Higher sound quality

Hi Alex,

The Arcam D33 is quite an elderly DAC, albeit a quite expensive and capable DAC of its day. More recent Arcam DACs do support MQA, but I am fairly sure that the D33 does not.

I haven’t used the Tidal app for ages and so I am not sure how you would distinguish between CD quality and MQA encoded content (using Roon you would see an MQA icon on MQA encoded albums), but you would certainly not be getting higher than CD resolution using your DAC and the Tidal app.

You could do so (or at least get the first MQA unfold) by using Roon or potentially by using the cheaper MConnectHD control app. In fact, the MConnectHD app might be a relatively inexpensive way to experiment and try out the first MQA unfold. Be careful though, because I don’t think the free version of MConnect supports MQA.

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Hi Hmack

Many thanks for you reply. Really useful info thank you. As I say I am happy with what I am hearing but was just wondering so that has answered my questions. I think I will happily sit tight and watch the online streaming market mature a bit more before making a decision on any further investment in services or equipment.

How much is that in percent? From my Qobuz favorites, I have not found a single one it didn’t recognize in 2,000 albums, and I dare to say I’m typically listening off mainstrean and often quite obscure stuff. What failed for you?

So many things to try, 555 or bare, 8switch or TP-Link, I’ll never get to the music. But I will do my best!

(Soon I’ll have Sarum T interconnects arrive as well. I didn’t want this at all :man_facepalming: and intended to use the standard cables for 6 months before going down the cable rabbit hole, but then a saved search on some classifieds website turned up a hifi shop whose owner is retiring and selling new Sarum Ts for more than 50% off, so … I came too late for the SuperLuminas unfortunately)

But not to mine. HR is clearly superior on my Atom and on the main system. In general I find CD quality streamed from Qobuz has lower SQ than the same disc ripped and played from local storage and that is beaten by HR streamed from Qobuz, where available. Of course I cannot rule out different masters, but I have never heard (or seen!) etching in my music reproduction.


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No contest!

Obviously, it is bound to sound better with the 555DR because the internal psu is switched off, and a much better psu is applied.

I’m just interested because not that many people use the 555 on their NDX2 - and so I haven’t heard that many reviews of what it does.

What I’m really interested in comparisons of XPSDR and 555DR on the NDX2.

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HI Alex,

Just spotted that the Tidal app now seems to be able to carry out the first MQA unfold:

Master quality is available with a HiFi membership on iOS or Android devices, the TIDAL desktop app, and connected devices. When you are in the TIDAL desktop application, go to “Home” and scroll to “Master Quality Authenticated Albums” or “Master Quality Authenticated Playlists" and click “View all.”

You need to have a Tidal “Hi-Fi” membership, not the cheaper “Premium” membership, and select “Master Quality” in “Settings” under the “Streaming” tab.

This is my initial impression, too, but without A/B-ing, I just plugged it in and continued with my chores, but it sounded better. I will change them back in a while out of pure interest and to confirm. Takes just a minute, too

I figured :slight_smile: I did not cross-test them because this pre-loved 555 DR from 2019 showed up at my trusted dealer’s while I was pulling the trigger on the NDX2. They recommended it over the XPS DR, made a fab price as part of the whole package, and this point I was tired of box swapping so I just asked them to wrap it up.

What I can also do a bit later is switch the 555 DR to the XPS2 (non-DR) that belongs to the CDS3 and just came back from recapping. I will bookmark this post and get back to it, it might just take some time

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I don’t have a personal view on this but I have heard a system much the same as mine, namely SN3 + NDX2, with and without a 555PS at my Naim dealer and it was the basis of my thought process a while ago to aim at adding one to give a 3 box system.
Most folks that have similar systems and have added an XPS DR seem to feel that it makes a meaningful contribution to the system as a whole. The question here would be does the cost overhead going from an XPS DR to a 555PS provide enough of a jump to make it worth the extra financial investment?
In my head my reasoning was that it would always be better than an XPS DR on an NDX2, and some years down the line when ND555’s were at more attainable prices used I could swap out the source for a better one.
If you put money to one side, a 555PS will outperform an XPS DR on an NDX2, however in most cases the XPS DR will do a very good job and be all you’d need on a system based on an NDX2 and been a well matched enhancement to a bare NDX2.
There are a few folks on here that have a 555PS on an NDX2 that can comment from a personal perspective.


