Anyone using NDX2 with XPS-DR AND an outboard DAC (Naim/Chord/Other)?

Just curious if there are those here using the NDX2 with PSU and outboard DAC, and if so, what are their thoughts/experiences? I see plenty of NDX2/PSU or NDX2 (sans PSU) with DAC from the likes of Naim (nDAC) or Chord (Qutest, HUGO), but not all three. Very curious how much better the three would sound than either of the other two combination.

Just get an ND5XS2 and you will not be led into temptation.

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:grin:
Already went that route with an ND5 XS2/Qutest, @ChrisSU. I now have the NDX2/XPS-DR. In order to afford this combo, I sold the other two. I was really just curious, as someday I could see myself getting another Chord when funds allowed and adding it to the mix.

It’s really a case of either/or, as the power supply doesn’t do much, if anything, when you use the digital output.

What exactly are you trying to achieve? If you want to max out the NDX2, maybe it’s worth trying a 555PS in place of the XPS.

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The outboard power supply is dedicated for the analog output section. So, if going digital out only the power supply is redundant. If using the naim Dac the ndx2>dac/xps2 would be better than ndx2/xps2>dac.

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To my ears the ND5XS2 sounded as good as the NDX2 via SPDIF out. I would be rather surprised if an XPS gave a worthwhile improvement in this configuration, but no harm in trying, I guess.

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I like your thinking here, HH. I suppose I didn’t realize that the PSU/DAC here is redundant in digital mode.

That’s not true, the NDX2 is powered entirely by its external PSU if used. If using an NDAC I agree that it would be best used on the DAC though.

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So that’s why people use an either/or…I had no idea, honestly. So unless I really liked the flavor of a Chord over the internal Naim DAC, the XPS-DR is essentially a large, expensive paperweight.

It’s not. Although you’re not using the full capability of the XPS when using the digital output, you’re using a DR regulated supply rather than the non DR internal supply to supply the digital section so in theory it should be better… How much better though ?

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I agree here, Chris. The XS2/Qutest, to me, sounded equal to a bare NDX2. I was hoping if another came along cheap, it would really improve things (preferentially) with the XPS-DR in the mix.

Thanks, @james_n. Now I think I’m tracking. Another tidbit I didn’t know; I always thought the PSU in the NDX2 was DR.

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No, not in the NDX2. The ND555 has onboard local DR regulation feeding key sections.

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The internal power supply is far simpler than one of the external ones, which have a massive transformer and the DR regulation. An XPS or 555 improves performance of all parts of the NDX, so the streamer and the dac. The point is that if you use an external DAC, the impact of an external power supply is much less. It may make a little difference, but it’s unlikely you’d consider it worthwhile for the large cost.

You say you found the NDX2 as good as the ND5XS2 and Qutest. So with the XPS it’s better, so why not just leave it there? As I said above, if you want even more, the 555PS is a good way to go. Alternatively, if you prefer the Chord presentation, selling the XPS and getting a Hugo TT or Dave, maybe with an Mscaler. One or the other. But not both.

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I had an nd5xs2/qutest. And it was fine until I listened to a friends ndx2/xpsdr. For my ears no contest. My dealer gave me my full money back ( it was an ex demo , and I’d had it 6 months) and a good discount on the ndx2. The qutest was sold on ebay, loosing me £100 before fees. The xpsdr bought as an ex demo.
And yes a 555psu could take it further, but at a price.

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Thank you, @hungryhalibut! This is really great insight and gives me much to think about option-wise should a bonus come about as in years past or if the wife gives me landing clearance.

Thanks for this, too, @Thegreatroberto. I am more in this camp when weighing the two’s benefits, now that I’ve lived with the combo for a few weeks. Different presentations, for certain. I do/did really love the detail retrieval and 'separation effect ’ of the Chord sound, though.

The chord dac is nice, but for me, and with the nd5xs2 if felt cold and analytical? I spent too much time listening to details I’d not heard before than enjoying the music. With the ndx2/xpsdr, these same details were there, but presented, for me, much better. And more enjoyable.

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That is a great description! I do tend to be impressed more by the details I discover on tracks or haven’t heard with such clarity; and you’re right in that it can have a tendency to detract from the ultimate goal of just being immersed by the music, rather than what’s in it.

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I’ve enjoyed this discussion but it has left me very conflicted about whether the NDX2 is worth the (for me) big investment.

Spending over £5,000 on a component that seems only able to achieve quotidian performance levels unless one also commits another £4. -7,000 to an external power supply. And of course going the extra mile one is essentially just buying another big transformer even though a large slab of the original £5,000 was spent on a big transformer.

Is there anyone out there who has brought the NDX2, thinks it was money well spent and feels no need to spend more? It seems such a lot of money just to have a component that matches the rest of a Classic system.

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