Elegant solution for ND555 + cd transport?

Hi, as I continue my journey with the nd 555 streaming qobuz (through mconnect thanks to frenchrooster), I can’t help seeing the cdp on my rack which is now idle (all ps are on the nds) which I keep just in case (of what?).
So I am thinking about selling this headunit to replace it with a Melco D100 ripper. This would lead to greater integration in my system in 2 ways: 1) ripping my cds and 2) hopefully even better sound from my cds than through the CDP?

Would this be true: using a D100 just as transport into the ND555 would result in a sound upgrade vs playing the same CD in a CDP555? Reason being because the nd555 sounds even better than the cdp.


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Don’t you need the N10 or similar to have somewhere to rip the CDs to? It’s suddenly become less elegant and open to competition from Innuos and the Naim Core among others.

Perhaps @Darkebear has tried this with his D100, as part of setting his system up?


Only you can decide if it’s true. I have a different CDP from you, but am far from convinced CD rips sound better than the original CDs. If you have a PC or Mac then you could accurately rip a few CDs with Dbpoweramp or XLD and serve them with Minimserver to your ND555 and compare with the same CDs played on your CD555.

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Hi Yeti, No…if I do not want to store them, just listen to them through the nd555 dac. So for those who do not need to…re-store what is stored already (I mean the cd is already a storage) you can make it simpler and less expensive. That would be the beauty.

Hi Tiberio,
What I’m trying to do is avoid putting a computer in the way. Also my assumption is that D100 transport is state of the art (not speaking about the rips which it also allows). And anyway the D100 is less than 1000$. I’m curious to know if anyone did it already and compared with CDP 555.

Not sure but I seem to remember that the Melco D100 ripper/cd transport only has a USB output?

If so, that would mean perhaps having some converter e.g. to SPDIF in between it and the ND555 - like maybe an Audiophilo or similar??

Generally most users of Melco use USB I think to connect them to their DACs and streamers too…IIRC

But if I’ve remembered this wrong - or if you do it anyway - please let me know as it’s something I’m considering myself.

I don’t yet have a NAS and am actively considering using a CD transport into my 272 as a CD based NAS/library equivalent.

Esteemed previous forum member JN still uses his CD555 every day and believes it is sonically as good as it gets - so I wouldn’t hope that a Melco into your ND will beat your CD555.

I think that the best integrated reference CDP by Naim would be very hard to equal - not least because whereas the ND555 is tuned to play many different file types and resolutions, the CD555 dac is tuned to 16/44 cd data streams, and nought else

but who knows?

Hi JimDog, yes you are right…the D100 has a USB 3.0 Type A port to connect to the device. But the nd555 doesn’t have one such input. So unless someone has an idea this doesn’t seem so straightforward anymore! Will need to find something else…

A Jay’s Audio CDT?

Please give this a try and let us know how it sounds!!

If you are convinced about the D100 doing rips better than other drives, then why not gat a Melco as well, when you want to rip you then have a store, and one that doesn’t need to stream across a network to play music, so avoiding all the hassle of the “ethernet and switches madness” thread, simply connecting Melco to ND555, which I think would need to be by a dedicated direct ethernet cable. And when you want to just play a CD, then I believe you can do that. However, how direct playing compares with CD555 can only be assessed by someone able to hear both in the same system, and I suspect few have tried.

Unfortunately I do not believe they can rip?

Hi IB, this is a exactly the solution that I was trying to…streamline. So I have to get back to it. I hoped it was possible to add this extra box …later!

After buying an NDS about 5 years ago, I kept the cdp sitting idle on the Fraim for about 3 years. Finally sold it off. I’d ripped all the cd’s; I decided it was worthless as a ‘backup’ etc.

You’re getting so little out of what the ND555 can do by using it only for streaming. Rip the cd’s; acquire some well-mastered hi rez files. You’ll enjoy it immensely. Chances are you’ll never look back, or when you do you’ll wonder why you thought you needed the silvery plastic discs to enjoy the music. Guess what - you don’t!


If the ND555 is good enough to replace the CD555, why would you not want to just rip your CDs and be done with it? There are plenty of ways to rip CDs and stream then to the ND555, and then those flimsy plastic cases can be banished to the loft forever

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The uniticore would be perhaps the most elegant and not so expensive.
The Melco is better, for me and some, but at minimum n1h2 level.
I had the n1h2 and found it a bit better vs the core. With the D100, cds rips will still sound better.
Personally it would be a choice between Uniticore ( for money) or Melco n1 Z 2 ( the third level) with D100, for big uplift vs uniticore. But 3 times the cost.
Or Innuos zenith mk3. Have not heard however.

I very much doubt the Melco is state of the art. I use a Chord Blu2 CD transport, which technically is state of the art, in terms of sound quality I have never heard better from any digital platform. However, my last statement is subjective. You may agree with my assessment of its sound quality or you may not: you’d only know if you had a listen. Blu2 will be limited by the ND555 as the Naim streamer does not have dual BNC inputs. Nonetheless, the combo should still sound great.

Melco is a computer company and makes NASs (music servers) and peripherals (CD drives/rippers). They are aimed at the hifi enthusiast and look nicer in a hifi rack than a computer not designed for hifi. I have not heard the CD drive, but in the context of my system preferred my Mac mini to Melco’s top of the ranger music servef in terms of musical presentation and flexibility (again subjective).

However, I was not suggesting using your computer permanently, but simply using it to rip a few CDs and serve the rips to your ND555. That way you would have a good idea if you enjoyed rips more than CDs.

My main point is nobody can tell you that the ND555 sounds better than CD555. They can only give an opinion. So there is no definitive answer to your question is it true. There may well be a streamer than outperforms the Blu2 transport, but I have not heard it. Of course, Blu2 is not a ripper, but I’m completely happy with accurate bit perfect rips courtesy of XLD.

Good luck with you auditions, I hope you find a good solution.

Based on what I hear from the nd 555 both on streaming with mconnect and also through ak connect (my portable astell and kern) I am convinced that my cd will sound better when going through the nd555 than through my cdp 555.
Now I do not at all need multi room or even network, I’m fine to physically attach things in my living room. So if I can avoid all the “switch” horror stories I would be better off, I hope!

Chris, yes and to do just that I would 2 boxes, a ripper snd a server… I would like a single box even at the cost of not using a network, because it would be connected to the nd 555.

If you don’t want to rip, store and play with all switches and Ethernet cables, just connect a transport to play your cds physically, why not a second hand naim cdx2.2, with its digital output ? Just an spdif cable to your nd555 and you will be done.
It will sound very very good, but not as good as optimal upnp nd555 set up with a good nas.

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FR, yes I guess the Unity core is technically the right option. But sound wise it foes not appear to be at the front. Then you are comparing it to boxes who themselves need a cd ripper. I would like to find the best cd ripper that can slao feed directly an nd555.

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