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Naim NDS Network Audio Player

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Naim announced the NDS, their top-of-the-line network audio player that integrates network streaming, Internet radio, iPad, iPod and iPhone digital connection and replay from USB memory stick. It also has three S/PDIF inputs (two transformer-isolated coaxial inputs and one buffered optical input) for the connection of other digital sources.

The NDS is a genuine audiophile source, capable of playing and streaming audio over the home network at up to 24bit/192kHz resolution. It offers internet radio and forgoes a DAB and FM radio tuner to minimise noise for optimised performance. It includes three S/PDIF digital inputs for connection to external digital sources, such as a computer or CD player. A front-panel USB port complets the feature set – either connect an iPhone or iPod digitally to allow the NDS to control and play stored audio or play audio from a USB memory stick, even hi-resolution WAV or FLAC files, with full on-screen control. The NDS will support all the main file formats. WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, AAC, Windows Media-formatted content, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 files are all catered for, as is gapless playback.

Naim NDS Network Audio Player - Rear

The NDS requires the use of an external power supply. The XP5 XS, XPS and 555 PS are all suitable matches. Performance can be further enhanced by the addition of a second Burndy cable (in the case of 555 PS only) splitting out the analogue and digital sections, which a second 555 PS will bring about even greater gains.

Like Naim’s other network players, the NDS can be controlled by Naim’s n-Stream control app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The app also alows control of a Naim system’s inputs and volume. The supplied remote and front-panel interface provide simple and easily accessed control.

Key differences from NDX
To achieve even higher sound quality than that provided by the NDX, Naim’s engineers have enhanced the NDS in numerous different ways. The most important of these design changes are as follows:

  • No internal power supply — the NDS must be used with external XP5 XS, XPS-2 or 555Ps power supplies, via either one or both of NDS’s two Burndy sockets.
  • Split PCBs — the digital and analogue sections of the circuit are housed on separate printed circuit boards (PCBs) to improve their electrical and mechanical isolation.
  • Suspended PCBs — mechanic isolation of the digital and analogue circuit boards is further enhanced by independent compliant isolation, similar to that used in the CD555. Each board is bolted to a large, heavy brass subchassis that is supported above the base of the case on steel springs which provide a mechanical resonance frequency below the audible range.
  • Data buffering is now within the DSP chip rather than in external RAM, which facilitates signification improvements to the PCB layout reducing RF interference due to the reduction of high speed traces on the PCB.
  • As a result of this change, the DSP codes have been further enhanced to optimize the chip’s power draw and, thereby, improve sound quality.
  • The DSP power supply has been changed to a design which better accommodates the DSP’s pulsed current draw.
  • Burr-Brown PCM1704 precision laser-trimmed sign-magnitude ladder DACs replace the NDX’s PCM1791 delta-sigma DAC chips.
  • Shielding cans have been added to the streamer module, DSP power supply and DAC chips, to reduce radiated interference within the case.
  • Both the current-to-voltage (12V) and analogue filter/output stages use the through-hole discrete circuitry throughout, no op-amp ICs as in the NDX
  • Unlike the NDX, NDS does not offer an optional DAB/FM module in order to optimize layout.

Key Features

  • UPnP-enabled to stream audio files from any hard disk server such as HDX or UnitiServe, network attached storage (NAS) or laptop/computer via the home network
  • vTuner 5 full service internet radio
  • Front-panel USB port for replay of MP3 player/iPod and USB-stored audio
  • Three 24bit/192kHz-capable S/PDIF inputs for external digital sources
  • Multiple intuitive control interfaces: front panel, remote control handset and n-Stream iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch control app
  • Internal architecture for high-resolution playback of audio up to 24bit/192kHz over the network
  • Ethernet and Wi-Fi network connectivity
  • Streams/plays WAV, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, AAC, Windows Media-formatted content, Ogg Vorbis and MP3 files from any suitable UPnP device or USB-connected storage device
  • Gapless playback available on all lossless file formats and some lossy formats (exc Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media-formatted content)
  • Digital output on 75Ω BNC connector
  • Switchable DIN/RCA Analogue outputs
  • Isolation cans house streaming module, DSP power supply and DACs preventing noise transference to other boards
  • Suspension isolation system for analogue two layer and digital 6 layer board – provides a mechanical resonance below the audible range at 4Hz
  • Wired remote in
  • Wired remote out for preamplifier volume control and input switching, also for CD player and DAC control
  • No internal power supply to minimise noise and interference
  • External power supply required. Compatible with XP5 XS, XPS or 555 PS power supplies (two Burndy interconnects required for use with 555 PS)
  • USB mini-b connector for software upgrades
  • SHARC 40-bit DSP for jitter removal and Naim oversampling
  • Naim proprietary 16 times oversampling and digital filtering
  • Optical/galvanic isolation of all key elements
  • Ground selector switch for optimum performance
  • High quality Burr Brown PCM1704 precision laser-trimmed sign-magnitude ladder DACs
  • Naim reference non-magnetic, low-resonance low microphony case
  • OLED display for high contrast and easy visibility

Price and Availabililty
The Naim NDS will be available May 2012 for $10,995.

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