ND5 XS 2 and a Uniti Core

I previously had a NAIT XS 2, I also used the HiCap DR on that as well, I had a flatcap on the CD player for a time but felt it didn’t add much to the overall output so it went back to a bare player and now is still in the system but as a transport only using the BNC digital output in to the ND5XS2. It will depend in part where your journey takes you next. I always had a goal to get to a SuperNait 2 + HiCap DR which is where the system is today. It was part of the reasoning for picking the ND5XS2 over the NDX2 as it allowed budget to spend elsewhere and I’ll potentially move to a pre/power combo that allows me to reuse the HiCap DR and then move the SuperNait 2 bare to another room to (one day) replace a Unitiqute 2. I would probably say the move beyond the SuperNait 2 is not a must in pursuit of a “better” sound, I find the setup I have gives me a lot of pleasure and has headroom way beyond where I take it day to day. It manages average daily duties with ease and enjoys being pushed a bit here and there where it really gives a lot for what it is. I’ve had a fair few NAIT’s in that system (home office) through 3’s, 5’s, an XS then a XS 2 and today SuperNait 2. I skipped the Original SuperNait as I never liked its sound, with or without a HiCap despite it having a decent enough DAC. I had a Naim DAC for a while and found that very good and quite capable in a variety of systems. The current setup gives a decent balance between box count and enjoyment as well. Adding HiLine and Powerline to the setup gives extra polish, going beyond that at XS level is probably wasted money. I think overall the HiCap DR made the most perceptable difference both on the NAIT XS’s and SuperNait 2. Note that SACD is indeed encoded using DSD however Blu-ray discs (HFPA - High Fidelity Pure Audio) use H.264/MPEG4 PCM for audio at 24/96 resolution. One solution here is a Blu-ray player with digital audio output which you can then connect directly to one of the digital inputs on the ND5XS2, BNC coaxial is preferable but an optical toslink type connection may be more likely and tends to be more common unless you have a higher spec player. The Oppo ones were always pretty good, not made anymore though from memory. This is the same principle I apply for my CD5XS and CD playback via the DAC on the ND5XS2. I was loathe to get rid of that CD player as always enjoyed it and still has a purpose in my setup, I may relocate it to another room as an upgrade to another basic transport.

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Dear Mr. M,

We own a Pioneer 508A 50" plasma TV. Therefore I am contemplating the purchase of a Pioneer Blu-ray multi-disc player. Fortunately and unfortunately there are quite a few in the range and trying to settle on one is difficult. I could just purchase the top of the range when funds allow at $4,000 AUD because of its shielding around the power supply. The question I ask myself. Is why spend all this good money on NAIM stereo equipment and let it down with a substandard Blu-ray player.

All but the base Blu-ray player are 4K players. I could provide a link though I think it will be deleted by the administrators on this forum. Not an issue. It is a NAIM forum after all.

I think the base player, BDP-100 BLU-RAY PLAYER might be all I require. Mr. M could you please check this out for me?

Then there is the BDP-X300 BLU-RAY PLAYER, which comes with shielded power supply and standing wave insulators on the rear. It states insulators where I thought they would have meant termination resistors for impedance matching. Anyhow, that is what is stated. This comes in at $500 AUD. All quite affordable. (I have been up since 3:40am again).

From there it is a step up to their premium range at $2,000 and $4,000 AUD respectively the UDP-LX500 UNIVERSAL DISC PLAYER and the UDP-LX800 FLAGSHIP UNIVERSAL DISC PLAYER.

On a side track for a moment. I spent yesterday evening looking into online streaming sources. The last one I previewed was TIDAL. I was almost sold until I found out the best audio was no better than a CD 16 bit at 44.1kHz. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Though for the HI RES you required MQA which I believe is not supported by NAIM Streamers. Please bare with me as all this terminology is new to me. As we do own a few CDs 100 to 200, I am well covered in my areas of interest and have a better catalogue than TIDAL in my areas of interest. Though TIDAL’s playlists would make things easier. Though I think this is something I could set up on my iMac and play and stream Apple Lossless music tracks.

