So, following on from the last thread, lots and lots of very useful information from everyone led me to obtain a Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and experiment with the NDS digital output to the BB input. I concluded after weeks of burn in and testing that I still preferred the NDS for red book, although MQA (using the BB as a stand alone) is very good. The addition of a Syntax Xtreme power supply to the BB did add something good too. I then obtained a Chord Hugo TT 2 / M-Scaler and fed them with the digital output of the NDS. This combination is truly awesome for red book Tidal. I have learnt that I can bookmark MQA albums and tracks in the iOS Tidal app then they appear on the Naim app( although not shown as MQA on the Naim app). So I can play MQA through the NDS. The Chords, of course don’t do the full MQA unfold but I’m getting 16 x sampling (705) so who cares! The sonic benefits are considerable with this combo feeding my Townshend Allegri +, 300 DR and Quad 2912s. The power (we have noisy mains here) is regenerated by a Power Inspired AG1500s.
I’m guessing that the NDS does in fact do the first unfold, or maybe it’s just passing it though? It does however mean that a MQA recording can be played on an NDS.
The NDS doesn’t do any MQA processing, so it must be passing a bit perfect stream to the Mytek BB which then carries out the full MQA unfold.
The NDS will just be getting a regular 16/44 stream from Tidal, which will recognise that it is sending a stream to a non-MQA device, and therefore sends it a non-MQA stream.
That is great news for me Russ, I own a Naim Core>NDS/XPSDR and plan on getting an Mscaler/TT2 to be fed from the NDS digital out. I have a Naim DC1 cable I plan on using between the NDS and MScaler. Are you using the Bridge in there somewhere too? Anyway, I am real interested in any info you have about that combo.
Yes I thought it may pass a bit perfect signal. I didn’t know it would send a different stream if it detected a non MQA DAC. I believe the first unfold is an up sample, does it include the phase correction component though-I don’t know.
The Chords require two 75ohm BNC cables between them (included) to gain the full upscale. The display on the TT2 shows ‘705’ so 16x44.1.
Rob Watts is a regular contributor on another forum and I managed to get quite a bit of insight so I was pretty confident about the abilities of these two products.
The System takes the digital signal from the NDS digital output (Single cable) and sends the signal to the M-Scaler. This has an Automatic signal detect function once the correct output is selected. Up samples signal then from M-Scaler to TT2 via the two included BNC cables, to the TT2. I use the TT2 as a DAC only and feed the output analogue signals to the pre amp in the usual way. NDS needs the digital output activated in settings.
So far I’ve had this system playing for about 7 days non stop with occasional 30-60 minutes listening sessions. Some small improvements have been there on each occasion ( I am also burning in the interconnects -Townshend F1). Changes have included low bass improvement along with the sound stage. Live recordings- Frank Sinatra at the Sands on Tidal, well, it’s like being there! Compared to the BB, that is more 3D in a not so good way, quite artificial. The NDS/Chord is so natural, far exceeding my expectations. Another album, Quadrophenia by The Who, the MQA version on Tidal, is just fabulous via NDS/Chord.
My thinking at the moment (I am still evaluating both systems) is that if upsampled Redbook is this good, why bother with MQA and it’s limited library (not much of the music I like is in MQA right now but that may change, going forward) When I can upsample everything on Tidal, including those MQA masters.
The NDS won’t send a different stream to a different DAC. It will send exactly the same bit-perfect stream via its output stage to whatever DAC happens to be connected.
If you play an MQA encoded file through the NDS with the Mytec DAC attached, the Mytek DAC which is fully MQA enabled will detect that it is an MQA encoded file and carry out the appropriate MQA unfold(s). If you play the same file with the TT2 attached, the TT2 will simply treat the file as a standard PCM file and play it without any MQA unfolds taking place anywhere in the chain. You won’t achieve the first unfold at all with the TT2 unless you happen to be using Roon as your control point.
Of course, the Chord TT2 and M-Scaler combination is a fantastic set-up, although it is also much more expensive than the Brooklyn Bridge.
Having compared the Mytek Brooklyn+ (the same DAC as in the Brooklyn Bridge) with my Chord Hugo, and finding that I only marginally prefer the Brooklyn+ with ‘redbook’ files, I would certainly expect the TT2/M-Scaler combo to be quite a bit better, and so if you can afford them then I think this is the way I would probably go - irrespective of how MQA files sound.
By the way, given that you plan to feed your DAC from an NDS, you don’t actually need the ‘Bridge’ component of your Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. The NDS performs the same streaming function as the bridge component of the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge. The cheaper Mytek Broolyn+ DAC (which is exactly the same DAC as that in the Bridge) would have sufficed.
Sorry - just re-read your initial post and am not sure if you are using the Mytek BB as a stand-alone device, or you are connecting the NDS output to the BB, so ignore my post if I have got it wrong.
The Tidal integration within the Naim App will only be able to access the ‘Redbook’ version of the Album/Track despite the Master version being selected in the native Tidal app.
I discovered and documented this when I started playing MQA material through my NDS, however this is done through Roon.
