Hi all. New to the forum so apologies if topic has been discussed at length.
I’ve had a CDX2 coupled with XPS since 2005. My CD collection got way too big for my room (approx 2000 CDs) along with my vinyl collection. I’ve thought about ripping /streaming for quite a while now and finally took the plunge. To finance the purchase of the ND5 XS2 I had to sell the CDX2 thereby denying me any chance of comparisons. It was a wrench selling the CDX2 but I was mindful that it’s could start to go wrong at any stage. Yes, I know Naim are still repairing this model but I did t want that expense. So…the ND5 XS2 arrived and my first job before streaming is to rip my CD collection. I’m using a Mac with a CD drive installed along with dBPoweramp and I’m storing the CDs on a WD portable hard drive. The idea is to step up to a NAS when I can afford. The portable hard drive stays plugged into the Mac and I can therefore access my music wirelessly using the streamer. Sorry if this sounds so basic to a lot of you but this is new territory for me. I was told by several people that by ripping the CD correctly, I will actually end up with a flac file that will sound better then my CDs. So my observations so far is that the sound from a ripped CD is ‘different’ as opposed to better. I think I’ve lost a little bit of top end but the overall sound is much warmer with fabulous mid range and bass. I know that Naim have stated that they are trying to get an ‘analogue’ sound from the ND5. When I used to compare CD with vinyl I always thought that my CD had more top end but that is not to suggest it sounds better…just different. I’m using, if it’s relevant a 282/250 combo through B&W 804s. My record deck is an LP12. So if anyone can comment on SQ of CDX2 compared to a ripped CD using dBPoweramp I’d welcome any thoughts. Forgive me if I haven’t included any vital info. Just wondering if the quality of the hard drive plays a part in SQ or is it of no relevance? The idea is that I have my whole CD collection available at the click of a button using the Naim app but when I wish, I can sit and listen to vinyl should I choose.
The quality of your hard drive won’t affect the sound quality that you’re hearing.
Unfortunately it’s unlikely in my opinion, regardless of how you rip your CDs, that a ND5XS2 will sound as good as a CDX2/XPS2. I’m reluctant to advocate spending more money when a poster is asking for advice, but in this case you’re comparing a £2k streamer with a CD player/power supply that retailed at over £8k when new.
Do you still have the XPS2? If so you could buy a 2nd hand Naim DAC and use the digital output of the ND5XS2 into the Naim DAC/XPS2.
I sold my much loved CDX2 when I bought my NDX, both used the same XPS.
I found the sound to be more refined with NDX, but I did miss the upfront character of CDX2, I’ve always described it as CDX2 is in the mosh pit, whereas the NDX is the best table at the jazz lounge.
You might find streaming a more rewarding experience with a real NAS server, you can then use media server software such as Asset together with the Naim app on a smart phone or tablet.
The added benefit of software such as Asset is it allows you to transcode from FLAC to WAV & as good as FLAC is, with the older Naim streamers such as ND5, WAV is marginally better SQ.
What network issues ?? Don’t take any notice of what you read about networking from some quarters, from what I read most are over complicating what is a simple operation, so just keep it simple, use ethernet rather than wireless & a good ISP & wireless hub.
Quite right, things can get quite complicated with thick walls, cable options and switches etc, and for that reason I like to keep it very simple so that I can just enjoy the music, and not wonder if I need to upgrade something. I only suggest it as a very simple test for @Shpongle .
Hi Mike. Sorry, I should have said that I am using Asset on my Mac so the streamer can find my music. Yes, I agree that the CDX was very much upfront especially when the XPS is added. I’m not complaining about the sound from the ND5 XS, just thinking that it sounds different and like you say, slightly smoother. I guess it was optimistic to think a ripped CD would sound as good although as I say, I was told that because of the way a CD is ripped it will iron out faults in the original CD and sound ‘better’. Having all my CDs just stashed away meant I wasn’t really listening to them but now I’ve got a huge amount on the portable hard drive I’m willing to accept a slight drop in quality. I know I can plug the hard drive straight into the streamer but I tend to leave it attached to the Mac and use Asset if that makes sense. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
Hi and thanks for taking the time to reply. Unfortunately I no longer have the XPS. Yes, I totally take your point that a CDX XPS combo will outperform a £2.5k streamer. I was just wondering if other factors like CD Drive, Wireless connection would impact on the actual SQ? The whole ‘a well ripped CD will sound better than a CD’ confuses me a bit. I’m not in a position to fork out more money. As I say, I’m not disappointed with the sound, it’s just different. Is wondered whether Naim had changed anything to make the streamer sound more ‘analogue’ if that’s the right word. As I say, I’m a newbie at all this, so once again, thank you for replying.