Therefore, I am no better off than using a Pioneer player that supports 24bit at 96kHZ. As you have advised I should you the BNC coaxial input on the ND5XS 2 or possibly a NDX 2. Thinking of the cuff, I wonder that the extra shielding and standing wave terminations are implemented on the NDX 2 is to deal with the added noise that TFT display produces. Though it has been stated that there is a definite sound improvement. Which I believe.

Reading all the nomenclature on the NAIM streamers that the filtering is to lower the noise floor on the quiet passages. I may or may not hear this with headphones my preferred listening method as I will be in the TV room with my wife whilst she watches NETFLIX and I will be listening to music instead of playing with radios, shortwave and amateur. When Shelley is out of the house. Then I will use the loud speakers.

Due to the inefficiency of my loud speakers at 84 dB SPL. I have a head room of 14 dB for soft rock, such as Dire Straits. Though I have read that classical music should be listened to at quieter volumes than 88 dB SPL when rocking to Dire Straits. Therefore I may have more head room on classical pieces than I first realised. I have yet to test this out. I believe a rule of thumb is 14 dB for Rock and Jazz and 20 dB for Classical music. I should state that this is through the loud speakers, not the headphones.

So here I am. More knowledgable and still undecided which way to go.

Q. 1. Will hear noise in the quiet passages with headphones?

Q. 2. Does my Naim XS 2 have enough Headroom for Classical or do I have to allow for a power upgrade. I think I am on the cusp of power limitations with my speakers. They are rated at 120 watts, 8 ohms. Though do I really want to go down the path of separates or increase my power capacity by 10 watts with a Super Nait 2?

I am hoping I can stay with what I already own and select an appropriate streamer. Even NAIM has staled on their webpage that the ND5XS 2 is designed with the integrated amplifiers in mind.

My NAIM dealer does not have much experience with streamers as he prefers to spin discs.

Regarding my purchase of the Flatcap. That was a snap decision as it was the last Flatcap in the warehouse. I am happy to live with my decision.

The tempting thing about the NDX 2 is the remote control to pause the music in case the phone rings. Though there is always the answering machine. With headphones I will probably not hear it either :smiley:

From the reviews I have read the ND5XS 2 is no slouch. I will not be able to demo one and thus will rely on forum miners to guide my purchase. I think I will be happy with the ND5XS. Though the question remains.

Which Blu-ray multi disc player? I have the complete box set of MASH which I have yet to watch. So it needs to play DVDs and 24/96 audio as well as be 1080P minimum.

I think the UDP-LX500 UNIVERSAL DISC PLAYER is all I require. Just for the SCAD ability. Unless someone can think of a reason and it does not have to be anything special for me go for a more expensive player.

Warm regards,

Paul on a sleepless night again.

