ND555 dilemma (or else)

I don’t know where to start but there is one thing for sure, since I got the ND555 my system is sounding off. I’m quite frustrated and tried a lot of things to solve that problem without success. The forum is now my hope to get some more ideas.

I got my ND555 last year in August. I had an NDS (firmware 4.4) before that. When I first plugged the ND555 in it was certainly different, it had a little more detail but was most of the time harsh (voices) sounding (I had good moments as well). I thought this is still an effect of running in and I also got that ups and downs (roller-coaster), but I never got the sound everybody was describing (run in should be over by now!?). Actually, the sound was most of the time unpleasant.

When I try to describe it in comparison to the NDS sound it is mostly the voices that are different. With the ND555 the voices are more background but when the singer gets louder it suddenly is to loud and unpleasant. It almost hurts. Because of the voices are in the background I turn the volume up to get some scale, but then the effect of when the singer gets louder is even worse.

As I told you I tried many different things and first of all I did put the NDS back in. What a pleasure. Music listening was suddenly fun again. The NDS is really special. 4 of 4 people in our household would choose the NDS any time as the better player compared to my ND555. That is frustrating considering the investment.

What else did I try:
Networking (different switches, different ethernet cables, network filters, no filters …).
Naca5 instead of Super Lumina.
Normal leads instead of PowerLines.
Fraim rebuild …

Finally, I involved Musicline (German distributer). I did send the ND555+Power Supply and Cables (Burndies and Super Lumia) to Musicline and they checked everything and did listen to it. Result: Everything is ok! They suppect that the combination with the SL2 is causing the problem.

When I got the unit back, I immediately tried it with different speakers. It sounds different but the character describes above stays.
My dealer will lend me Kudos 606 in two weeks to try some “modern” speakers, but I suspect it won’t make a difference.

I’m kind of clueless right now. I can’t believe that there is a mismatch with the SL2, but maybe …?

So any feedback or ideas are more then welcome and if any SL2 owners do have an ND555 I would be very much interested in there experience.

Thanks in advance
Stefan :slight_smile:

Your dealer should be working with you to ensure that you are happy with your system. Has he been to listen to your system, and was he able to make any suggestions? If he can’t get it to sound better than your NDS, he should take it away and give you a refund without quastion.

How is your system plugged in to the power, do you know the polarity of the plugs, are you on a powerigel, distribution block or sockets, is there a dedicated feed from its own breaker?
I found the ND555 was best with its earth set to chassis and on a non star earthed block the system gelled with ND555 in the first socket, than TTps, supercap(superline), 552ps and 500ps. A second earthed source was a disaster so my DVD5 is connected via a digital cable to the 555 rather than to the pre via interconnect.
If you use a Linn ps with a SMPS it might not belong in the same block, do things improve if you unplug it?
I’m assuming your cable dressing is good with Burndys and interconnects hanging free and your 552 is at the top or just below the turntable and the power amp ps isn’t higher in the adjacent rack.

There are other plug orders recommended but the above works for me and I was surprised how much difference it makes.

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something is wrong with the set up. burndys? problem with the nd555 itself? A dealer can visit at your home?

Hi Stefan,

Not wishing to state the obvious - but you have removed the transit bolts I trust?

The suspended plate units will sound harsh & not musical at all with them fitted.


The idea that there is a mismatch with the SL2 is just silly. If the 555 sounds bad, the problem is with the 555, not the speakers. You should not need to spend even more money on new speakers. No way. Musicline should lend you another 555 to try. If it’s no better, get your money back.


Yes definitely! I got mine the same time you did - mine run-in for sure and had some bad days but settled-down and not sounds smooth and seamless, which you should get now IMO - so something is badly wrong.

Although you have probably tried all these I suggest (to eliminate):

  1. Try an old CAT5e Ethernet into the ND555 - that should take the edge off.
  2. Verify your Pre or Power Amp have not coincidentally gone harsh - when were they both last serviced?

The reason I say the above is that it sounds like it is not the ND555 as such and either the data feed - unlikely I think but check - or one of the other parts of the replay chain at fault, as when Naim boxes go out of service they can (Pre or Power) suddenly go very harsh and the ND555 has a wide-bandwidth pushing into that.

But your Dealer should really be there identifying the problem and getting it fixed - Naim sell through Dealers to do this part and is part of the purchase cost IMO.

