Apple Lossless on NDX2

Can somebody please help answer this question?

Apple Lossless supports a maximum resolution of 24-bit/192 kHz.
However, AirPlay 2 only supports up to 24-bit/48kHz and Apples own USB C to 3.5mm jack plug supports up to 24 bit/48kHz. Chromecast supports 24/96kHZ.

In order to get the best possible resolution from a source, I understand that any source has to have a wired connection. So, what is the best way to connect an iPad/ iPhone (USB C) to an NDX2?

  1. USB C to RCA cable plugged into the back?
  2. USB C to USB A plugged into the back?
    3 USB C to USB A plugged into the front?
    4 Any other suggestions?

I obviously want to use the DAC in the ndx2 and not a feed from another external DAC.

Similar questions have been asked but the answers have often been unclear or contradictory. Naim technical team really should produce a detailed conectivity guide.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions and corrections.

Don’t bother, just use Airplay 2.

The only thing that will work is USB-C into a USB/SPDIF convertor and then SPDIF into NDX2. The cheapest option often mentioned here, having enough quality, is a Topping D10 USB DAC that has SPDIF out as well. There are a lot of cheap USB/SPDIF convertors to be found on Amazon, but those will definitely be worse than Airplay.

Don’t get too hung up on 96 kHz or 192 Khz. I know these figures sound like promised land, but it simply isn’t.

If you want to have carefree high res audio playback on your NDX2, just get a Qobuz trial subscription and compare with your Apple Music over Airplay to decide which will fit you best.


Apple streaming isn’t compatible with Naim hardware the way some other services, such as Qobuz are. This is really the best advice…consider Qobuz if you want to stream hi rez music files to your NDX2

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We use an Apple Camera adapter (lightning to USB) combined with an SMSL PO100 Pro (USB to SPDIF) to get Tidal max [up to 24/192] from iPad into NDX2. Total cost 50 quid.

Stopgap until naim firmware supports Tidal hires.

Thanks for all the replies. I will give the Qobus trial a go and see what the results are.


Things might have changed but I don’t think Apple have enabled higher than CD quality wireless Airplay 2 (at least for conventional audio) on their mobile/tablet devices yet even though Airplay 2 can support hi-res in theory.

Naim already have firmware support in place should Apple ‘flick the switch’ to allow better wireless Airplay 2 quality I believe.

To compound matters, when analysed even things assumed to be lossless CD quality were in fact lossy AAC streams. Thankfully I personally feel the 256 kbps sent via Airplay 2 often sound great.

Apple and Amazon’s hi-res offerings are bot a bit limited without additional hardware but the marketing teams must love the headline that they’re offering hi-res when in reality most people are listening to lower quality audio but don’t care or notice.

I’ve tried lightning to USB adapters and had to get the powered version to run a Topping 10Ds as the power draw gave an error on my older iPhone/iPad Pro with the basic camera adapter. I didn’t really like a trailing lead from Topping to Nova either. For some reason I couldn’t get the digital out to work via the Topping, only RCA . Also the Apple devices controlled the output volume rather than sending a fixed level output which on paper is not ideal. I think others have achieved fixed output from the Topping 10Ds, maybe I’m missing something!

I’ve got the Topping in the study hooked up to a Mac Mini and an old but very good sounding Philips iPod/iPhone dock which was an early B&W Zeppelin competitor (and far more reliable than my original Zeppelin which constantly gives a red light error, and failed within weeks of repair again.

I got an older backup 2012 Intel Mac Mini a few weeks ago, primarily as a spare but also to possibly try to feed hi-res audio via optical to the Nova, probably from the Qobuz app which seems to automatically change output to match the audio bit depth/bit rate. For hi-res Apple Music on the older machine I’d have to patch/modify a newer version of mac OS as the 2012 Mini won’t do it otherwise.

Newer Minis don’t have optical out, not sure HDMI would work to the Nova which is HDMI ARC, so using HDMI out would potentially need some kind of audio/video splitter - they don’t make it easy!

Nope, HDMI ARC is even different from HDMI protocol wise. So far only TVs have ARC for backchannels to receivers and the like.
An HDMI-to-SPDIF extractor should work. But that’s really not ideal.

Obviously Apple had focused on headphones; first Bluetooth (without lossless yet) and then on the higher quality analogue outputs on recent Macs.
For everything else they rely on AirPlay, and obviously “HiFi” is not a focus here. (I understand they don’t want deep integration into 3rd party devices - too many updates and alignments, restrictions to support existing HW too long, opening up their APIs and whatnot). Why they don’t open up AirPlay for HiFi - no idea. (Maybe it’s too niche a market. Or not yet through their year-long backlog planning. Though they did touch AirPlay features this year…) The “lossless” is very half-hearted so far on their side - though with their new additional offer for “classic” (where many more people have HiFi than in other areas) and with the latest “lossless from Vision Pro to AirPod Pro 2 (USB-C)” announcement (where they work around Bluetooth via the UWB chip; though with very short range) might make them harmonize their offerings.
They sometimes do. You never know if or when.

(Why is spell correction not working in the browser… :thinking:)

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I did once manage to get HDMI ARC working to the Nova from a Samsung TV but it didn’t work for ages as the long HDMI cable I had for a projector years ago wasn’t of good enough spec which surprised me though a long Amazon Basics one did the job.

I did this ages ago probably to watch stuff from an AppleTV 4k - I can’t remember if the hi-res audio from Apple Music was around then, but that maxes out at 24 bit/ 48 kHz I think from going through some menus last night just to check what tvOS changed recently.

Shame in a way that the Nova doesn’t offer a more standard HDMI input with an HDMI passthrough output to feed video to a projector/display as HDMI ARC seems to rely on the ‘TV/display’ being able to send the audio to a ‘receiver’.

May have a peek to see if there’s a small AV gadget which can take a few HDMI sources and send audio via HDMI ARC and video to a separate display - have to wonder if my old Pioneer AV amp which I’ve not used for ages supports ARC - I definitely recall it offering 4k passthrough, but not sure about HDMI ARC. That Pioneer was very good but quite bulky. My projector is fairly basic, 1080p with only 2 HDMI inputs so have been wondering about using the Pioneer to manage AppleTV/Oppo UDP 205/PS 5 video and audio to the projector rather than swapping cables - in fact sounds like a nice little project this or next weekend.

Those pesky errors get everywhere :wink:

Point 4 above.

At other times Auto-Correct algorithms mess things up just as much!

Sorry for a bit of thread drift, just revisiting how I might get better quality Apple Music into my Nova - lots of hoop jumping to do things which should be simple.

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