ND555: The Great Disrupter

Its been over 6 months since I took delivery of my ND555. After the long 3 month break-in I was treated to the best digital I’ve heard from my system. Several months ago I upgraded my ethernet cable feeding the streamer to Chord Music. I’m a big fan of Chord and I use several other Music cables throughout my system. The Chord Music ethernet cable not only improved the quality of my ripped CDs (via UnitiCore) but streaming quality from Tidal jumped substantially. I now consider ripped CDs and Tidal to be very very close in sound quality… so close that I have decided to no longer purchase CDs. Which brings me to the title of my post, the ND555 has disrupted how I will buy digital music moving forward. I don’t see any point spending $15-$20 for a CD when I can stream just about every album for $20 month.

I’m curious if other ND555 owners have come to the same conclusion? Perhaps if Naim offered a Reference Level ripper/server this could change my mind… but I’m not sure if we’ll ever see such a product.

-Chris

PS: I still own a nicely spec’d LP12 and will continue to purchase LPs as I still love the sound.

1 Like

As a nd555 owner, it’s a great product. I still prefer a cd ripped to the Uniti Core than tidal. Naim claim it’s a reference server…they still have a long way to go imo. But at it’s price point, with upgrades the Core could be a great player.

I have heard the Chord Music in a test, and my jaw dropped. So I might consider testing that as well going forward. However so far I always have heard a difference between the music I get from my Melco direct and the music I play through Tidal, while Tidal is at a good quality.
In addition most of my new music buys are in high resolution audio. So the Tidal / Melco comparison is for new music mostly anyhow not possible.

But let’s assume the Chord Music would be something I would invest in, and let’s assume I would talk about new music which is only through cd quality, would I avoid the buy… most probably I still would buy, I have seen too often that the streaming services drop something or that you have to wait longer before something becomes available. So for me Tidal stays and additional channel, to explore.

While I agree with the Titel, the ND555 disrupts.

I have long held the believe that a decent tidal stream is a match for my core / player ( in my case NDS)
No one else on here seems to hold that view …

My experience is that my locally attached storage (Melco N10) sounds significantly better than Tidal. I’m astonished how good ‘red book CD’ can sound in an ND555/N10 system.

1 Like

I have also stopped buying CDs. Still buying vinyl.

2 Likes

I’ve not even tried Tidal. I’m perfectly happy with my Stone Age NDS, NAT01, B77 and Klimax LP12.
What said a lot to me was when I connected my daughter’s Audiotechnica Direct Drive 05 turntable birthday present to her system including some vintage Epos speakers playing a Queen Abbey Road remaster and our jaws dropped. Fabulous!

Interestingly I think that while I initially thought that my local stream from the NAS was very comparable to Tidal,since installing the ND555 I feel that the local streaming with ripped cds is more consistently better on the average.
The ND is connected via 50 feet of routine cat5 from a switch in the basement where the NAS lives as well. Sorry for the foil

Instead of UPnP connect your core to Digital 3 or 4 (CoAx) on the back of the 555. I have found that this is a game changer. As a direct source into a DAC as good as the 555 the core outshines any CD player.

i am surprised at that. on my old set up the HDX BNC connection to my old NDS was noticably poorer SQ than the same files being served up by the HDX over UPNP to the NDS. I do still have the HDX plugged up to the ND555 so will give this a listen.

I tried core direct into ND555. I found that whilst there was more air around instruments and more detail, I felt the timing suffered. For classical and acoustic type music it was outstanding though (with the right cable…!)

1 Like

Agreed
I use my core with a quality chord digital cable directly into the back of my NDS.
There is no decernable difference with upnp …But why have miles of cable running round for no reason …

I’ve been able to compare Chord Music BNC vs Ethernet. Both sound exceptional but there are small differences. I agree that going direct can be very good.

Although I am not at ND555 level, to my ears Tidal is very close to ripped CD on my Unitiserve through NDX, splitting hears close. I haven’t bought a CD since.

1 Like

As I commented earlier over on the Streaming pages, the ND 555 sounds superb across many inputs, including local files, streaming from remote sources and playing from a CDX2.2. I’m keeping all options rolling and so snapping up the star CDs that are becoming available at £1 to £2 online and in charity shops.

I’d only purchase heavily discounted CDs… streaming has caught up. My dollars are aimed at LPs now.

The great disrupter caused me to sell my LPs, turntable and all. So 2019 is my first year without a turntable since 1963. That’s some disruption …

2 Likes

Yes like for like master it is effectively the same. Of course Tidal is FLAC and the Naim streamers when using the internal DAC do still prefer WAV… I find Roon the great leveller as that transcodes…
With Roon you can merge your local physical library with virtual remote library and you soon realise it is or at least can be the same… indeed I have started to find some Tidal masters are better sounding than my locally ripped copy… all boils down to the actual master.
So for me Roon is the great disruptor, as by design it provides a consistent load to the streamer no matter the source… which means the audio can sound identical, unlike when you play Tidal natively or Local media.

The only downside with internet streaming now, is not difference with SQ, that belongs to yesteryear if appropriately handled… but continued streaming rights availability of the media is non assured

3 Likes

This is a big reason I don’t spend on monthly streaming subscription(s). I have the versions of many albums that I like. I listen to the different versions and often delete all but my fav. Or keep more than one. I know they’ll always be there on my server.

I don’t disagree… if there is a master I find I definitely like, I will now consider purchasing the media to add take from my virtual collection into my local physical collection …