Naim Audio today confirmed that they have released a significant update for the award-winning NaimUniti. The key upgrade is the support for 24Bit/96kHz (and 24/88.2) playback of .wav and .flac files including fixed point 24 and 32bit files as well as 32bit floating point variants.
The update will be distributed to Naim retailers by a download this week. All the NaimUniti units shipped in February have included the latest code. This shows as Version 2.00.00 when checking the NaimUniti status screen.
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Naim Audio today confirmed that the new update — Version 1.5 — for the Naim HDX Hard Disk Player is available for retailers to download. In addition, thousands of CDs are in the post to Naim retailers to enable them to update their customers’ HDXs.
Version 1.5 brings a major improvement in convenience with rip to NAS and far more flexible networking. Shares are scanned or ignored by selection thus reducing scanning time and improving speed of music availability. This part of the update alone will bring massive benefits to many Naim customers who have large collections of music waiting further ripping.
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Decided to use Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, but slightly more unusually, the DVD-A rip so the source is 24/96. Unlike quite a few DVD-As, this one appears to have some content above 22k. Amazing though, that given the total available dynamic range they still needed to ‘clip’ the recording. Still sounds rather good though.
To start I compared the standard power supply with the Maplin L54BR. Pleasant surprise, the Maplin delivers a subtlety of delivery that doesn’t emphasise any particular instruments. The original PS, in comparison, seems to make the bass line and the hi-hat a little more obvious in the mix of Dreams and decreases the importance of Stevie Nick’s voice.
Using track 7 , The Chain, showed the original as having a slightly ‘sharper’ delivery, more detail perhaps but certainly less music. The main difference was in the low end but this changed the overall presentation. The Maplin just delivered more music but in a controlled and balanced manner.
I then dug out the 500VA transformer I’d tried before – now in an aluminium box and with a ferrite on the output – in common with the original Dacmagic’s supply. This PS delivered more power to the presentation, more extension apparently but was slightly slower. It had better separation of instruments, but not really more music.
The more comparisons of power supplies I do with the Dacmagic the more impressed I am of the overall balance of the design.
I will carry on using the Maplin PS. It is easier to hide away, as it isn’t a walwart, and more importantly it improves the performance making it just that little more balanced and even handed.
The music playback system was a HP2133 netbook running Foobar and ASIO drivers connected by USB2 to a M-Audio Transit sound card which was connected with a Chord Optichord to the Cambridge.
This could be the start of an expensive time.
Having found and downloaded FestivaLink presents Hot Tuna at MerleFest 4/28/06 and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss both in 24/96 from www.hdtracks.com I started to look around for more Hot Tuna live material. I found www.hottunatunes.com. While the downloads on hotunatunes are only available as mp3 or CD res Flacs there are hundreds to choose from. This could get very expensive.
The Hot Tuna hi-res download Hot Tuna at Merlefest is hi-res of sorts. Looking at its frequency content it looks suspiciously like an upsampled 44.1 or at best 48k DAT recording. Sounds rather good though. My first download from the HT site doesn’t sound as good but the music is just wonderful. Jefferson Airplane was (is) one of my favourite bands and HT may be currently running close behind. These guys may not be the springiest of chickens but they can sure play. My first paid for download also came with a free older gig recording in 128MP3. Sounds rather inadequate in comparison but totally worth a listen they are obviously on a roll that night.
The hi-res Raising Sand is quite different from the CD rip. It definitely sounds as if it has a higher bandwidth: it sounds smoother, more detailed and just more classy but it doesn’t have the punch or the impact of the lower res CD rip.
The Naim Classical label, a division of The Naim Label has just launched two CD/Data DVD Multipacks including 24 Bit 88.2kHz copies of the original masters.
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