You need someone experienced with an objective point of view at your place who will look coolly at the problem and find the culprit.
Owners can be bad for this as we tend to mentally block certain things from consideration, because we don’t feel they could be wrong, but if you have had the ND555 looked at then if seems it is elsewhere and I’d verify the Amps are ok with another good source.


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The only time I ever heard SL2 shouting awful and harsh was when the owner had over-tightened the drive units and they really did not like that.

I’m not an SL2 expert - plenty here - but if anyone has been at your speakers tightening them without using a torque screwdriver and to Naim’s recommended settings it can make them very unhappy and harsh.

Just for information - needs someone there to resolve this.


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If the NDS sounds ok but the 555 doesn’t, I cannot see how the issue can be anywhere else than with the 555. How could it possibly be the amps, the speakers, the wires or the plugging order? Why should other things need to be tweaked in order to make the supposedly vastly superior product sound good? The 555 has to be the source of the problem. Ask for another one. After spending £13,000 you should be delighted, not asking for advice nine months later.


I’ve heard @RipVanRadio’s ND555 into his SL2 and it was much better than the NDS so the SL2s are not the issue.

I would concur that you should see if you can get another ND555 to try. If the same thing happens and NDS still sounds as good as ever, you really need your dealer there to figure things out.

It must be infuriating and so disappointing, first world problems I understand but my system sounding off causes me as much exasperation as blocked drains or car trouble.


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The only other thing about the ND555 compared to NDS is that it is innately ‘brighter’ in that it has more detail in HF being resolved. One thing that can impact - quite strongly I find - the performance is position of the unit on Fraim glass. Try it near-level to the fraim glass shelf and about 1mm back from the front so looking down you just see the edge of the bevel on the glass visible.

These are easy things to try then rule-out.



I’m in the exact same situation as you since getting the 555. It doesn’t have the magic of the NDS but in my case, my NDS was sold so I couldn’t make a direct comparison after I bought the 555. I tried everything from restacking, changing cable dressing, plug order, earth switch, etc and I couldn’t achieve the sound of the NDS. I also checked that the suspension was working, with the transit bolt off and nothing was wrong.

There is a rightness in the music from the NDS which isn’t there on the 555.

In fact , my dealer has given up and avoids this issue completely when I bring it up to him.

It’s possibly the most disappointing Naim product I’ve encountered. Totally not befitting for a reference grade streamer.

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My ND555 took months to break-in. It was bright and hard sounding but eventually got better. If your players are not sounding good after six months something is wrong. I would seek a replacement…at this level you should be 100% satisfied.

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My ND555 never sounded bad. While it does ‘come on song’ over time, it would be crazy if a product at this price sounded “bad” out of the box, and indeed it doesn’t.


when did you bought your nd555? Is it from august, september? perhaps the firsts in production doesn’t sound the best?
Can’t you have it replaced?

Hi, I was an early adopter of the 555 and received the a unit in the first production run. I’m not sure if it was due to production issues or it was a one off, but my 555 never sounded right.

I highlighted this to my dealer and over the forums and just like people said, it’s close to impossible that a 555 could ever sound bad especially from a Naim reference product, but it does.

It may sound like lunacy but that’s the case and I’m glad that another owner shares the same issue as me. This is to proof that Naim isn’t faultless and their after sales support could be better in believing that there’s a possibility that their top end product could have issues.

Initially I brought my concerns up to my dealer and Naim. Their response was it is a run in issue and the sound will open up with time. Well it’s been well over a year and it still doesn’t sound right.

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That is totally unacceptable - you are right to be angry.
Naim should resolve this either directly of via Dealer quickly.
You should not be where you are now with this.


That’s quite true. Mine sounded amazing out of the box. Everything that makes the ND555 a great source was there. Of course it took some time before it reached that perfect balance and smoothness we expect. But it was immediately a massive uplift over the nDAC.


This nonsense about it being ok or “normal” for a £13k streamer to sound “harsh” out of the box and to accept that it “sometimes takes 6 months or so to sound right” has to be challenged.

It’s a digital source. It shouldn’t really need any “running in”. Sure, the listener may decide that, over time, it’s got “better” but it’s starting point has to be a very very high level of performance.

It sounds like some of these early ND555s are faulty. If you are not satisfied with it the dealer needs to take it straight back and have Naim replace it. No “ifs or buts” or “let’s see how it sounds in another 6 months…”


Exactly - as Bart and others mention, all Naim products require a bit of ‘run in’ to sound their best but this will bring improvements on an already spectacular sounding player. If it sounds crap out of the box then something is clearly wrong and the dealer should be in the loop to investigate why that is the case.