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Superseding Naim Streaming

Discussion in 'audio' started by clownfish, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    Having tried to love the Naim app for years I have finally given up and used the Easter break to sign up to a Roon trial. It took by about 10 minutes to fall in love and wonder why I have resisted all these years. Roon makes sense of TIDAL and my NAS in a way the Naim app has never done.

    I had a spare Pi 3b with HifiBerry Digi Pro Hat so I put Ropieee onto an SD card and powered up. A few minutes later I was up and running with the Pi feeding music back to my Superuniti over SPDIF. I am astonished at how close this most basic of setups gets to the quality of the streaming section of the SU. I’m not going to say its the same but IMO its more than 90% of the way there. To me the difference is most noticeable in the 'weight' of instruments, the notes just seem a little fuller, a little richer with the SU as the source.

    Having done some research (thanks Darko) I'm considering a Pi + Allo Digione Signature Hat or Pi 4 + Topping D10s to generate SPDIF for the SU. Before splashing out I would love to know if there is a clear winner out of these two in the sound quality stakes? Or have I got it all wrong and should I be doing something entirely different? Budget for now is around £200.

    Thanks in advance!

    Arcam Phono
    Proac D20R
    richarm and Del monaco like this.
  2. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    Have you factored in power supply cost to your £200?

    The Digione Signature (which would me my hunch for best option, having started with the same Hifiberry model, and now using a vanilla Digione) needs 2 power inputs, one of which Allo say needs to be exceedingly clean.

    Batteries can work, but sound like a PITA to me, and compared to similar alternatives, Allo’s own Shanti is not badly priced, but would take you well beyond the £200.

    (Brace yourself, by the way, for being aggressively informed that you’re a delusional fool for thinking you can hear any difference between digital transports at all. It’s a standard part of the territory).
    Cereal Killer, Darren and clownfish like this.
  3. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    Allo do a hi spec SMPS supply for about £50, Nirvana. The Shanti is good but the captive long mains leads are a pita and ugly, no idea why they didn’t use sockets and separate cables so you could tidy it all up.

    I’ve messed with a few Pi digital out boxes, the Allo Signature is the one I like best but it’d be a bit over your budget, with the Nirvana near £400.

    Have you considered a used Bluesound Node2?

    I have had similar Naim gear and found it could be improved, using an Aries Mini into mine was a small but noticeable improvement. You will likely get some naysayers but just trust your own ears/instinct and go for what you like best at the budget you have set.
    clownfish likes this.
  4. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    If going down this route do you actually need the super uniti? Could you not just get a 2nd hand Supernait & pocket the difference?
  5. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    They both go for similar money, around a £Grand.
  6. jobseeker

    jobseeker pfm Member

    A secondhand or ex dem Bluesound Node 2i could be a great solution at not much more money.
    clownfish likes this.
  7. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    I use a Hifiberry Digi out to my Sabre Dac. Sounds very nice and perhaps a little cleaner than the previous IQaudio I used, though that was very good too. I’m intrigued by the Allo products though they fall outside of my budget at this time. I don’t use usb now, preferring optical.
    clownfish likes this.
  8. Woodface

    Woodface pfm Member

    Really? I suppose I’m the long run a Supernait will have more appeal as there will always be a place for an integrated amplifier. Who knows?
    clownfish likes this.
  9. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day


    Darren likes this.
  10. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    It's a very interesting question and one I ask myself all the time. If I take the streaming aspect out of the equation what should I do for DAC and Amp? I don't mind investing a bit more here as I don't perceive these items are going to be outdated at the same rate as the front end. I might even go for Qutest and Supernait 2 but considering this approach opens the floodgates of endless choice. For the moment I just want to ensure I use Roon and at least match the SU quality for pure streaming, the rest can follow.
    Woodface likes this.
  11. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    Thanks. The Digione Signature sounds like a good option. Is there an easy way to buy in the UK or do I have to import from Allo? I might even get the Topping as well and try a comparison as I now have a potential sell on scenario for the D10s.

    So far so good with the delusional fool comments. Do you think the people that say a difference can't be heard actually try listening rather than pointing to specs? :D
  12. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    I discounted the Node's because I want Roon. However, I have just found they are Roon Ready. There's just too much choice out there :)
  13. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    After more research and finding some very helpful information on the Naim and Roon forums I have pulled the trigger on the Allo Digione Signature. All I have to do now is sort out the power source for the clean side :eek:.

    Thanks for all the input. I'll report back once its up and running.
    joe9407, BlueYeti, Del monaco and 2 others like this.
  14. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    FWIW I think you’ll be pleased. An Allo Nirvana would be a sensible place to start with PS I’d have thought.

    A tip, if you’re using Ropieee (the XL variant, IIRC) - you can add a USB Flirc remote sensor for about 20 quid and programme it to respond to basic commands from a remote of your choice. So if you have u used buttons on your SU remote, you could use them to play, stop & skip tracks.
    clownfish likes this.
  15. Amber Audio

    Amber Audio This is the Day

    To give you an idea of size/looks - Shanti/Nirvana/Battery Pack, the Nirvana is very good value and what I’d get, be dead easy to shift on if you decided to go up to Shanti/Other PSU.

    clownfish and MUTTY1 like this.
  16. Kirk

    Kirk pfm Member

    I would recommend a PI2AES as the HAT.
  17. +1 for the Node. It’s great for the money. And the Naim app is the worst I’ve ever used.
    clownfish likes this.
  18. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    I tried so hard to love that App but it slowly stopped me listening to digital. I now listen almost exclusively to my LP12 which I love but this is just mad. I need to be able to stream my music and access new stuff via Tidal and enjoy it !!
  19. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Now I get why the Shanti has such a price differential (never mind the quality, just look at the size of that thing).

    I’m gonna start with batteries for the clean side. No doubt at some point I’ll eventually get irritated by the inconvenience and buy the Nirvana. I only have a standard pi supply for the dirty side. Would you recommend something different or maybe the Nirvana for that ?
  20. clownfish

    clownfish It's all in the details

    I have been using Ropieee and massively impressed compared to the hassle of all the other (noon Roon) distro’s I’ve used in the past for audio and non audio purposes.

    That’s an amazing tip. Sooo bloody useful. I’m gobsmacked tbh, never even considered the possibility. I’ll def give that a try at some point.
    Del monaco likes this.

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