Quite a few points to cover there, in terms of the Blu-ray player I’d suggest you can get a decent player for not a lot of money from one of the major brands, Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic and certainly Oppo. I have the most experience with the Oppo kit and it’s often favoured for it’s ease of use, extensive feature sets and build quality. Do a search on AU eBay and you’ll see some examples there and not at crazy prices. As a further point here I have a dedicated multichannel system (Anthem/Dali) in addition to 2 channel systems. It sounds as if you are planning to have one main system with a NAIT XS 2 at its heart and use that for multiple purposes including spinning discs for audio and movie watching. I’d say unless you have an extensive library of SACD or similar you can avoid an exotic Blu-ray player and instead just buy more music as file based equivalents. Quite a lot of the original DSD masters used to produce SACD’s are still used to create downloadable DSD equivalents of those original SACD releases. There’s a number of trusted sites that should be available in your region like 2L, HD Tracks, nativedsd and so on. As you express a leaning towards classical and some traditional rock type music you’ll be well covered across the download sources available to you today. Disc based HD audio formats are not a growth sector and the equivalent experience is today more typically accessible either streamed or as a downloaded file, whilst the material comes at a premium cost it is the experience you are looking for and is supported by any of the Naim streamer products.
Mileage may vary as they say but in my experience I find I can get anything I like as Hi Res audio either streamed or as a download. I still acquire CD’s and the occasional SACD but the majority or available of an equal quality as a file based download or streaming. This is where I’ve found Qobuz useful as I can stream something new at up to 24/192 and if it’s something I think I’d like to own for the long term I can download it at around half price with my subscription, this is then mine to own and use and without any DRM/copy protection applied. MQA does as you point out apply to Tidal with the reasoning behind the technology being that you can achieve a Hi Res decoding of audio with a file the size of a 16/44.1 version. It is licensed technology and requires the DAC/Streamer to support it and be licensed to do so. The approach of Qobuz and other download based sites is to provide the files as FLAC or WAV/AIFF files at up to 24/192 resolution and in doing so aren’t tied to a proprietary technology (MQA) or required to pass on a licence cost for the decoding capability in their products (DAC/Streamer manufacturer) It’s personal of course but there tends to be a preference towards the PCM based versions as opposed to the MQA versions which include processing to allow for compression whilst allowing for un-compression of the higher quality file. I’ve not really done any serious experimentation with MQA even though I do have kit that can support it (iFi iDSD DAC). It also requires a Tidal subscription and I favoured Qobuz for it’s format choice and more substantial Hi Def catalogue. I do also download from other sources and also had a Bowers & Wilkins Society of Sound download account until they ended it recently.
It sounds like you’re undecided on what streamer path to choose, given you have an integrated amp you like and are prepared to stick with, I’d build a system out which compliments it’s component parts, adding a lot of cost to your streamer by choosing the NDX2 and then potentially adding another costly PSU and interconnects to max it out won’t necessarily be exploited to its maximum potential with your amp and current speakers. I lived with my NAIT XS and then XS 2 for some years and was very happy with it. I always knew I wanted to move to a SuperNait 2 eventually hence making a choice to budget for a HiCap DR and limit my spend on a streamer to allow for spend on new speakers (maybe Focal Sopra 2). At that point, perhaps in 18/24 months, I’ll revisit either upgrading the streamer or moving to a NAC/NAP combo and moving the SN2 to another room/system.
In your case you may want to think about your budget going on speakers and a headphone amp like the Headline given that a critical part of your system will be the headphone listening, and your speakers, whilst probably more than adequate, could be replaced at reasonable cost for something more capable and better suited to your music choices and room dynamics. In my case I’ve had my PMC speakers for some years and used them across a number of NAIT based systems, I think it took till I got to the NAIT XS 2 before the speakers really started sounding as they should and now with the SN2 sound very nice, however having heard a similar setup on the Focal floorstanders I was taken enough by the quality of the sound to look at that as a potential upgrade path.
Summing up, get a used Oppo Blu-ray player for around $600-800AU, stick to the NAIT XS 2 and balance that appropriately with a ND5 XS 2, give room treatment and speakers some consideration, maybe some smaller speakers or audition some for comparison, some speakers tend to work well with Naim amps, Focal for obvious reasons, PMC, ATC, Harbeth and so on. Get a Headline headphone amp as a simple upgrade boost to the builtin output on the NAIT. Consider obvious tuning like speaker cable and interconnects and of course power leads. Even the new Power-line Lite are a worthy swap out on this level of kit and at reasonable cost. I’d stick to a Naim Hi-Line DIN to DIN between source and amp and NAC A5 speaker wire is always a safe bet. Moving to Lumina grade cabling is overkill on XS level hardware. Consider adding a HiCap DR to the NAIT and A-B test it. I liked it, others found it took away something of the musicality and liberated sound of the XS 2. You could also drive the NAIT with the Flatcap, especially if you move to using it as a transport to a streamer.
Final point on remotes, you can connect the streamer to the NAIT (3.5mm minijack/RC5 not audio) and control input selection, volume and mute of the NAIT from the Naim iOS/Android app. I rarely use my NARCOM RCU as a result and don’t miss a dedicated RCU for the streamer.

