Streaming Endpoint and Ethernet/USB cables

I’m quite new regarding streaming, however I’m not new into High-End music setup. My setup is the following:

SME 10 recordplayer, which is my main music player
McIntosh MCD1100 CD-player, which I also uses as DAC, when I’m watching movies through my Oppo UDP-203, and when I’m watching TV
Ear 868 valve preamp with RIAA with valves
OVC valve poweramp
Rockport Chara speakers
M.I.T. cables all over, except powercables from devices to powerbar, here I’m using Cardas
M.I.T. powerbar with M.I.T. powercable

After being at a friend and listening to his NAIM 555-setup, I decided to listen to NAIM streamers, considering one of them taking over for my +1500 CD’s. I already has a Sonos system used in bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and so on, but that won’t do it for me.

My vinyl-collection and my recordplayer, will always be my main source. However, ripping a cd and playing it through ROON, really makes me think, this could take over for my CD’s. New music can be bought this way, streaming the music from Tidal and others, before buying the best on vinyl and/or in high resolution…a lot of opportunities.

So I asked for a testsession at my local NAIM-dealer, where I brought my McIntosh, so we could compare it with the NDX-2. Long story short, both my dealer and I came to the conclusion, that my McIntosh is better in any way, even though the NDX-2 was not bad at all. I don’t know how the files was stored and ripped at my dealer, but also with downloads of high resolution music (Dylan’s Oh Mercy and Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms) compared with my SACD’s, the McIntosh was a better player. What we didn’t do, unfortunately, was to connect the NDX-2 to the McIntosh, to check out if it was the DAC, that made the difference.

We didn’t have the opportunity to test the NDX-2 with the XPS or the 555PS DR power supplies. What do you guys think? – would it have made a difference?

First I thought of just bying the NDX-2 and sell my McIntosh, but that will be a step back for me in soundquality, which is a no go…so here is my opportunities, shall I…

  • Still buy the NDX-2 and use it with the digital-out to my McIntosh?
  • Buy the NDX-2 with the 555PS DR (after what I’m told, the 555 really makes a difference to the XPS) and sell the McIntosh to finance some of the 555PS DR…
  • This is getting more and more expensive…buy the NDX-2 with the 555PS DR and still use the McIntosh as a DAC
  • A couple of guys I have talked to, recommends the NAIM NDS, but with or without PS and which one of them? And even though it might be better soundquality, it’s not as futureproof as the new models, NDX-2 and ND555…
  • Should I go all-in, wait for a while to have saved up enough money, and go for the ND555 / 555PS DR - and sell my McIntosh…
  • Most important…do you think the NDX-2 or the ND555 will fit into my other components? As I read it, a lot of you NAIM-owners, are also having NAIM pre- and poweramps, and my friend too, and I must say, it really sounds great…
  • If I’ll go further on with NAIM, will the NAC 252 and a SUPERLINE RIAA be better than my EAR 868?
  • …and will the NAP 300 be to much of a compromise compared to my lovely OVC…
  • Any thoughts of CHC-555PS powersupplies? Really good reviews and a lot of money saved. I have also looked on TeddyPardo’s, even more money saved, but I’m not sure I’ll get the NAIM sound right…(don’t know if its’ strictly forbidden to talk about this in the NAIM-community, if so, forget I asked)…

Additional questions…

I did a lot of research and decided to go the ROON ROCK way, before deciding for a streamer. Bought an Intel NUC I7-8559U, installed ROON ROCK on it and added a local 4TB SSD-disk for my musicstorage. I’m waiting to receive and connect a Melco D100 CD-transport to the Intel NUC, to rip my CD’s this way, using ROON’s CD-ripper. I connected both the Intel NUC and my Oppo UDP-203, which I for a start, will use as a streamer. The Oppo is connected with M.I.T. coax-cable to my McIntosh MCD1100. The Intel NUC and the Oppo is connected to my Cisco Catalyst 2960CX-8TC-L switch, which is only used for that, using standard CAT6A-cables. The Cisco is also connected to my router with a CAT6A-cable.

First of all, I was really surprised how good the sound was…

Second…Ethernet and USB-cables…considering bying two good ethernetcables from the Cisco to the streamer (Oppo for now and maybe NAIM in the near future) and to the Intel NUC. I’ve been looking at Chord C-Stream and Cord Shawline (expensive), but also Audioquest Cinnamon. How big a difference do you think it will make, what are your experiences? Regarding the USB-cable between my Melco D100 and the Intel NUC, I’m considering the same Chord or Audioquest cables…any thoughts of that?

