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Naim Debuts New Super Streamer NDS

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Naim_NDS_Streaming_player.jpgNaim Audio unveiled their newest streaming network player, the NDS, at the Bristol Hi-Fi Show in the UK. Naim's stated mission in conceiving the NDS was simple: to design a network player that is demonstrably superior to the NDX.

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Just as with the NDX, ND5 XS, and Uniti products, the NDS features 24bit/192kHz streaming, Internet Radio, USB and digital iPod/iPhone/iPad playback, and control via either RF remote, front panel buttons, or Naim's (free) n-Stream iOS control app. However, that is where the similarities end.

Like all of Naim's upper-level components such as the CD555 and CDS3, the NDS does not have an internal power supply - it must be used in conjunction with an external power supply. These include the XP5 XS, XPS, and 555PS. The NDS, like the CD555, includes not one but two sockets for connecting to the 555PS - this means that the user has even more options as they upgrade. They may start with one 555PS with one cable, then add a second cable to that, then for even more performance they could add a second 555PS.

Inside the NDS are a host of improvements as well. The three printed circuit boards (Digital, Analog, and DSP) are separated, and further mechanical isolation is achieved by independent compliant isolation of the Digital and Analog boards, similar to that used in the CD555. Each board is bolted to a large, heavy brass sub-chassis that is suspended above the case on steel springs, reportedly providing a mechanical resonance frequency below the audible range at 4Hz.

All data buffering is now done within the SHARC DSP chip itself rather than in the external RAM. This reduces RF interference and optimizes the SHARC's power draw, improving sound quality. The NDS uses the same 16x oversampling filter as that in the Naim DAC. The chosen filter is a modified Butterworth filter to which additional poles are added to prevent too much phase shift occurring within the audio band.

The NDS utilizes Burr-Brown PCM1704 precision laser-trimmed sign-magnitude ladder DACs. Shielding cans have been added to the streamer module, DSP power supply, and DAC chips, reducing RF noise. The NDS's current-to-voltage (I2V) and analog filter/output stages use through-hole discrete circuitry throughout.

The NDS has a US retail price of $10,995 ($1,495 for optional Burndy kit for use with 555PS).

Additional Resources
• Read more streaming, apps, and downloads news from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• See reviews of streaming players in our Media Server Review section.
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