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G’day Mr. M,

I few things I have failed to mention, one I have.

  1. I use NAC A5 speaker cable, 2 by 5 metre lengths. In the old house it laid out nicely on the carpet as the room was quite large, open plan lounge room, dining and kitchen. Now the excess is hanging on the wall behind the speakers on plastic 3M hooks in a loose lower case “n” shape about 800mm up the wall, 800mm along the wall and 800mm back down the wall.

  2. The speakers are Celestions SL6Si book shelf 2 way speakers on stands filled with lead shot. They are positioned about 2’ away from the rear wall and side wall. Or in the case of the left speaker away from a sliding glass door.

  3. Qobuz is not available in Australia.

  4. I will stick with the Nait XS 2 amplifier.

  5. I will save up and purchase a ND5 XS 2 as recommended.

  6. I will look into a Headline headphone amplifier. Though will use the headphone output of the NAIT XS 2 for the time being.

  7. I am planning on using NAIM DIN cables between sources and amplifier. I do not know if the cables I am looking at are NAIM Hi-Line cables. I will enquire with my dealer.

  8. I will have to look into Power-line Lite cables. I have not heard of these. Unless you are talking about 240 volt AC mains cables. Not sure will have to check this out.

  9. HiCap. Noted. Though I have purchased a Flatcap XS at the moment.

  10. Remote control units. A nice to have. Though as pointed out, not necessary.

  11. I will try and find a source for an Oppo Blue-ray player. I chose Pioneer because our TV is Pioneer and there is meant to be in the set-up menu that you can select which Pioneer TV you have. I will read the manuals on the appropriate Pioneer Blu-ray players.

  12. My SCAD discs are limited to about four. All Diana Krall, jazz which I do enjoy. Though possibly not enough to validate a Blu-ray Multi-Disc Player purchase. The entry level $399 AUD player will do or the secondhand Oppo.

  13. Question. Can you please tell me how I stream Apple Lossless files from my iMac to the Naim ND5XS 2?

  14. After the above hardware is implemented. I will revisit the loud speaker situation. The Dealer did recommend Sonus Faber. Now I believe they no longer stock them. I will see what else is available from this and other NAIM dealers. Or should I say ex-NAIM dealers.

Warm regards,

Paul.

Hello Gigantor, i read a bit the thread and can respond on a few things.
The nd5xs2 will be able to stream apple files easily. The apple computer will be like a nas. However, for sound quality, it’s better to have a server or a nas. The apple files can be downloaded on a nas or server ( uniticore, innuos , …). The nd5xs2 will stream them.

The other things: second oppo to read your sacd is a good choice. You can even connect the nd5xs2 to the oppo, in spdif, to uplift the sound.
2X 5m naca5 cables is correct. All power cables will work.

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Use the Flatcap XS to power the preamp on the NAIT instead of the CD player, simple enough experiment!
Streaming files stored on the Mac to the ND5 you have a few options, if you’re ok up to 16/44.1 you can just select the Naim streamer as your speaker output (menu bar next to clock) and then all audio from the Mac will be sent to the ND5, I do this if I’m flicking through stuff on Safari for example and want to get audio through the amp. Alternatively you can use a player app like Audirvana which supports UPnP and again select the ND5 as your speakers and then the playback is controlled within Audirvana and the audio is streamed and rendered on the ND5. This works for any format including DSD. One niggle being gapless playback using UPnP isn’t supported well, it works mostly ok using Airplay however. In terms of NAS, music server, ROON etc. The simplest solution is USB memory stick in the back of the ND5. You can get decent size ones up to 256GB for around £50, which is a lot of music, and at £1900 cheaper than a Uniti Core, at least to get you rolling. Arguably it may not be the absolute zenith of sound reproduction, but it will play anything including DSD this way and to my ears at least sounds absolutely fine. If you have a sizable CD collection a dedicated music server is a nice addition and a Unit Core, Innuos, Melco or similar will do a very good job of ripping and serving your CD collection. Expect to pay £2000+ for the good kit, which will sound very good but I’ve found ripping CD’s on my Mac using XLD, (Free Mac OS ripping software) using a basic USB Samsung Blu-ray drive then copying the Wave files to the flash drive and sticking it in the back of the ND5, works effortlessly, is browsable from the Naim iOS/Android app and sounds acceptable to me. I’ve tried a number of music server solutions and they do sound good and longer term I’ll go that route, however for now and having spent next to nothing I’ve got basically the same end solution for less than £40 albeit with a slight loss of absolute sound quality. Being £2000 richer for it I’m ok with that slight loss of quality! Joking aside, it sounds fantastic still and the ND5 loads and plays anything you pass to it over USB without issue. I have experimented with adding a iFi iSilencer 3.0 between the Flash drive and ND5, hard to tell if it makes any difference but I had it to hand and it’s worked well in the past.

