Decisions, decisions - ND5 XS2 and 2Go/Hugo


I’m considering some options for a new streamer/DAC and have narrowed down to a Naim ND5 XS2 and a Chord 2Go/Hugo.

I wont ask for which is better (doesn’t seem appropriate on a Naim community site) however Hugos and other Chord DACs appear to be popular amongst the community here and I was interested in the relative pros and cons between the two options above.

The device will be used in a system which is used for both stereo and AV. Currently I use a combination B&W 7series speakers and MJA subs and Lexicon RV6/Naim Amps for power (currently 2x NAP100s are used for Atmos but an additional 250 should be coming in for the fronts)

Interested in your thoughts…


Loads of thoughts here already TBC

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The 2Go, which I was actively considering a year ago (I went 140 miles to the Bristol show specifically to demo a 2go/H2), has had an unfortunate launch period (see the Head-fi forum thread), which Chord are steadily resolving with firmware updates.

I have had a ND5XS2 and now a NDX2. I started with the ‘bare’ ND5XS2, added a H2 (nice match), then a TT2 (great in my old system) and then I had other streamers due to a rush to downsize, and I have now ‘come back’ to the NDX2 with a H2 (which could have been a Qutest, but the H2 has a better feature set).

My recommendation is to go for the ND5XS2, as a streamer with DAC that works ‘out of the box’. You don’t need to add an external DAC, but you will find a few threads from people happily running these with nDAC ( @JimDog ) and other makes.

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Many thanks for the sage advice and fast response

If you are thinking of an ND5XS2 and a Dac, why not consider the NDX2? I was told by a Naim dealer that the NDX2 is well ahead of an ND5XS2 with nDac in terms of sound quality. It also comes with a remote and buttons on the front to start and stop music and change sources, so you’re not having to rely on a phone or tablet. A Naim streamer with a Chord dac won’t sound like a Naim source either, it will sound like Chord, for good or ill.

Buying the ND5XS2 purely as a streamer is a very expensive proposition. I’m not convinced there is that much difference in sound quality in streamers. I have been using a RPI 4 running RopieeeXL and very happy with what I’m hearing.

With the budget you have for a ND5XS2 + a chord DAC, I’d would personally demo a NDX2 vs a separate streamer + DAC (such as a chord cutest, RME ADi, SMSL M400) combination.

Adding an external DAC to the ND streamers gives the owner the option of using either DAC (internal or external). That is a daily choice for me, not a permanent one.

I have been down the path of selling my ND5 XS2 (due to a layoff in early Covid) and going through the RPi4, PSU, operating system cycle - I got good results from the RPi4/external 5v LPSU/Allo DigiOne Sig/ Mo0de OS combination (UPnP and roon), then moved on to a SonoreOpticalRendu, but it is with some pleasure and relief to be able to return to Naim with the excellent streaming platform, decent app (or roon), dealer support/reliability, warranty and ongoing asset value… my rack is a lot tidier as well.

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If I understand the question the choice is ND5XS2 or 2Go+Hugo (Assuming buying nee that would presumably be Hugo 2.)

Based on both predecessors, ND5XS and Hugo 1 (with two different renderers) personally I would go for the Hugo as, at least with the Mk 1 of both devices, Hugo was more natural sounding to me (some people have said more analogue-sounding).

Regarding 2Go, I do wonder about it as a source ti feed Dave…

I joined the community in 2019 for advice on buying a streamer and I still haven’t got one.
It’s just not as simple as buying cdplayer,amp,speakers, all of which I’ve bought in that time.
I actually think 2.4K is a lot to commit to a source that I’m not familiar with. Not helped when you see the number of people who are dissatisfied enough to add a dac or jump to a 5k streamer. Which is one of the reasons I am looking at other manufacturers.
So I’m interested in your thread. I will keep looking but at the moment I’m sticking with the sources I love and know.

It might not be driven by dissatisfaction. Certainly wasn’t in my case. Instead it may be simply that with streaming you can advance way beyond the sound quality you were accustomed to with CD - though if your CD player has a digital output you can of course do the same with them, getting a better DAC and so improve sound quality without replacing the whole player. My first streaming device, ND5XS, gave very similar sound quality to the CD player it replaced, and I was quite happy, quite satisfied, and if it hadn’t been for the dealer and reading forums I would have remained with it probably for a couple of decades or more.

