Early Core Experience

I have been a Uniti Core user for three months now. I had enjoyed 10 trouble free years with a 2TB NS01, but was getting concerned about the increasing probability of a HDD failure, even though there had been nothing to indicate this might be imminent. It was just a matter of time.

Overall, I feel the NS01 is better than the Core, since it offers tray loading and, more importantly, a parallel internal backup HDD. It also facilitates format switching (e.g. WAV to FLAC) through the Desktop Client (DTC). The downsides are that it is based on Windows XP with the control software stored on the HDD and the drives can only be replaced by Naim Support. It also needs three applications to operate it, the DTC, N-serve and the normal Naim App.

On the other hand I do like the compactness of the Core (I suppose I can’t have both a compact unit and tray loading), its Linux operating system and, above all, the ability to change the drive myself. Also the need for only one user app is pretty neat. Having chosen an SSD, it’s silent too, although being in another room, the hiss of an HDD would not interfere with the music.

However, yesterday I performed my first backup to a NAS drive on the same network. This I had programmed monthly on the NS01, so I already had a good backup on that NAS. I have only ripped a few additional CDs since the change, but I thought these could be added through a differential backup. But no, I wasn’t offered the option of a differential backup and the Core decided to perform a full backup. Checking today on a PC, I see that the NAS drive now contains two full backups, but both are the same, in other words the new backup doesn’t show the new CDs. Thinking this odd, I looked at the Core through Windows Explorer and it wasn’t showing the new CDs either! These can, however be seen in the Naim app and they play just fine. Weird! Has anyone else noticed this and found a logical explanation?

For the record, the Core is running production software, version 2.5.5.4007, so it is possible that any later beta version might offer differential backups. I thought I’d better get used to the production software and how that works before selecting the beta version.

Long time since i had a Core……but it-did only backup the new material to my usb drives……never used a NAS to backup recordings. Perhaps David can shed some light @davidhendon ?

Thanks for the prod @Gazza!

@Clive The first backup is always a full backup. The Naim logic seems to be that you don’t make any assumptions about whether the Music Store already has all of its music on the backup destination disc, partly I suppose because there may be more music in the existing pre-Core backup than there is in the Core Music Store. Therefore the first backup is always a full backup. If you tell it to do a new backup now, firstly it will offer you the existing backup, which you select, and then it will calculate how many files need backing up. That should be 0 or maybe a few if you have added anything recently.

The new backup will be in a folder on your NAS with a specific identity that is linked to your Core and if for example you were already wanting to restore from your backup, it will only restore all the things in that specific folder.

Anyway the good news is that all subsequent backups will now be differential. You don’t need to wait for new firmware or anything. It’s already doing what I would expect.

Incidentally there isn’t a current beta for the Core, so your production firmware should be (Edit: I checked and it is) identical to my Core which is still on the last beta which Will released for us, just to give us beta testers the production firmware without having to change the Update Source setting.

Anyway do let me know if I can help any further!

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There is only one “Mr Core” David…….always grateful for your help when i had one👍

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@Clive,

A wee bit off topic, but I’m still running an HDX as a server to my ND555, with a Synology NAS as backup.

I bought an second hand NS01 as a long term backup for the HDX, should it give up the ghost, and it is only switched on when new CDs come along.

All three storage solutions have my CDs ripped to FLAC, maximising HD space, and both the HDX and NS01 are set to transcribe back to WAV for replay.

What I don’t understand is that the ability revert to WAV for replay isn’t there with any of the new generation servers, which seems to me to be a major oversight.

That’s it, rant over, and fingers crossed for my two elderly servers.

Thanks for that explanation, David. Your reply gives me confidence to delete from the NAS the old backup of the NS01. I did notice that the new (Core) backup has a long folder sequence before it gets to the MQ folder, with one unusual folder name between ‘backup’ and ‘Music’, which I assume is the specific identity you refer to.

Do you have any idea why I cannot see the extra CDs that I ripped recently? I can see them in the Naim app, but cannot see them in Windows File Explorer, although all the older albums are visible.

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I suspect that is a timing issue. Maybe they hadn’t been indexed when you started the backup or something like that. But you could start a new backup now and it should mop up anything it missed the first time round and you could check it is doing a differential backup this time.

By the way, the Core backs up the Downloads folder as well as Music/MQ. You don’t have to think about that.

