ND555 NAS vs Qobuz

With the NDX2 I favoured the nas nine times out of ten. With the ND555 I’m finding it’s a different story and am streaming via Qobuz almost by default.

Is it more optimised in some way?

G

Interesting. The streaming card / digital board are the same across all 3 ND players, but on the ND555, there is the greater isolation afforded by digital board being enclosed in its own faraday cage and of course the multiple railed 555PS PSU providing more electrical isolation.

Are you comparing the same files though - same masters, and same resolution from Qobuz as your local files ?

Difficult to determine if they are the same master but certainly the same files played when I had the NDX2 - ie I always felt the Qobuz file less good than my local rips.

G

Much in the same boat since the integration of Qobuz into the Naim app I have only bought a couple of CDs and ripped to my Core.

I’m finding the quality of Qobuz generally to be rather excellent some on par, some better and others not quite as good possibly dependent on what copy is used but splitting hairs at times?

Rather surprised at how good some of the new Radio stations are on the ND555.

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Some of this could also be due to recent firmware updates (last 6 months or so). I’m sure that my ND555 plays Qobuz much better now than when I first bought it almost a couple of years ago.

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The more I read about the Naim streamers line up, here and elsewhere, the more It seems Naim only has one streamer and 3 current implementations in terms of enclosure and PSU, which you want to make redundant and duplicate in the NDX2 anyway? And then the upgrade in DACs as you go up remains the most clearly differentiating part? And then quite a few folks here seem to be using an external DAC too, making it all even more redundant? Well, I am sure I’ll get there.

Having tried and given up in frustration at the shonky Qobuz app on the iPad running it via Asset on the Pi into a 272, I’m finding the native integration of Qobuz into the 555 has transformed its usability to the point where for that alone Qobuz has become the default source. Add to that it does sound so much better than Tidal which I’d got used to but didn’t really enjoy. Qobuz is better; better than running it through a convoluted solution and better than Tidal.

The one thing I do find is that the same piece of music from the NAS is quieter than on Qobuz, which means that the already narrow available volume range of approx 8 to 11 o’clock at most is reduced and fine adjustment of volume via the app or the RC is even more fiddly. It’s not a showstopper and usually it’s easier to just get up and set it.

What is common in all new streamers from Uniti to ND555 is the streaming board as such. The DAC, the enclosure/mounting/isolation, and the PSUs differ

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To add to @Suedkiez’s information below, this white paper on the design of the ND555 might be of interest. It gives an insight into Naim’s focus areas, reduction of mechanical interference from vibration, electrical shielding. From Naim’s point of view (as I believe they see the world) the streaming board is identical, but the important details that drive sound quality are improved as you move up through the range.

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Has your Dave Mason order been dispatched?

Nice one, thank you, I found it very helpful - although probably just confirming how and why the ND555 is the one and then you go down the route of almost planned predicted redundancies below in the line up - with the NDX2 kind of the most difficult one in my mind if it still puts Qobuz below your local same music most of the time…

Which redundancies ?

I don’t find that. Local music files and Qobuz sound the same to me via my NDX2, whether via Qobuz directly or via Roon. Overall SQ of both local and Qobuz material will be better as you move up to a ND555.

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I much prefer Qobuz on ND555 vs Tidal on my previous NDS. However I still prefer locally streamed files vs subscription streamed files on both streamers, all things being equal.

It is that last bit that makes it very difficult to truly compare like with like. I have found the biggest determinant of ultimate SQ is the quality of recording/mastering on the album in question, more so than 16 bit vs 24 bit or Server vs Qobuz streams. A good recording streamed via 16 bit Qobuz will sound better than a dodgy recording stremed in hi res from my Server. Conversely a great 16 bit file from my Server will sound better than an average recording in 24 bit streamed via Qobuz.

Often, but by no means always, 24 bit Qobuz will sound better than 16 bit Qobuz, but as I have already said that depends on the quality of the master in question. I still feel locally stremed files from my Server sound a little better than the ‘equivalent’ Qobuz file. But define ‘equivalent’!

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Exactly!

Indeed. I draw my conclusion from litening to hundreds of albums via Qobuz and via local server with a general preference for local streaming in most cases. I assume the mix of recording/mastering qulaitiy would be broadly similar between the two streaming sources.

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Hi @Gazza, no sign of any emails saying anything has been dispatched.

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Sorry, I am not very fast at this, am I.

Well, from what I can see, buying an NDX2 seems to just be an interim step (a bit of agony too?:slight_smile: and only a matter of time until you “have to” get the upgraded PSU - which supposedly makes it complete - and there you go, half of your NDX2 is already redundant. And then, some have the misfortune of hearing a Chord DAC with the NDX2 ending up only using its streaming board? All in all is that not near enough an ND555 cost wise? How about sound quality?

You can have that reasoning and I understand. For me the ps is an upgrade, the Ndx2 can exist alone.
As for dac, some prefer the Ndx2 sound vs Chord. If you read a Chord topic, you will find more persons liking the Chord dac. And there it’s really a redundancy. Better buy a transport only in that case, to go with chord.
But if you read a topic on the Ndx2, most prefer it to the Chord sound.
I am one of those.
You must hear and choose by yourself.

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Agreed. The only gloss I would add is that well recorded and mastered albums sound, at least to my subjective response, very slightly better as WAV rather than FLAC. Since the former is an option only with locally stored files, this can give locally streamed a slight advantage over Qobuz in my view.

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