I often think that Radio 3 FM sounds better than anything stored locally, despite being transmitted miles and coming down an aerial on the roof. If you still enjoy your rips I wouldn’t overly worry, though possibly a more up to date Qnap with a bit more welly may be a good idea at some point.
You are doing the right thing by transcoding, particularly as you have a first generation streamer. If you rip your CDs at the dB power amp level 5 default they will sound no different but will take up a lot less space.
I think that’s nonsense (no offense), FLAC is a streaming format and pushing it directly to the streamer means there are as few conversions being done as possible, which is a good thing. It also reduces the strain on the (old) NAS significantly, a 2012 NAS has no hardware options to transcode which means that it is done on the ARM CPU, which is slow. It also reduces the amount of data that is sent over the network considerably, since WAV’s are much bigger to transport than FLAC’s.
When the stream gets to the streamer, the streamer converts it from whatever format it’s in to PCM. It’s far easier to convert from WAV than FLAC, which is thought to be the reason WAV sounds better on the legacy streamers, exactly as Richard says above. The new platform has greater processing power so there is less of a difference between WAV and FLAC.
There is unfortunately a lot of misinformation going around when it comes to topics like this. A streamer is a transcoder, and it does a lot better job at it than an old NAS, since it was specifically built for it.
It’s well known that transcoding from FLAC to WAV benefits Naim streamers as it places less overhead on the hardware in the streamer that generates noise which can affect sound quality. This has been the case since the Naim streamers were introduced.
If you send FLAC to the streamer then the streamer will do the conversion so taking this away from the streamer is beneficial. Conversion is inevitable and choosing where this is done does have a bearing on the sound quality.
The legacy streamers are more prone to this and the differences are supposed to be closer with the newer generation.
Maybe do some research before telling others they are talking nonsense.
Fine by me, you guys can keep transcoding on your NAS’es if you want and send WAV’s over the network. I’ve had an older Naim streamer and i still think it’s nonsense, a streamer that cannot play back a FLAC without artifacts shouldn’t be called a streamer, it’s the whole reason the device was built since in no normal scenarios people stream WAV’s around the house or the internet.
The whole point of the topicstarter was that a radio stream sounded better than a locally transcoded file on the NAS, you do the math.
No doubt my NDX sounds better playing WAV compared to FLAC, transcoding FLAC from my Synology gets the same result as playing straight WAV. I understand the steamer is converting (transcoding) to raw PCM anyway, it just has less load with an almost PCM identical WAV stream whereas FLAC is more load.
Re the latest platform streamers, according to someone I was talking to with a ND555, he can’t hear any difference between any codec & is in the process of converting his library from WAV to FLAC to save space & an impending need to buy more HDD space.
Mike I believe that WAV is the same as PCM but with a header added so the streamer doesn’t actually transcode with WAV.
Roon sends PCM to my NDS via the UPNP bridge I use, it actually shows up as PCM if you open the Naim app whilst playing. I can’t tell the difference between PCM, WAV or FLAC transcoded to WAV at the server but like you can tell a difference if FLAC is sent to the NDS.
I think you might as well try streaming the FLAC instead of transcoding it, before upgrading your NAS. Or have you already? If it improves things then that’s good, if it doesn’t then you can always go for the NAS upgrade route.
Also note that processing a FLAC is lighter for the streamer than an MP3 or AAC, since it’s lossless and less compressed. This means the algorithms of playing back a FLAC are less intensive for a streamer to handle than for more compressed formats.