Percentage? No idea! I didn’t attempt to count - certainly dozens of albums. Once I found there were quite a few that Roon couldn’t see there was no point in looking further. With Audirvana it is just a handful I couldn’t see.

As for whether any percentage is acceptable or not, I have something like 1200 albums. Even 1% would be completely unacceptable: that would be a dozen albums I’ve bought but can’t find or play and Roon’s discovery rate was worse than that. That was not a problem as I was only trialling it, just that some positive comments about its ability to sort out music with missing or inconsistent metadata had led me to expect more of it - presumably it depends on what music and/ir what us wrong with the metadata. (I don’t recall the errant albums being predominantly classical.)

Thanks for looking into to this. I can confirm that I am on Tidal HiFi, which, as the iPad is newer than IOS 11, means I get the orange Masters logo on music that is available as a Masters. I have also checked and I have things set to Masters which shows at the bottom when playing and it automatically switched to HiFi when it is not a Masters track. I had a new lead arrive today so will see what effect that has, though that will probably tomorrow as my wife now has online parent’s evening meetings and I am therefore in charge of our children😆

Using the Tidal app I can see the orange Masters logo next to albums in that format but when I cast to the ND5 XS2 using built-in Chromecast the logo in the Tidal app changes from Master to Hifi which I’m assuming is CD quality. The Naim app only says casting from Tidal so no further clue as to what resolution.

Hey thanks - that would be great.

Meanwhile, there are even better things to do, like relax and enjoy the music!

It seems very likely that the general answer will be - the XPS is a good step up from the bare NDX2, and the 555 is another good step up, but hearing about people’s particular evaluation is always of interest.

Sorry for the thread hijack by the way.

I don’t understand. Does it not find them or not identify them (as the proper release, inc. all metadata)? And as Roon includes no music, where are those located that it does not find? On your network share or in Qobuz or Tidal? Any albums mine does not find are simply not available in Qobuz, but were on my favorites list from the time I used Tidal.

Not finding 1% of stuff you own and is located on your server would of course be unacceptable, but I have zero of these. If that’s the case for you, something was not right, I would guess. For albums that are not identified as the correct release and get the correct metadata added automatically, 1% might be acceptable for me depending on scenario:

  • Obviously, tags contained in flac files I own must have 0% non-detection rate. This is the case for me as far as I can tell.
  • If it does not add better metadata for my flac files and the Qobuz favorites in 1% of cases, this would be entirely acceptable because it is a vast improvement over even meticulous file tags (where the breadth is simply not available and not even a distinction of release date and original release date exists) and over Qobuz/Tidal too (which insist on sorting 60ies albums into the 2000s because of the CD release date)

Will do :slight_smile: I have the same expectation, to be a smaller step than adding the XPS DR.
Given the situation and the great price with my whole purchase bundled in, it was a no-brainer and I would have kicked my ass down the line if an ND555 became available and I had saddled myself with an XPS DR :wink: There is also a certain relaxation that is added by being at the absolute top of the Classic series. No ifs, no buts, and clear choices if they ever come up.

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Yes I think so - it removes the SQ differences between local and cloud storage - and for me that is a big plus. It also streams 32 bit to Naim streamers which can make a small difference - but you can switch back to 24 bit if you prefer.

I also like the auto volume adjustment feature - works very well for tracks of different intensities - especially when wearing headphones.

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Yes, Steveski confirmed that using Tidal Connect to Naim streamers the files delivered will be at 16/44.1 (iirc).

With apologies to others for the continuing side discussion:

No online streaming at all: I’m talking about flac files on a single SSD in the store that is also the computer in which I ran Roon. All files are named with their track number and name exactly as appeared on the album sleeve, sometimes plus other info. They together with an album cover image and sometimes other artwork are nested in appropriately names album folders, those folders in artist folders, and those in genre folders. Largest portion were ripped from CD together with whatever metadata that had (with its inconsistencies), next from LP rips, with no metadata, and the remainder downloads, various resolutions, with whatever metadata they included, again much inconsistency. I knw that metadata across the board is a problem, much missing and much inconsistent - but comments by some others had praised Roon for its ability to find files based on file structure and to fill in missing metadata and fix errors.

I see, thanks for the explanation. Well if this had happened to me, I would not have jumped on board either. It does not look like normal behavior to me, though, it is not my experience and if this was common they probably would not be in business.