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  1. #1
    Wammer sunbeamgls's Avatar
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    Heard a Naim NDS

    Naim are touring their NDS at the moment in the UK.

    Heard this playing at Acoustica in Chester. System as follows:

    252 pre-amp with Supercap power supply
    NAP300 power amp with its dedicated power supply
    NAC speaker cable
    Naim Ovator S-600 speakers

    Streamers (all include an on-board DAC):
    NDX (3k)
    NDX with 555PS power supply (9k)
    NDS with 555PS power supply (11k)

    First, I really do not like Naim speakers, so this needs to be borne in mind. Having said that, today was the first time (in 4 attempts) that the S-600s actually were tolerable. They have this strange "cardboard" quality to some sounds such as snare and fingers rapping on a guitar body. They also harden up quite quickly, which doesn't complement the immdediacy of the Naim electronics at all.

    We heard the NDX stand alone (just OK), the NDX with the 555PS (note that the PS is about 50% more expensive than the streamer) which works very well, and then the NDS with 555PS which was clearly the better sounding streamer, but not such a big improvement as adding the power supply to the NDX.

    Within the constraints of the speakers (I know, this is very much a personal thing), each step brought greater clarity, more depth, improved image width etc. etc. But, joy of joys, apart from the stand alone NDX, there was none of that Naim shoutyness that, IMHO, is very tiring and somewhat irritating. Until they played XTC's Making Plans For Nigel on the NDX / 555PS, which was just intolerable.

    Would love to hear the electronics with some of the larger B&W speakers in the shop. Maybe we can drop back in again soon when the Naim guy's gone home!

    Is the NDS / 555PS a Klimax DS rival? Difficult to say as I've only heard them in the context of their own make systems. But I suspect it will be, as anything that can make a pair of Naim speakers sound tolerable is a major achievement in my book.
    Balance is Everything!
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  2. #2
    Wammer
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    This doesnt sound very promising. The hope for me was that the nds has the voicing of the cd555. Im not interested in more of the hifi things which you mention, just a captivating sound that makes you want to play more music. The cd555 does this imo, its one of naim's finest ever achievements imo. The dac, ndx, hdx don't.

  3. #3
    Wammer sunbeamgls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich View Post
    This doesnt sound very promising. The hope for me was that the nds has the voicing of the cd555. Im not interested in more of the hifi things which you mention, just a captivating sound that makes you want to play more music. The cd555 does this imo, its one of naim's finest ever achievements imo. The dac, ndx, hdx don't.
    I haven't head a CD555, so I can't comment on any comparison. The shop says that the streamers are now outselling the CD players in the Naim range. I think the NDX / XPS2 combination sounds very musical in a Naim system, just without Naim speakers!
    Balance is Everything!
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  4. #4
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Sunbeam - the issue has always been Naim speakers and I think "cardboard" is a good word although I've never thought their speakers to be as bad as some make out. That said any of the configurations you heard would have sounded infinitely better with Neats, Dynas, Kudos - the BWs would have been interesting. Interesting that they didn't use an active set up - at the Bristol show they used 3 X NAP 250s in an active set up and it was very very good.

    I'm not surprised the Streamers are outselling the CDPs - if you were setting up a digital source now there is good argument for ripping the lot to a NAS and having music on demand. That said the best Digital system I've heard is a CD555/552/500 into Neat MF9s - would like to hear a NDS/552/500 with the new Neat SL10s.

    Strat
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  5. #5
    Moderator Polarbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Strat View Post
    That said the best Digital system I've heard is a CD555/552/500 into Neat MF9s - would like to hear a NDS/552/500 with the new Neat SL10s.

    Strat
    It would be a good comparison but the CD555/552/500 into Neat MF9's would still be the best digital system you have heard.

    The NDS is very good but the CD555 remains the king.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    It would be a good comparison but the CD555/552/500 into Neat MF9's would still be the best digital system you have heard.

    The NDS is very good but the CD555 remains the king.
    Have you heard it ? Could you expand a little ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunbeamgls View Post
    Naim are touring their NDS at the moment in the UK.

    Heard this playing at Acoustica in Chester. System as follows:

    252 pre-amp with Supercap power supply
    NAP300 power amp with its dedicated power supply
    NAC speaker cable
    Naim Ovator S-600 speakers

    Streamers (all include an on-board DAC):
    NDX (3k)
    NDX with 555PS power supply (9k)
    NDS with 555PS power supply (11k)

    First, I really do not like Naim speakers, so this needs to be borne in mind. Having said that, today was the first time (in 4 attempts) that the S-600s actually were tolerable. They have this strange "cardboard" quality to some sounds such as snare and fingers rapping on a guitar body. They also harden up quite quickly, which doesn't complement the immdediacy of the Naim electronics at all.

    We heard the NDX stand alone (just OK), the NDX with the 555PS (note that the PS is about 50% more expensive than the streamer) which works very well, and then the NDS with 555PS which was clearly the better sounding streamer, but not such a big improvement as adding the power supply to the NDX.

    Within the constraints of the speakers (I know, this is very much a personal thing), each step brought greater clarity, more depth, improved image width etc. etc. But, joy of joys, apart from the stand alone NDX, there was none of that Naim shoutyness that, IMHO, is very tiring and somewhat irritating. Until they played XTC's Making Plans For Nigel on the NDX / 555PS, which was just intolerable.

    Would love to hear the electronics with some of the larger B&W speakers in the shop. Maybe we can drop back in again soon when the Naim guy's gone home!