So the Roon Core performs the 1st unfold (max 24/96) and then sends the PCM stream to NDS Ethernet UPnP input, using the SonoreUPnP bridge. In fact this is my default playback path now, haven’t played any track in the Naim App for over 12 months.
Tidal Masters sound great, plus also I have locally stored MQA files to compare alongside FLAC or DSD versions.
I would also try using the TT2 as a Preamp driving the 300 DR directly…eliminating the Townsend. When I demoed a Hugo 2 and Dave, direct into my Anthem amp was the best sound I heard.
I tried Dave directly into a 300 dr, it was gutless with no emotion. Worth trying, but did not work for me…i tried my best to avoid a 252 , but ultimately failed.
I have tried the BB as a stand alone. On both MQA and Redbook, the Naim/Chord set up is considerably better, particularly in the lower frequencies, and the imaging. The BB images in the centre are finely etched but not so on the wider parts of the stage, NDS/Chord all well focused and more naturally placed. I have yet to try the Naim digital into the BB.
I would like to try the BB into the Chords but looking at the manual, its more complicated so will need to work on it
Yes, that was my initial set up but it didn’t work well. Returning the Allegi+ opened up the sound, tonally corrected everything and placed images where I think they should be. The opening track on the Sinatra album I mentioned displays this very well. Shame really as I had originally thought that this would be the way to go, and I would have a remote control volume too. That said, the system has improved over the past few days so I may well try again, further down the road.
NO-Quarter I didn’t answer all your questions. The NDS is working as a bridge. Nothing else required. Works very well but as I say, need to bookmark MQA files in the iOS app or lap top then find them in your favourites in the Naim app. I don’t like to A/B test, I don’t find it useful, better to sit a while and listen to the same selected tracks in a relaxed way. Doing it this way I believe that the MQA tracks still have something on the Redbook via NDS/Chord even though the MQA file isn’t being unfolded but both being upscaled 16 times.
As a couple of us have already mentioned, if you do this, you are not getting MQA. You are getting regular 16/44.
If you use the digital out from the NDS, it doesn’t know what device is connected, it’s just a one way stream of digital data.
Very interesting. Read Rob Watts paper and video on the M scaler/Hugo. Sounds like a very interesting approach to fix the reconstruction issues with std Hi Rez.
I would be interested in how this setup does when you resample Hi Rez material in 352 Khz or so. Do you hear much of a difference? I suspect that the better reconstruction will come thru.
Also used the Alegri+ and DC47 (Alegri on Steroids) and found it better than no preamp. Use Townshend f1 Fractal interconnects and Podiums under my speakers. Great Products.
Yes Rob Watts knows a thing or two about digital music reproduction. His 1 million tap theory makes sense when you hear it in action. His idea of dealing with time smearing in the early stages of recording is evident when one listens to the end product. I guess this is why I’m enjoying the NDS/Chord setup more than MQA - I’m listening to all My music from Tidal at 705khz rather than 192Khz max via the BB. I also had a Meridian MQA streamer for a while and very good it was too, but the NDS/Chord is now my best sounding front end.
I haven’t yet tried any Hi res files, and yes I agree it would be an interesting experiment. If I get to do that I will be sure to document my experience.
I love Townshend Audio- have used their products for many years but I recently bought some podiums for the first time, for my Quad electrostatics and they made a big difference. I also put some TA pods under my sub. An extraordinary improvement to an already superb piece of equipment.
I agree that Rob Watts and the Mscaler does some interesting things to the reconstruction of digital signals with his million taps. However, I have not seen that Rob Watts/Mscaler does anything with the time smearing from the early stages of the record process. Perhaps you have seen something in print or on line. This is one difference with MQA–which attempts to reduce the time smear due to the A/D processing. Perhaps he has something up his sleeve.
Which Meridian MQA streamer did you have?
I’ve read so much over the past year, it may have been a YouTube video (very informative) or on head-fi.org where Rob Watts is a regular contributor. I don’t think he is involved in the early stages of the recording process but his filters offer a post production solution as I understand it.
A Meridian 218 Controller was my first MQA DAC. It was about £1200 when new and offers surprisingly good quality SQ with Tidal which is my only source of music these days. I believe that Bob Stuart and Rob Watts are 2 of the worlds greatest designers in the digital audio field. There are probably even greater products to come, from Titan companies like Naim, Meridian and Chord. I’ve enjoyed plenty of Hi-Fi products from around the world in my 45 years of enjoying this hobby but only in the past few years have I turned to Naim. I really love the musical sound from this company and, along with the fine detail retrieval of the Chords, I think that this mixture constitutes the finest of front ends that I’ve heard so far.
There seem to be various ways of upsampling or oversampling as well as an MScaler - sometimes at lower cost.
e.g. I think HQ Player will do this on a PC.
Or a PS Audio DirectStream converts all digital inputs, including PCM, to 1-bit DSD.
But then there may be other things apart from sampling frequency that make you like the SQ of your MScaler.
What are you going to do with your Syntaxx PSU?
How good was the improvement it made to the SQ of the Brooklyn?