that. In that case, are these differences only very subtle?
I think how you perceive any difference will be dependent on how resolving your system is.
For me, the difference is noticeable but subtle. Perhaps not the same drive through the NP5 as pure NDX but certainly a bit more refinement and detail.
The power supply in the streamer is important. It has an effect on the clock in the streamer, and adds noise if the power supply isn’t that good in the electric signal that travels over the spdif connection to the Uniquite. Together, this has an effect downstream on the digital to analogue conversions stage of the DAC.
Thinking in 1’s and 0’s is only 50% of the story. Those 1’s and 0’s are in fact represented as voltage changes in an electrical signal. When talking about ‘digital’, we still refer to an electrical signal, just as in the analogue domain, and not about some discrete packages being pushed across a pipe. The metaphoric explanation of 1’s and 0’s results often in a misunderstanding of what is happening in reality.
A Toslink (optical) connection comes with its own challenges and more often than not a Toslink connection performs worse than the SPDIF one, but I don’t know the quality of the Toslink input on the UniQute. Don’t skimp on the quality of the Toslink cable if you like to explore that route. Something like a Van den Hul Toslink cable (or alike) is needed.
The problem with the Bluesound is that its power supply is not very adequate and the clock crystal used is ‘meh’. The aforementioned Primare Prisma NP5 is a better engineered machine and you can upgrade the power supply, since it uses wall plug transformer and a low voltage DC input.
The WiiM (in all sorts and forms) is great value for money but not a match for the either the Bluesound or the Primare in terms of resulting sound quality, used as a digital transport.
A Primare Prisma NP5 into a Naim DAC, using a good quality SPDIF cable like the affordable Audioquest Forrest, results in a widened, but also somewhat clearer etched soundstage. The Bluesound remains a bit fuzzy (used as a digital transport).
Thank you all for you help with this. I have a few days at home in a while so now I’m armed with information i shall see if I can get some devices home for a demo. It’s going to be setup as a second system so keeping the cost at a reasonable level will be a major consideration.
All the best
I have the WiiM and blue sound node. As streamer only I honestly think they are same. The DAC in the node is obviously better. I use external DAC with both. The WiiM is the greatest bargain in Hifi today
Has anyone compared the Wiim to the iFi Zen or newer Eversolo DM-6 as network bridge only into a Naim DAC?