ND555 Server Mode: convenience feature or serious option?

Keeping a low box count is important to me, but so is performance. I am intrigued by the possibility of adding a 4tb USB drive to my ND555 and using that as my music store. I currently use an Auralic Aries Mini as my NAS (with Auralic’s linear power supply). Storage is nearly full, so I need to consider an alternative, but have a feeling using the ND555 in this way is probably compromising its performance in some way?
My options are:
Buy a bigger drive for the Auralic and start again (around £500)
USB drive for the ND555 (around £200)
Innuos Mini (around £1500 with power supply, more boxes, but quite nice looking and the option of Roon)
Of course, the best way is to try it, but I won’t have much use for hard drives apart from music, so that could end up being a bit wasteful?
Anyway, anyone have any experience to share in this area?

Some reported very good sounding quality results with the Melco E100 external drive. 3 TB

image

26 X 20 X 6 cm

Thanks FR
That could be a quality alternative, but as it has a separate switch mode power supply, I wonder if it could be much of an upgrade on my Auralic and linear power supply, essentially a similar arrangement, but at twice the price and larger in size. My dealer does Melco, so I will ask his opinion too. Thanks again.

I can only tell that some found it very good sounding with the Nd555.
It’s better on sound quality vs the Melco entry level server ( 2k) with the Nd555.
You can try at your dealer place and compare.
I don’t remember in which thread I read that.

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That’s good intel FR.
I sent a note to my dealer.
I couldn’t find too much online about how I might use the E100, in terms of adding music, but I’ll report back once my dealer responds. It’s an interesting alternative. That’s part of the issue for me, there are almost too many options.

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Adding an external drive to the ND555 would mean using the ND555’s internal UPnP server which, to the best of my knowledge, is the same UPnP server running on the Uniti Core. From the point of view of usability, it is a very primitive server as compared to MinimServer or Asset. But, if you do not mind, it’s certainly worth trying.

If you do so, you should probably check with Naim the maximal number of tracks that the UPnP server of the ND555 can handle. I seem to remember a figure like 10000 (but perhaps it was 100000) from some Naim FAQs (regrettably, Naim still seem to believe that the ND555 is not worth a detailed User Guide) but I cannot find it out now.

The other question is sound quality. By connecting an external drive to the ND555 via USB, you would use the device as a UPnP server and as an USB DAC. I am not sure that the ND555 has been optimized for this usage but, again, in absence of detailed documentation, the only thing that you can do is to try it.

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I’d have a think about what you want to do, especially if you are considering Roon. The Innous servers aren’t really powerful enough to run as a Roon core, Melco only look like they may support as a Roon endpoint and given you already have Roon endpoint support in the ND555 these aren’t the ideal solutions for Roon. A Roon Nucleus (or equivalent) will do the job here.

If you’re not going the Roon route and given the performance on offer from the ND555, i’d leave it as a pure network player and give it a server solution it deserves - this is where the various Melco and Innuos servers come into their own. I think Melco are offering home loan demos at the moment so worth contacting them for a trial.

The OP doesn’t want to ADD A BOX. the E100 from Melco has 26 x 20 cm, so can be hide.
Only a test at home will reveal if it’s worth adding it.

Thanks everyone.
Ideally I don’t want to add more boxes, but I had a feeling that in the end it might come down to a compromise on the overall number of boxes or system performance.
Interesting if the ND555 includes the same server technology as the Uniti Core. I’d be happy with that result. But James is right too, what’s the point in having a 555 if you don’t give it the respect it deserves? I do think Naim owe ND555 owners a manual.

Exactly. A Melco (or Innuos) server would be replacing the Aries…

If I did replace the Aries with another server, it would need to provide a big step up in sound quality.
At the moment I am not sure where I am performance wise, as using the Aries purely as NAS Is pretty unusual, so I have no benchmark for its relative performance vs. the Melcos and Innuoses of this world.
Anyway, thanks to all for the responses so far.

Whether the built in server sounds any good, you can assess easily enough for yourself. There are some functional considerations you may want to think about. It can only see music files attached to the USB inputs on the ND555. It can serve these files to other streamers on your network as well as the ND555 itself. However, these files are not visible to Roon.
If you want to add files to the drive or edit them, you need to attach it to a computer, then plug it back into the streamer, then it will rescan the drive. If you do thus regularly, you may find it a bit inconvenient.

What’s the rest of your setup look like network wise - how does the Aries and your ND555 connect ?

My Aries Mini server is connected to a SOtM sNH-10G switch with Chord Shawline streaming cable and I have Chord Super Sarum Tuned Aray from the switch to the 555.

Pretty well sorted then. I’d certainly look at borrowing a Melco and seeing what you think. The Melco has a dedicated player port so it will sit between your switch and ND555.

Thanks James, looks like a call to my dealer is in order. He recommends Melco. If I was going to find a cheaper solution for storage, my next upgrade was going to be a HiCap for my Supernait 3. At Melco prices, priorities may have to change. :slight_smile:

I understood that the OP wanted to reduce the number of boxes. As the Melco usb drive is very little…
If it’s to replace the Auralic with the best one box server available, I would go for the Melco n1z60/2. With a direct Ethernet connecting to the Naim streamer, it’s a wonderful server/nas. My nds sound quality was very clearly uplifted and I have 6 TB storage capacity.

Thanks FR
I’d love a simpler solution, but there were not too many advocates of the USB drive approach. I suppose the question underlying my original post was, how far is the neatest and simplest solution behind the best sounding?

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Thanks Chris
Now I enjoy Qobuz I am downloading less music, but not being visible to Roon would be a potential issue, if I do go that route. I suppose a Roon Nucleus with a hard drive added could replace my Aries and it’s fairly discreet too. Gosh, so many options…

Good idea :+1:
@Michaelb has the Roon Nucleus with Nd555.
He will probably answer here.