Speaker wise, Sonus do make lovely speakers, I’ve not owned any so can’t share a personal experience and imagine you’d need to do some extensive listening to find a good system mix for your musical taste, room and amp ability. I’ve had PMC’s in my main system for a while but have also had Naim Ovator speakers which I enjoyed but found a bit excessive for my listening room and as previously mentioned had a good recent experience with the Focal Kanta 2 which remain on my midterm shopping list till I find something else I like the sound of more. I’d always recommend listen testing speakers with an equivalent system and ideally trial them at home for a few days to be sure they work for you and your listening style. It’s always hard to give a definitive recommendation as your music tastes, the room itself and your setup can make a big difference and whilst I find say the Focal’s to my liking you may prefer something else. There will be many others I’m sure who have personal experience driving Sonus speakers and with an opinion to share!

an innuos zen mini is also a good solution. Cost around 800 dollars, so much cheaper than the uniticore.
You can rip cds and store hirez files . The advantage vs a memory stick is that you can have your music library organized, with cover albums and metadata visible on the naim app.
Some use it here on the forum.

image

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Certainly a credible solution and one of the options I’d mentioned. It’s also fair to say that the ripping and streaming options can be overwhelming certainly compared to the simplicity of opening a CD jewel case, opening the CD player drawer and hitting play!
The option to support a USB device is one of flexibility and ease of use. It’s a simple and cost effective way for the OP to get up and running, find their feet with streaming and then evaluate their storage and serving needs. Ripping and storing CD’s is also one of many methods available today and in my own experience of using services like Qobuz I find myself ripping less and rotating through a smaller library of specific music rather than regularly referencing a large primary archive, I think I just have too much music and additionally now access to quality streaming that there is not enough time to enjoy it all!
In terms of metadata and the discovery process, ROON does a very good job enriching the audio experience and compliments the equipment under discussion here well. I found it a good way to find new music I’d not have known about otherwise. Certainly a
great variety of choice at all price points and quality levels available today in terms of playback hardware and supporting software.

I am a little confused, maybe more than a little.

I have my iMac, CD5 XS, Naim XS 2, ND5 XS 2. This is all theoretical at the moment. I have my Naim app on my iPhone 5SE. Shelley has an iPad Air2. We have iTunes and Family Apple Music package.

I would like to down load HI-Res files at least as good as 24/96. I can not use Qobuz because it is not available in Australia as yet. I have been to their webpage and states that my country is not supported.

I have Googled “Purchase HIRES Music Files” with a result to Sony UK. Which has the following links. I think they are links for different genres of music.

  1. Qobuz which does not work in Australia.
  2. HDtracks.
  3. HIGHRESAUDIO
  4. Berlin Phil
  5. primephonic
  6. HDMusicStore
  7. Bleep
  8. Cybele
  9. Gimell
  10. hd-klassik
  11. Linn Records
  12. Naim Label
  13. 2L
  14. 7digital

Currently I am a tentative on clicking on any of these links.

