I have recently got a used Etherregen (ER) in front of my NDX2. The unit I got is a 50 Ohm version.
Does anyone here have experience using a 50 Ohm ER for Naim? The reason I ask is due to the digital BNC cable DC1 is 75 Ohm , makes me think that it is the preferred impedance for Naim. But this may not be relevant for the LAN cable/port?
Also if anyone experience using an external clock on their ER and if it is worth the upgrade?
Yes, the external CLK connector at either 50 or 75 ohms, has nothing to do with the Ethernet connections.
This is only used up with any external CLK unit, and after throwing the toggle switch on reboot.
In terms of usage, no/not yet/still considering it.
Well given that Naim DACs don’t have external CLK input you are not going to benefit from using a common CLK between switch & DAC.
So, the only benefit is by using a ‘better’ CLK that was is internally implemented inside the EtherREGEN unit - define better in this implementation?
External CLKs are hard & expensive to get right. There are some cheaper ones, using recycled Cellular telecommunications equipment, but it seems to be a lottery if you get a good one. And then you have to get the CLK signal into the EtherREGEN unit either as a square wave or a sine wave & finding a good cable to do this.
The internal CLK circuit has the advantage of being as close as possible to where it is needed, and John Swenson, the designer seems to know his stuff.
Places to start
The OCY-1 & OCY-2 units - self contained with internal PSUs.
The OCY-2 has switchable outputs between either 50 & 75ohms & seems the better unit, as the OCY-1 didn’t perform well in a measurement benchmark John Swenson undertook. See the Uptone forum.
BTW The OCK-2 is probably the same cost as the EtherREGEN itself.
The AfterDark units. These come in a range of different models depending on the measured performance with an associated price from $500 to $5,000 plus you need an external PSU (and supply noise is a factor, so allocate further $ for this).
The Cybershaft units, as used by Uptone to test the external CLK input. Also available from AfterDark. Needs an external PSU, and a $6k budget.
The Mutec REF10 unit. Their entry level unit. Budget again $5k.
So seems to be an expensive minefield, with no easy - “buy this unit & cable, switch it on and improvement gained”.
However one thing I have found since owning my EtherREGEN, and I got mine in the 1st batch in May ‘19, is upgrading the PSU has a material benefit.
I tried the stock unit, an existing 12v LPS from ZeroZero (it was a dual 25W 5v/12v unit, with the 12v used for Netgear, Cisco switches before & 5v for a RPi2 for Asset server) which didn’t survive the 1A draw of the EtherREGEN when used with all 5 inputs on the A Ports, and the NDS on Port B). For the EtherREGEN I now use a Farad3 supply, complete with their mains cable and silver DC cable, into a further LT3045 regulator stage, with silver wiring.
I agree with Simon, the external psu does improve SQ, i use a Plixir psu. I did toy with the idea of a CLK, but as Simon says its an expensive minefield and quite frankly i decided i did not know enough about them.
My room configuration at the time meant I needed 2 switches so i bought a Phoenixnet switch which has a very good oven controlled clock. So i use the ER and Phoenixnet in tandem.
Also the other area to consider is using the SFP cage in the EtherREGEN to take the downstream Ethernet feed from server and isolate it from possible noise via fibre optic.
But again this seems to be another smaller minefield with varying benefits.
The ‘moat’ between Ports A and the B Port, which feeds the Ethernet stream into my NDS, already has the isolation, that is the premise of the EtherREGEN’s design and does bring SQ benefit over a mass manufactured unmanaged Netgear/Cisco switch.
I can’t speak to improvement over the Cisco Commercial Managed switches, as I went down this avenue instead.
But it works for me, especially with the Farad3 based power supply.
Which SFP/SFP+ unit, there are different types, models, makes and these to have an influence.
The actual fibre optic cable used
The ‘Media Convertor’ used for the electrical Ethernet to Fibre conversion & its power supply.
Budget here can start at under a $100, but selected SFP/SFP+ modules takes it up to $400/500 with a standard media converter, and then another $300 for a better one.
I might need neil or someone from naim to put things right on this.
I believe the naim ndx2 buffers when streaming, and if so having a much more expensive clock or indeed even a poor working clock doesn’t matter as the clock inside the dac will re clock everything anyway.
Its only when you can link all the devices together to one master clock will you get any benefit at all.
This i believe is how all dacs works? So if they haven’t got a master clock in or clock singal out then absolutely no gain to be had by adding a different clock to anything you put infront of the dac.
This is how dCS and many others work, and i guess naim are the same, but as said someone like neil might know different.
Thank you both, point noted with the external clock.
My set up is ISP router → Cisco 2960 → SFP to ER → Mutec MC3/Ref10 → NDX2 → NDS
I tried to ditch the Cisco with just ISP router to ER, is a big NO, everything got muddy. No idea what/why something Cisco did but ER cannot.
I also read a lot review about better LPS for ER. I am temporary using ifi X power adapter with ifi power station with active noise cancellation. Not sure with other more expensive LPS will increase by how much.
I am happy with the above setup, but there are just too many boxes, and throwing in the Ref10/MC3/ER SFP/LPS = more cables to consider.
My next step is replacing all the above with just an ND555. while I understand I can no longer benefit from the Mutec gear, I hope I can at least keep the ER. Then I heard about the Innuos PhoexixNet, sound like a future candidate to further reduce box/cable count while increase SQ.