I think that’s all for now, but it’s also a lot :slight_smile:


There’s a little thread about ethernet cables running at the moment …that in over 5000 posts hasn’t reached a definite conclusion!! (See Ethernet Switch and Cables Mania).

USB cables may be another matter - but very possibly ferrites on the a well made cable will be as good as anything fancy.

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Try an ND555 with two 555PS DR power supplies.

Thanks…that was the REALLY expensive one :slight_smile:

If you’re thinking of doing this, you could just get an ND5XS2 for a lot less money. It uses the same streaming board as the NDX2, and if used only as a digital transport via SPDIF output, I don’t think it will sound any worse.

I have the ear 912 with an nds/ 555 dr. It works perfectly, and better than my past 252.
The phono inside the 868 is a bit inferior, but probably on the same level as superline alone. I compared my phono to superline/ xps at that time, and preferred the ear 912.

Your McIntosh is a top class cd/ sacd integrated player from 2010 . But not sure that on usb connecting with another transport it will be that good. It often isn’t the case.
An nds/ 555ps second hand should probably outperform your McIntosh or play at the same level. But after it’s also a matter of taste.
If you have a lot of sacd, better perhaps keep the McIntosh.

You can also try some streaming bridges which can connect to your Dac, as Auralic, DCS network bridge, Lumin…

A lot of possibilities.

Thanks frenchrooster :slight_smile:

It sounds like it’s not a way for me to go, with another preamp then, I’ll stick to my 868, unless I’ll fall over a 912 somehow or go for a separated preamp and RIAA. But nice to hear the NAIM DAC/streamer is a great setup with the EAR preamps. You are not the first though, sugesting the NDS/555PS DR, so it will be a possibility, unless I go all in with the ND555/555PS DR.

You absolutely have a good point regarding my McIntosh. Just one question, why use the USB? I probably would prefer the COAX or BNC input. Even though I might have red, that streaming high resolutions files is only done by USB, is that correct and is that the reason you mention the USB connection?

Regarding the SACD’s I have around 60, and I have thought of them as well, but almost every one of them, is still outperformed by the vinyls. At least that’s my opinion, even though the two formats can something different. If I’m going for the NDS or ND555, I will sell my McIntosh though and buy the best of the SACD’s as high resolution files. Already has bought Dylans Oh Mercy and SRVs Couldn’t stand the Weather, just for comparison between the SACDs and vinyl versions.

I’ll take a look at the alternatives, as you suggest, thanks…and again, shall they be connected by USB?

I said usb but could have said co ax, spdif…I often read that integrated cd/ sacd like DCS ( Debussy from the 2010 years), Esotereic, Rega…are better in cd / sacd physical players than their Dac connected to other transports, if you understand what I mean.
Perhaps it’s not the case with the cdt 1100, I don’t know, but just guess.

We had similar systems, because I had an SME 20/ 2a for 15 years, but sold it one year ago.
The Nd555 is a beast, a wonderful machine. So if you can afford it , after selling your McIntosh ( maybe 5k). Don’t hesitate.

I agree on your experiences and I think it might be the case with my McIntosh as well :slight_smile:

I somehow think I’ll have to save a little bit more, and go for the ND 555 and sell my McIntosh…if I don’t do it this way, I will always think I somehow will feel, I have made a big compromise, when it comes to soundquality.

Thanks again and fortunate you had quite similar system, so I could draw from your experiences :slight_smile:

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I feel, and have heard the nd555, that the differences are not so big vs the nds, if network is well improved ( switch, Ethernet cables…).
The differences are bigger on a very resolved system, like Naim Statement pre and nap 500 dr ( 80 k electronics).
On electronics as yours and mine, I am not sure that the differences will be so important, maybe 10/15 % better for the nd555.
However an nds can be found for 3k today, vs 12/ 13 k for an nd555.
With 10 k you can buy an ear 912 and Melco server ( if you sell your 868).
So not easy response.

@MrUnderhill could have another point of view and different experience. He has a nap 300 dr with an ear 868 too. And before ear 534 power amp.

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No easy response, no…but interesting it is… :slight_smile:

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