Streamer improvement options

Hi all,
Following almost 18 months with my main system sitting in boxes waiting on a house move and renovation (plus a Karosel and Radikal 2 upgrade being added to the Linn), I’m finally back up and running with my system which comprises a Klimax LP12 (with Kandid), 552DR, 300DR, NDX, Fraim and Neat XL10s. The system through the LP12 is sounding absolutely fantastic, as I was hoping it would. But I’ve also spent the last 18 months getting used to the convenience of streaming and the NDX is now some way off the pace with the LP12 , so I’m considering my options on upgrading my streaming source. I did feel that Qobuz offered better sound than Tidal while I was using my Atom in the intervening months, and my NDX doesn’t have Qobuz natively, so wondered. what you guys thought might be some viable options. I could get an XPS2 for the NDX, but that doesn’t solve the Qobuz question. I could sell the NDX and replace it with a used NDS/PS or NDX2/PS, or I could potentially look for a used Linn streamer (I’m slightly confused as many of these seem to come with a digital preamp built into them, which I wouldn’t need).
Streaming will always be a secondary source I think, but I loved the wide availability of new music to try which is something I can’t achieve with vinyl.
What does the collective Naim brain trust think? Thanks in advance for any thoughts on options.

I was in same position and have got Qobuz working through BubbleUPnP and a NAS into the NDX. Few threads on this - massive jump in sound quality and the Bubble app is much more stable than the Naim one for the NDX. Good news is that it’s v low cost and surpringly easy to implement.

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Given the calibre of both your LP12 and the amp & speakers, anything less capable than an NDX2/555PS May struggle to sound satisfactory. The amp & speakers will just reveal the limitations of a lesser streamer.

To begin to approach the musical capability of your turntable in a streamer, you may well be looking at an ND555 with 2 555PS, a DCS Rossini + external clock or an MSB Premier + Powerbase. There are Naim dealers in the UK who stock all 3 of these, so a demo would be possible. All of these are now circa £30k, a non-trivial sum.

Hence, I suggest trying the NDX2/555PS and seeing if that works for you.

Best regards, BF

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RooUPnP on a Raspberry Pi works perfectly to allow Qobuz via older Naim streamers. I’m using it with my NDS.

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I know little about the streaming options but I am very fortunate in having an excellent TT and one of the very best CD players ever made and from this I have concluded that a good digital source however high end just isn’t going to sound like a good TT, the 2 things are just different. If Qobuz is your preferred streaming option then a NDX2/555 would be a good solution but I’m increasingly minded to a separate DAC and renderer so that if the latter becomes redundant because of technological developments or new service providers the former is not redundant.

Just my 2p!

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I sold my Linn LP12 (Akurate plus spec) and Naim CD5 XS in June this year.

I went totally digital with a Linn Klimax DS 3 / Katalyst streamer using Qobuz.

Linn do a streamer without a pre-amp, which is the DS version.

Similarly, I also have some vision loss, which may get worse, that helped with the decision. Plus I found that I was listening to records and CDs less, mainly using a cheap internet radio adapter for listening to Jazz24.

One of the unexpected benefits we have found, is that our choice of music has got larger. In that, we have music on most of the time. Mainly Jazz24 as background music and for a dedicated listening session, we stream via Qobuz.

Doing this, if we like a track or artist that we like on the radio, it is very easy to follow this up on Qobuz and download said artist. This has expanded the diversity of Jazz artistes that we listen to.

Our record and CD collection was sold to a specialist company who came out, valued them, made an offer and took them the same day.

It is one of the best decisions that we made.

DG…

Me too. All of the above. Except for Jazz24.

253kbps just doesn’t cut the mustard for me.

I really wonder whether you will ever get digital to equal the magic of your turntable.

The other week I spent the day at Guildford HiFi listening to the new SME 60, in fact two of them with different cartridges. We also then compared this to a master tape for one of the albums we were listening to. The master tape contained the differing positives of both the TTs.

As a part of this we chatted about the current class actions being taken against MOFI, due to their using DSD files rather than ‘pure’ analogue.

The chap’s observation was that when they take a DSD file and transfer it to master tape they get that analogue magic which somehow a digital replay chain doesn’t quiet capture.

Thanks guys. I think I’ll spend some time at my local dealer and dem the NDX2/PS with the Selekt level streamers from Linn and some others. I don’t have the financial appetite for an ND555 and would also worry a little that the tech is still moving so quickly that even a suburb sounding player like the 555 will be old tech within a relatively short space of time. Of course, the tech may keep evolving quickly, but right now I really don’t need to match 1:1 the sound of my LP12, just get a little closer to it than I’m getting from the old NDX without PS. NDS is def old tech and I think has the old screen that’s prone to failure I believe, so I’ve kinda ruled out going backwards. I’m also not that tech savvy, but appreciate the UPnP/NAS/Raspberry Pi suggestions - they sound intriguing but confusing - I’ll do some more research, but I take it that this is a way of improving the sound while still using my existing NDX, is that right?
Thanks again!

If you’re concerned about redundancy it makes sense to separate your streamer from the DAC, and all Naim streamers offer this option by providing an SPDIF digital output. The biggest gains in sound quality come from the DAC rather than the streamer, and this frees you to try DACs at any budget depending on how far you want to go.
A good starting poing would be an ND5XS2 which you could use as a standalone streamer to get you up and running, then you can explore DAC upgrades at your leisure. An Innuos Zen Mini would be another option, cheap, but with again with the option to add a DAC.

A good used or ex dem dCS Bartok would be a good option, imo&e. dCS offer excellent support and firmware updates, as and when.

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I have been enjoying the Auralic Aries plus Vega combination in to the 552/300. They seem a good match for the Naim kit, both sonically and aesthetically. They outperform my P8/Hana/PH10.

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As Chris mentioned above the ND5XS2 is worth exploring especially with an external DAC, no screen to worry about and a stable platform to stream Qobuz :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks guys. I’ve read some great reviews on the Hugo 1 and see these for sale here in the US for $800-$900. Would using this as an external dac with the NDX bring about a big(ish) step up in performance? I appreciate the Hugo 1 is also old tech now and that this solution doesn’t add Qobuz, but for such a small investment, its might buy me time to consider and save for a more permanent and expensive streaming upgrade down the line?
Thanks again chaps

Back in the day the Mk1 Hugo was all the rage, to the point where a few people even sold their NDAC/555PS because they preferred the Hugo using NDX as transport.
I bought a used Hugo to see what all the fuss was about, and thought the improvement was more modest, but still worthwhile for the cost. Getting the Hugo setup right was important. As an added bonus, you get a great portable headphone amp.

Many years ago I owned a Hugo 1 and thought it brought a nice improvement, one thing to consider though is replacing the battery could be an issue if the Hugo you purchased has a dead or about to expire battery.