The CDX2 is a very “characterful” item. Some call it a marmite player (I don’t like marmite). So I am not surprised you’re hearing a difference. I don’t think this has anything to do with how you’ve ripped the CDs, more the sound signature of the ND5XS2 vs your CD player. As @ajm suggests, you could do worse than find a second-hand nDAC to go with your ND5. But I’d look to getting that NAS as soon as possible and install MinimServer or Asset UPnP on it. It will give you the ‘click of a button’ convenience you are after and may improve SQ.
In my opinion it’s doubtful that the quality of the CD drive ripping the CDs will have much of an effect.
I remember hearing the whole ‘a well ripped CD will sound better than a CD’ argument some time ago, but my experience is that unless the CD to be ripped is heavily scratched then the ripping process is fairly trivial and the dBpoweramp software that you’re using has the AccurateRip feature to help ensure that you’ve got a decent rip without errors.
It’s not possible to do an absolute comparison as the CDP and streamer will sound different. The point about ‘better’ is really theoretical. A CD spins round and the laser has to read it as it spins. However when you rip a CD especially in secure mode, it is checked to a database to ensure there are no errors. It then gets sent to a streamer, is buffered and thus played without moving parts. So while it’s different it’s theoretically better.
One thing you might like to try is getting a Qb at some point if you want music in another room. Put the music on a nas and your whole collection is available in the kitchen or wherever. It’s better to have a nas as you can leave the computer switched off. A nas sleeps happily in a corner somewhere and then wakes up when needed.
I too had 2,000 CDs and ripping them released so much space, as well as greater convenience.
I’m not sure a ripped CD will sound better or worse than the CD itself, how can you judge that when played on different machines ??
I don’t buy the ironing out CD faults, most CD’s are faultless.
Whatever, IMO the SQ is better overall with NDX vs CDX2 plus I now really enjoy what I have in so many other ways, convenience, ease of use, etc… And going forward after ripping all my collection I now rarely buy a CD, it’s mostly all downloads, 24-bit PCM & DSD.
Another big plus is my CD collection has moved from ugly dust trap shelving that took up far to much room space into a 165x100x225mm black box that lives in a small cabinet, out of sight.
I sold my CDS3 and bought a Naim HDX some 7 years ago.
Subsequently, I bought an NDX2 (with XPS2 left over from the CDS3) and to be frank, I now play more music as streaming both from my ripped CD’s and via Tidal, has just made it so much easier to find and enjoy music I own and also new music.
Mind you, for a serious listening session, the vinyl comes out to play on my LP12 more and more these days!
I’m not sure if this helps the conversation, but when I had my music on a Mac and streamed to my 272, it was background quality only. I moved the collection (so no re ripping involved, just the same files) on to a Synolgy NAS, running asset. It was clearly so much better it was no longer ‘background’ quality.
That’s brilliant. Thanks. I am actually using Asset UPnP. It’s installed on my Mac. The portable hard drive is plugged into the Mac and my ripped CDs are stored on that hard drive. I know this is not quite as ideal as a NAS
Yes. The plan is to get a NAS. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I presume I don’t have to re rip all my CDs again? Will I just be able to move the flac files that I’ve ripped to my portable hard onto the NAS drive?
Unfortunately I’m not able to connect directly to my hub. My hub is situated downstairs. I have a mesh system and my streamer is hard wired by Ethernet to the mesh box in my music room upstairs. I’m sure people here will explain the downsides of that set up but it’s the best I can do at the moment. Comments and suggestions welcome but I’m pretty limited as to what I can do.