ND555 Impressions

I’ve only heard the Music interconnect and didn’t like it, I’m afraid to say, as reported somewhere earlier in this massive thread. I’ve never tried the Ethernet cable, however. At the same time I must confess to not being a great fan of Chord cables in general: I haven’t heard one that I liked, but hopefully that hasn’t closed my mind.

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My Viablue/Cinnomon cables did the same 1st day seemed pretty good … then it started sounding a bit harsh and lispy…it’s taken just over a week to improve getting better and better with allot more detail … system seems quite a bit more ‘open’. It seems to me it’s not unusual to need around a 200hr burn in… which makes cable reviews highly suspect. This is not a criticism of the members here…it is the glossy reviews published…in the journals.

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Swiss watches tend to be inaccurate! My Casio keeps time better than a Rolex (although I would prefer a Rolex!).

In the world of timekeeping you don’t need to spend much to get accurate timing. But in the audio world, things are different.


So maybe Casio is perfectly poised to launch a better ND, at a very affordable price?!!!

@peder, late answer. I got my electronics (all of them) in August 2016, the loudspeaker decision after a few home demos was taken in December same year. The acoustic treatment from HOFA done in August 2017. HOFA came twice to measure our living room. Initially to decide what treatment was needed and a follow up after installation to ensure that what was said was also achieved. Which was the case. For ex the RT60 range is after the treatment 0,45 to 0,31. Before the RT was around 0,65. As it’s a “non rectangular” living room it’s now OK. The other measurements are now also good.

So loudspeakers. I started with wheeled pallets just to get a feeling of where I should place the Titans. Thereafter I bought the concrete slabs. 32 kg each and I put 2 under each loudspeaker. Reason is that I have a low sofa between the Titans and my listening position. In general I let the Titans during the trial period stay at least a few weeks in the same place before changing.

Someone said (you Peder) that a change of a cm or so can make a difference. I sign up on that. Left speaker 2 cm backwards once moved the center 30 cm to the right. I love my Titan 808 and will not trade them against anything else but they are complicated to move. Over time my wife and myself have learned how in an efficient way take the two boxes down, re-place them and setting them up all in less than 10 minutes. Teamwork.

So Peder I agree it takes time to get close to the optimum position. I guess the optimum position will never be found But maybe you with your experience can find it? I am please with the sound so they stay where there are.

What I am missing are audiophile friends not too far away with similar installations. It would be great to have positive and constructive discussions of possible improvements during listen sessions.

Chord Music between the 552 and NDS (in September comes the ND555). I could not compare direct to the SL as the SL was a trade in. And return trip to the dealer is 300 km. Initially I was not impressed but after a month warm up the Chord Music woke up. And now I am impressed. Clearer and cleaner.

I thought of replacing my Vertere between the Melco and the NDS with a Chord Music but will hold back. The Vertere is not bad. Contrary it’s really good. I guess after the ND it will be a NAP 500 late next year. Projects…

And I agree with you that when buying an expensive music system you should get more than the installation. I understand that a dealer can not wait until the system is settled down but could propose a second visit as a follow up a month later or so.

Dealers… Once I listened to a ND555 presentation with Statements. Different loudspeakers. I was really disappointed of the sound. My setup at home sounded much much better. Soundstage, Cleaner, Clearer, So you guys who have a very competent dealer who can provide good demos close by prior the home demo. Sorry for your wallet…


This is a good point and one worth considering carefully. Is something opening the window wider or just putting a different emphasis on certain frequencies? I’ve heard plenty of “upgrades” which appear to do this. And many which don’t. Your ears usually tell your brain what’s happening - even if subconsciously.

A quick question for Darkebear - when constructing my ethernet cables I connected the screen to each plug - so there was continuity. Are your Vodka cables configured with the screen connected to give continuity? I seem to remember having some Vandenhul analogue cables which had the screen connected at one end - making the cable directional… any thoughts…

I have not changed however they were originally wired and use them as they came, so how the internal shielding is connected at either end inside the plug I don’t know.

I’m guessing that the different screens may be done differently, as you have with a Cat7 or above spec the overall screen then the individual transmission core pair screens within that overall screen. The idea is one to protect from outside and the others to both do that and prevent signal cross-talk between the cables from inside.

A lot of consideration (all it seems) has been on considering the integrity of the digital signal being correctly transmitted and anything outside the cable as ‘noise’. But I think there is also a consideration of what happens at either end of the cable ‘pipe’ once it enters and exits the box and the contained EM fields, generated by the large transmission signal itself, that then exit into them - these are not all ‘in the wires’ and it may be concentrating and containing all fields in the cable to exit and fire it (the contained EM wave) into the ND555 case at the end of the transmission may not give the lowest noise for the ND555 to deal with.

Some of the Cat5e experiments in other places may be showing that there is a balance between doing the digital data transmission task well enough in terms of data integrity - and not also forming an RF conduit for all and everything not really needed to also enter a box that does D to A conversion, no matter how well the engineered solution has been implemented, giving it an easier time will scale and you may hear that.