The Sony site is:

IS this the site that I download my HiRes music and pay for it. Down load to my iMac, put it in a folder and then get the Naim App to find it. Or is this where ROON comes in?

Warm regards,

Paul.

I eventual clicked on one of the links and there are a few songs which I would like to purchase. Possibly later when I actually own the ND5XS 2. It does have a selection of file types. AIFF, ALAC, FLAC and WAV. I have selected songs in 24/96 and above. May I ask which format if I were to make a purchase. Which one should I select please?

I wish they had Dire Straits, though there is one Pink Floyd album, Division Bell, Two Eagles albums, Hotel California and Desperado and a couple from Dina Krall. I suppose it is a start. Though the site is in German. Though the pictures help me and a little bit of English is available as to album title and artist’s name. Payment via paypal. So this part looks easy.

Now for the networking and storage. Either a USB stick or a USB drive.

I will leave it here and see what feedback I receive to go the next step.

Warm regards,

Paul in Oz.

you can choose waw or aiff. Flac will work also. Some find wav better sounding than flac on naim streamers. Generally most use wav and also aiff. I prefer a bit aiff on bandcamp site.
On highrezaudio ( German) and Tidal store, the downloads are on flac format.

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G’day French Rooster, I think Tidal’s HiRes require Qobuz which is not available in Australia. I hope I am wrong though I have been to the site twice and it informed me not supported in your country, with Australia being flagged.

At least I have a start and will wait patiently for the bank balance to rise so I can purchase a NAIM Streamer.

Thank you for your valued addition.

Warm regards,

Paul.

tidal and qobuz are different sites. You can stream tidal or buy flac albums too, but only 16/44 format.

Dear FR,

I knew there was a reason. Thank you for pointing out my error. I have the thinking that if it is only CD quality and I already have the CD there is not much point. I maybe very wrong in my thinking. I am hoping to purchase music I already own or new music in at least 24/96 if that is possibility. Thank you very much for correcting my error.

All I remembered that there was something holding myself back from subscribing to this site. I was very tempted at first. Though my collection of Bach and Handel is more comprehensive than the Tidal Site.

I have purchased an extensive set of Bach from recommended recordings by another Forum on this website and recently purchased a box sets from DECCA on Handel’s oratorios and Luciano Pavarotti.

Warm regards,

Paul in Oz.

P.S. I am so looking forward to the day I pick up my CD5 XS, Flatcap XS and headphones.

It is possible to stream Tidal MQA (hi-res) using the desktop app on a Mac if it has an optical out on the headphone socket and then connect this to the ND5 XS2 on the optical input, I do this with good success, though you need a 2015 or earlier Mac.

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For hi-res downloads, these are a bit of bugger to buy down-under. I have bought some from Burning Shed in the UK, most sites won’t down,lad or a NZ/Aus wen address. I download them to my Mac and transfer to the Core through Finder. Otherwise you need a uPnP app to stream to the ND5, or save the file to a USB stick and plug it into the front of the ND5.

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Dear Mike_S,

This is good news as I believe that my iMac fits these requirements. I am currently running OSX 10.14.4, Retina 5k, 27", 4.2 GHz, Intel I CORE 7. I do not know if it is the current model, possibly the one before. The last iMac lasted I think 19 years. It was the first of the Intel processors. I purchased it so our young children had great software to use for assignments (Pages) and we would be virus free. A couple of the boys at work were Windows men and informed me that they did not like being told that they had to purchase or steal this software, that they had a free hand in control of the PC’s.

I never forgot the first time one had to format his HDD and re-install all the software over the weekend because one of his children brought home a virus on a USB stick. This happened to not only he but one or two others. I only sat back and smiled.

Could you please tell me how I may start this process off and how much it costs? I would prefer to own the files. Though if that is not possible. Streaming them from a provider is the next best thing,

Warm regards,

Paul in Oz.