Currently using Cisco GLC SX MMD SFP module and a no brand Chinese Fiber.
No idea if they are the best SQ but I have zero knowledge in network/SFP and was just glad the above can even connect.
one think I tested is compare using Supra Cat8 vs SFP, it sounded a little bit more round/softer using SFP. Not sure is better or worst, just can’t be bother to do critical A/B test as it is very tiring. Just logic told me it should be more “cleaner “ with SFP, but just not necessary better due to the SFP / Fiber I used.
I believe the Naim ND architecture is the same in that there is a buffer in the streaming board, but also buffering is done post the SHARC based DSP processing.
The Gen1 streamer based buffer is one that gives issues when these streamers are used with internet streams, where latency between the requested data packets can cause dropouts. This buffer was improved in its depth in the Gen2 design. But if using other servers to service the internet streaming service it makes no different, as they broker the delivery as the streamer processes the stream as if it was local content, which the Gen1 based streamer were perfectly capable of doing.
There is then a difference in how the post DSP processed stream is handle in the NDS via NDX
I can’t find a similar section in the ND555 Whitepaper, but I would imagine that architecture is the same, as the NDS/ND555 are based on the processing path, once the signal is output from the Streaming board. There is a section on the revised CLK but that only applying to when a S/PDIF input is used.
Why not, the only change with the ND555 is a later Streaming board. This has support for Airplay2, Chromecast, Dualband WiFi, a bigger buffer for internet streaming services and more Flash RAM for bigger firmware image to support Qobuz, native RAAT for RoonReady etc.
You Mutec clk & reclocker is still likely to improve the base feed into the streamer, fundamentals of noise based inputs doesn’t change.
On the use of the ER with ISP output, the quality of the switches in the CSP equipment from ISPs is so poor, the first switch connected has much to do. This can be a standard unmanaged switch or better still put the ISP device in bridged mode, and use a better WAN/LAN router (better throughput, Firewall etc.) and then a Netgear/Cisco to provide your internal LAN network.
Network optimisation of the internal LAN can also have a benefit on the SQ for all equipment.
The EtherREGEN should just the final step up into the ND network player.
So as far as i can understand that, it will make no difference whatsoever adding a different clock to the EtherRegen when running a naim dac.
Clocks or should i say a master clock only really work when they are re clocking all the clocks in a system, as all a master clock does is allow the clock in each device to lock onto the master clock to refine its own clock to.
Any external clock does not take over the original clock, the original still does its thing.
However regardless the true logic behind, my setup with the Mutec re-clock in between NDX2 and NDS does improve the SQ so much that it sounds like a different piece of equipment.
it will be interesting to test if it worth maintaining the same box count even with the ND555 (as pure DAC) if all this “re-clock” activities does help ND555 for whatever reason before it do it’s magic down the stream.
BTW Although strongly considering both these avenues for some time (External CLK and Fibre based input), I have recently made my ‘23 improvement (the ‘22 improvement was the Farad3 supply)
I got a 2nd Power Supply for my NDS. Not another 555DR or non-DR 555, but a 3rd party unit just to provide the 22v supply to Socket 2 of the NDS, the Analogue supply.
This unit has a selected 300VA transformer, Mundorf capacitors and individual Discrete Regulator boards for the +ve and -ve rails.
And what a change, the same amount of ‘more’ as I got from going from NP5XS to 555DR on the NDS, and again from ND5XS to NDS (the big ‘16 improvement), in terms of soundstage width/deep, transient performance & bass. How can a PSU for the Analogue stage (I2V and filers) processing of a Digital based signal affect the bass so much?
And this week, the PSU will get a new Mains cable (Silver plated OCC) with Furutech plugs, and Fuse upgrade both internally and in the Mains plug. However there will be burn in time for these components
Very interesting to know this.
Have you ever try a 2nd 555PS before as comparison?
wonder if it is just a noise problem using 1 or 2 output of a 555PS , or simply your DIY PS is so much superior doing what a PS should be doing if Naim ever consider putting better quality parts in its gear?
Ah, you are reclocking a S/DPIF signal, yes that should bring improvement to that protocol.
I personally don’t see the need for new streamers ‘infront’ of a NDS.
You are just using the NDS as a DAC over the lesser input & protocol (hence the improved seen with Mutec units), when the NDS can easily be used as a Roon Endpoint, with all internet streaming services managed by Roon (including Tidal Master support), all local content & all formats managed by Roon, all internet radio sources (including Lossless FLAC & MQA formats) managed by Roon. The NDS is then singing away as a UPnP based streamer, for which it was designed to do.
Plus now, there are questions about the quality of the native RAAT implementation in the NDX2, ND555 units, which still seem to perform better with a UPnP stream.
Sadly because my NDS streaming board has been replaced after failure. Since the replacement board, it loose it’s ability to be discovered in the network using a UPnp bridge using Roon. (It was capable to do so before replacement), hence come in the massively underused NDX2.
Its the last clock in the system that matters, the signal has been re clocked many times before it even gets to your house, and none off that re clocking matters one bit.
As said unless you can lock all the devices to one good quality master clock, then there’s no gain to be had at all.
If the naim dac had a clock out signal, then you could use that to connect to the EtherRegen. As this then would sink the two clocks together, and you would hope the naim clock in the dac would be better than the one in the EtherRegen. But as said the main gain would be that they are both working to the same time.
Linking many devices together is where the gains are to be had from re clocking, or adding a better quality clock to the final stage (dac)