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We’re using our NAS as the music store.

No internal drive on Core.

NAS takes care of backup of any rips (MQ folder) to cloud.

Sorted.

I converted all the WAV rips on my NS01 to FLAC. It was a lengthy process! This was to reduce the space they were taking up on the HDD and to make it easier if I decided to go with a non-Naim server. I was considering all the usual suspects.

I did a back to back comparison between FLAC and WAV and couldn’t tell the difference, so I didn’t bother with transcoding on the fly. I did try it, but couldn’t tell any difference, so thought I’d give the server an easier ride by switching it off. I think there was a more noticeable difference on the first generation streamers, such as the NDS, but the newer streamers are able to deal with both perfectly well. You could always switch off the transcode option through the DTC and see what you think.

Yes, I noticed that. That really is a good feature of the Core.

There are two weird things going on. Firstly, the Core does not now see the NAS drive when I click on ‘configure a new backup’ to try a differential backup. Secondly, as before, the new CDs ripped over the last couple of weeks are not even visible on the Core MQ directory using Windows File Explorer. These files may well have been backed up, but since I cannot find them in the Core directory, perhaps it’s not surprising they don’t show in the backup. Still, at least it’s only a few CDs. As long as I keep a record of these and any more new discs, if I do ever need to recall the backup, I can always re-rip these few discs.

Adding to what @Clive said, Naim think that for the new platform streamers (which means Atom, Star, Nova, ND5 XS2, NDX2, NDX555 and the New Classic products) the processors have plenty of capacity to decode FLAC and you simply don’t need to feed them WAV. So they didn’t include it in UnitiCore and didn’t see the need to do so in future when I asked about it on a factory visit pre-Covid.

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I recently ditched my HDX for precisely the reasons Clive states for his NS01. The HDX has been great but the HDDs with the (old) control software on it was worrysome. Also, it got seriously hot, which I thought was the HDDs but was told by Naim North America that it was, in fact, the digital boards. I any event, heat plus age plus usage didn’t bode well for longevity.

My new NDX2 has been a little frustrating, primarily because of the crappy documentation, but now that I’ve got everything switched over and used to its’ quirks, I’m glad I switched - nothing mechanical, SSD storage, cool running, and no OLED touch screens to burn out. Naim make good stuff, now they just need to work on their documentation…

The NDX2 is a cracking piece of kit, isn’t it.

Our one wish is for a default input setting, which would activate on power on.

When you’re listening to Tidal and go to standby, it’s annoying to restart to the menu with no selected input. Would be much more user friendly for us if it could default to our TV input, which is what it mostly gets used for.

Currently ripping CD 112 from SWMBO collection. So far everything recognised and has metadata. All old CDs. Result!

Tomorrow I’ll run them through Picard, sort a few cover issues and move the files onto main NAS music area, covered by Asset. Easy.

It was a frequent issue I had with the NS01 that in the last months of ownership it became more frequent that the search engines were failing to find the metadata. Sadly the problem persists with the Core, which appears to use the same databases, Rovi, Musicbrainz, Free db. Metadata has not been found for any of the CDs I have ripped so far with the Core.

Might be worth dropping Naim technical support an email about the not found CDs Clive (including saying which they were).

The problem with the NS01 and US/HDX is caused by an API change at Rovi that can’t be accommodated in the old servers, at least something like that.

But the Core is different and maybe it needs a further firmware update to sort it, because it was finding most metadata last time I ripped significant CDs (which is some months ago admittedly).

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I will do that, David. I will also mention the fact that I cannot see the new discs when I look at the Core on Windows File Explorer. When there’s a beta upgrade for the Core I will also switch the Source to beta.

That’s very strange.

The Core struggled with some opera CDs I had, but I’m ripping my way through SWMBO collection. Done well over 100 now. All have been recognised (including some obscure compilations) with only a very small number missing covers - which will be sorted by running through Picard.

I have found an answer to the question if ripped files not being visible in Windows File Explorer. @adeypoos reminded me of this thread from @Lowdene:

This says that albums ripped without metadata reside under the artist name, Unknown. Lo and behold, I have found five albums in that location. That means that none of the albums I have ripped with the Core have been allocated metadata during the ripping process. That issue remains, but at least one issue can be ticked off.

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Credit given where credit not due - this was written by @Lownote (no relation).