I’m presently using Vodka between Melco and ND555 and the Belkin from Melco to switch and that is sounding very good. I’m getting the impression that the internals of the Melco are relatively ‘quiet’ and perhaps the more lossy Cat5e from it to the switch allows for some HF noise loss/dissipation in and out - since no music data in my system is going to or through the switch as the Melco connects direct to ND555, the wire to switch should have little effect - but it has a big effect.

At this stage I experiment to find what works and know when it does! :slightly_smiling_face:


Hi DB thanks for the reply … if ever you get an opportunity to put meter between the two plugs - to test continuity of the earth - it would be interesting. I am not suggesting you peek inside! I personally think the earthing strategy has a profound effect on signal cables - and you could be onto something by using quality basic cables - as opposed to more complex cable earthing arrangements.

My cables still have not fully settled down yet … approaching week 2 …

Which are you using?

My Vodka took weeks and I felt it continued after a month or more to settle and sound right. It sounded over-boisterous and bass-heavy funky for the first days - great for my 70s Disco stuff, but not exactly what I wanted in the end. Now it seems very happy.

I use with it the ‘Designacable Belkin Cat5e’ discussed much of recent above from Melco to switch 4m run. This latter was in the spirit of ‘what the heck - lets try it’ as I did not expect much there and was a bit blown-away at how much more detail I heard and the more relaxed and natural presentation. This cable had a ‘nasty’ after 1 day run-in that I let it go through and it then came good after 18 hours plus.
I’d previously removed another bit of this cable I had and still have to try between Melco and ND555 as it did that there too and was unusable while at one day run-in - or more correctly it all worked fine but I could not listen to what was not music while it transited the ‘bad’ point.

So I still have ahead to try again swapping-out the Vodka to try the Belkin there, but am letting it all settle after the Belkin has now run-in on the Melco-switch run as it sounds rather excellent right now and it is nice to enjoy some music and not always be suffering run-in! :slightly_smiling_face:


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I think you mean Belden not Belkin :slight_smile: One specialises in cables the other is a jack of all trades.

Indeed! :laughing::duck::bear:

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I’m interested in how you get on with them. I have the solid core Beldens from Blue Jeans.

I’ve said roughly where I am with them at the moment above - they are good but at present I’m using them in conjunction with the Vodka - that may change or not later.

The big plus for them is that they are relatively inexpensive to try by exotic cable price standards.

I’m also not convinced any single cable, including these, will be the sole solution ‘best’ for all systems and system configurations. Since I use a Melco I have :
switch - cable B - Melco - cable A - ND555
Whereas most other people will have:
NAS - cable B - switch - cable A - ND555

The cables may perform similar or not, I do not know, as in my config the music is not mediated through the switch.

But I found swapping cable B to these Belden types made a big difference for the better in terms of openness and detail; the possible down-side, yet to be bottomed-out, may be a very slight slowness, but that may be gone once they are run-in and may not even be there as it takes me time to get used to the different presentation.

Another thing people may find is that if you have two Naim Apps both simultaneously talking to the ND555 and getting the same track-play data back, then it all works fine, but sounds quite poor by comparison to just using one App instance. Lots of things can impact the optimal running of ND555 and only talking to one App instance is a lot better.

In my case I’m also doing the Beta-testing so on occasion get by mistake the Release and Beta App up and running at the same time on my iPad mini; something that may not impact normal use but sometimes people may be using multiple App instances on different device - it works fine, but does impact SQ.


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I can’t remember where I read this, possibly not on the AudioQuest site but on some anti-high-end cable site that did a somewhat superficial test of them on relatively low-end gear. They took the cable to pieces and reported that the screening is not connected at both ends. I vaguely recall having read the same thing elsewhere and that this is principally to prevent ground loops. However, my memory is a less than perfect thing! Hope that helps…

I’m away camping for around a month now so my experiments have been suspended and everything is switched off, but I have both the Blue Jeans Belden cables and the Designacable ones for comparison. I had only given the Cat5e Blue Jeans a few days burn-in before leaving and they still seemed somewhat lighter, thinner and less detailed than the stranded Designacable Cat5e, with less bass extension. Part of that could well change with more burn-in. In the past it’s been unusual for me to find that a cable increases in bass extension rather than starting out with lots of flabby bass that then firms up, however that’s precisely what I found with the Sablon Ethernet cables, which are also a solid design. So maybe that will happen here too. Once I have returned I will give the Blue Jeans Cat5e and Cat6 a good run for their money and post my findings here.

This makes sense … which is why the cable is directional … when I made up a set of Vandenhuls yonks ago I got in touch with one of the guys who supplied the cable … he recommend only connecting the screen to one end … and when fitting the cable the source should be the screen connected end…

I found this other site that shows an AudioQuest Vodka disassembled.