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ND 555

Streaming Without Compromise

 

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Completing the system, the ND555 takes the considerable abilities of Naim’s original high-end network player, the NDS, and brings them right up to date with the use of the company’s unique music-streaming platform, first used in the Uniti range and now present across the company’s network offering. This allows the playback of music on network storage all the way up to ultra-high-resolution DSD128, as well as access to services including Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal, and high-res Internet radio. And with Chromecast, Apple AirPlay and Bluetooth aptX HD built-in, along with Roon-ready capability, this aims to be an entirely future-proof network player.

But simply improving the flexibility wasn’t enough – the intention from the start of the design process was to make this the company’s finest-sounding source component.

The Naim-designed network NP800 streaming section is mounted in an enhanced Faraday Cage, designed to be ‘radio-opaque’: in other words, to avoid any radio-frequency interference affecting the sensitive audio circuitry of the player. The NDS already used such a design, but in the ND 555 the Faraday now completely isolated from the rest of the player, and the digital section within feeds the player’s digital conversion via Low Voltage Differential Signalling, which is not only exceptionally accurate, but also minimises radiation from the connection.

This meticulous interference-proofing extends to separate shielding cans enclosing the digital-to-analogue converters – one for each channel. Upstream of these converters, which are Naim’s favoured Burr Brown PCM1704U-K DACs, is Naim’s own reclocking RAM buffer for connected digital sources, under the control of a 40-bit SHARC processor, to eliminate any jitter. This processor also implements Naim-written oversampling and digital filtering software, allowing that built into the DACs to be bypassed completely. Meanwhile jitter is eliminated when playing streaming sources by controlling the streaming board using the Clock Master located close to the DACs.

That SpringBoard floating sub-chassis system, using heavy brass plates mounted on six coil-springs to carry the digital and analogue boards, eliminates any potential for sound-affecting vibrations to reach the sensitive circuity. And the ND 555 makes use of Naim’s DR technology, ensuring the purity of the power going to the audio circuitry: 13 Naim DR regulators deliver noiseless clean power directly to each section of the player, the DACs, clocks and output stages each having their own DR voltage regulators.

The player is powered by a 555 PS power supply, with the option of adding a second 555 PS for even greater isolation between the digital and analogue sections.

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