ND555 - What else do I need?! Help appreciated

I agree with Michael. These products can’t be bought without a personal listening, specially at home. At minimum at dealer place with similar system.
As for Melco, the Melco S100 switch tends to give a too mellow sound and robbs the life reality of the music.
But it’s not the case with their servers, if not I would return it immediately.

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It’s certainly a good ‘turn key’ solution.

I think that the OP would be advise to try Roon on his computer and see how it works against his existing collection as Roon’s way of managing his music collection may not be to his liking.

If the objective is finding stuff Roon will excel, but you have to an extent ‘go with the flow’ and take Roon’s way of managing or spend a lot of time ‘bending’ Roon to the way you want it to work.

I really like the way Roon does things, but I could understand somebody with specific requirements finding it frustrating.

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The ND555 on its own starts fairly strong - but I found I took a path to get mine to sing right for me in my system.

History:
I found initially that the Ethernet cable connecting to it made silly differences that I had to get to the bottom of and resolve - in the end I obtained a working solution I enjoy.

Then I found the switch it connected to made a big difference - and in a lot of ways more difference. The switch feeding the signal on to the ND555 seems to impart clarity/blurring of timing and tonal information - whereas I found the Ethernet cables did a lot more blurring and could sound very harsh, but seem to build all that atop the switch that feeds them. I also found that two switches cascaded made a big uplift for no known technical reason - it just did and many others then began finding the same. That then led inevitably on to trying specialist ‘HiFi’ switches (presently I like the Ethernet Regen) - then what powers it (presently use the stock supply it came with) - then the ref-clock (not tried that )…forevermore!

Presently:
It does have to have an end - I don’t mind that there can be future possible improvements ahead :slightly_smiling_face: - this is a good thing and does not cause me despair at ‘not owning the ultimate’ or ‘Naim must have designed it wrong’ that can seem to upset some.

The aim is (for me) to achieve a good balanced result where I enjoy my music - I have that now so any changes ahead will be considered and careful, as it is easy to improve one ‘aspect’ and lose overall balance and effectively achieve a down-grade of enjoyment, so I take my time once I get a good result.

The Melco thing I understand - it is easy to make them sound dull - but if well installed they don’t I find. Mine was carefully auditioned against a standard NAS and slaughtered the NAS which sounded very murky and boring by comparison. I then tried it at my Dealers against Roon - I could not get this to deliver the performance at the Statement system level as it just sounded cold and sterile compared to the Melco which cave a more ‘organic’ presentation I really liked. I don’t want to rubbish the Roon as it may have been a few bad demos - it was the Nucleus that I tried - but it just did not give me that ‘yes - I want one’ reaction I like to get.

So I ended-up with ER switch feeding via good quality 1.5m Cat6 cable into the Melco Server which in turn feeds my ND555 via 1.5m AQ Vodka. I like the results in my system for the ranges of music types I play.

I also have a BT Router for the house that feeds via a 6m or so Cat5e Ethernet to the switches in my HiFi system room - that is just what I had installed so nothing special. I still use a couple of Cisco 2960-2940 swiches at present before the ER and will at some point swap them out…but it is sounding good now so I keep them in.

I turn off the WiFi in the house via the BT Router Web interface when I’m not using it - which is most of the time these-days - heresy I know! But I use a wired iPad via an adapter for the Naim App that stays connected to the ND555 24x7 so it just works when I want it without wake-up. I tried turning house WiFi on/off and (with my system) I hear a wall of mush appear and disappear, so prefer the WiFi off to get the best result here - other installs and systems may be different, this is just how I experience it here.

…and that is it! :bear:

The ND555 is very strong in itself - get a good cable arrangement - dress it not to touch so a short one workes better I find as you can loop it to the Melco or switch that then gives you a mechanical level of isolation from all the other cables in your house, as well as any electrical effects - people have strong preferences for out of room all other boxes - tried that as I like that idea, but did not deliver for me.

Roon probably can work very well - I respect a lot of people that have good things to say of it - but something it did got my back-up and I need a good demo that it is neutral to the music it hosts, as that was not what I experienced personally.

DB.

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Hifi critic just did a fairly extensive testing of audiophile switches and Ethernet cables.

Ultimately the best in tests was Blue Jeans cat6a. And they did test the AQ vodka, and some other very expensive cables.

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Thank you all for the posts. Its been very useful. I have digested the information, EVERY post has been very useful and I have read them all multiple times to come to a potential start point!

Ok so…

BT Router with MCRU Linear P/S
Catsnake patch cable to the wall socket
Catsnake from wall socket in lounge to
EtherRegen Switch with MCRU P/S Option 3
Catsnake from switch to
Melco N10 server with Naim Powerline
Catsnake from Melco to
Naim ND555 (2x555PS DR that I already have) SL 552/500

Ripping done via Melco D100 with MCRU Linear P/S

Some reasoning…
ND555 to replace the CD555 - I like the Naim sound and its Naim’s best streamer. I do not want to lose the system synergy however good other options maybe.

Catsnake cables are cheap and come highly recommended, I can fiddle with these later but I believe these will form a good base line.

EtherRegen/MCRU P/S people are raving about this and I have yet to find a negative opinion. I like To buy new if possible and this appeals more than a used Cisco.

Melco N10, reviews of Melco products seem good. As I am new to streaming auditioning will be hard so I need to set a start point. A dealer who I trust has recommended this over the most expensive model. I am advided they work well with Naim in terms of sound. They know what I like. It comes in black :wink:

Melco D100, universally the people I have spoken to vouch for this as the best ripper. I am not in the market for wasting what little time I have and for £1500ish inc an upgraded P/S I think thats cheap to rip 2000+ CD’s. £0.75 per cd and quite some residual value if I decide to sell it.

