Chord Hugo 2 + 2go vs Naim ND5 XS2?

Good evening all,

Has anyone heard the Chord Hugo 2 + 2go and Naim ND5 XS2? Both can be had for about the same price preowned at the moment (which is all my budget allows at the moment), so I would be interested in any insights.

Both solutions have the features I’m after but essentially I’m looking for a step up from my Bluesound Node 2 and not BluOS. I will be running this with a Supernait 3 or XS 3 (still haven’t picked yet) and B&W 706 S3s.

I’ve had mixed success with streaming so far. My first foray into Hi-Fi was PC based with a Beresford Caiman DAC into my old Roksan Kandy amp & B&W 602s which I loved at the time but found it a faff to setup streaming & ripping CDs. I moved onto a Cyrus 8XPd / 8 DAC with some Monitor Audio silver speakers which apparently is quite a bright sounding combo but I found it incredibly detailed. Next I went for home cinema so swapped to a Yamaha RX-A2070 into B&W 600 series speakers, as compromised as AV receivers might be considered for hi-fi duties, I thought this worked pretty well in the ‘pure direct’ mode, it incorporated Tidal, Qobuz & Spotify but I missed the clarity of the Cyrus & Monitor Audio in a proper 2ch hi-fi setup. I upgraded to the previous generation flagship Arcam AVR850 receiver and current B&W 700 series which I’m perfectly happy with now for home theater but still missing the mark for me when it comes to stereo music listening (DIRAC profile either on or off), silly description I know but music sounds a little ‘sterile’ through this setup to my ears and I’m looking for a ‘fuller’ more dynamic sound.

The AVR850 is a cracking AVR but with limited streaming capabilities so I hooked it up to a Bluesound Node 2. Unfortunately I struggle to get on with BluOS, after simply being able to use Qobuz, Tidal & Spotify directly with my old Yamaha AV amp it feels very clunky going via a ‘middle-man’ app and some albums don’t play through it (I’m not sure why as they stream fine via my PC/phone/car infotainment system). I also stream a lot whilst commuting for hours and quite like exploring new music just letting the streaming app algorithms do it’s stuff so it’s a bit annoying that the play history etc. doesn’t carry across to BluOS. Anyway, for simplicity I prefer native support for streaming opposed to apps but I hear the Naim one is supposed to be about the best there is so I’m open to trying it & Roon.

I mentioned commuting but there is no way I’m taking a £1500+ DAC/streamer on packed trains, tube, flights etc. and won’t use it in the car so the portability aspect is a moot point. Aesthetically I like the look of both streaming solutions, always liked the look of Naim gear and the ND5 XS 2 will match nicely with either Naim integrated amp on my shortlist (I want the AV bypass feature and separate subwoofer output which seems to rule out pre/power amp options like the N 272). Would be equally happy with the Chord stuff sat on top of the AV stand so it’s really about the anticipated sound in concert with a SN3 or XS 3.

Both streaming solutions review very well so I doubt I’ll be disappointed either way but every time I ask a question on this forum someone mentions something I never though of, any advice & insights appreciated!

no furthering (I like Chord DACs, and havent heard Naim DACs)…
but “yay”! for AV Bypass

will net you so much of your two channel music ‘thrill’ back again…

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The NAC-N 272 has both AV settings and sub outputs:
Fixed volume mode (AV) is available on any of the three analogue inputs
There are three volume controled outputs (2 stereo DIN outputs and 1 pair RCA phono) for power amps and subs

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Ahh I didn’t realise that. This is exactly why I like this forum!

The 272 is certainly available much cheaper than an ND5 XS 2 or Chord setup and all I would have to do is pickup a 200 or 250 DR which is comparable to the SN3 or XS 3 preowned prices anyway. Having had a look at some other threads it seems it is possible to stream Qobuz etc. via upnp. Adding to the shortlist!

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Sorry, newbie question time, would I hook a NAC-N 272 as per this poorly drawn schematic? Would the subwoofer (B&W DB4S) connect via the preamp or line output? I think I might have this mixed up it sounds more logical that both subwoofer and power amplifier would operator post volume control?

Just reading into how people add extra capability to previous generation Naim streamers and it seems simple enough to plug something in as a transport if not going down the upnp route to get Qobuz etc. working.

You won’t be able to stream Qobuz directly with the 272 and using Naim app. You will need to install BubbleUPnp elsewhere, or use Mconnect app.
Then, for Tidal, it’s not sure that the streaming will be stable, as it’s the ancient platform.
No problem for local streaming.

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Thanks I’ll take that into consideration. From what I read on other threads though there are workarounds like you mentioned via upnp or using the 272 with a streamer/network bridge as a transport. It’s an interesting alternative to the Chord or more recent Naim streamer options but it would be acting primarily as a DAC / Preamplifier and DAB tuner. I read that over a network connection it has no problem with 192khz/24bit streaming but over WiFi the buffer size is too small by current standards or something like that.

Over network it can also be not stable. But not necessary. However many posts about the freezing, not playing, interrupting…for Tidal with the old platform.
If you take a different transport, then 272/ linderman bridge or Primare …/250 dr would be good. But be aware how many people will advise you a 555 dr which will transform your 272. It’s completely on another level.
Personally, if I were you, I would move go into a transport with separate dac ( as discontinued Ndac) and 282/hicap/250 dr. 272 bare is on 202 level. The dac inside is inferior to Ndac. And the transport is obsolete.

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Yes you have shown the wrong output for the sub, it needs to be connected to a preamp out, NOT to the ‘Line Out’ (pre volume control).

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I run a mk1 Hugo and Primare NP5 streamer into a XS3, it sounds really good. I compared it to a bare ND5 XS2 at a dealer, their XS3, my speakers and cables. I preferred the Hugo actually, by quite a way. My setup is nowhere near as easy to use as the Naim box. I’ve thought a lot about whether to go for the Naim box anyway, as my main source is vinyl, but so far I haven’t made a decision! I think I’ll probably make sure I can beat the Hugo for SQ when I change it. For the used money they go for it’s unbelievably good.

The dealer did swap the standard lavender DIN leads for Superlumina at the end of the listening session. That made quite a difference, and closed the gap nicely, but they are something like £1500, which is an awful lot of money!

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Not the same comparison, but FWIW I found Hugo 1 to be more natural sounding than the DAC in ND5XS.

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@Chaff

I would stay with the Naim platform, using the Naim app with the Naim streamer, especially if you are frustrated ('mixed success") with streaming. Get the newest streamer you can afford, just be sure it will handle Quobuz. It just works, particularly with a Supernait 3. I think SN3 has the AV bypass, too. Simple.

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If qualify is your priority I’d go for the Hugo, it’s a much better dac than the Naim. If you value ease of use more then I’d go for the Naim

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Thanks!

Certainly sounds like the simplest solution! Yes the SN3 has AV bypass (and also a preamp out labelled ‘subwoofer’ so simpletons like me don’t plug into the line out).

definitely not, there’s presentation difference but not class

If you say so

That’s certainly what I felt with the mk1 of both.

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Better on hifi criterias very probably. Lesser for enjoyment and involvement.
But it can also be better on both aspects. For you and Dayjay, yes, for me and Phystech, not.

Not sure to what criteria you refer in saying thst (I’ve never looked at its performance specs) - to me it brought a naturalness to the sound that the ND5XS lacked, improving enjoyment and involvement. Some people described it as more analogue sounding, whatever that means.

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