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Naim launches streaming preamplifier – NAC-N 172 XS

NAC-N 172 XS the first network enabled streaming preamp from Naim. The ideal starting point for audiophile streaming: flexibility and performance in a slimline package.

The NAC-N 172 XS is Naim’s new network-connected streaming preamplifier, combining the convenience and choice of the streaming revolution with traditional Naim engineering techniques. The NAC-N 172 XS is a network player and preamplifier in one. It adds a new type of streaming device to Naim’s product portfolio.

More information and images

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Siemens S685 IP Dect Phone kills my internet connection

It is somewhat ironic that changing to a Dect phone system that will also allow VOIP calls has almost killed my internet connection.  It seems to be caused by the SMPS supplied with the Siemens connection box rather than the phone itself.  Unfortunately the DC input plug is the one size I don’t have so I can’t try a substitute.  It even managed to get my Thompson ADSL2+ modem/router to continually reboot yesterday afternoon.  I’ve tried mains filters everywhere and even ferrite rings but nothing will bring my internet back up to speed except unplugging the Siemens PS and rebooting the modem.

BeThere my internet supplier is send me a more up-to-date ADSL2+ modem/router to try.  In the meantime it’s back to the Panasonic phones.

Follow up:  The new ADSL2+ modem router has arrived and it works well.  The Siemens phones are now back in and working pretty well.  A few small problems with the firewall to sort out but other than that everything is good.

Follow up2:  The few small problems with the firewall turned into consistent router rebooting whenever the base station was connected to the network.

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Kindle arrived today

Rather spookily the new Kindle arrived pre-setup to know it was mine.  Out of the rather natty, simple but effective, packaging with a solid green feel it powered up calling itself Stephen’s Kindle.  This was the 3G version which connected immediately to ‘Whispernet’ as Amazon calls it. It sort of out Appled Apple doing that. Very impressive.

A little smaller than I expected, it looks rather good and it is the size of a slightly large paperback except it’s really thin and it’s light.

The screen is amazingly good for reading text from books or magazines but is less good for illustrations and is poor when looking at web pages via the beta internet surfing.

I’ve bought it to trial The Independent and The Daily Mail the newspapers of choice here (don’t ask!).  If the Kindle proves a successful replacement for the printed page, it will save at least 50% of our paper bill. It will also save the wait for the delivery when it’s late, as it has been far too many times recently.

All the newspapers and blogs give two weeks free trial so more after that.

I guess the other question is how does it compare to an Apple iPad or even a new iPhone for reading books. This will require time to tell.  At present it feels strange going back to a Monochrome screen.  I’ll give it a couple of weeks and report back.

Very conveniently I’m going to attend the Milan Top Audio show soon, which will give the ideal opportunity to try the Kindle as a traveling book.  It’s lighter and smaller that the sort of books I usually buy to read while journeying so it may be a real winner.

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Win a NaimUniti System with Radio Paradise

During the month of October 2009 Radio Paradise www.radioparadise.com (one of the most popular internet radio stations in the world) is running a promotion where one lucky listener can win a NaimUniti all-in-one audio player and a pair of Naim n-SAT speakers.

Radio Paradise (RP) is a commercial-free listener-supported radio station.  Listeners supporting the station during October are automatically entered into the draw to win the NaimUniti and n-SAT speakers.

More information and images here

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Naim Label – A new website, a new name and a new URL

The new Naim Label website supports downloads from 320kbs MP3s to 24Bit 96kHz wav and FLAC. Sign up and if you are in the UK you can download a free track from the Naim Label’s new signing William Fitzsimmons. Licensing restricts the download to the UK only.

Naim Label information

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Enthusiasm, Over Selling or Spam?

Mid April I bought a few downloaded tracks from Blue Coast Records. They were hi-res recordings and not too bad at all.
Since then the guys at Blue Coast have not left me alone. Every few days I get another email trying to flog me some more.
Am I alone in thinking that this is Spamming me? One email a month trying to sell me some new stuff would be absolutely fine and in fact I might do exactly that and buy some more. But all these emails are just a PITA and I’ve sent the please unsubscribe email.

No more business for them from me.

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Wolfgang’s Vault

This site should truly sort the music lover from the hi-fi lover.  Register for free on www.wolfgangsvault.com and listen to a choice of a huge amount of live recordings of great bands from years ago.  So far I’ve listened to Elton John, Black Sabbath, Little Feat and  Grateful Dead.  There’s enough music to keep me listening for weeks.

Sound quality is generally rather good.  Good in a bandwidth limited, obviously live but solid sort of way, but one recording did sound as if it was made of a fluttery cassette.

I played it back from my HP2133 into a M-Audio Transit into my Behringer SRC2496 upsampling to 24/88 all feeding my Naim system.  Maybe a bit OTT but well worth the effort.

Thanks to John Atkinson, editor of Stereophile mag for bring this superb resource to my attention

Highly recommended

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DacMagic – Added the power, what about the glory?

The 225VA transformer has been terminated with a suitable mains lead and power in plug for the Cambridge.  It”s been plugged in and blown a one and a two amp fuse with its switch on surge so it’s running with a 3amp fuse.

This by the way is not the way to do something for long-term use.  This is just as a quick test to see if it’s worth experimenting further and if the results are good the tranny will be mounted in a decent case suitably fused. This is not the type of experiment I suggest for anyone outside of a lab.  The mains is dangerous.

The listening results today are different to those at Malcolm’s last evening.  There it was pretty conclusive that the new supply confused the balance and lost some integration. It wasn’t bad at all, just not quite as well balanced as the original supply.  Shows that Cambridge put some time and effort into the whole package.

Today and in my system the results aren’t quite so clear cut.  There are elements of the same as last night but at the same time the system with the experimental tranny has more drive, is a bit more dramatic on the dynamics front and makes my foot tap more.

It’s really very track dependant: a couple of Paul Simon tracks definitely favoured the larger supply, a Springsteen just showed off the slight forwardness the supply delivered and sounded harsh. Another Springsteen – I’m on Fire – worked.

Would I recommend trying a supply if it were available on some try before buy deal – yes – but only if it were a no strings try before buy deal.  I’m sure that with the, very justified, success of the Cambridge DacMagic there will quite a few companies offering upgrade power supplies.

Finally it might be worth noting that the cost of the transformer delivered was around £35 so it might easily be a £100++ power supply if sold online and all neatly packaged.  Quite a investment for a budget DAC even if it’s a great budget DAC.