Side note:

I have 350 bootleg CD’s from my favourite band, some are poor quality, some are great. I plan to rip these and then sell them. The band has never received any royalties from bootleggers and I see this as a quality improvement exercise! Naturally I would not do this with anything official before anyone wonders that! I will also continue to buy CD’s as arrists generally receive more from CD sales than downloads. These Bootleg CD’s will sell for between £20-£100 each so at £35 each average thats enough to cover the Melco N10/D100/EtherRegen/MCRU Linear P/S’s and Catsnakes anyway if we were doing a like for like trade!

I am planning on selling a chunk of CD’s that I listen to rarely and using a streaming service such as Qubuz to access this material in the future. If I listen to an album once per year I don’t need a super Melco ripped copy, I will just stream it. This will help save space on the server, backups and in my house!

Having my money tied up in hundreds of Bootleg CD’s or a few pieces of hardware that I could liquidate (for less money admittedly) but very quickly is also appealing to me. Right now we live in an uncertain time.

The only real thing I would like to come from this is to hear an uplift in quality over the CD555 as everything else will most likely be a lifestyle upgrade anyway so then I effectively have it all! :grimacing:

Anyway, thats were I am right now but of course that may change by tomorrow! I wanted to update everyone that made the effort to reply!

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You should have a marvelous streaming source with all that.
Your dealer said the N10 is recommended over more expensive one. But I don’t see a more expensive one. Or a new Melco server just produced ?
I recommend you the « Nd555 impressions « thread. Some are relating the differences vs the Cd555. No one said the later is better.
@Darkebear had Cd555 with twin ps before. He has reported on the differences.

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@frenchrooster in the UK at least there is a model above the N10. The N10 has the external P/S the more expensive one (maybe 3k€ more) has SSD drives and is all in one box. Like yours but on steroids! Its a bit more polite from what I hear at least thats how it was described to me. The N10 has 3TB HDD and sits one model below but the sound is apparently ‘just as good’ but a bit different due to the HDD vs SSD. The reality is I am saving £3k and getting something that is still most likely very good!

I will check the thread, I remember it from last year but not seen it pop up recently! Thanks for the remider!

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That is a cracking streaming set up and I can’t offer any better solution for the price, although I admit to being unfamiliar with Melco products. The feed back on Melco is generally positive, other than on their switch which has mixed reviews on here. But you are going for the EtherRegen, which seems universally praised. The only thing I would say is wait a bit and read a bit more about the newer Chord EE 8Swich which might be the switch to go for.

Finally make sure you get the CatSnake 6a streaming cables with the floating shield.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.

BTW, the ND555 will not make rough bootleg or poorly recorded CDs sound any better. Can’t polish a turd.

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Sounds a great system, and you are avoiding some of the many upgrades i made. Keep us informed and best of luck,

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Some pointed that hdd from Melco are sounding more involving vs ssd. You have made probably the best choice for Melco.

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For what it’s worth there’s nothing I’ve heard about the English Electric, either design-wise or in terms of sonic performance that makes me think it’s going to make as much difference as the EtherRegen.

@Steve On the CatSnake front, I’d say make sure to go for the Cat6a version with floating shield option.

As for the CD555, in my opinion the ND555 with 2xPS is superior in almost all respects and equal in others. And that was before the EtherRegen and CatSnake Cat6a cables.

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You may be right but I was rather impressed with the EE 8Switch at a demo when it was pitched against a Netgear 105. I have, however, not heard the ER.

The Netgear is at a much lower level than the EtherRegen and even the Cisco. I found the Cisco a nice step up from the Netgear, which is what most people have said of the EE8 vs. the Cisco. The EtherRegen made a much bigger difference vs. the Cisco than the Cisco vs. the Netgear in my system. And then adding the Sean Jacobs LPSU took that several steps further.

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The N1ZS/2 (now EX) is the highest in the Melco(UK) range with SSD, and in the same case as the N1ZH / EX. More expensive than the N10 - they sound different, both high-end. A listening and aesthetic choice.

The Cisco 2960 can be mounted on a wall or in a rack with dedicated brackets available on eBay for a few quid, or on a wall with the screw recesses on the rear of the unit.

The installation instruction from Cisco is that if mounting vertically then the power input goes on the top as gravity helps retain the power cable IEC and hence the network cables, I.e. with moulded clips, go on the bottom.

The newer white versions are unobtrusive when mounted like this behind a rack, even better when in a cupboard or loft space.

PS. Adam at Designacable is very helpful regarding specific lengths, labelling and terminations of the Belden Catsnake Cat6a cable.

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One of mine, which I needed to mount vertically, is technically the wrong way up, as it wasn’t really possible to have the network ports facing downwards. It’s been working perfectly well like that for a couple of years now, and the power cable shows no signs of falling out!

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Love the use of fence panel clips, Chris. Very pragmatic!

No idea what they were meant for, found them on ebay, they just happened to be the perfect size for the job. Just enough room to squeeze in a bit of foam to protect the switch. (Don’t get me started on how that might affect sound quality!)

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I think it requires a blind test. Buy a bottle or two of scotch, Drink until blind drunk. And then see what you think. :innocent: :crazy_face: :upside_down_face:

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There’s no need to explain, I know exactly how blind teshting works, thank you. Perhaps spirits would be better though, I’ve only been using wine.

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