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The First 500 Series Network Player

Developing a network player that could live up to Naim’s 500 Series was no easy feat.

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For Steve Sells, Naim’s design director, creating a flagship network player was a challenge like no other. Not only did the team have to match the performance of Naim’s 500 Series, they had to create a streaming platform that was more powerful than anything else on the market.

“When it came to designing the modules in the chassis, it was much more complex than anyone had imagined.”

Developing a new streaming system – one that could be used across several Naim products – was only the beginning. It took 25 engineers over three years to complete the job. The next stage required us to integrate this new digital circuitry into a reference-level network player without affecting the delicate analogue audio stages. “We had to think about every element of the design and how each component would affect the other,” says Steve. “When it came to installing the modules into ND 555’s chassis, it was much more complex than anyone had imagined.” 

The ND 555 was crafted from elements similar to those used in Statement, the most advanced and powerful systems we ever made. Its technical features include a sprung-loaded sub-chassis with brass plates to minimise microphony, low-voltage digital signalling (LVDS) and a separate housing within the main chassis that acts as a Faraday cage for the digital circuitry, a design feature implemented in Statement.

The aesthetic design is continued from our Classic range with its brushed aluminium casing and the characteristic “triptych” front panel, which now incorporates a 5” full-colour screen that displays album art and track information to enhance the user experience.

“The Statement pre-amplifier has 38 discrete regulators,” explains Steve. “They provide clean power for all the various stages such as input filters, volume control, output gain stages and so on. For the ND 555, we wanted to use 13 discrete regulators based on what we’d learned from Statement. On paper, it was definitely feasible, but when it came to installing the modules in the chassis it was much more complex than anyone had imagined.”

But Steve and the team persisted. The end result is a network player with an unprecedented amount of processing power, exciting new features and a performance level that surpasses anything we’ve done before. A perfect partner to our best amplifier models such as the NAC 552 and NAP 500 DR, the ND 555 offers stunning musicality from all digital sources, a replay quality that, in our opinion, captures the spirit of live music like no other streaming player.

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