My first change of DAC on it was prompted by the dealer I bought it from suggesting to me a year later that an external power supply would bring a significant step up in quality: I was of course tempted, at that point being able to afford the ex-dem XP5XS he offered, so I went for it, and was disappointed at the very small improvement, far from good value for money in my book. At the same time as selling it I was intrigued by tales I had heard of the apparently almost magical Hugo, so as I already had committed the money to hifi I bought the Hugo in place of the XP5 - which brought a significant step up in sound quality and made my happiness with the system greater than ever. Other learning led to me making a financial saving by replacing the ND5XS with a different renderer, ahereupon I was really chuffed because for the same cost as the ND5XS and a better NAS that I had needed I had a combined store/renderer and Hugo, with its better sound quality.

(Subsequently Dave DAC merely came out of an inheritance that made something beyound consideration become a possibility.)

It’s like anything else where there is lots of choice: you can go on for ever considering, or you can simply pick something and go for it (if at allpossible auditioning to be sure you like it, or having the option of return). Job done! Of course you can always spend months and years trying to decide which is best, in a world where people’s preferences in sound quality are different, and descriptions inevitably very subjective…


It may be the case that if you really wanted a streamer you’d have bought one by now. It’s not as simple as getting a CD player, unless all you want to do is stream from Tidal or Qobuz, or use internet radio. If you want to rip your CDs or download, you need to consider the ripping and storage, and wire it up to your network, but it’s nowhere near as complicated as many seen to make it and with a few hundred quid and a bit of research you can be on your way.

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Point taken

I would be interested in the thoughts of people who have personally conducted home listening tests to make this comparison.


Are you not convinced that there is that much difference in sound quality in streamers because you have personally made home comparisons between various streamers?

Or did you decide this on theoretical grounds?

Does it sound better than your previous streamers?

I agree, I was just passing on what I was told. I think I was barking up the wrong tree with the NDX2 idea anyway - I read the OP’s post as if they were thinking of an ND5XS2 and a Hugo, but I think it’s actually a case of either / or.

Yes Jim.

Which is what I had hoped for with a step up in spend to a s/h 2019 NDX2 (with warranty) from a Naim dealer.

The O/rendu was very good with it’s USB into my then TT2, but I had an issue with it specific to my environment so that was able to be returned. In a sense I have rebalanced my investment (Plus some cash) into the NDX2 / Hugo 2 combination (the NDX2 bare is good too, but the H2 gives a clarity (that could be found with a more expensive DR’d XPS or 555) and is a headphone amp)

I have made a complete change to my amplifier set up too (see profile) which is now all-Naim, so there is a compatibility and consistency across my whole system - by careful exchanging, selection of components and great dealer support (& tolerance !) during lockdown I have got a significant upgrade for a relatively light financial, and heavy time, investment.

Just to be clear, I was referring to pure streamers, not a streamer with an integrated DAC such as the NDX.

And on that I’m yet to see any evidence of measured difference in digital USB output of a cheap RPI based streamer vs a streamer costing significantly more. If the 1s and 0s of the streamer output are the same, then there should be no difference in sound quality assuming the rest of system (DAC, amp etc) are the same.

Yes many reviewers and those on this forum believe there is a difference in sound quality. But if the difference is so obvious surely it can be measured? Or is just just placebo?

I currently use a RPi as a pure streamer and I don’t sense any loss in sound quality vs the Devialet and Auralic streamers I have used before.

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Wow - welcome to the club.
After long and circuitous adventures round the houses.
I bet that sounds great.

Ah - the old 1s and 0s thing!

Well, the view of many regulars around here (although by no means all!) is that:

  • the 1s and 0s are the digital code for the music

  • they get delivered by any functioning streamer (to a functioning dac)

  • but the SQ is also crucially an (unpredictable) function of all the stray frequencies of electromagnetic noise (i.e. not the digital signal) that stream throughout the hifi system from the mains and from connected equipment and from surrounding EM fields

  • Also, not every audible aspect of this combination of signal and noise, and how they are changed and amplified as they move to the speaker drivers (and then into the room) can be measured (currently).