    Is the NDS / 555PS a Klimax DS rival? Difficult to say as I've only heard them in the context of their own make systems. But I suspect it will be, as anything that can make a pair of Naim speakers sound tolerable is a major achievement in my book.
    jesus nine biiigg ones for a power supply you could proably a get a lifes times cincert ticket subscription for that, i wonder if any one has ever done such a thing, i would imagine some orchesras would bite your hand off, two tickets for twewnty years all shows, nine grand !

    mind you i would like to aspire to these sorts of money etc, sadly i cannot , .

    lowendall

  8. #8
    Super Wammer SteveS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Polarbear View Post
    It would be a good comparison but the CD555/552/500 into Neat MF9's would still be the best digital system you have heard.

    The NDS is very good but the CD555 remains the king.
    Interesting, I don't rate the CD 555 as particularly good. It's appalling value at the rrp although I could make a case for it at the knock down price you see them 2nd hand. I would have assumed that Naim actually putting some effort into the NDS, as opposed to making it fit among a range of other products (like the NDX) would have produced a better player. Where did you compare them Nigel?

  9. #9
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveS1 View Post
    Interesting, I don't rate the CD 555 as particularly good. It's appalling value at the rrp
    Well of course the value of anything is ultimately down to what it is worth to you but I think your argument could be in respect of any high end component. In the case of the CD555 I'm not going to be buying one but I thought the music I heard from it quite breathtaking. An interesting comparison would be with the top Zanden.

    Strat
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  10. #10
    Super Wammer SteveS1's Avatar
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    Indeed Lindsay, I agree with your value logic. But I know three folks with these and two of them have been back to the factory, one at least twice and the other still has door issues that occasionally require a rather eccentric ritual to re-set.

    When all is tickety-boo they sound good as you'd hope, but not exceptional. I have heard as good at much lower cost. Besides, with no way to access the DAC/analogue output for anything other than spinning beer mats - it's a ludicrously expensive one trick pony these days.
    Last edited by SteveS1; 05-05-2012 at 04:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Yeah I've heard of some software problems but the company do provide good back up. With regard to the limited functionality yeah but of course the design remit was a player to best exploit red-book - nothing else.

    I'll guess we'll beg to differ on the relative quality of the sound (wont be the first time) - to my ears the sound is fluent, spacious, musical and dynamic in a way I have very rarely heard.
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  12. #12
    Super Wammer SteveS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Strat View Post
    to my ears the sound is fluent, spacious, musical and dynamic in a way I have very rarely heard.
    Depends what you compare it with. I would want significance at the rrp, not people looking at pre-amp input lights to check which source is playing before giving an opinion. Seen that a couple of times.

    Anyway, fun as this joshing is, my point is that the same manufacturer ought to be able to match your experience with their new streamer, hence my question of the pale one. He seems to think they haven't. Given that it's not out yet, I'm curious as to how this comparison arose.
    Last edited by SteveS1; 05-05-2012 at 05:43 PM.

  13. #13
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    I heard the NDS at Bristol - very very good but when I heard the 555 it was through a 552/500 Neat MF9s - the NDS was through a 552 3x250s actively driving Ovatars (very good in active mode) but of course not like with like. One point though they had a couple of tracks in both straight red book rip and high res - I was not persuaded that the high res offered much if anything more - nor was Mrs Strat so it must be the case
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  14. #14
    Super Wammer SteveS1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Strat View Post
    I was not persuaded that the high res offered much if anything more - nor was Mrs Strat so it must be the case
    I'd agree with you both. The mastering makes all the difference, when 16/44 is done properly it can be superb.

  15. #15
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    Cd555 is a wonderful sound to my ears. I've heard other digital sources improve upon it in certain hifi areas (kds/1 smashes it in top end resolution and realism for example) but along with the Isis valve, its hard to beat for pure engagement and emotion. The naim streaming gear so far doesnt even get close.

    Ive heard the Zanden 2500 which is more expensive again. Didnt do that much for me personally. I'd love to hear the burmester 069 though, thats the one that by all accounts is in a tottal different league.

  16. #16
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    How is the Burmeister then?
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  17. #17
    Wammer
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    Ahh, its mental, 40k or something but im sure one will turn up on Audiogon at some point for 50p and a conker and when it does i'll probably nab it

  18. #18
    Super Wammer The Strat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich View Post
    Ahh, its mental, 40k or something but im sure one will turn up on Audiogon at some point for 50p and a conker and when it does i'll probably nab it
    Nostalgia is not art (MIB 1 Jul 13)

  19. #19
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    All the Naim CD players have been immensely listenable (I've had about 5 of them) but equally nice results can now be had by 'plugging in' one of the recent ones to one of the streamers (e.g. CD5XS -> ND5XS/PSU, which, surprisingly, is what I'm now using) - thus giving one the best of both worlds.

    I'm not saying a CDX2.2 -> NDS would sound as good as a CD555 as I've not heard it. But I bet no-one else outside Naim has either!

    I think the 'cardboard' sound referred to is mainly to do with the BMR unit, as I heard a similar effect (disappointingly) on a brief listen to the Rega RS10 at Bristol. The S400s were a very good speaker from what I heard, but I wouldn't buy them for that reason.

  20. #20
    Moderator Polarbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich View Post
    Have you heard it ? Could you expand a little ?

    I wouldn't have commented if I hadn't heard it Rich, I have heard the NDS on a number of occasions and am fortunate enough to live with a 555. For me the 555 is more musically engaging, its more listenable and more enjoyable. I have also heard many other top end streamers, CD players etc and for me its the 555 which hits the spot musically.

    Regards

    PB

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