The suggestions I gave previously are sites where you can browse a shop and purchase an album or individual tracks. The Sony site you reference lists out some of the more popular download sites, all of which are credible and legitimate. Think of this as the online equivalent of visiting a shop on the high street and purchasing a physical CD which you own outright. Once you have those downloads you can store them in a number of ways.

  1. On your iMac hard drive
  2. On a USB stick
  3. On a USB hard drive
  4. On a Network Attached Storage device (NAS)
  5. On a dedicated media server (similar to a regular NAS in functionality but typically optimised with audio playback in mind)

You can store the same files in multiple locations based on your particular needs. Using myself as a reference I may find an album online at 24/96, The Eagles Hotel California, lets say on hdtracks website. I choose AIFF as a format because it is a linear PCM file without any compression applied and has good support for metadata like cover art and artist/album information which can be useful later on when it build a library and want to search for things more easily. AIFF is also a format which is known to work well on Apple Mac OS and iOS devices. I also have a lot of WAVE and FLAC as well as a modest amount of DSD files in my main library so treat this as an example with some level of reasoning.
Despite various quality claims neing made between the different formats, the reality here is your equipment is of a high enough quality for you to enjoy all formats in relative terms, I’ve yet to listen to a file and think, “Yuk that FLAC sounds bad, I wish it was a WAVE file” If people claim one sounds better than another that’s just a subjective opinion and not based on any measurable and repeatable parameters. Bottom line there is, if you find a suitable download of an album you like, the formats they make available will sound very similar, each format comes with it’s own benefits and to an extent limitations. The safest bet in terms of compatibility and longevity is AIFF or WAVE, both of which are Linear PCM files with identical audio content. They’ll playback on anything from a basic portable device to a high end streamer like those from Naim.
OK, so you have your files and you now add them to a folder on your Mac called Music (an example, you can store them wherever you like), then a sub folder called Rock and finally an artist folder called The Eagles. Here there is an Album folder called Hotel California.
You can now use a number of methods to both store and access those files from the Naim streamer. The simplest setup as you get started is a USB drive connected directly to your streamer. Later you can copy those files to a NAS or dedicated music server, a number of options have been highlighted to you including the Naim Uniti Core, Innuos range, Melco range and so forth.
So to ROON, this isn’t a streaming service but it is subscription based. You pay for a service which manages your library and provides enhanced metadata and information about the artists and the recordings, it also suggests similar music you may like to help you discover new music more easily. It’s not a must have but for those people using it, many find it really good and a nice way to find new things to listen to.
You can run the Roon “brain” or core on your iMac and your Naim streamer acts as an end point or receiver for the information Roon provides, it can manage multiple libraries and music sources, combining for example an iTunes library, Tidal library and a ripped CD library on a NAS. You can mix and match all of these parts to your own needs.

Making a distinction here, Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music and Spotify are all streaming subscription based services. You can either stream content from their library or download content and play it locally from your own devices. If however you cancel your subscription in the future your ability to play those files goes away, you never own the content, merely purchase access to their library.
Downloads from online sites like HD Tracks, 2L, nativeDSD and so on, are the same as buying a physical disc, you own that copy and can store and transfer it as you wish without restriction. Those files then become the basis of your own personal library and sit alongside any CD rips you may have to create your own master library which you can then serve from multiple locations as your needs grow and your library expands.
Stepping up to a dedicated music server is beneficial but unless you have a reasonable size library, lets say 100-200 CD’s and 20 Hi Res album downloads (just an example!) you’re apending potentially £1000’s to do something you can do from your iMac or a cheap USB drive. The nice thing is you can start simple and grow to more dedicated and complex setups over time.

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I started by buying just 1 hi-res download of an album I had already ripped to my Core and got that working and compared the 2 formats and was happy with the results.

When you get the ND5 set up, I suggest you just buy 1 hi-res of something you are familiar with and give it a go. Have you decided on a UPnP app for the Mac yet? You could install that, rip your CDs in iTunes and be ready to go. Be sure to set iTunes to rip to the highest quality setting. If your unsure to start with, just do a couple until you are happy with how things work, or hassle your dealer…

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