I am considering my next upgrade in the never ending path to unobtainable sound quality perfection. I have gone from 272/250 to 252/300 to 552/500. I have sl loop and speaker cables, full frame, 555 streamer, and focal maestro uptopia. I’ve always been a believer in the weakest link and a balanced system. My only source is streaming Qobuz and Tidal. I am considering adding a second 555 power supply, subs, or a new turntable. However, yesterday when I was powering everything down due to a massive lightning storm coming through it hit me that my weakest link is my internet. Att is my service provider and I swear they have cables lying on top of the ground before they get to my house. So no matter what I do, it’s only as good as Att provides. Now I’m a novice when it comes to internet, switches, modems, etc., so any advice in that area needs to be aimed at a 3rd grade level, no technical bs. That would go right over my head. I’m 95% happy with my system it’s just I’m always looking at the next “carrot” to keep me going.
It sounds like you’ve taken your system a fair way up the ladder already and certainly well beyond what many folks would typically aim for or achieve.
The topic of home networking relative to audio streaming and playback has been covered extensively here on the forum, almost excessively so some may say.
The challenge here is finding a sensible balance between increasingly exotic and to an extent, experimental changes in your home network which can become very costly and ultimately may not deliver any tangible improvements or a sense of conclusion to the shortcomings you highlight.
There are a lot of folks on here that have found a measure of success with a certain mix of cables and networking equipment so it may be best to wait for inputs from those with equivalent systems to yours who have tried certain things and can share some experiences with you.
One example here may be to add a local source and remove the Internet almost entirely from the delivery chain by adding something like a Melco server. You can use that to store albums purchased on streaming services or from download sites and you can also use it as a bridge between your Internet connection and your ND555. Melco also make switches which they claim are optimised for audio streaming. There’s also a lot of discussion on here around Cisco Switches and the more recent English Electric Ethernet switch as examples.
Ethernet cables is another hot topic and a subject I’ll only reference upon, but again there are a lot of forum users who have tried different cables with different results who may have insight of benefit to yourself in your situation.
Another option is a NAC S1 and NAP S1 pair of course.
I have virginmedia and the cable runs through some gravel at the edge of the block paving driveway. I have no idea how far my music has to travel, maybe from the other side of the planet, but i do know that i can only control what is going on-in my house.
I think there is more than enough information in various threads on ethernet cables and switches if you would like to tweak. I am in a similar position and was about to buy an Etheregen switch. It was something darkbear said about getting the fundamentals right before tweaking led me to order a second 555ps for my nd555. Hopefully it will turn up this week.
Network tweaks aside, I’m wondering whether It would be worth trying Roon here.
Roon provides the interface and aggregation of the streaming services (Tidal & Qobuz) you use and transcodes the streams from those services to PCM to feed to the streamer. This helps minimise the processing required by the streamer itself which may be beneficial to sound quality.
It’s very easy to trial to determine if it would be worthwhile exploring further…
Dedicated mains is always a good idea and there are threads about this. As others have said there is also a wealth of information about switches and ethernet cabling that would be worth looking at.
One other thing strikes me, and please don’t take this the wrong way. You say yourself that it’s a never ending quest and that you are 95% happy. You have already spent more than many spend on a house and perhaps it’s worth thinking about why you are not content. There will always be something better out there but all the time you are searching you cannot be happy with what you have. Perhaps a few $100 on mindfulness counselling might be the best investment you’ll ever make.
Don’t take this the wrong way, but reading this make me happy that I am living in the European civilisation, rather than Arkansas…
Just thought we needed to liven things up a bit. Sorry to anyone I offended. I’m off to therapy.
I see on your profile that you have already a very good powerblock, the Anzus D2.
So I see 4 different upgrades possible :
Chord Sarum t or Music interconnects : But will you like them, I don’t know.
Chord or Uptone switch. Already threads on them.
Dedicated mains. If it’s worthwhile in your house.
A good turntable : If no internet, or Tidal or Qobuz bugging, you can listen to Lps.
A Melco server/ Nas : but if you only stream online, no need for it.
Quite so. If the desire for excellence really drove the culture it might have a decent health service. The Alpha Male model summarises much of what is bad with the US. Compassion? Nah.
XPS DR… it’s an older vintage model which was just fully serviced in Fall 2019, and it’s been along time coming (or feels like it). I needed to wait for the right piece at that right price, and I managed to find it. Still pricey relatively speaking, but I just decided to go for it. It will get installed into my 552 DR / 300 DR system powering my NDX2.
Once it goes in, I’m going to remove my vinyl front end temporarily as I need to sort out a recap for my Superline which I bought used and if memory serves me correctly it’s of 2006 vintage. The recap on the Superline is remarkably inexpensive (again… relatively speaking)… and I also need to put a new cartridge on my RP10. No real rush on either of these items… I plan on removing them and living with digital only for a month or two or longer.
Karousel for the LP12 and a Supercap for the Superline. After that - finished !
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Just curious if “severed us well” was an intentional typo. If so, kudos on your ironic sense of humour. If not… I find it amusing regardless
My therapist said it was a Freudian slip. She also said I was allowed one more upgrade if I promised it would be the last.
Hey now. Arkansas lives matter!
Absolutely, and I hope all alpha male Americans in Arkansas think the same about Black Lives…
Now it’s gone political instead of hifi, Arkansas as a reference would encompass all the lives in that state, and so to stay on topic.
A turntable would take another route of investment as albums are now expensive unless you are prepared to go to estate sales, and other means to find a bargain. Not sure if You are willing to invest that time or not. Also, a turntable that would be needed on the front end of your system would be a hefty investment also.
How about a server to feed your streamer, purchase full albums or songs And eliminate the concern of losing internet access, and if you do lose access as a weak point, you could have a back up of 10-20 hours of listening to hi res 24/96/192 on your own network.
Yes, let’s get it back on topic pronto. I can only dream to have half the system the OP has. That being said I’ve also wondering if anything could be done further “upstream” in regards to my Internet provider
Thanks for all the upgrade advise. I have a dedicated circuit. I’m leaning toward a second 555, but is that the weakest link? I’m reading the previous topics on internet stuff, there are some real experts on this forum and I mean that as a compliment. My hats off to them, I am not one. The turntable route is intriguing and costly, but may be the path I choose. I do appreciate all the advise (except the therapist one, lol).
If you are concerned about internet streaming as a source, you could set up a music server (I use the Naim Core) and buy hi-res files or rip CDs for a better source. Other than that, you are already way beyond what most of us would ever achieve, so enjoy it 100%
Referring back to my initial thoughts and comments and those from others that followed, taking where you are as a starting point in terms of music format, you could do a basic evaluation of Roon and run that from a computer you already have, Mac OS or Windows PC that is.
A local music store and server is worth considering even if you may not have a lot of downloaded or CD based music it can be used for that of course but can also be placed between your ND555 and your Internet connection with potential for improvements to be had there. Melco is an obvious choice and something that other forum members own and use with 500 series systems and also of course there’s the Naim Core but I’d expect that to be less appropriate vs a Melco server. Innuos is another well liked manufacturer and that also has the benefit of being able to run Roon on the server.
I can’t talk to the merits of adding a second 555PS to your ND555 but there are enough people on the forum that have and there are topics that talk to the findings.
Adding in a vinyl source has the potential to be very rewarding but to do it well and to justify the system it would be joining it would be a costly exercise especially if you don’t have a lot of vinyl to hit the ground running with.