Novafidelity N25

Novafidelity N25

There’s a practice of thought in hi-fi circles that the much less performance a product affords, the higher it will likely be. However, the arrival of community audio as a class has accomplished extra to unpick this considering than another as these merchandise have a tendency in the direction of providing a number of capabilities because of what they do. Even permitting for this development, Novafidelity’s N25 arrives available in the market just like the audio equal of a Swiss military knife. At probably the most fundamental degree, the N25 is a community audio streamer in a position to replay audio saved on a community drive or linked straight by USB. It can deal with pattern charges as much as 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256, which ought to guarantee all however probably the most esoteric of fabric could be performed. As is custom, that is partnered with streaming service assist and it’s right here that the primary clues about how a lot the N25 can do begin to grow to be obvious. In no particular order, it natively helps, Qobuz, Tidal (with MQA included), High Res Audio, Amazon Music, Deezer and Napster in addition to Spotify Connect entry. Pretty a lot no matter the place your on-demand streaming is coming from, the N25 has you coated.

But we’re solely getting began. As you would possibly count on, there are digital inputs within the type of coaxial, optical and USB ports – the latter mimicking the format dealing with of the streaming part – in addition to a pair of USB 3.0 sockets for connecting storage. There’s additionally HDMI ARC in/output for easy connection of a TV, which remains to be a comparatively uncommon inclusion. No much less attention-grabbing are the outputs. As nicely as an RCA out, the N25 has coaxial and optical outputs and a USB out that permits it to run because the streaming entrance finish for an exterior DAC. The aforementioned HDMI output means the entrance panel show could be proven on an exterior monitor.

Bluetooth connection is included with just about each format of be aware supported, together with the newest variations of aptX and LDAC. You can even specify an non-obligatory Bluetooth transmitter so the N25 can stream wirelessly to close by receivers. There is AirPlay regardless of there being no point out of it within the official specs. Then, regardless that there’s full web radio assist, a DAB/FM tuner is included.

If you do select to make use of the N25 through the RCA outputs the decoding is pretty spectacular in its personal proper. It employs an ESS Sabre ES9018K2M DAC that’s supported by an ARM Cortex A9 processor and a gigabyte of reminiscence. This can output at a hard and fast degree into an built-in amplifier or you possibly can interact a variable output in order that the N25 can be utilized into an influence amp or pair of energetic audio system. I’ve racked my brains and actually can not consider something that will get near this specification for the same worth. To cap all of it, whereas I’d hesitate to explain it as stunning, it’s actually nicely made and neatly completed.

The catch is that some facets really feel a bit of rushed. A distant handset with a minimum of 54 tiny buttons is provided and offers an especially large number of management choices however only a few of them could possibly be described as intuitive. There is then the ‘Music X Neo’ app for iOS and Android that enables looking of a linked music library and entry to the assorted streaming companies (besides Spotify, which stays through Connect in its personal app). This is steady and easy sufficient to make use of, however seems to be and feels fundamental. I favor utilizing the third-party MConnect app for common use. To its credit score, Novafidelity has secured Roon certification, which works fantastically.

Sound high quality
Initially utilizing the N25 in what in all probability constitutes its easiest type – streaming from a Melco N1A NAS drive (HFC 394) to Chord Electronics’ CPM 2800MkII built-in amp through the RCA in fastened line out mode – reveals that its core skill is appreciable. A 24-bit/48kHz Qobuz buy of Manchester Orchestra’s The Million Masks Of God is an unlimited and sophisticated recording and the Novafidelity does a high quality job of delivering its scale and sheer affect. The stunning Obstacle begins with a easy guitar chorus and Robert McDowell’s haunting vocals. As the monitor builds, the N25 delivers detailed and weighty low finish and sufficient house across the rising scale of the music that it doesn’t sound congested or confused.

With every thing I play there’s an agility and propulsive pressure that advantages all music no matter tempo. It provides an immediacy to the presentation that I discover persistently interesting and that is delivered with out sounding pressured or harsh. Compared with the perfect standalone decoding on the worth, just like the Chord Qutest (HFC 436), among the high quality element that the standalone DAC finds within the combine is a bit of tougher to understand, however the total presentation is unfailingly entertaining. This behaviour is persistently reproduced throughout the assorted digital inputs and particular point out has to go to that Bluetooth implementation which, when you’ve got a cellphone with aptX or LDAC, sounds superb certainly.

Switching to utilizing the N25 as a preamp is a bit more of a blended bag. Connected to an XTZ A2-300 energy amplifier, it really works nicely sufficient however the quantity ramp is a bit of sluggish in use. While barely reluctant at occasions, it doesn’t do something untoward or ship undesirable quantity ranges. As a self-contained system it’s efficient, though I discover myself preferring the amount management of most built-in amps. As a feed for a USB DAC, nevertheless, it really works like a attraction. I join it to a wide range of USB inputs and it simply works with all of them, imparting no character and easily offering a streaming interface. This attribute can be much more helpful if the management interface of the N25 was a bit of higher, but it surely’s a welcome function however.

Ultimately although, all this cleverness shouldn’t distract from the core efficiency, which is excellent certainly. The great reinterpretation of Catch Me When I Fall on the Rõnin I combine by UNKLE exhibits off the elemental qualities of the N25 to high quality impact. Despite the indeniable complexity of the gadget itself, none of that makes itself felt within the music. Instead Callum Finn’s hovering vocals are the star of the present, locked centre stage and possessed of a richness and tonal realism that helps them to sound unfailingly plausible. Change tack utterly and go for the pared-back and hauntingly beautiful Tribulations by My Baby and the Novafidelity ensures that the great intimacy of the monitor is delivered with none embellishment in anyway.

There is a slight irony right here in that, if Novafidelity had focused on doing rather less, thereby simplifying the management interface a bit of, I is likely to be much more positively inclined in the direction of it. This is an especially good digital front-end that’s successfully supply and format agnostic. So lengthy as you will get the sign to the N25, it can deal with it in a compelling method. The limitation for the second is the interface has room for enchancment. Nevertheless, the sheer flexibility and effortlessness with which the Novafidelity delivers a big selection of music is simply too good to disregard. ES    

Product: Novafidelity N25
Type: Network audio Streamer/preamp

● Supports pattern charges as much as: 32-bit/384kHz and DSD256
● apt-X HD and LDAC Bluetooth; AirPlay
● Inputs: coaxial; optical; USB; HDMI

Read the total evaluate in  Issue 477

HI-FI News

through Hi-Fi Choice https://ift.tt/YezcS62

March 19, 2024 at 04:35PM

Select your currency