Obsolescence - Which Way To Go?

Hi Lindsey,

thoughts like yours were behind my purchase of a nDAC instead of the NDX a few years ago. I still think that was the right decision.

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Love the way these threads deviate.

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One of the reasons I haven’t adopted streaming to date is the lack of maturity in the technology; like you, I have stuck steadfastly with a CDS3. I would have thought separating the DAC and renderer might be prudent but it doesn’t seem to be an approach supported by Naim.

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Reminds me of the old joke:
Q. Why do Ladas have heated rear windows?
A. To keep your hands warm while you’re pushing them.


That’s what I did. Separate streamer and separate Dac.

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Probably obsolete is not the correct term, but there is a strong point, maybe can described as an aged technology that needs additional tech to work as intended. Plenty of analogy I am sure can be given as an example. I have always found the simplicity to play my music from a software on my pc/mac, (remember winamp, obsolete now :)) to work in a satisfying manner through a dac and on to the amp. I have kept this set up through the years and only updated each of the components in the chain, but the path remained unchanged.

I haven’t been able to compare how Tidal sounds via a dedicated streamer and through the app on my Mac, I guess streaming will be better, but the question is how much better. My current DAC V1/SN2 combo connected with an excellent Vertere USB cable does a fantastic job, and I can always switch the DAC to a better one in case a need emerges (secretly hoping Naim will launch a new stand alone one in a near future, as there is none currently in their portfolio). What I did compare is the sound from the Tidal App, Master recordings and the same tracks (CD RIP) played on my third party software and I can definitely state that the latter sounds better to me, and I have extensively tested with many different tracks. I was hoping to be different, mainly because of the fact of being able to access enormous amount of music and play it instantly, for that reason yes, Tidal stays, but I simply cannot listen to it the way I listen to my locally stored library of CD Rips, something just does not sound right. That’s why I guess I won’t be changing anything any time soon, and the risk of any of the blocks in the chain to become obsolete is probably close to 0%.

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That is how conversations go

…this notion of obsolescence is not inevitable with digital. My streamer is in its fourth iteration: each new version is still in the same case, is accompanied by an obvious improvement in SQ and is retrofittable. It can be done.

Perhaps this is one (and there are several) reasons why I stay away from the online streaming concept. I feel more secure with my own, local, music storage that I have control over.

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That’s why the external connectivity options like Chromecast, Spotify connect etc. are great. New services can be used without the device itself needing to support them.

IMO Naim needs to update the gen1’s in that way, and they’ll be able to survive for quite some time. And it must be possible, as they did add Airplay support relatively recently.

A bit annoying that they didn’t choose to add a universal one at that point, but chose to go vendor specific.

Plus the fact that you are not at risk of losing your favourite music if you move house to somewhere with a poor internet connection, or if licensing changes mean the online provider can no longer stock particular recordings or label, or if the online provider collapses or changes its business model, or if you fall on hard times and can’t afford a subscription…


Yes… there are several, very good reasons, why it’s better (in my opinion) to maintain control of your material (albums).

Totally agree with these comments…I buy music on vinyl or download to my Melco 1N, frequently having decided on purchases after listening on various sources (including TV, Tidal, Quboz, car radio…)

That’s how I’m using qobuz at the mo. Download hi res and then stream to the renderer that feeds a separate dac. My renderer only supports 16/48 but with a flaky software plug in can support 24/96. I would love to try and buy a Naim renderer to support 24/192. Sadly I am having to look elsewhere.

It was a design choice not to add AirPlay support to the 1st gen. streamers as it has inferior sound quality to native streaming, so not really in line with what a brand like Naim is all about. You have ro jump through a lot of hoops to get AirPlay certification from Apple, and there is no room for negotiation. You tow tow the line, or you don’t get the approval.
The first products to have AirPlay support were the Musos, along with Spotify, added to give appeal to these ‘lifestyle’ products.
Times change, of course, and with the ever increasing range of online services available, I guess it was inevitable that Naim would add AirPlay and Chromecast support to the current range, even though it still doesn’t sound as good.
Incidentally, Naim have never added AirPlay support to a product retrospectively. Even if they wanted to, I doubt it would be technically possible.

I don’t think that’s correct. Maybe Airplay was always supported, but Airplay 2 has definitely been added retrospectively to the first gen streamers (at least Mu-So). But the point was of course that it would have been nicer to add something instead which wasn’t (i)OS specific, but universal.

Regarding the sound quality, I wouldn’t know about Airplay, but with Chromecast on my Uniti Star I can’t detect any audible difference that I’m confident I’d pick out in a double blind test. So even if theoretical, but not audible to me. Perhaps if you have better ears, system and/or speakers, but on a Qb I can’t imagine any loss would be audible to anyone. (Again, can only speak for Chromecast)

Yes, streamers that supported Airplay now support Airplay2, but that’s a very different matter to adding Airplay to devices that were never designed to run it.
Chromecast certainly doesn’t sound as good as native streaming to me, certainly on Qobuz. See here for an explanation of why that might be:

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Triggers broom… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It’s very easy to add Airplay to an early streamer for very little cost. I have done so with my Unitiqute 2, just by purchasing an Airport Express for around £8 and connecting it via Toslink to the UQ2. I then renamed that input to AIRPLAY.


Hi Lindsay,
I feel your pain on this one, having been through the very same process about a year and a half ago.

First, the CDS3 is a REALLY tough act to follow, as we both know. It’s a not a change to consider lightly. Some owners prefer the (now obsolete) NDS to the CDS3. I am not one. I prefer the natural, organic flow of the CDS3 to the ever so slightly synthesised sound of the NDS.

Like you, I suspect that streaming services will come & go (bust), with new ones arriving periodically. Equally, they will all have to keep updating their software, so version compatibility is an ongoing battle.

This one of the reasons that we finally chose to separate the streamer from the dac.

At least with something like the Sonore Rendu streamers, you can stream several different ways (via Roon, LMS and several others). This helps to ensure longevity in the products. Many other reputable makes do this too, so this is not a Sonore USP. But the price point for the performance is in a league of its own (other than Raspberry Pi based devices).

If £1300 of opticalRendu is not embarrassed by a Chord M Scaler & DAVE, then it is more than good enough for most of us.

Like you, we have a Muso QB and we stream to it seamlessly via Roon, all controlled from the ipad mini. What the QB does work with is apple Airplay. I suspect it is the apple Airplay software on our mac mini which somehow hooks the QB into the party and makes it just work. The mac mini is also a Roon endpoint.

All this Roon and airplay is fine & dandy but not if you restrict yourself in terms of music servers by having a Naim Uniti Core. That product’s functionality is too bespoke and restrictive. If you want flexibility for the future, I would recommend something like Innuos, Roon Nucleus, possibly Melco or one of the Audiostore Vortexbox range.

Hope this helps, if only a little.

Best regards, BF